Jon LaRose, a home inspector based in the suburbs of Seattle, WA, recently achieved a perfect score of 100 on The ASHI School’s final examination. Jon’s road to this distinction came after hurdling two big obstacles: dealing with serious health issues and making a career change.
About two years before he took The ASHI School’s two-week course in May 2014, Jon was diagnosed with celiac disease. His allergy to wheat had manifested in severe inflammation throughout his body that significantly affected his brain. He said, “There was so much pressure on my skull that I had many problems with memory. Once my doctors figured out the problem, I was able to address the issue and gradually recover. In the process, I lost 60 pounds.”
During his recovery, Jon decided to reassess the course of his career. Like many others, he did not have a direct path to home inspection. After graduating with a degree in economics from the University of Washington, he got married and worked in finance and benefits, including having positions at Coopers & Lybrand, Merrill Lynch and Boeing.
But soon after he and his wife bought their first home, Jon found that taking care of and working on the house brought him much more joy than his 9 to 5 life. Years later, while working for Boeing, the diagnosis of celiac disease brought him to a breaking point. During the several months he spent going through tests, treatment and recovery, Jon decided that he wanted to do what he liked doing for a living. So he decided to take a chance and forge a career path in home inspection.
With this new start in mind, he started researching how to become trained as a home inspector. Jon said, “ASHI had the best educational offerings by far. I signed up for The ASHI School course in Bellevue, WA. Taking the course confirmed that I was going in the direction that I wanted to go. I just ate it all up and thoroughly enjoyed the education.” Jon was impressed by the knowledge and skills of the four dedicated instructors, including lead instructor Rod Beacham and associate instructors Michael Wicklund, Howard Maxfield and Karl Neuffer. After taking the course, Jon secured employment with The Sterling Inspection Group, owned by Michael Wicklund. He said, “Michael became my mentor and now he’s my boss. I like that I’m still learning all the time.”
At InspectionWorld® 2016 in San Diego, Jon attended The ASHI School Student Reunion, and although he didn’t see any of his classmates there, a few of his instructors attended as well as a few students he knew who took the class after he completed it.
At the event, The ASHI School presented Jon with a plaque to award his achievement on the final exam. Jon said, “Getting the award was a complete surprise. It was nice because my boss Michael was there to see it. With all the struggles I’ve had with my health and especially with my memory, acing the exam was a really nice bookend to the experience.”
For Jon, home inspection has been an excellent career change because he finds the process both exciting and rewarding. “I really enjoy being part of the process of going into a home and giving my assessment. I understand that my role plays a part of a huge decision, and I feel good being able to advise people about it.”
Although working in the Seattle area sometimes requires driving long distances to a job site, Jon said, “I love it. I have freedom, and my work is not the same each day. It makes life interesting, and I am so much happier not working in a cubicle. I like to have fresh projects and new clients. It’s really been a great change to my life.”
On behalf of The ASHI School, congratulations, Jon!
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