Owner/Operator of Trinity Forge
There is a growing body of the population that are interested in knowing who they are hiring, and whose products they are purchasing. We, as people, love stories and every one of us has a story that is interesting and unique to the person sharing it. Here’s mine:
I’m a curious sort of fellow; a nerd when it comes to machinery and mechanical engineering. I’m always looking around and observing the world around me and I love to ask questions and learn about how things work.
My favorite question, is simply ‘why?’.
The most important question that we can ask is “why?”, and I believe that is a question that isn’t asked enough. Learning to ask questions and think critically seems to be a rare thing these days.
Here’s a little background that may help you to understand my “WHY”…
The Last 26 Years
This is part of my story and what I’ve done over the last 26 years of my life.
My name is Nathan. This business has been a dream of mine for a very long time. Machinery, welding, industrial processes, and industrial history has been a part of who I am ever since I can remember.
The very first book that I can remember buying with my own money was a college text book on manufacturing processes. I bought that book when I was about 12 years old, and I still have it today. The book was written in the 1960’s, the end of the mechanical era in my opinion, and what interested me the most was the pictures of the machinery and the descriptions of how various processes worked.
To me, the most interesting manufacturing process is iron and steel making.
My family comes from south Louisiana and the majority of the men in my family have worked in the offshore oil field and chemical industries ever since there was an offshore oil industry. I suppose that is where my interest in heavy machines, industrial processes, and mechanical repair came from.
Along with a (un)healthy dose of the sea, these things are in my blood, so to speak.
Work & Experience
I have worked in some form of metal working, mechanical repair, plant operation, and plant maintenance ever since I was 16.
I have been a laborer, welder, mechanic, fabricator, machinist, floor sweeper, oil wiper, painter, supervisor, manager, mariner, sailor, and trainer.
Through all of those years, I have learned that there is so much more to learn and experience when it comes to machinery than a person could learn in a life time. A person just has to open their mind and eyes to see what is around them and have the curiosity to ask, “what is that thing and why is it here?“.
I started out at age 16 working as a helper in a metal fabrication shop and learned as much as I could about the various forming machines and welding process that were utilized in that shop.
After graduating high school, I worked in concrete plants, machine shops, and as an aircraft mechanic apprentice. I did these jobs as a way to pay for college and to gain experience in working on stuff.
Each industry that I worked in made me want to learn more about how the machinery worked, why it did what it did, and how to build things.
I learned fairly quickly on that I am maker. I build things.
It’s what I do and it is what comes naturally to me. From a spiritual sense, I have a measure of the spirit of Craftsmanship mentioned in Exodus 31.
I found that I was a capable machinist, welder, and fabricator, with a knack for figuring out how things worked and how to improve upon them. I wasn’t an expert at all of these things, but I was certainly capable, and I preferred to be good at many different topics and subjects instead of an expert at just one.
I was a go-to guy when something needed to be made in a hurry and that was something that I was proud of.
I joined the Navy at age 24, a bit later in life than most, as an Engineman.
I was part of a group of people known as “snipes”. We worked in a magical place that was rarely visited by others. It was place where few outsiders dared to venture because it was a hot, loud, and dirty area that was filled with oil, machines, valves, and piping .
This wonderland was populated with folks that could be somewhat cranky and stubborn at times (well, most of the time) and I loved it. I worked in the engineering spaces of the ships that I was assigned to.
My First Assignments
My first Ship was USS Ticonderoga CG-47 and my second ship was USS Mesa Verde LPD-19.
I attended schools that taught everything from desalination plants, to propulsion systems, to hydraulics. I learned about engines, whose cylinders were big enough for a person to stand in and I learned about engines small enough to power inflatable boats.
The training was very thorough and always left me wanting to learn more.
I graduated at or near the top of my class in every school that I attended. At some point in my time on those ships, I was responsible in some way for either operating or maintaining just about every mechanical system in those machinery rooms. Also, I took care of areas outside of the machinery spaces and was responsible for the training, leadership, and supervision of many of the others who also shared in the responsibility.
My team and I made sure the ship could move through the water and habitable for her crew.
