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#WhyWeWeld: Western Welding Academy

Tyler Sasse who is from Wyoming, the founder of the Western Welding Academy, started welding when he was 18 years old back in 2006.

He’s always liked to work with his hands. Classic schooling was never a road he traveled well and once given the opportunity to have a trade and one that he found interesting and ever changing he was hooked.

He loves the challenge of new situations, and “Welding is a specialized trade and the more you weld and become specialized in different areas, the more opportunities will become available to you. That's one of my favorite parts!”

Q: What is the biggest project you’ve worked on?

A: I have two large projects that I have worked on. The first largest project I've worked on was at a computer chip manufacturing plant on the west coast, welding large diameter pipe.

There were over 5000 construction workers on the job. This project stands out in my memory because of the work we did lead to computer chips being more readily available allowing for an advancement of mankind. The second is the Creation of Western Welding Academy.

We have created a real life scenario based welding curriculum that we designed and have put to work in order to create our next workforce of welders, but not just any welder, a highly qualified, well mannered employee that is ready to hit the ground running from day one.

Q: Why did you choose to become an instructor?

A: While I love welding, I also love assisting the next generation of welders to obtain valuable work and life skills and certifications. This way I get to do both! It is important when we obtain good skills to pass those along to the younger generations.

In today's world we severely lack those concepts that used to be so common. I hope to reinvigorate that practice. Also, we need people who've made it in the industry teaching these welders so they get an idea of real life scenarios, not just reading a book and showing up having never actually welded.

Q: What is the biggest challenge in working as a welding instructor?

A: Students will always ask you a question that you've never quite thought of before, or word it in a way that you really have to think about your answer. The biggest challenge is how to formulate your answer to those questions in a way that they can understand the message completely.

Add that to an ever changing environment and new laws being passed every year and keeping our curriculum always up to date to exceed industry standards keeps us all very busy.

Q: Why is it important to keep going in spite of challenges along the way?

A: Our nation is seriously lacking in skilled labor. We, as a nation, have created a stigma to the trade industries, and we need to rectify it! More kids are being sent to traditional schooling because it will create a "better future".

Working hard and with your hands is not a bad future, and should be something to be proud of. I hope to rectify this stigma and assist our nation in getting our unemployed workforce and new workforce to work with a trade that provides lots of great pay and benefits.

Q: From a technical aspect, what is the toughest concept to teach?

A: In order to be a dynamite pipe welder, one must be fluid in their body positioning. Teaching proper body positioning is by far the most challenging concept to teach.

Q: What advice do you regularly give to your students who find a particular weld or job difficult to complete?

A: If it was easy, everyone would do it! Sometimes the hardest things to accomplish are the most satisfying to complete. Better to work on our weaknesses here so when we are in the real world in a new career we will have mastered those difficult tasks.

Feel free to add anything else about yourself or your experience that may be relevant!

The most successful people in this new world are those of the blue collar trades. If you want to drive a tough truck, you drive a Ford. If you want to be the best welder, you attend Western Welding Academy @WesternWeldingAcademy.

3 comments

  • JAMES MALLON: December 19, 2020

    Thank you for sharing your story. I agree, too many people are going to traditional schooling and not exploring technical and trade schools. With many people, including myself, technical is just a better fit. I love working with my hands. In my education, I learned a trade, then later on, went to night school for an advanced degree. I have worked in both technical and management jobs. I can keep my head above water in management, but in technical work I enjoy myself much more.

  • Randy Verburg: December 19, 2020

    I have wrote and sent it to you. Use of Coat Hangers !!

  • Randy Verburg: December 19, 2020

    I was in the skilled trades. We used tinner rivets and had my share of bucking them. We then found out the newest thing was welding. When I started to learn how to weld. The welding rod sold by the pound. So to practice we would take out of the dumpsters from the back of dry cleaners places where they would clean suits dresses shirts pants. We would take all there metal close hangers. And would cut the hooked end off from them. And make them nice and straight. There was No Flex on these 1/8” wires. So they would stick to the 1/16 gauge iron that we would roll up to make our pipe. I really Don’t Know What Was Harder to Do Was Trying to Weld With A Coat Hanger Or To Buck Rivets. Rivets were Hot at Times in Ship Building & Large Buildings, in which are Still Standing today or Even Floating in our oceans. But learning with a dumpster diving to get these coat hangers. And you see it today with the new guys. Ahhh this rod must have gotten wet it’s sticking. The coat hangers did a lot of sticking also. But has time went buy you would get pretty good welding with it. I can still remember when the owner of the company would bring us in a box of 7011 1/8” welding rod and sometimes 6013. And I would tack up the seam of the pipe with 7011 1/8” and then use the 6013 1/16” to weld that seam either 36” or 48” long. And I could get it so the flex would peel right up. Looked as someone was peeling a banana. There was a lot of guys in our shop getting really upset with my welding. So they would make sure while I was sticking a new Rod in they would turn my welder way up and I would blast a Hole in my seam of the light gauge pipe Large enough to drive a Mack truck thru that hole in the pipe. Or they would weld a half of a stick and toss them around me. The owners would see all them around me and fire me right on the spot because I was so wasteful of welding rod. Then I would say look at that number rod it was 7018 it’s from the guys welding up the steel work to get me in trouble because of my nice looking welds look at these seams You Done Them Welds Yes Sir. And he tossed the 7018 at them other guys laughing under there hoods !! But in time we all worked Toghter. And seen who could weld over head and up hill. And then we started to do stainless steel Jobs !! That flex. paid You back if You were a Good Welder !!!! I still have scares where the flex would pop off and burn you good !! But I haven’t seen any metal coat hangers anywhere lately but would LOVE to give you some of them and have YOU to give it a try of WELDING WITH IT !!!! To see how way back on that August Day when that load of HRS BI 16 Gauge Flat Steel Came Into The Shop !! Karl gotten our shop a Big Job at a Foundry with all Welded Pipe and we made our own Rings at the ends of the twenty foot long joints !! The Start of one of the greatest Welding shops around would love to show them working there now of how we used tinner rivets Back then and to solder the seams it was fun bucking the inside of the pipes on a hot summer day on the roof of a paper plant. This is where your at now welding it water tight. “ Get ur Done” Ever hear of a place called Goggle it to see what they can and are willing to do Anywhere !!
    WWW.Waltzholstblowpipecompany In Ada, Michigan let them show you some Art Work in Welding and forming thing up to weld.
    Thank You for your time Randy Verburg
    Sheet Metal Workers Local 7 Zone 2 ,,,,

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