Terry Dawley, Rigging Shop/Matthew Dawley, Rigger and Mechanic
Terry Dawley knows his exact date of hire at Foss: “Six-fifteen-eighty-nine,” he rattles off, proudly.
His father also worked in the shipyard, as a welder, and when the opportunity to join an apprenticeship program presented itself to Terry, he didn’t hesitate.
“I was actually an apprentice for welding,” said Terry, who grew up in Seattle’s southern suburbs. “But during the time that you’re doing your apprenticeship you have to do so many hours of rigging, and I just sort of took to it.”
Terry Dawley finished his three-and-a-half-year apprenticeship as a welder-fitter, the worked swing shift in the Rigging Shop for 10 years. Now on days, he enjoys spending his evening at home.
“I have six kids,” he said. “Five boys, and the baby is a girl. She’s 11. She starts offense and defense on the football team,” he said.
A proud father, Dawley’s second son, Matthew, joined Foss in April of 2013.
“I was a running back, and I was going to play college football, but that didn’t work out,” said Matthew. “I had no idea what I was going to do coming out of high school. My dad just came to me one day and said there was an apprenticeship opening up and that’s how I got in. I did have a job, but the income was minimum wage. Coming here was just a better opportunity.”
Matthew started in the Steel Shop. He said he’s saving money to train as Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter.
“I wrestled for 15 years,” he explained. “I had my first fight a couple of months before I started here. I’ve only done one. I fought at 155 (pounds) – I won.”
“You’re not at 155 anymore,” Terry said, chuckling.
“Losing weight’s never been an issue for me,” Matthew responded. “I’m the littlest. When the guys in our family get to be a certain age, they start putting on weight,” he joked.
Though his driving passion is to get back in the ring, Matthew said he likes working in the shipyard.
“We work on different things all the time,” he said. “It’s never the same. It’s a challenge every day.”
His favorite part of the job is figuring out solutions to the complications that often arise on-site.
“There’s knowledge that comes with the job, a way you have to look at things. You can’t run into anything, you can’t damage anything. You have to be precise.”
Terry, too, is satisfied with his work.
“I’ve done pretty well here,” he said. “I’ve been able to support six kids.”
When it comes to retirement, Terry’s dream is a bit of isolation.
“My wife, she’s an enabler,” he laughed. “I think I just want to move away, to Montana or something like that. Or just enjoy the rest of my time with just my wife.”