From Boiler Maker to Capitol Hill: The Inspiring Career Path of Collins Womack and his Mission to Restock the Construction Industry Pipeline
Meet Collins Womack, a former biology major turned boilermaker turned construction industry advocate. Collins currently serves as the General Service Manager of Jake Marshall, A Limbach Company. His path to this role may not be what you expect. While attending college, he quickly realized that the financial constraints were unsustainable, prompting him to pursue his true passion. Collins discovered his interest in building engines and working on cars in his free time, and stumbled upon an opportunity with a local boilermaker. He fell in love with the work and the sense of pride that came with building something from scratch. Through hard work, skill development, and taking on new challenges, he worked his way up the ranks to become a leader and mentor within Jake Marshall.
Little did Collins know that the small step he took that day would be the catalyst for an extraordinary journey, shaping his career for years to come. Early on in Colin’s career, he recognized a growing problem in the construction industry—a workforce shortage due to an aging workforce and a lack of awareness and interest among young people. Determined to address this issue and bring more people into the industry he loved, Collins took his first step by returning to school, this time attending a vocational school to teach others about career paths within construction. Collins became a mentor and advocate, actively working to introduce construction education and awareness as early as 7th grade. Collaborating with teachers, he established programs that fueled students’ interest in the industry. His aim was to dispel the stigma that construction was only for those unable to pursue a four-year degree. Instead, he sought to make it a credible option that could lead to a successful and fulfilling career.
Collins fearlessly harnessed the power of his voice, amplifying his advocacy not only within the education system but also on Capitol Hill where he met with Congress to lobby for bills that would support the construction industry and streamline processes such as permitting and inspections. Among the bills he supported, House Bill 0131 stood out. This bill aimed to modernize infrastructure across the state without involving third parties. Collins also extended his support to House Bill 1010, which aimed to streamline permitting and inspections by granting qualified engineers the authority to approve inspections below a certain threshold.
However, Collins’ greatest passion and focus was on House Bill 664, which sought to revise the criminal history checks for individuals onsite in certain businesses. He recognized that the current system limited opportunities for people with criminal backgrounds, including those who had made mistakes but were eager to turn their lives around. By narrowing the list of criminal checks, this bill would facilitate a more extensive second chance program and encourage more people to join the construction industry.
Collins also worked diligently with the AGC to establish the foundations of a new initiative, the Career Construction Center in Chattanooga. This center aimed to replenish the workforce by providing necessary skills to 11th and 12th-grade students as well as adults interested in entering the construction industry. With plans to accommodate 120 students and 40 adults, Collins hoped to achieve full occupancy by 2027 and continue to replenish the workforce for years to come.
Collins’ inspiring career path and his advocacy for the construction industry serve as a reminder that with hard work, dedication, and a willingness to learn, anyone can achieve their goals and make a significant impact in their field. By advocating for change and attracting a new generation of passionate workers, Collins is actively contributing to a bright future for the construction industry and the workers who make it flourish.