Sparky Life

Sparky Life

This is the Sparky Life with Lia Lamela. Thank you for joining me every Thursday for remarkable stories and points of view from journeyman and woman who build the things that make our lives work! These lessons learned are not only valuable for those engaged in the skilled trades but frankly for all of us whether we use tools literally or figuratively in our daily lives. I share with you my electrical journey, experiences and insight through engaging banter with those I have met along the way. If you are interested in trade tales, an industry frought with excitement and risk subscribe and be notified every Thursday when trade tales continue. We build the world we want to live in. Let’s band together to create the sparks in our lives!


June 13, 2024 20 mins

Since 2016, the IDEAL Electrician National Championship has been a platform that celebrates and showcases the incredible skills of Tradesmen and women across North America via a one-of-a-kind program and competition that ultimately crowns the best of the best electricians each year. Today Lia speaks with Emma Becker, returning semi-finalist, in the national top ten electrician competitors. How did Emma get here?
(music by purpl...

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On today's Sparky Life, Benedikte Vatne, a high voltage electrician and EIT field engineer joins Lia Lamela to discuss what it is like to ride a helicopter into work on the mountainous regions of Norway?

Connect with our guest Benedikte: @energi_benedikte

BIG NEWS SPARKIES: Are you a skilled electrician who wants to win an all-expense paid trip to West Palm Beach, Florida and your share of $30,000 dollars?  Click on th...

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May 30, 2024 50 mins

On today's Sparky Life, Mae, the Highway Hopper, and her husband Sean share their journey of leaving traditional jobs to start Orbital Jump Freight, a trucking company. They sold their house to fund the business, initially living in the truck as they ventured into the industry. Their story showcases a bold decision to pursue a life on the road, resonating with their passion for freedom and exploration through trucking.

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In this episode, the host Lia Lamela speaks with the author of Confidence For Young Adults, Matt Eisenberg.  "The purpose of this book, deeply rooted in my soul, is to empower our young adults—the torchbearers of tomorrow. By fostering their confidence, resilience, and self-belief, I hope to inspire them to become the embodiment of generosity, kindness, love, and fulfillment. May they not only discover their highest selves but...

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May 16, 2024 34 mins

In this episode, the host Lia Lamela speaks with the owner of Diamond Electric Solutions, Dominic Sonesen. They explore the journey from an IBEW apprentice to a successful business owner. Dominic highlights the perks of the electrical trade, from benefits to the joy of project completion, and the motivation derived from family. The episode is a testament to the skilled trades' potential and the value of mentorship for the next...

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May 9, 2024 32 mins

In this engaging episode host Lia Lamela sits down with Val and Emily, seasoned wastewater treatment plant operators and returning Sparky Life guests. They discuss the intricacies of wastewater management and highlighting the importance of flushing protocols. These women value their trade, emphasizing their contributions to safety, community, and morale in the workplace.

First Sparky Life Episode with Emily and Val Waste ...

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Building Success in the Electrical Contracting Business: Insights from Rudy @Right_Wire_Electric

As the host of the Sparky Life podcast, I've had the privilege of speaking with some of the most knowledgeable and experienced professionals in the skilled trades. In this episode, I sit down with Rudy , better known as @Right_Wire_Electric, to delve into his 25-year journey in the electrical contracting business and his unique lead...

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In this episode , Lia Lamela welcomed electrician Andrea O'Connell, who shared her empowering story of transitioning from a struggling single mother to a passionate tradeswoman. Andrea recounted her serendipitous entry into the construction industry, where she discovered a fulfilling career path. She candidly discussed the challenges of balancing motherhood with her apprenticeship and the importance of finding supportive emplo...

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In this episode, Lia Lamela speaks  with Will Betances, a master electrician and founder of Energize Us, about his initiative to transform skilled trades education. Energize Us ia an accredited Not for Profit 501(c)(3) Education Center Trade Pre-Apprenticeship program, training the next generation. A revolution is underway, spearheaded by Energize Us Edu Inc. This visionary institution,  Energize Us Edu Inc. doesn’t settle for ordi...

