Pamela Richardson: Woman Welder / Professor
Over twenty years ago Pamela Richardson was having car problems and the family mechanic, Uncle Walter, was busy. When Pamela’s car broke down (again) across the street from a Mom and Pop garage, she must of thought it was fate… the guy checked under the hood and said he could fix the car by the next day—for $450. She was so proud of herself for taking care of her own business until her uncle told her she’d been ripped off. The mechanic had installed $20 thermostat, a repair that with her uncle’s help she could have done herself.
Uncle Walter told Pamela she better learn how to do things like this for herself or she would continue to get taken advantage of… advice that resonates with any Do-It-Yourselfer!
“That very week I went to the nearest skill center,” she said. Pamela enrolled in an automotive repair program where she learned that in order to be a master mechanic she’d have to know how to weld as well. A quick tour of the welding department and she was ready to sign up.
Canadian artist and single parent Karen Lancey is proud to say she’s supported herself and her two daughters as an artist and welder for fourteen years.
Welding was almost a given. “I was an artist….so it was a natural progression to want to stick things together,” she says. She enjoys creating things out of nothing, being her own boss, and having people buy the things that she loves making.
Karen is completely self-taught and mostly does MIG welding though she also does a bit of Oxy Acetylene and uses a plasma cutter. “I use mainly a 220 Lincoln MIG. I was using a small portable for awhile but like the bigger punch.”
When asked about her experiences as a woman in the male-dominated welding industry she says, “In the product/retail industry the guys are very helpful, maybe even more so. But in dealing with the public in some cases it is assumed as a female that I am the ‘sales girl’ and selling for my husband or boyfriend which is so outdated. I always answer ‘If a guy can do it how hard can it be?’ with a direct smile.” Continue reading
A career in welding may be a great option for a military woman, whether she is still in active service or back in civilian life. Welding often pays well, offers plenty of room for advancement, and obliterates the glass ceiling that many women face in the workplace. Women have worked in shipyards and factories since WWII, when many men had to leave their welding jobs to serve overseas, opening up an area of work previously closed off to women. Yet, even today, despite the huge advances women have made in all arenas, their numbers are still largely underrepresented in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
Welding Jobs for Military Women
There are more than 500,000 welders in the United States, according to the American Welding Society. When most people think of welders, they usually picture a burly man behind the mask. Less than five percent of welders in the world are females, as we stated before on this blog.** But think about this: Military women may be uniquely qualified to consider a career in welding. Military females have the discipline, training, and experience necessary to excel in the workplace as welders. Continue reading
Here’s a roundup of what’s hot in welding around the internet this month:
Arc-Zone Product Spotlight
It’s not too late to get in on the deal for March 2015: We’re introducing the 3M line of Personal Protection Equipment for welding safety products:
3M™ Rugged Comfort Half Facepiece 6500 Series
Happy Monday! All of us here @arc_zone are very proud to announce that we are now carrying @3mspeedglas products! To kick things off, we’re running a MARCH ONLY promo on the 6500 Quick Latch Half Mask #Respirator with replacement filters! When you buy this mask anywhere else, it does NOT come with filters. We’re giving you a set with each order so you’re ready to get started as soon as you get your package. Don’t sacrifice safety folks, this is your lungs we’re talking about. Check out promo link on profile page or call our wonderful Customer Care Team at 1-800-944-2243 or 760-931-1500. Thanks folks and as always #weldlikeapro!
Tag your post on Instagram with a #WeldLikeAGirl or #WomanWelder and we may feature you, your welding work, or your creative welding solutions:
Women Welding (and other metal work) Around the Web
@sh_cardinal forgot her hood at home so rather than go back, she uses what she’s got! When are you coming out on the market with these high-tech hoods? This was too good not to share. It’s #ArcFlashFriday but we’re about T-minus a couple hours from the weekend! Have a good one everybody and always #weldlikeapro #arczone #welding #StickLife #SMAW #PipeWelding
Most Commented Post AND Most Liked Post
This past month our post about the Razor blade challenge was not only our most commented post and our most liked post, but so far is the most commented and most liked OF ALL TIME (well at least for as long as we’ve been on Instagram!)
Have any of you tried the #razorbladechallenge? @crummy_welding did and by the looks of it, we’d say he mastered it. You also can’t help but appreciate the #MadeInUSA blades The little things like this can keep your skills, no pun intended, sharp. Let’s see your best shot at the #razorbladechallenge #weldlikeapro #arczone #arc_zone #arctime
Aleasha Hladilek was working in a shop making futons, and discovered she liked building things and working with her hands. So, with her Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology, student loans, and dreams of owning a house, she decided to add to her skills and signed up for the welding program at a technical college. She’s been working as a welder for the last 11 years.
“My welding skills have kept me well employed and proud of my work,” she says.
What welding process(es) do you use the most or feel more familiar with?
Gas Tungsten Arc Welding and Shielded Metal Arc Welding, Aluminum wire feed. I teach a full time welding program, so I use and am proficient in Gas Metal Arc Welding, Flux Cored Arc Welding, and Metal Cored Arc Welding, but they are not my favorite processes.
How did you train?
I teach a full time welding program at Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College. One of the best things about teaching is that I am constantly learning as well. I have my summers off and take other welding jobs to keep up my practice and also because I enjoy them.
What kind of welding jobs have you held?
Jaclyn Davidson at work
Jaclyn Davidson is not a welder, but she does work with metal and solders some amazing jewelry. She started out working with gold, but for the last ten years she has been working with weathered carbon steel, turning it into jewelry that is showcased in the Smithsonian and the Museum of Art and Design (MAD). Her work has received “best of show” in venues along the east coast, including the Philadelphia Craft Show in 2005. My work received the Verdura prize in 2007. She is represented by Charon Kranson at SOFA.
“My work uses the most rusted beautiful carbon steel there is in the junk yard and it is worn to places of high esteem,” Jaclyn says.
Jaclyn says her attraction to metals began when she was in university. “The steel thing happened many years after I was selling gold jewelry,” she says, when she had the opportunity to be involved in a steel fabricating shop. “The ease of moving hot steel and the many facets of its personality were so different from pervious metals.” And she fell in love: “Big huge in the falling in love with carbon steel was its perceived non importance….one could work with it and not in any way worry about the cost. This was really important for me.” Continue reading