From Sonic to Combo Welder

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noid-2014-05-03_17.31.57-2Adora Ramirez has been welding for about ten years.

Her stepfather introduced her to welding, and started her off with a garage MIG gun. “It couldn’t weld very thick metal– it was just a home welder,” she says.

How long have you been welding, and what got you interested in welding?

I’ve been welding for about ten years now. I got into welding after my stepfather was in a motorcycle accident and died. He was a welder and he taught me a few tricks with the MIG gun. Well after his death I was working at Sonic and saw a 45-year-old women working as a bar hop. Things just came into perspective and I told myself that would not be me. So I quit my job that day and enrolled in college in the welding program. I picked up welding to honor my stepfather John…. kinda my way of keeping him close to my heart.

What excites you about welding?

Well the first thing I loved about welding was getting to play with fire. I know, not a good thing to get you excited about the craft but with welding it’s always exciting. I never know what’s going to happen. Some days I’m welding inside pipes other days up in the air in a harness sometimes operating a sub arch machine or on lazy days using the robotic welder. I never know what new thing I’m going to experience that day or what art piece I may create on my free time.

And what welding process(es) do you use most? … what process do you use the most or feel more familiar with?

I’m a combo welder. I weld with stick, aluminum, TIG/GTAW both regular and stainless steel, MIG/GMAW, flux core, metal core, sub arch, and semi-automatic welding. I use most of these processes throughout the day at work depends on what they need welded.

How did you train?

Once my stepfather died I went to college and got my associate degree in welding technology and became AWS certified. I took basic and advance welding so I can pretty much weld any process but I specialize in TIG and aluminum.

What kind of welding jobs have you held?

My first welding job I was welding armored tanks, army trucks, and goose-neck trailers. My second welding job I was welding railroad cars and aluminum pipe. My third job I was welding stadiums and components for freeways and highways. My fourth welding job I was welding wire towers. My fifth job I was welding water pipes. My sixth job I was welding construction buckets and mining equipment. And now I weld fraking pumps and fraking pump trucks.

Have you experienced discrimination as a woman welder? if YES how have you handled it? if NO, why do you think that is?

Throughout out my welding life I have been discriminated put down treated as a weaker sex and yes even sexually harassed. I found it was best to show them that yes I was a women welder and yes I could weld circles around most of them. There have been times I have been pushed so far I would cry in my locker room but I always picked myself up and showed them No I will not be mistreated I will not let their words of discouragement bring me down and that I was there to stay. It usually takes time but in the end I find I gain most of the men’s respect and I even have some come to me for help at times.

How about non-welding jobs?:

Non-welding jobs are not fun. I don’t think I could be the type to sit at a desk all day or be at a convenience store. Welding is too exciting I like climbing into pipes I like getting down and dirty and knowing that I am one of the strongest and best women out there to be able to keep up and do what is considered a man’s job.

What advice would you give your 15 year old self?

My advice would be to never give up and never let no man tell you what you can and can not do.

What advice would you give young women interested in welding as a career?

Go for it. Welding is a lot more fun than what it appears to be. The pay is excellent and there is high demand for welders. They’re like doctors or lawyers– you can travel anywhere and find that in locations throughout the U.S. they will always need a good welder.

Adora adds that it’s always a good idea to get tips from the older welders, “They know lots of tricks.”

If you’re interested in more welding tips be sure to check out Arc-Zone’s own Joe Welder. And if you want to read about more amazing women welders, check out our other New Rosies!

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