Second Generation Local 49 Member Started as Apprentice and is now a Crane Operator

Second Generation Local 49 Member Started as Apprentice and is now a Crane Operator

Second generation Local 49 member, Mitch Asfeld, began as a Local 49 apprentice and is now a crane operator and has worked on some of the most recent notable projects.

After graduating high school, Asfeld tried attending college but shortly realized that wasn’t the path for him.

“I went to college for about a semester and realized it just wasn’t for me, and I knew that working in construction was the right choice for me,” he said.

Asfeld began in the Local 49 apprenticeship program and also began working for Lunda Construction and started as an oiler on one of the most recent high-profile projects.

“I started on the Stillwater Bridge, which looking back on it, it was a very complicated project, and I didn’t appreciate back then as much as I do now. It was my first project, and I had never worked on any other bridge before that,” Asfeld said.

Asfeld worked on the Stillwater Bridge project for two years and since then worked his way up to becoming a crane operator. Now, he has been a member of Local 49 for five years and has worked on various projects all over South Dakota and Minnesota.

“There was definitely a learning curve becoming a crane operator, but I had another operator help me and taught me pretty much everything I know,” Asfeld said. “It’s helpful having someone there to help guide you.”

Asfeld had another critical influence in his life to help him along the way throughout his construction career – his father Ken Asfeld.

“My dad has been an operator for 30 years and currently works for Kuechle Underground. My dad was definitely an influence on me, and when I was younger, he would always tell me that if I wanted to get into construction, then I need to join Local 49,” Asfeld said.

Now being a more experienced operator, Asfeld said that he is spreading the same message to his other family members.

“I have a younger cousin who is thinking about getting into the industry after high school, and I tell him to make sure he gets in with the 49ers and start with the Training Center,” he said. “Even if someone doesn’t know which direction they want to go within this industry, I always say go up to the Training Center and start running things to see what you like the most.”

“When I was at the Training Center, I enjoyed taking the different classes and operating as much as I could. Becoming a member of Local 49 was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”

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