AWS President Visits Vo-Tech
Urging those in attendance to not sell themselves short, the president of the national American Welding Society informed Fulton County Area Vocational-Technical School students last Wednesday that the sky is the limit when it comes to careers in the welding industry where things are not always sparks and arcs.
Travelling to McConnellsburg High School from his home base in San Antonio, Texas, John Mendoza is a 36-year veteran of the welding industry and only took over in the capacity of AWS president and chairman in 2011. Making true on his promise to focus on the image of welding through education and certification, Mendoza spent much of his presentation on March 16 speaking on the AWS, its increasing membership base and how proper certification can advance welders through the industry ranks.
Mendoza pointed out the 35 members serving on the AWS Board of Directors are volunteers who have a passion in the industry. Mendoza was accompanied to the special event for vo-tech students by Don Howard, local District 7 director.
“We do it because we believe in it. There is something about the welding community that brings people together,” said Mendoza, a 15-year active member and prior AWS director for District 18. “They see value in our organization and membership.”
The president linked AWS’s high membership retention rate of 82 percent to the vast variety of programming that undoubtedly touches lives. Having established themselves as a global presence, the organization is closing in on the 68,000 member mark. Furthermore, 40 percent of applications received today come from overseas, Mendoza noted.
“Welding is more than a skill. It’s more than a trade. It’s part art, part science and part skill,” Mendoza stated. “Don’t sell yourself short ... . Welding is a skill that will always be needed. You’re only limited by your imagination ... . You could be a salesman, an educator, an inspector or your work could be in outer space.”
Time was taken during the presentation to review the certified welding inspector (CWI) program that was introduced in 1975-76. At the time of its creation, the AWS Board of Directors increased membership dues to pay for the “revolutionary” program that was publicly accepted in a period of 10 years. The expense related to taking a CWI exam in 1976 was reported at $25, Mendoza added.
As a follow-up, a code of ethics was built into the program that dictates that every individual certified in the CWI program would weld with integrity and the utmost respect and responsibility for the public.
Mendoza said there are 30,000 CWIs around the world and on nearly every continent, as certification is not only recognized but transferrable. Additional programs have been established by AWS to allow for certification as a supervisor, engineer, fabricator, sales representation and many other related positions.
Mendoza concluded that he had 22 years experience with his company as well as numerous certifications but it wasn’t until he was named a CWI in 1992 that “doors literally opened up” for him.