As an ironworker for the past two decades, Larry Roughton has become a seasoned veteran on the job. A member of Ironworkers Local 55 in Toledo, Ohio and recent inductee of the International Ironworkers Hall of Fame, Larry puts in long hours on the job, while also making time to document his day-to-day life to over 189,000 followers. Listen in as Jeremy and Eric sit down with Larry to talk about his early career, raising a family of ironworkers, the dangers of ironworking, being part of a strong union, and much more.
Born in Ohio, Larry Roughton was introduced to the trades early coming from a family of boilermakers. As a hockey player throughout high school and college, Larry always had the drive to push himself to the limits within his team. However, there came a point when he realized he needed to find a way to pay the bills. He took his competitive drive and turned it towards ironworking, after a high school friend inspired him to take an apprenticeship.
“I'm super competitive. So I was like, Well, I'm gonna do it and be the best I can be. You know, and that's kinda how it started. I was tired of working odd jobs and holding on to a dream that wasn't gonna happen. So I went in, went down to the apprenticeship and applied, and maybe… six months later, I get a phone call, 'Hey, come do the test.' And that's kind of how it all began.”
Now in the trade for well over 20 years, Larry is a seasoned veteran and has passed the lineage to his sons, who are all ironworkers themselves. As a leader on the jobsite, Larry conducts safety meetings and trains new apprentices, among other responsibilities.
“As far as like training and stuff… we have a four year apprenticeship, you go in, and you learn, you go through the basics of rebar, and then you go through like year two, year three, year four. Same thing with welding, steel erection, post tensioning, all those various aspects…”
Larry has found a niche TikTok, amassing a huge following as he documents day-to-day life on the job. His videos cover just about everything, from something as simple as forgetting your lunch to how the benefits of a strong union make life on the job a bit less stressful.
“I was like, What are you guys watching? TikTok. It's young people stuff dude. And I'm like, what? So I started watching it. I’m like, I can be funny and so I said alright, challenge accepted.”
Every year, Larry attends the International Ironworkers Festival in Mackinaw City, MI. Along with winning several trophies over the past 20 years, Larry has also been inducted into the International Ironworkers Hall of Fame, becoming the first in his union to ever receive the accolade.
“They had told my kids and a couple other people that they were going to induct me, and then they did it on the day that I was, you know, getting my other trophies for winning this year or whatever. And they pulled me to come up there and gave it to me and was like, ‘Yeah, you know, you've put so much time into this tournament so much time in the ironworkers as a whole promoting ironwork and safety’ and this and that and you know stuff and you know, trying to make me be all in my feelings and stuff.”
With three sons and an ever-growing TikTok presence, Larry still continues to grow every day on the job as an ironworker, as a father, and an online personality whom many look up to.