After the Navy. Still on the Water.
I left the Navy in 2008 after a 6 year enlistment and briefly worked for a small manufacturing business in Winston, Georgia. The company built resistance welders. I enjoyed working there as a lot of the machine tools were fairly old and I have an affinity for old machines.
Because of financial reasons, I decided to head back to sea. I went to the Gulf of Mexico where I was employed as an unlicensed engineer on offshore supply vessels.
The job was similar in a lot of ways to what I did in the Navy, just not as regimented or disciplined. I thought it was a temporary thing but I ended up staying in that job for 12 years and worked on several different vessels between two different companies.
Being in the Navy and being a mariner on these offshore supply vessels introduced me to plant operations and plant maintenance as well as the training and supervision of plant operators and maintainers.
I learn that I have a knack for teaching and training and it was something that I enjoyed doing.
Teaching is something that I hope to integrate into this business as time goes on. A ship is nothing but a power plant that floats. Being in this environment also reignited interests and passions for another part of industry; plant and power systems.
I have always had a passion for steam power and the history of ship board propulsion. My first ship was gas turbine powered, which at first seemed boring until I got onboard and started learning about those types of propulsion plants.
The more I learned, the more fascinating they became. My second ship was diesel powered and I experienced the same thing, a fascination with the operation and maintenance of these large engines and all of the associated equipment needed to operate these things, which is considerable with a diesel plant and more so on a gas turbine plant.
Unfortunately, I never made it to a steam ship but I’m ok with that.
Offshore became more of an operator job with a little bit of plant maintenance and seamanship thrown in. It was an interesting life for the most part.
I managed to get a Chief Engineer License which served me well during my time offshore and is something of a professional accomplishment that I am proud of.
Back to Shore
I left the sea in December of 2019 and started working as a millwright for a steel mill in Cartersville GA. A steel mill is an interesting place. If you’re a mechanical nerd like me than a steel mill is like a play ground of sorts.
A play ground where a 2200 degree piece of steel gets transformed from 40 foot long billet into a 900 foot long piece of structural steel. Everything in that place was dangerous, huge, heavy, and ridiculously powerful.
It was an amazing thing to see and experience.
Something bothered me about working there. It wasn’t the company, the people, or the environment. I thought highly of the company and the people, I still do. I have nothing negative to say about the people or that company.
What was bothering me was the realization that I am getting older every day.
I had wanted to start my own business since I was a teenager and had several opportunities to do so but never took them because of fear. Fear was keeping me in that steel mill.
I don’t know if it was God prodding me to move or my approaching middle age, or something else that I can’t quite identify, but I knew that I need to make the move to start my own business or I would never do it.
That is exactly what I did. I couldn’t do it part time or as a hobby. My mind doesn’t work that way. I am either on or off, all in or all out.
I put in my notice and quit a good and secure job with a good company.
Starting Trinity Forge
I was afraid.
I was afraid that I didn’t know enough to run a business. I was afraid that I couldn’t do it. I was afraid that I wasn’t good enough and that I wasn’t skilled enough to do what I wanted to do.
I was afraid that I wouldn’t make it, that I would fail but I realized that if I don’t at least try to run this business, then I had already failed and that living a life of regret would be far worse than failing at a business.
I can always go back to sea. There is a demand for my knowledge and experience in various industries, so getting another job isn’t a problem. Living with the knowledge that I could’ve done something cool, but didn’t even try would have been a problem and is something that I would have had a hard time dealing with.
I know this because I’ve been there before. Living with regrets suck and I don’t recommend it to anyone in any kind of way.
There is nothing more for me to say at this point because, if you have followed along thus far, then you are right here with me and the continuation of the story is right here in front of you.
Which brings me, abruptly, to the end of the historical part of the story.
The Story Continues Now
This website and this business is the continuation of the story…
If you have read along all this time and made it through my ramblings, I sincerely thank you for your time.
I hope that you will continue to join me and continue along in this story. Perhaps God will cause our paths to cross and you could have some part in this story, who knows…
I hope that you have a blessed day.
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