Two Warren County Career Center students represented their school well during the recent regional Weld Off competition.
Travis Peterson and Chuck Morris were among the 33 competitors to attend the annual event at the Boilermaker Training Center in Pittsburgh in December.
Each participant had to perform a vertical stick weld and an overhead stick weld. The results of the competition did not arrive at the Career Center until March 14.
Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry
Chuck Morris, who earned an American Welding Society vertical stick weld certification at the AWS Weld Off in Pittsburgh, works on a pipe weld at Warren County Career Center.
Morris performed well enough on his vertical weld to earn an American Welding Society certification.
That certification is a step along a career path. "This starts the building path for the rest of my career in welding," Morris said.
Morris, in his third year in the WCCC welding program, put in additional time leading up to the competition. "He stayed after school and trained harder to pull this off," welding instructor Nathan McNett said. "He's made a lot of progress in the last year."
Morris, who is a senior at Warren Area High School, is enrolled at Pennsylvania College of Technology and is working toward a position at Ellwood National Crankshaft.
Peterson, a senior at Sheffield Area High School, earned two certifications, took first place in both categories, and was the overall winner of the competition.
"All my hard work was meaningful," Peterson said. "It shows that what I came here to do I did right."
"I was a little nervous at first," he said. "It was my first competition."
That didn't last.
After the competitors finished, "I got to see everybody else's," he said. "I got to compare mine with theirs. I felt confident that I did well."
He was awarded a scholarship valued at about $4,000 to Lincoln Electric in Cleveland. "I won two weeks of free training at their facility," and money for housing and transportation, he said. "That's a great deal. I get to train with professionals on what they do, get a better look at industry, and get my name out there."
If given a choice, Peterson would like to work on pipe welding at Lincoln.
"It's very intensive," McNett said. "He'll weld all day. It's huge for him."
Peterson is also enrolled at Penn Tech.
Warren County has a reputation for training top welders. Making it out of the county competition positions students well for larger events.
"A lot of it has to do with having a trainer and the proper necessities to know how to weld," Morris said. That training gave him some confidence going in. "I knew I was at least in the top three from Warren County."
Peterson also credits McNett and the welding lab. "I have a great teacher and all the state of the art equipment that we're lucky enough to have here," he said.
"We're very fortunate to have local businesses help us with welding consumables, metal, and safety equipment," McNett said.
He credits several local and regional companies for donating to the program: Betts Industries, United Refining, Superior Tire and Rubber, Joy Mining Machinery, Welding Alloys USA, Lincoln Electric, Petrex, M&D, Kylander Oil, ADM Welding, Ryan Copley Welding Service, Hope's Windows, and Chicago Bridge and Iron.