WHAT WAS YOUR BACKGROUND BEFORE ATTENDING WELDING SCHOOL?
I believe my title was facilities director. I overlooked the maintenance of seven commercial sites and two residential ones. A couple of friends of mine got into welding and I expressed some interest. Soon they started pushing me on the path to welding. I did a lot of research for schools all over the country. I found United Welding Institute and they had a main focus on pipe welding, which is the branch I wanted to work in, so I ultimately decided on it.
HOW DID UNITED WELDING INSTITUTE AFFECT YOUR CAREER PATH?
They’re serious about their education, they get you ready for all kinds of pipe welding. They challenge you with the sizing, it’s a great school. I’m currently working out in Phoenix, I’ve become unionized and it’s changed my life. It’s been a big change in income, I make well over six figures, and I have had major personal growth. Now through working in the union, I work and learn from some of the best welders in the country on huge jobs.
HOW DID MIA SHARE HELP YOU ON YOUR EDUCATIONAL JOURNEY?
The school introduced me to Mia Share and set it up for me. I didn’t have an alternative, this was completely out of pocket. There was no way I would have attended school without it. A lot of my peers were young and their families cut them checks. I wasn’t in the financial position to pay upfront. Luckily, the school let me start classes, graduate, and start paying once I had a job. I’ve been making payments since.
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN FIVE YEARS?
Right now I'm in Phoenix because of the semiconductor boom. The semiconductor business is growing so, I will either stay here and continue to work as it grows, or I will be back in Montana working on building out my business and checking out my own jobs.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR THOSE PURSUING A TRADE SCHOOL EDUCATION?
I have my undergrad degree in English. I have a college degree that I didn’t use. It’s hard to choose when you’re young. But, if you choose to go into welding, you need to know precisely what your welding goals are. It’s a huge welding industry and certain jobs can be complicated or nonunion, if becoming unionized is something you’re looking for. Just be mindful of what you put your money towards!