January 24, 2019

Apprentice Spotlight: Mike West, 1st Electric

What It Takes To Be Among The Best


Colorado native and second year apprentice at 1st Electric Contractors, Mike West, is among the top students in IECRM’s training program, a proud father of two, and aspires to be the best electrician he can be.

A former bartender, Mike wanted a stable career to be able to provide for his family – wife Kristen, and children Cubb and Evelyn. The family has a home in Northglenn just a few blocks away from IECRM.

He began his pursuit of his career and a good living as a street light technician. From there he hired on with 1st Electric Contractors as an apprentice. At first, Mike was a little skeptical about being required to do school for a trade that he had been doing for a few years already. “But I quickly realized that it was absolutely necessary to my growth in this field,” he said.  “The fact that they require all apprentices to attend school is something that I not only appreciate, but every one of our employees should as well, as they are investing in our futures.”  Mike is proud to be one of the top students in his class. “Being among the top in my class at IECRM is both rewarding and humbling,” he says.

1st Electric Contractors specializes in mixed-use residential/commercial buildings, as well as site infrastructure and development. The company proudly serves the Colorado Front Range and mountain communities with an emphasis on customer service and quality electrical contracting. “1st Electric is the best company I have ever worked for,” says Mike. “They are dedicated to creating the best electricians and best leaders in the industry and they do their best to make everybody feel like they are part of a family.”

Favorite project…

Mike’s favorite project was Peoria Crossing, a bridge on Peoria Street south of I-70.  The bridge spans the Union Pacific Railroad and East Rail Line tracks to separate vehicle traffic from passing railroads. The project was conceived and designed to enhance the safety of the traveling public and operational efficiency of Peoria Street. “This bridge provides an important connection between Denver and Aurora,” says Mike. “The amount of wire, piping, digging, crane work, and planning that went into that job was amazing. I learned a great deal working on this project.”

Most successful work habits…

“My most successful work habit is leading by example,” says Mike. “When the guys at my job site see how much effort I put in and how much I care about my work, they really respond. It’s sort of like parenting — you can say something to somebody but unless you practice what you preach, you can’t truly teach.”  For Mike, this philosophy translates to behaving in a way that encourages other people to do their best. “I believe in this on the job, and I definitely believe it in the way I raise my kids,” he says.


Mike’s hero is his stepfather. “He was a firefighter and one of the best at it. As a captain, he was very proud of his accomplishments,” says Mike whose step dad passed away in 2012. “ One of his last wishes for me was to change my lifestyle and learn a trade that I could be successful in and happy doing,” he reflects.

Best advice for co-workers, apprentices and students…

“My best advice for fellow apprentices and for future apprentices is to always be a student of the trade,” says Mike. “There are people who have been doing this work for decades and yet they learn something new every day. It’s about being open to life-long learning, being humble yet confident, and being proud.”