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In this episode of the Sparky Life podcast, host Lia Lamela interviews Ryan, an 18-year-old entrepreneur and HVAC apprentice. They discuss the urgent need for tradespeople and the opportunities within the HVAC industry. Ryan shares his proactive approach to learning and his plans to obtain multiple trade licenses. They discuss the academic system and encourage exploring various fields, including skilled trades, to find one's p...

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April 4, 2024 25 mins

Viola Vargas, is 12 years old and already a trailblazer.  She started her journey with the trades when she was a toddler and growing up she always loved working with tools with her dad. Viola started with cutting wires, but today she helps her dad with HVAC projects.  Not only is she skilled in HVAC but she is an athlete as well, taekwondo, soccer, and track and field. Viola hopes to continue in HVAC as she gets older. She is a pro...

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March 28, 2024 30 mins

In this episode of the Sparky Life podcast, Lia speaks with electrical engineer Ayesha Wilson about her career and advocacy for STEM outreach. Ayesha shares her inspiration from astronaut Kalpana Chawla and her path to circuit design.  Ayesha's dedication to teaching and mentorship shines through as she discusses breaking down academic gatekeeping and the value of collaboration between different skill sets in engineering. 

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In our latest episode on March 7, 2024, Two Students Stabbed at Local 26 Electrical Training Center: Bullying and Mental Health in the skilled trades we discussed the tragic events which occurred on Feb 13th 2024 in Manassa, VA.  

In this episode of the Sparky Life podcast we follow up on the heart-wrenching events that have shaken our community at Local 26. I sat down with a courageous member of our team, who, for their s...

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In this Sparky Life episode Raya Kenney discusses her 11-year journey building a Memorial for Women On The Home Front during World War II, emphasizing visibility and recognition for their contributions. She details the project's design, fundraising needs, and educational goals. Raya highlights the importance of mentorship, community, and advocating for gender equity in skilled trades.

The conversation addresses overc...

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In this episode of the Sparky Life podcast, Lia Lamela and guests Dr. Talia Jackson and Douglas Jensen from the We're Not Fine podcast discuss a stabbing incident at the local 26 JATC in Manassas, Virginia. They talk about the serious issues of bullying and mental health within the construction industry, reflecting on the culture that may contribute to such tragedies.

The conversation underscores the need for a more ...

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In this podcast episode, Chris Guyatt, a building automation expert, and Lia Lamela, talk about the lucrative and evolving field of building automation. Chris outlines the business potential, emphasizing the importance of branding, marketing, and understanding electrical controls.

He also shares a step-by-step learning path for newcomers, stressing the significance of hands-on experience and foundational knowledge in elec...

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In this episode of the Sparky Life podcast, host Lia Lamela talks with Cate, a second-year apprentice carpenter from British Columbia, about the challenges and experiences of women in the skilled trades. Cate discusses her transition from administrative work to carpentry, and the importance of self-confidence. They address the balance between strength and softness. 

Cate discloses how after leaving school, she had to learn a lot abo...

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Live Panel is a new modern platform where leaders in the skilled trades discuss compelling issues facing the construction industry. Live Panel shares remarkable stories and points of view of how journeyman and woman build the things that make our lives work!  These lessons learned are not only valuable for those engaged in the skilled trades but frankly for all of us whether we use tools literally or figuratively in our daily lives...

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Did you know that 1 in 5 women prefer to work with men over other women? We dove deep into this curious statistic and explored the challenges of women supporting women in spaces where we're still breaking ground.

Our guest Bogi is a committed automotive industry advocate, dealer-trained BMW and ASE master certified technician, and a fierce proponent for inspiring women to pursue opportunities within the automotive and...

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February 1, 2024 25 mins

In this episode of the Sparky Life podcast, host Lia Lamela speaks to Jeff Naeem, the owner of a New Jersey-based junk removal company. Jeff shares his journey from working in financial services to starting his own business in the skilled trades. He discusses the challenges of obtaining a license in New Jersey, the day-to-day operations of his company, and the importance of treating employees well to ensure high-quality service. He...

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