Electrician Sam Uphill was named Armidale’s Outstanding Young Employee of the Year at the 2018 Armidale Regional Business Awards.
“It was a nice surprise,” said the 26-year-old, who works at Laser Electrical Armidale, in Southern Cross Drive.
“I didn’t think I’d win it, to be honest. There were a couple of really good people in the category. I thought it was just nice to be nominated.”
Sam’s boss Brett Campbell, also his uncle, nominated him for the award.
“Every now and then,” Brett said, “you get one of these special people come into a business. He’s certainly lifted this one!”
Sam has worked as a fully licensed electrical contractor with the firm since May 2014.
“The jobs assigned to me,” he said, “can range from being as simple as changing a lightbulb to as complicated as a 100kw solar installation.”
He manages the business when Brett is away, and trains apprentices.
Sam himself joined as an electrical apprentice in 2011, after finishing school.
"I got offered the same job when I was finishing Year 10,” Sam said. “I didn't leave because I was a bit scared to leave school so young. Then when I was applying for university, Brett asked if I wanted to become an electrician. I said, Oh, yeah, righto. I didn't really know what else I wanted to do – and that worked out really well!”
He learnt from experienced electricians for three and a half years, and was able to complete his trade qualification six months early.
Sam likes the variety of the job – and the company of his friends at the company.
“Everything’s different! You’re never doing the same thing twice,” he said.
“I really enjoy working with the guys we've got there. We're a really close bunch of blokes, and we all get on pretty well.
“It's hard to take individual awards when you've got a good team around you.”
Sam’s plans for the future are to obtain a solar licence, which will make him one of the few electricians in the region qualified to install solar power systems, and to become a partner in the business.
“I want to run my own show – and just keep providing a good service,” he said.
Outside work, Sam is a keen cricketer, captain of the Easts.
“I've got a good bunch of blokes round me,” Sam said. “That makes it a lot easier! I really enjoy playing cricket with my mates. It's quite a nice challenge doing both of them.”