“I’ve got a lot of pride in craftsmanship. What I do is a lot more artistic. Anyone can bust tires off rims or pack up a skid full of bad starters and send them back to the manufacturer. Anyone can do the physical labor. When it comes to welding, it’s an art.

“We’ve had a lot of factories [around Aurora]. But the manufacturing base can’t afford to operate in Illinois anymore … basically everyone who used to work at those places came over here to Caterpillar and now they’re losing their job too.

“You’ll see it turn into a little Detroit around here real soon … You’re going to see a lot of burnt up, boarded up houses. There’s gonna be a lot of people leaving. I mean, there’s already a mass exodus. People are leaving Illinois. Nobody really wants to leave – this has been their home. But you gotta go where the money is and it’s not here.

“I’ll always be a Cubs fan, born and raised in Illinois … I would like to think that there is still a future out there for me and my family. I got kids to feed. I’m going to put 100 percent in it, but realistically I got zero expectation.”

Tom Pincuspy
Aurora, Illinois