Local 562 guides injured Brother to a new career in BIM 

Local 562 guides injured Brother to a new career in BIM 

Sam Jacobson at BIM

On Aug. 23, 2019, Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 562, St. Louis, member Sam Jacobson was in a life-altering car accident. 

Jacobson suffered a major spinal cord injury before he was supposed to begin his third year in the Local 562 apprenticeship. 

Local 562 Business Manager/Secretary-Treasurer John O’Mara knew Sam was still interested in working in the pipefitting industry, so he worked hard to make that happen. 

O’Mara started Jacobson in a two-year program at Ranken Technical College in St. Louis. About a year-and-a-half into the program, Jacobson was looking for an internship when he contacted Steve Faust, the Business Development/Diversity Coordinator at Icon Mechanical.

Faust noted that the first time he met Sam, he knew he wanted to hire him.

“When we brought Sam in, it was amazing how much he knew about all the systems we work on. It makes a huge difference,” Faust said. “He’s an awesome designer and he worked in the field for several years, so he knows what a project is supposed to look like and how to draw it. He’s been a great asset to our design team.” 

A new career path 

Jacobson is now a full-time employee at Icon as a Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) Specialist doing Computer-aided design (CAD) and building informational modeling (BIM). 

“Not only did he fight to get to a point where he could move around on his own, he just graduated from Ranken with a CAD degree and has a full-time job with Icon Mechanical now in their CAD department,” O’Mara said. “It’s amazing he’s fought back this much and it’s only been three years.”

After his accident, Jacobson’s apprenticeship class and the members he worked with at the Gross Mechanical fab shop visited him in the hospital and were more than willing to help him.

“The guys I worked with at Gross Mechanical went around and collected money to help me pay my bills,” Jacobson said. “I was truly grateful for them – that’s what family does.”

Jacobson explained that he felt the true meaning of brotherhood when only a few of his friends stopped by the hospital to visit him, but many of the Local 562 members showed up and were there to support him throughout his recovery.

“The brotherhood helped,” he said. “What I’m doing now is CAD and BIM and it was Kevin and John’s idea to follow this path, because I really had no idea what I was going to do, and they helped me out by getting me set up at Icon.”

Jacobson is staying busy at Icon and is currently working on a design project for a facility that is being built for Boeing and a government project that cannot be named for security reasons. 

“The people I work with are super cool and the company is honestly a great company to work for,” Jacobson said. “They’re always getting big jobs to keep us busy and taking care of us.” 

Faust did not have enough good things to say about Jacobson and his work ethic.

“He fits in well with our design team and our engineering team and he has a great sense of humor,” he said. 

Jacobson followed the pipefitting path because he liked to weld. Understandably, if he could get back to welding, he would, but working in BIM and CAD designing pipefitting projects is a close second and it wouldn’t have been possible without his determination and the help of Local 562.

“It’s probably the best thing to end up doing besides pipefitting,” he said.