Michael Harris is a 37-year member of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers, or SMART, union. He started working in a sheet metal shop as a summer job at age 16. After spending a year in college, he began working full-time as a sheet metal worker at the Tarpenning & LaFollette Co., a custom metal fabrication shop where his father worked. A few years after starting the sheet metal trade, he entered the Sheet Metal Workers Local No. 20 apprenticeship program in Indianapolis, IN. He began teaching night school during his apprenticeship and has been involved with the educational side of the industry for 30 years, where he held various positions throughout the years, as a JATC instructor and Director of Training, an ITI Field Representative, ITI Program Administrator in charge of curriculum development and his current position as the Administrator of the International Training Institute for the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Industry.
Ronald McGuire initially set his sights on the University of Minnesota — sheet metal work was just something his father did. Once he realized that college wasn’t for him, he took a summer job at a sheet metal shop, enrolled in the sheet metal program at St. Paul Technical College in St. Paul, Minnesota, and changed his life’s trajectory.
After graduating from the 15-month program, McGuire entered the union apprenticeship and graduated in 1997. Three years later, he took a computer-assisted drawing class and jumped into heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) design as part of a five-member team at United Sheet Metal. When he became an instructor at Sheet Metal Workers Local 10 in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, his two careers merged, and he began instructing computer-aided building information modeling (BIM).
McGuire worked as a full-time instructor at St. Paul’s Technical College for two years before accepting a position with the International Training Institute (ITI), the education arm of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation (SMART) workers, as its BIM specialist in 2009. In 2020, he was brought on as the ITI’s Director of Research, Development, and Technology. This position allowed him to educate thousands of apprentices and members on current and new industry technology. Two years later, he accepted the position of Program Administrator, assisting the ITI Administrator with day-to-day operations and programs in the United States and Canada. He recently started a new role with ITI as Director of VDC and Technology training.