Welders Around the World

AWS and WEMCO Names 2017 Excellence in Welding Award Winners

The American Welding Society (AWS), a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the science of welding, and WEMCO, an association of welding manufacturers, have announced the recipients of the 2017 Excellence in Welding Awards.

The awards are issued in eight categories, and recognize individuals and organizations that have excelled in promoting the welding industry in their communities. The winners will be honored at the Excellence in Welding Awards Ceremony, which takes place on November 6, 2017 at the FABTECH show in Chicago, IL. The following is a list of the winners of this year’s awards:

Individual – Ray Roberts

Ray Roberts’s welding career began as a Co-op Student with the Fisher Body Division of General Motors in 1971. Over the next 40 years Ray has held various positions including Senior Manufacturing Project Engineer, Welding and Equipment Engineer, and Maintenance Crew Coordinator for the Saturn Corporation in Troy, Michigan and Spring Hill, Tennessee.

Ray has also been an active part of the Detroit Section and it’s Executive Committee for over 20 years, including serving as the Section Chairman from 2006 to 2007. In his time here he also mentored Boy Scouts and helped them earn their Welding Merit Badges.

Currently Ray serves the Section as the representative to the Engineering Society of Detroit, and participates on the Golightly Weld Advisory Committee – which is part of the Detroit Public Schools. In addition Ray is a perennial volunteer for the AWS Detroit High School Welding Contest.

And even with all that, he somehow finds time to sit on the Board of Directors for the Welding Artisan Center, which is dedicated to the economic and social transformation of Detroit.

Educator – Adam Leese

Mr. Leese began his educational career as the Assistant Welding Instructor at First Coast Technical College in 2006. After a brief hiatus where he worked as a custom fabricator for a local Jacksonville company, Mr. Leese returned to the field of education as a supervisor at CDA’s Technical Instutute’s weld training facility. He and his staff train welding students over a 4-month period in the 720+ Maritime Welding Program.

Mr. Leese’s commitment to teaching his students is unparalleled. He often looks for repair and fabrication projects that are needed at CDA’s 7+ acre facility, and has his student complete these projects as part of their lesson. This allows the students to apply what they have learned in a real job-site environment.

Mr. Leese is truly committed to the field of welding education, and he proves it on a daily basis with the knowledge and training he imparts on his students.

Educational Facility – Earlbeck Technical Center

Earlbeck Technical Center in Baltimore, MD is one such facility. Earlbeck Gases & Technologies dates back to 1919 – the same year the American Welding Society was formed. It began as a wholesale welding products distributor.

In 1999, Earlbeck recognized the need for formalized welding training in their area, and so the Earlbeck Technical Center was formed. The school partners with two local community colleges, and offers courses for industrial clients or the public. The training staff at Earlbeck has a great amount of experience as well – with a combination of 3 CWIs, 3 CWEs, 1 SCWI, and four degreed engineers.

Students at the training center can learn MIG, TIG, and stick, and even have the chance to get certified because Earlbeck is an AWS Accredited Testing Facility. To date, the center has trained thousands of students and has graduates working in a variety of industries all around the country.

Small Business – AET Integration, Inc.

AET is based out of Troy, MI and offers services for welding research and development, materials qualifications testing, failure analysis, and other services. They serve a wide range of industries – from automotive, to heavy manufacturing, aerospace, oil and gas, even government.

The company has earned several awards, including the 2014 USCAR Research Partner Award, the 2013 Chrysler Technology Innovation Award, and the 2007 Henry Ford Technology Award.

But where AET really shines is in their support for the AWS Detroit Section. AET is involved in social activites with the section, and has helped raise funds for the local sections scholarship. This past year AET volunteered their facility for the AWS Detroit Sheet Metal Welding Conference Lightweight Material Joining Workshop.

It’s clear that AET has done great work in the welding community and cares about the industry through it’s work with the local section.

Large Business – SPX Flow, Inc.

SPX Flow was founded over 90 years ago in Rochester, NY and has since become one of the most highly recognized mixing technology companies. The company employs more than 8,000 employees worldwide.

SPX Flow has been engaged in the Engineering and Metal Fabrication Academy at the WEMCO Career and Technical Center for several years. They have consistently provided exam proctors for the technical center, have donated supplies and equipment, and have offered internship and co-op opportunities for students. It’s clear that they are committed to America’s future welders.

Veteran – Alex Funk

This year we honor Alex Funk, a welding teaching assistant at Workshops for Warriors and a Marine Corps Veteran.

Mr. Funk heard about Workshops for Warriors while he was deployed in Afghanistan, and upon his transition out of the Marine Corps he enrolled as a welding student. He eventually went on to take every welding program offered by Workshop for Warriors, and earned nationally recognized credentials in their machining courses. He earned 32 total credits – more than any other graduate in the school’s history.

Last summer Alex became an Assistant Welding Instructor at Workshops for Warriors, and once he received his OSHA certification he began teaching Forklift Training Courses.

Alex is incredibly welcoming and always willing to help the students. He helps improve morale and make the school feel more familiar in the civilian world, which can seem very unfamiliar to many Veterans and Transitioning Service Members.

Local Section – Mobile, AL

The American Welding Society’s local sections are the heart and soul of the organization. And each we present an award to one section that goes above and beyond in promoting welding in their community.

The Mobile, AL section is this year’s winner.

They were first chartered on April 9, 1959 with 53 members. Today the section has more than 730 members and 12 sustaining members.

More than that, they have grown their scholarship offerings from just 2 in 1991 to 6 today, with national endowments of $645,000. This year the endowment is expected to grow by $100,000 due to the Section teaming up with WESCO Gas and Welding Supply and Miller Electric to provide funds – which AWS will match.

Each year the section also produces a program book, which includes listings of sections yearly activities, technical resources, information on the AWS Foundation, scholarships, and suppliers. More than 900 copies are produced and distributed to members and other industry professionals. Proceeds from advertising in the program are used to help funds the Section’s scholarship endowment.

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