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“I’ve been working for the last two years in the pipefitting industry and have realized there’s more work for welders than pipefitters. My dad taught me to weld when I was in the fifth grade and working on a science project, but I needed to sharpen my skills to do it professionally. As a pipefitter, I’ve mostly been working on shutdowns, where we take down a part of a refinery to do repairs.
“One thing I’ve appreciated learning in the program is the gas tungsten arc welding process; it’s something that’s used widely in the industry but that I’ve had little experience with. I’ve also learned more about stick welding, which I hadn’t done in 10 years — it’s another technique that’s widely used in the process piping industry.
“I had never worked as a pipefitter, but I took the test and made a 95 on it. I’ve been concentrating more on the welding portion of that career, but I wanted to broaden my skills sets to have more career opportunities. The more skills you can learn and do well, the more valuable you are to employers.
“Knowledge is key.”
Spencer Lindstedt is working toward an associate degree and has taken Welding Technology courses there while continuing to do contract-term pipefitting work for various companies on a project-by-project basis. He changed careers after 19 years as an automotive technician.