Great turnout for Women Building Nations Conference

Women Build Nations conference

photo credit: Women Build Nations conference

Contractor Magazine reports “Record 1,500 tradeswomen attend Women Build Nations Conference in Chicago

ROSEMONT, IL — Over 1,500 skilled tradeswomen from 40 U.S. states, Canada, Nigeria and the Philippines attended the Women Building Nations Conference held at Chicago’s Crowne Plaza O’Hare Hotel from April 29 to May 1. The conference, sponsored by North America’s Building Trades Unions and hosted by Chicago Women in Trades, featured 50 workshops; a speech from Illinois Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky; and a panel of Building Trades International Presidents.  READ MORE–>

All kinds of tradeswomen attended the Women Build Nations conference!

Readers of this blog know that Arc-Zone supports women working in the welding industry–currently  only 2% of welders–so we were excited to read about how well attended the Women Building Nations conference was.   Continue reading

Darlene Kerns:  welding her way out of the fire

Darlene Kerns has always been mechanical.  “My dad had me working on cars when I was a little girl,” she says.  In fact, her dad told her if she couldn’t fix it she couldn’t drive it—great incentive to learn. Darlene’s first job was working in an auto body shop.

Metal Artist Darlene Kerns

“Metal art is all I do now,” Darlene says, and she’s been able to make a living with her art. She mainly works with oxy- acetylene because most of the metal she works with is recycled. For anything over 1/32-in. or for functional pieces for structural support, she MIG welds.

In welding Darlene has found an inner purpose. “I’m blessed to be able to bring happiness to people with my metal art creations,” she says.  Darlene is also part of a loving and supportive community; her welding buddies are always giving her scrap metal.  “I think more women would weld if they were given the opportunity and encouraged to. I’m grateful that I’ve had both.”

Darlene says as she creates she is always collecting recycled metal: sometimes she finds the perfect piece for a project she’s working on, sometimes she’ll make something from scratch, and sometimes she finds a piece for another project.  “There are certain pieces of metal that scream what they want to be made into, so I just listen,” she says. Continue reading

As Seen On Instagram: April 2016

Be sure to follow on Instagram for technical welding tips to welding eye candy, new products and more from around the welding industry.  Here’s a sampling of what we shared in April:

Micro TIG Welding Torch

Micro TIG Welding Torch

Let’s get small… You know that time when you wished you had a “micro” TIG torch for the roll cage headliner tie-in, that cylinder head repair, those hard to reach merge collectors & the list goes on! Here’s the solution. Choose from the Weldcraft/Miller W125 (formerly MT-125) 125 amp water-cooled 3.5″ & 5″ body length, or the CK MR-70, air-cooled 70 amp, or MR-140, water-cooled 140 amp. Each torch is available with 45, 90 & 180 degree front end parts (CK-MR-140 w/45 degree setup shown). Note: the CK product is complete with front end parts, making it less expensive to get started, plus the replacement parts are less expensive making the cost of ownership friendlier for your wallet💥 check them out over at we stock everything you need to get small… & we service what we sell👍🏻 Good Welding💥 #microwelding #welding #weldinglife #tigwelding #welder #arczone #weldlikeapro #metalfab #tig #shoplife #weldshop #tigtuesday

Under the Hood: Arc-Zone PRO Partner Nick Mishler welding up something good

Nic Mishler welding

Checkout this epic pic from Nick @mishler_made_fab… Bracket time on one of these filter houses. #killallfiller#tigwelding #weldlikeapro #weldon#arczone #welding #metalfab

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How do we Expose more Women to Welding?

According to NBC news, only 3% of professional welders in the U.S. are women. What’s the reason for the shortage of women welders? According to professional welder Caitlin Rude: “I don’t think that there’s a big difference between men’s and women’s work. I think that there’s a big difference between those who are dedicated and passionate about welding and those who aren’t.” 

In this video, Kalei Kipp, a female high school welding student from Pennsylvania meets with Caitlin Rude to discuss what it’s like to be a female welder.

What are your thoughts on the shortage of women welders? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

From Car Problem to Welder

Pamela Richardson: Woman Welder

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.
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Welding Something from Nothing

New Rosie: Artist Karen LanceyCanadian 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