What’s a millwright? It’s a seldom-discussed but absolutely crucial (and highly paid) profession that demands a meticulous eye, versatility, and expertise with everything from turbines and pumps to lasers and other highly technical equipment.
The word “millwright” conjures the thought of someone from an antique age — a leather-aproned, mustached man in a sepia photograph, sweaty, amid the dusty belts, gears and wheels of a machine shop.
The reality, now, in Alaska, is that a millwright is a person with a sophisticated range of skills who can find work in just about any of the state’s industrial sectors — including mining, oil and gas, seafood processing, power and energy, water and wastewater. Freshly minted millwrights can command a starting salary between $70,000-$120,000.
Why would companies pay that kind of coin to a person who fixes, maintains and moves industrial machinery?
They pay because millwrights know, for example, that gearboxes and turbines and hydraulic pumping and piping must be laid on a center line, with everything square and plumb. If they’re not, anything can happen: a small pump aligned improperly might draw more power so it doesn’t operate as efficiently and wastes money.
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