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Posts Tagged ‘welding school’

GAWDA Members Go Back To School

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012
Bryan Keen and Jim Lisecki Paint A Vo-Tech

GAWDA President Bryan Keen and Linde's Jim Lisecki speak to welding students about opportunities in the welding industry.

Believe it or not, National Welding Month is more than halfway over! Among the many ways the welding industry is celebrating this month, GAWDA’s Paint A Vo-Tech program is one of my favorites. Through this effort, GAWDA members are volunteering their time and resources to help reinvigorate school welding programs with a fresh coat of paint, new welding curtains, technical posters and other touches.

So far, two GAWDA members, Keen Compressed Gases (Wilmington, DE) and AWISCO (Maspeth, NY), have led the charge by getting involved with local schools. Keen Compressed Gases President (and current GAWDA President) Bryan Keen used the opportunity to address students about the opportunities the welding industry has to offer. As he wrote in his column entitled “Not So Extreme Makeover,” “A fresh coat of paint was just the beginning…We decided to really transform the classroom and weld shop into a place the kids could get excited about…We also talked to the kids about careers in the industry and how to improve their chances of getting a job in this tough economy.”

All in all, the Paint A Vo-Tech program sounds like an amazing opportunity for all involved. The schools (who face ever-shrinking budgets) get a helping hand to refresh their facilities, and students have a reason to get excited about welding class. For the distributors and suppliers involved, it’s an act of goodwill that strengthens the relationship with that school and with the students. And if you promote the event to local and industry media, it can be a great source of word-of-mouth advertising for your business and the industry.

With that in mind, be sure to share if you’re going to take part in the Paint A Vo-Tech program. Both AWISCO and Keen partnered with industry suppliers in their school makeovers to make their events a true joint industry effort. Getting the word out ahead of time can help garner support from fellow industry members.

For those readers who are not GAWDA members, do you know a welding school in need of a makeover? Let me know, and I’ll help you connect with a distributor in your area.

As I mentioned at the start of this blog entry, National Welding Month is halfway over. That said, a school makeover in May is just as valuable as one in April. But don’t wait too long—the school year will be over before you know it.

April Is National Welding Month

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

National Welding Month is upon us. As explained in a 1996 AWS press release, “The reason why April is listed as National Welding Month by Chase’s Edition of Events, a recognized calendar of commemorations, is because welding is the secret ingredient that keeps today’s world together.” It goes on to say that welding is in everyday things, from cars to toasters, as well as more extraordinary things: “Welding has taken us to the moon and back, produced monuments of steel where we work and live, defended us in war and has been integral in modern research—from connecting computer pathways to bonding space age materials.”

Welding Greeting Card

Happy Welding!via Funkart on Zazzle

Of course, National Welding Month was not created so that members of the welding industry could pat themselves on the back and talk about how great welding is. Those in the industry already know about the “wonders” of welding. National Welding Month is about education and encouragement—informing people about the industry and getting them involved.

How does one go about celebrating National Welding Month? As Helium.com contributor Janet Cipolli astutely observes, “You almost never see any ‘Happy Welding!’ or ‘During This Time of Annealing’ greeting cards.” Hmm…I’m sensing a new market for distributors here.

Working with school welding programs is one great way to promote National Welding Month this April. GAWDA President Bryan Keen and Keen Compressed Gas (Wilmington, DE) made a difference for students at one lucky school by giving them a welding lab makeover. Other GAWDA members will be stepping up to the “Paint A Vo-Tech” challenge throughout the month.

In the video below, 2012 AWS President Bill Rice says, “It is my goal to make national welding month a time for everyone to recognize the contributions to our lives and to our future generations.” He adds, “National welding month is a time to tell everyone what you do and what opportunities are available.”

What are you doing this April to commemorate National Welding Month? Share by leaving a comment or tweeting @GasWeldEdge.

Social Media Case Study: Ozarc Gas

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Last month, Ozarc Gas sponsored the Northeast Arkansas Weld-A-Thon, a welding competition involving area high school and vo-tech welding students. Over the past three years, the event has steadily grown to include 36 students from 12 area schools, giving these young welders a place to show off their skills and learn more about the welding industry. One of the most unique aspects of the 2012 event was Ozarc’s use of social media in conjunction with the event. I spoke with Ozarc sales rep and event coordinator Nick Garner about the experience. Here’s an excerpt from our conversation:

What is the goal of the Weld-A-Thon?
Our goal is to get students interested in welding and show them that this isn’t just a grease-monkey job. It’s a job that’s in demand, and if you’re good at it, you can make excellent wages. We want to get the students excited about welding, so that it’s not just something they do in their high school ag class. We want to help them further their skills and go on in the welding industry.

Ozarc Gas uses Twitter to promote 2012 Weld-A-ThonI enjoyed following along on Twitter. What was the impetus behind live tweeting the event?
I think this industry is behind when it comes to social media. A lot of the current activity on Facebook and Twitter is limited to vendors, and you don’t see many competitions like this taking advantage of social media.

What role does social media play in furthering the goals of the Weld-A-Thon?
Social media is a great way to get the word out about the competition and give these kids the recognition they deserve. Even though these kids are in high school, they possess welding skills that are beyond my abilities. I know I couldn’t do some of the things they are doing. It’s awesome to see. We’re hoping to get more and more exposure for the event through social media. We hope to reach more schools this way.

What was the experience like using social media with the event for the first time?
It was the most fun I’ve had at the competition yet. In addition to the Twitter feed, we posted photos of the event on Facebook. At the end of the competition, we reminded everyone about the Twitter feed and the Facebook page where they can go and look at the pictures. We handed out fliers encouraging participants to like Ozarc Gas on Facebook and tied it in with a welding hood giveaway.

Have you seen results from your efforts?
We’ve seen more followers on Facebook. Giving away the welding hood provided a little more motivation for people to like our page. During the competition, I saw more followers on Twitter from within the welding industry.

Can we look for you to be live tweeting again next year?
Definitely. Next year, I want to try to get the schools involved and get them following on social media, especially the students. We plan to advertise the social media aspect more before the competition next year and really promote that to the students.

For Ozarc Gas, social media is proving to be a great way to promote the the Weld-A-Thon and welding industry in general. And while this particular use may not result in immediate sales revenues, it helps create and strengthen relationships between Ozarc and local schools and students. As Garner admits, there are a few tweaks to be made for next year’s event. With additional promotion, Ozarc hopes to draw in even more students and boost event participation. This in turn provides additional exposure to Ozarc’s propylene cutting demos at the event and introduces more schools to the process.

To see how Garner took advantage of social media for 2012 Northeast Arkansas Weld-A-Thon, take a look at the photos on Ozarc Gas’ Facebook page and see the tweets from February 17 on www.twitter.com/cryogasman.