New class of Boston pipefitters ready to build back communities

A new class of highly-skilled pipefitters and HVAC-Refrigeration technicians from Pipefitters Local 537’s apprentice program is ready to build and service the state’s hospitals, laboratories, and schools as we emerge from the pandemic.

Six graduates hailing from Dorchester, Boston, West Roxbury, Hyde Park, and Mattapan completed their apprenticeship training last Saturday, becoming official journeypersons in the Local. They include: Michael Coln and Zachery Laurinaitis of Dorchester, Kevon Hackett of Boston, Colin Ronayne of West Roxbury, Samuel Gomez of Hyde Park, and Rickie Thompson of Mattapan.

“As we return to a new normal, these graduates will play a key role in building back our region,” said Tom Kerr, business manager and financial secretary-treasurer of Local 537, which is based in Dorchester. “We’re immensely proud of the skill, craftsmanship, and character they’ve shown throughout their apprenticeships and especially over the past year. They’re unstoppable.”

When Local 537’s Training Center was forced to close due to Covid-19 last year, most classroom courses moved to an online format. Class sizes for in-person, hands-on training were also reduced significantly to ensure social distancing and follow adherence to Covid protocols. Prioritizing safety — and meeting these new challenges head-on — helped apprentices continue courses without a beat.

“Our graduates and instructors did an incredible job adapting in these unique times,” said Local 537 training coordinator Paul McGrath. “Thanks to our readiness and their hard work, everyone completed their coursework on time. That’s a big achievement.”

The newly-minted tradesmen and tradeswomen will install and service ventilation systems, and build piping infrastructure throughout the region, ensuring buildings are well-prepared for a return to in-person work, learning, and more.