Steve Shelton was born and raised in Pittsburgh. In his early teens, he began working in the masonry field as a laborer during summers and weekends. After enlisting in the Navy at 19, he became a naval aircraft electrician and finished his four-year enlistment working on the TA-4J aircraft. He has worked professionally as an electrician, a plumber, as masonry laborer, a bricklayer, and as a specialist in stone and brick restoration. In 2002, with one other employee and a wheelbarrow, Steve started Shelton Masonry, Inc.; a firm that was renowned for some of the finest restoration work done in the city, on many of its most beautiful historic homes.
In 2009, realizing the need in the masonry trade for a new generation of masonry professionals, Steve started the Shelton Trade Center, which is now a non-profit named The Trade Institute of Pittsburgh. The Trade Institute of Pittsburgh (TIP) was founded to train and place young adults in the skilled manual trades. TIP is especially committed to training young people with great needs and few resources.
Most of TIP's students have troubled backgrounds, coming from broken families in poor neighborhoods, and many have been in prison and/or drug and alcohol recovery. Our goal is to move them from being chronically unemployed to productively employed, in living-wage jobs with a future. Our hope is that through the resources and training provided by our organization, cycles of poverty and crime will be broken, and a brighter future will be realized for some of Pittsburgh’s most blighted communities.
Steve’s Challenge; Don’t judge a book by the cover. Give people a chance.
Connect with Steve
If you liked this interview, check out episode 114 with Dan Bull where we discuss getting ex-cons to work and episode 60 with Mike Gable where we talk Construction Junction and creative reuse.