September 25, 2020

Apprentice Spotlight: Ryan Slayton, Denver Water

Let’s Cheer Ryan on as He Competes to Win Apprentice of the Year 2020


Meet Ryan Slayton, in his third year at IECRM and an apprentice with Denver Water, the water utility company that serves 1.4 million people in the city of Denver and many of its surrounding suburbs. Ryan has competed in and placed in the IECRM Wire-Off Competition all 4 years of his apprenticeship training. This fall, Ryan will be representing IECRM in the Apprentice of the Year Competition as part of the IEC CON 2020 National Convention

Ryan’s electrical career began fixing tanning beds for a national chain of tanning salons. He worked there for a couple of years and then was presented with the opportunity to work temporarily at Denver Water. He started in the electrical shop and after about a year, was offered a job as a full-time apprentice. A year later, Ryan enrolled at IECRM. “I am really enjoying my training at the school as well as my instructors,” he says. “I’m very excited about becoming an electrician!”

Favorite job…

Ryan recently earned his NICET 1 Fire Alarm Certification. Currently, he’s working on installing a fire alarm system at Denver Water’s Winter Park facility. 

“My favorite project was installing infrared heating lights on the Williams Fork Dam for the water release valves!” says Ryan. Williams Fork Dam & Power Plant sends water and electricity to the Western Slope when Denver diverts the water. 

Williams Fork Reservoir’s surface area is 1,860 acres with a 15.8-mile shoreline. Working at a location like Williams Fork Reservoir during the winter means bearing temperatures as low as 40 below zero. “My infrared installations are part of a system that helps to keep the dam free from icing after each storm so that it can remain online in any weather, especially winter.”

Most successful work habits…

“My most successful work habits start with just showing up and being grateful, with a great attitude, and happy to be healthy enough to work! I like to repeat a saying I heard, ‘If you do what is easy life will be hard, but if you do what is hard life will be easy.’ I just try to work hard and everything else will work out!” 


“My hero is Tony Robbins, the well-known entrepreneur, best-selling author, and respected business strategist,” says Ryan. “I look up to people who can encourage others to never settle for a negative attitude because you are in control of your life and it’s your responsibility to make it worthwhile and thrive in today’s tough world!”

Best advice for apprentices, high school students, and colleagues… 

Life is going to give you exactly what you put into it, so work hard. Trade schools and college are both great. It’s up to you to decide what and who you want to be,” Ryan advises. “College takes longer and costs way more. So my advice? Start in the trades, work hard, make some good money, and if you still feel unfulfilled, go to college!”