Alexandra Pollard serves as an E-2 Hull technician (Welder and a plumber) in the U.S. Navy. She recently stopped by Arc-Zone to pick up some welding supplies.
Alexandra has been welding since she was 8 years old. “I got started because my dad couldn’t fit under our 1965 Chevy Impala. He put the auto-darkening helmet on my head, handed me the MIG torch, and told me to fill a hole in the under body,” she says.
Alexandra took three years of welding in high school where her teacher was former Navy.
“Only after I joined [the Navy] did I know that I chose the same rate (HT) that he was!”
Before joining, Alexandra tried to go the union welder route, but that didn’t work out. Neither did working as a nanny, a customer service rep, and an office assistant. Lucky for the Navy! She spent three months in school at Great Lakes in Illinois and is currently in welding school at her current command (at Camp Pendleton) where she is learning TIG welding with stainless and aluminum. “Here we use TIG with aluminum filler metal the most. The LCACs (hovercrafts) are made up of mostly aluminum,” she explains.
Alexandra says she hasn’t experienced any discrimination on the job, but in high school she did until she worked up to the position as Shop Foreman. “The guys tend to respect you once you show them you can do good work,” she says.
To her 15-year-old self Alexandra would say “Follow your passion. Don’t be afraid of what people think, just pick up the torch and burn rod!”
To other women interested in welding Alexandra would say “Don’t back down just because some dog is barking at you. You have to support yourself and follow your dreams.”
Her adopted dad got her started in welding, but when Alexandra met her birth father she discovered that he and her birth grandpa are welders. And her birth dad’s wife is a welder too!
“Welding runs in my blood,” Alexandra says.
EDITOR’S NOTE: On behalf of Arc-Zone I’d like to thank Alexandra for her service in the U.S. Navy. And an interesting connection: My father was in the Navy, and both my grandfathers were in the Navy as well. And my great grandfather lied about his age and joined the Navy as an apprentice boy when he was 13. Alexandra tells me that her grandfather also lied about his age to join the Navy!