Summer is always a busy time for H.J. Holtz & Son, as clients explore ways to freshen or re-imagine their living spaces. To help with the added workload – as well as to cultivate a next generation of craftspeople – the company annually hires a crew of teen and young adult workers, who learn alongside Holtz’s experienced team members.
This year’s summer crew was composed predominantly of high school students, with one returning college student. Four summer workers were related to Holtz staff members – including both of company president Rick Holtz’s sons.
“We love our summer crew,” Holtz says. “They bring great energy, and they are always eager to learn. Plus, they let our experienced craftspeople focus on the technical tasks only they can do.”
Turner J., a student at Roanoke College, returned for his second summer with the company because he had a good experience in 2018 and was expecting the job to be familiar. Some things were the same, he says, but others were different.
“I was really surprised by how much work I put in,” he says, noting that he spent much of this summer at a job in Williamsburg. With his work days made longer by travel time, Turner says, he learned how to rearrange his evening schedule so he could meet his summer running goals.
Pace F., a high school senior, says he came to Holtz & Son because he expected to learn – and he did. “I did everything from painting fences to removing shutters and wallpaper,” he says, adding that one job in particular – the restoration of an historic mural in the Beth Ahabah synagogue sanctuary – showed him how detailed and precise some tasks are.
“I learned how much planning goes into each project,” he says. “There is so much that is done to make sure that each job is running smoothly and everything is taken care of.”
Another senior, Evan B., says he came to Holtz & Son because he was tired of lifeguarding and was looking to do “something with my hands.” He was still outside, but mostly painted fences and siding, instead of sitting at a guard post.
“Something I learned this summer was the importance of hard work,” Evan says. “It really inspired me to see how hard all the full-time guys worked. It makes me want to work that hard in whatever job field I go into after college.”
Rick Holtz says everyone at Holtz & Son enjoys having summer workers around, because they remind existing team members what it was like to be new on a job.
“We all think a little more about what we do and why we do it,” he says. “When you teach someone, you’re refreshing your own skills.”