October 17, 2009 The FEMC Trade Shop
Today I visited the FEMC trade shop to see what type of jobs there are available here in the trades. FEMC stands for Facilities Engineering, Maintenance, and Construction and the shop houses all different types of trade workers. Their job is to make sure all of the buildings function here at McMurdo Station. Some of trades that were represented were sheet metal workers, power linemen, electricians, fire system technicians, welders, pipe fitters, plumbers, and UT's (utility technicians who maintain the buildings and boiler systems). In a separate building there are also carpenters and painters who help maintain the facilities here. Read below to meet some of tradesmen I met at the FEMC trade shop.
Mike Ebel - East Tawas, MII initially met Mike in the cafeteria when he noticed my Detroit Tiger's hat and I was excited to meet someone else down here from Michigan. I have actually met a handful of people from Michigan and one lady was even from Detroit. Anyways, back to Mike. Mike works with the UT group and he leads a crew that maintains the boiler systems in all the buildings. At home he was a registered financial advisor and needed a change in his life so a friend talked him into to applying to work down here. That was 21 years ago. He has now spent 21 seasons, including six winters in McMurdo. He enjoys being here because he loves what he does and he loves the adventure and travel that goes along with the job.
Tad Hoening - Richmond, IL
Tad leads a facilities maintenance crew, who make sure that all the buildings are in good condition. If something needs fixed, they are the ones you call. Tad was a graduate student studying genetics and he wanted a break from school and he needed a change so he came down here. He has spent eight seasons down here and he loves it because of the people here and the unique community that they form.
"Moose" - Deerpark, WA
At first when I met Moose, he told me that he was a linesmen and I looked at his size and I immediately thought that he meant a football linesmen. I was mistaken. At McMurdo, Moose is part of a team that builds and maintains the high voltage power lines for McMurdo and low voltage power lines for the airfields. He heard about the opportunity to work here from a friend while living in Denver. His friend tried to persuade him to come down here for a couple of years and Moose finally gave in and tried it out for a winter. He has since spent five winters down here and this is his first summer. He keeps on coming back because he has met a lot of great people and enjoys the work that he does down here.
** Walter MacLaughlin - Lincoln, ME**
Walter is a plumber here in McMurdo. Back in the states he worked at an oil refinery in Texas and hated the heat so he decided that he needed to go somewhere cold. Antarctica is definitely cold, so he applied and initially worked at Palmer Station. Since then he has worked nine summers and one winter in Antarctica. He enjoys being here because he gets to work and live with so many different types of people. He says that "If you want an adventure, this is the place to go".
I would like to thank the guys at the FEMC for taking time out of their day to sit and talk with me and show me around their shop. Tomorrow I will tell you all about the mechanics that I met at the Heavy Machine Shop.