How did you get interested in your skill?
Welding was my last choice. I originally wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps and be an auto mechanic. After going through a week of exploratory, I decided that it wouldn’t be worth my high school experience to relearn a lot of what my father had already taught me. I went into Electronics the rest of my freshman year and then switched into Manufacturing Tech with my eyes set on becoming a machinist. It was only after my teacher, Mr. Rivera, showed me my first skills in welding and the opportunities it had to offer that I really got interested in pursuing welding as a lifetime career.
Where did you do your training for your skill?
I started my training in welding at my high school, Blackstone Valley Tech, in my sophomore year of high school. I then continued my training after graduation at the high school for my first round of the pre selection process for the 2013 WorldSkills. After placing 2nd, I went to work for ten months in different areas of the welding field to keep my skills sharp. When I decided to compete one more time for the 2015 WorldSkills, I left my job and started training out of the basement of my house.
How did you first find out about your Member organization and its programs?
I found out about the SkillsUSA organization from my instructor Dan Rivera, who competed and placed in VICA in 1987-1988. He also told me of his friend who competed at the 1989 WorldSkills in London, England and placed 4th, which was the highest anyone from the USA had placed up until that time. I joined the organization my sophomore year and competed my first time in welding my junior year.
Who influenced you to pursue your skill as a career?
As I mentioned previously, my instructor Dan Rivera was the first person to ignite an interest in pursuing the welding field. Once I got into competing, I met a lot of other people who encouraged me to continue in the welding field. Geoff Putnam, Cliff Guyette, Nigel Howe, Jeremy Burrows, Branden Muehlbrandt, Nick Peterson, and John Lennon are among the many people who helped fuel my passion for my trade.
What is your experience in participating with your Member organization?
I have had a lot of good experiences with SkillsUSA that have brought me so much farther than I ever thought possible. I have had opportunities to travel across America, compete in numerous environments, and meet some incredible people from around the World.
Describe your most memorable moment so far with WorldSkills?
The most memorable moment would be right before I was chosen to be on Team USA. I was competing at my last preselection completion in Huntsville, AL and didn’t really see a win at the end. When my mom came down for the awards dinner, Huntsville ended up receiving 10 inches of snow. We went for a walk around the neighbourhood and came across Hope Street. I knew that if the Lord wanted me in Sao Paulo that August, I was going to be there.
Describe what your experience has been since your involvement with WorldSkills
My involvement with WorldSkills has been extremely busy. Not only have I had to try and maintain my daily training, but I also have to complete a lot of questioneers and write ups as well as constant emailing that comes in at random. I have to keep in close contact with my Expert to make sure I am on the right track to preforming well in Sao Paulo.
Did participating in the skills competitions and training for WorldSkills help you progress in your skill? Please describe.
Absolutely! I feel that I wouldn’t be as seasoned and prepared as I am if it weren’t for the SkillsUSA competitions as well as my two times through the Pre Selection Process. It gave me more opportunities to feel and handle the pressure of being in competition. It has helped me also work on my public relation skills as well.
What do you currently do? Where do you work?
Since March of 2014, I have been a full time competitor. I try to train 8-10 hours a day, 6 days a week. I also have the responsibility most nights to prepare dinner for the rest of my family because of when my parents get out of work.
What are your future career aspirations?
Because of the global shortage of certified welders, the sky in the limit. I plan on trying to capitalize on every opportunity I can while I am young to travel the world and work on some of the biggest jobs of the century, from offshore oil rigs, liquid natural gas storage, and nuclear power plants. I also would like to use the $40,000 scholarship I won through Miller Electric and get my teaching licence so I can go and pass on my passion to the next generation at a later time in my life.