An AHIT-Trained Home Inspector Makes History
An AHIT-Trained Home Inspector Makes History
Veryl Chavez is an AHIT-trained home inspector who is making history.
He is the first-ever home and building inspector to serve his native tribe, the Jicarilla Apache Nation in Dulce, New Mexico. Veryl became an inspector after spending more than two decades working in construction on and around the nearly 880,000-acre reservation that he and over 3,000 Nation members call home.
Today, the work Veryl is doing isn’t just a new livelihood for himself and his family.
It’s an important role appointed by the Jicarilla Apache Nation Tribal Council that ensures the fair business practices of outside building contractors who come to work on the reservation.
Keep reading to learn how Veryl went from construction worker to AHIT student to skilled building inspector helping his community.
Veryl’s Construction Background
Veryl began his career as a carpenter helper back in the early 1990s when he was just 20.
“I worked on a crew of over 20 people and, together, we built residential homes and the occasional office building,” Veryl said. “We did everything except install electrical and heating systems, both of which were left to outside contractors. After a few years, I became a lead supervisor for a crew of six where I oversaw the construction work, attended meetings, handled project blueprints, and mentored and took care of my crew.”
Eventually, Veryl climbed the ranks to oversee a crew of 20 and managed renovation projects for residential and commercial buildings. He oversaw the projects from end to end—from ordering materials and tools to securing safety equipment and vehicles.
By this point, Veryl’s construction career had spanned carpentry, plumbing, electrical systems, heavy equipment operation, earning a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), welding, working with blueprints, metal fabrication, construction management, and more.
His Decision to Become an Inspector
One day at a Tribal Council meeting, there was a discussion about the need for someone to oversee the contractors who regularly came to work on the reservation. There was concern that residents could easily be taken advantage of because of frequent communication barriers.
Word had travelled that Veryl had amassed two decades of construction work and management experience, which was especially valuable. Plus, since Veryl is fluent in four languages, he could certainly help improve the communication challenges.
“I shared the details of my construction experience with our Nation Council leaders, and they decided to create a position for me as a building inspector,” Veryl explained. “I had to get trained up and certified fast, so I Googled ‘building inspector training’ and AHIT was the first thing to pop up. I researched on the site and then called a career advisor.”
Veryl’s Home Inspection Training With AHIT
Veryl chose to complete a live training class in New Mexico in 2018 with AHIT Instructor Chris Kjeldsen. He also took a field-training class in Denver, also taught by Instructor Chris, to help him better prepare for the National Home Inspector Exam (NHIE), which is required for licensing in New Mexico.
“When I first met Chris, he made me feel extremely comfortable as an AHIT student—and as the only Native American—in his class,” Veryl said. “I learned so much in AHIT home inspection training, including what to look for during inspections both inside and outside of a building, how to write up an inspection report, and how to present myself as an inspector.”
Veryl took the 4-hour NHIE shortly after completing his training with everything fresh in his head – and with the help of AHIT’s NHIE exam prep resources. He passed the exam with flying colors on the first try (no easy feat!).
Working as a Building Inspector
Veryl is now the first and only building inspector for the Jicarilla Apache Nation. He has worked as a building inspector for four years and has since earned certifications in radon inspection, mold inspection, and asbestos inspection. He plans to take AHIT’s Commercial Inspection Course soon.
“I have my own office and my own work truck, and I have meetings with contractors at the beginning of each week,” Veryl explains. “Some days are slow, with only one inspection, but others are busy with three or four inspections throughout the day.”
Through his work, Veryl has helped improve communication between the reservation’s homeowners and outside contractors. He’s also a safeguard, ensuring that fair business practices are happening, and that proper construction work is being done for his fellow residents.
Veryl told us his daily work schedule became more manageable when he became an inspector, compared to the long hours he previously worked in construction. Business was good through COVID. He continued to log three inspections per day and, to date, Veryl’s business has become so successful that his wife has been able to quit her job.
“I have more time with my family, including my wife and three children, and for my service as a cultural clan leader,” Veryl added.
He and his father both serve as cultural clan leaders for the nation’s annual Go-Jii-Ya Apache Feast Day.
“I am so very proud of what I’ve accomplished [with AHIT training],” Veryl said. “It has given me the opportunity to better myself, not only for me and my family, but for my Nation.”
The Jicarilla Apache Nation Elders—as well as all of us here at AHIT—are proud of him, too.
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