In a recent episode of the Built For The Trades podcast, host Dan engages in a captivating conversation with Josh Zolan, owner of Wendy City Equipment, podcaster, speaker, and author of the book “Blue is the New White.” This dynamic duo sheds light on the advantages of entering the trades while delving into Josh’s remarkable journey. From a childhood immersed in the stunt industry to finding his true calling, Josh’s experiences provide valuable insights into the world of trades.
A Hollywood Dream Turned Realization:
Hailing from Kenosha, Wisconsin, Josh recounts his upbringing in a family deeply involved in the stunt industry. Following his passion, he pursued a career as a stuntman in Hollywood, but he soon realized that being the person behind the scenes left him dissatisfied. Craving a more fulfilling path, Josh joined his father’s restaurant equipment repair company in Arizona, starting from scratch to learn the trade from the ground up. His stunt experiences, including performing dangerous stunts like setting himself on fire and executing high falls, shaped his resilience and determination.
Lessons Learned: Hard Work, Consistency, and Integrity:
One incident that remains etched in Josh’s memory is a painful stunt where his efforts were ultimately wasted when the first take was used for the commercial. Through this setback, he emphasizes the importance of hard work, consistency, integrity, and honesty—values instilled in him by his father. Josh believes in remaining consistent, learning from mistakes, and continuously striving for improvement. Initially known as “Joel’s son” in his father’s business, he earned respect through his relentless work ethic, gradually proving his worth.
The Power of Teamwork and Positive Hiring:
Dan and Josh attribute their success to the power of a motivated team with similar philosophies. They highlight the significance of hiring the right individuals who align with their vision. Attending conferences and networking events that positively impact their business has been instrumental in their growth. By surrounding themselves with talented and driven individuals, they create an environment conducive to success.
Challenging the Status Quo: “Blue is the New White”:
Josh’s book, “Blue is the New White,” challenges the societal pressure to pursue a college education as the only path to success. It aims to dispel misconceptions surrounding trade careers by providing insights into the benefits, opportunities, and trajectories they offer. The book delves into the costs and returns on investment of college education while comparing wages earned by college graduates versus those who start as apprentices or attend trade school.
Apprenticeships: Practical Experience and Diverse Opportunities:
During the conversation, Dan and Josh emphasize the value of apprenticeships in providing practical experience and valuable life skills that often surpass what traditional college degrees offer. They shed light on the myriad career opportunities in the trades beyond technical roles, such as marketing, customer service, dispatching, management, and bookkeeping. The joy and fulfillment derived from making a tangible impact on the world through the trades are also highlighted.
Seeking Trade Opportunities: Humility, Hard Work, and Persistence:
To those interested in pursuing a trade career, Josh encourages thorough research and direct outreach to local companies to express eagerness to learn. He emphasizes the importance of humility, hard work, and persistence in securing trade opportunities. By approaching potential mentors and employers with a genuine passion for the industry, individuals can pave their way toward a fulfilling trade career.
Dan and Josh’s engaging conversation on the Built For The Trades podcast offers a compelling exploration of the benefits of trades and highlights the remarkable journey of Josh Zolan. His transition from Hollywood stuntman to successful business owner underscores the immense value of pursuing trade careers.