We had the good fortune of connecting with Doug Rohelia and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Doug, we’d love for you to start things off by telling us something about your industry that we and others not in the industry might be unaware of?
Being a HVAC commercial sheet metal duct installer is exciting but also a true dying breed. I truly believe that people consider the trade work we perform is the same as air condition tradesman and its not. We are only responsible for the air duct distribution system on projects which includes installing any mechanical equipment that connects to the duct work as well. We play a very important role but face the current issue of not having enough people seeking interest in the trade for the future.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
This has been wonderful journey getting to this point in my career. I started off as a commerical sheet metal duct helper and convinced the company I was working for to start an apprenticeship program to become a registered journeyman. After completing the program I was presented with the opportunity of becoming a foreman with a new company where I was able to form relationships with various contractors throughout the city of Houston. For almost ten years into my career I felt stuck and wasn’t seeing the area of growth with the company and later found employment with a company that specialized in marine/industrial duct work. This was the turning point in my life and I was ready to learn everything they would teach me about the industry. I completed several national offshore and industrial projects while earning major awards which eventually lead to me becoming Managing Director of Operations for the sheet metal division of the firm. I dedicated 13 years working everywhere from the gulf of Mexico to Africa but realized it was time to dedicate my time to family and chase my own dream of becoming a minority sheet metal duct installer who could help others learn the trade and find employment thru my connections and resources in our city. The biggest lesson I’ve learned throughout this process was to push myself with education and always give 100% to my career. The companies I worked with in the past always believed in my talents and pushed me to do better so I have to give a big thanks to all of them whom I work with as a independent contractor today.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would take my friend to Midtown Houston to enjoy some great food and music. We would probably catch a Astros or Rockets game which I enjoy doing. I definitely wouldn’t let them leave without doing some fishing and cooking with the family on a Sunday!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would first have to thank all the local mechanical and sheet metal contractors for allowing me to assist them with bidding projects, consulting on major commercial/industrial projects, and installing the duct work on these projects with my team. Most importantly my wife and family for supporting my dream of becoming our city’s first African American minority owned sheet metal contractor.

Website: firstchoiceductinstallers.com

Instagram: Firstchoice_ductinstallersllc

Facebook: Facebook.com/MRDUCTGUY

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