Pipefitters do a lot more than just fit pipe. They have to understand plumbing, electricity, electronics, mechanics, refrigeration and more. Mark Hansen has been a pipefitter at the U for 10 years now and loves the variety his job provides.
“It can get demanding,” said Hansen. “When you go up to a machine and it’s not running, there are a lot of things that could be wrong. You just have to start from the beginning because refrigeration units have to be kept going.”
Many of the units he services contain items that will be ruined if the unit is down for a significant period of time. Some even require special clothing and sanitization, which keeps him on his toes.
A lifelong resident of St. Paul, Hansen has a son (Charles), daughter (Jamie) and three grandchildren all living in the Twin Cities. He’s been encouraged to move to warmer climates, but wouldn’t want to give up the time he gets to spend with his family.
A motorcyclist, Hansen has never had the itch to drive across country or attend the annual Sturgis Rally in South Dakota. He prefers to stay around Minnesota and drive up to Duluth and Lake Superior. He also enjoys hiking and would like to hike the Superior Trail, or maybe even the Appalachian Trail some day.
The proud owner of a 1969 Chevy Chevelle, Hansen has always had an interest in working on cars. It was one of his motivations to get into a mechanical trade in the first place. He bought the car about eight years ago because it was a good American car from the 1960’s.
Hansen owns an 80-year-old duplex in St. Paul that has afforded him many an opportunity to exercise another passion of his -- home improvement. He’s been slowly renovating most of the house, including completely remodeling the kitchen in the upstairs unit prior to renting it out to his current tenant.
Being a pipefitter has come in handy around the house. Hansen can do electrical, mechanical and plumbing work that would otherwise cost a homeowner or landlord big bucks to hire out. He estimates that he has easily saved himself more than $50,000 by doing his own home improvement work.