Bruce Parramore

Welder
All Metal Fabrications
Allen, Texas

“I was working as a truck driver when I took my first Welding course at Eastfield. I had gotten interested in welding when I built a go-cart as a home project and had decided I’d like to learn how to weld better. But after I took that first welding class — after just four months — I had learned enough that I was able to get a job in my company’s welding department. Now I’m a welder instead of a truck driver.

“What I like about welding is that you get the chance to create something, and because it’s metal it lasts just about forever. It’s also really fun, and now I work on a lot of home projects I would never have been able to do before.

“Welding is also like a jigsaw puzzle. You have to figure out what you’re going to do and put it together right before you weld it. There’s a lot of fabrication to the whole process.

“The Welding instructors at Eastfield are great. If you’ve got a problem, they’ll come show you how to fix it and get it right. I was working on a project that I couldn’t make work, and Phil Suderman came over to help me figure it out. The next thing you know, I had it down like science. If you see someone do something who knows how to do it right, you’re going to be able to get it down too.

“If you’re doing something you like and can make a decent living at it, you can’t beat that.”

Watch Bruce's story

Transcript

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I originally started, I made a homemade go-kart.

I finished the project and I didn't have anything to do.

I decided I should go to welding school, so I could make bigger, bigger things.

And I was also in kind of a dead-end situation as far as my career would be as a truck driver.

So I decided I could go to school, do something I like and get out of the truck and probably you know, end up with a later in life type career.

It was a hobby choice that I figured I could turn into something I could do for my job.

And benefit both of us and look better.

Well, they had the welding course that I was after and the had the weekends and the evening classes that I could do and still work.

As far as being close to my, my home.

But you know, but, they have every, every type of a class and you can go from beginning all the way to advanced.

Degrees and everything else.

But my job pretty much let me ride it out as far as I wanted.

Two years straight, nights and summers, and by the time I finished, they were actually ready for me to be on the welding team, so it worked out fine.

The teachers were cool.

The hours were great, because I could keep my job no matter where I worked at.

While I was, getting my trade at night or on the Saturdays.

I was, like, maybe, how easy it was for them to teach.

Some places just are hard to learn from, just based on how they do it.

But my instructor, I believe, was Phil Sudermann.

And, he was laid-back.

If you had a problem, they come over and talk to you about it, and show you.

If you needed to see it more than once they showed you.

What I found out from welding, a lot of it is routine.

You get a little -- you get a little variety, off and on throughout your weeks, but you'll normally get certain stuff that you become good at and they're going to let you keep it.

Instead of passing around, you'll get stuff that's yours.

And every now and then you'll get a variety and that's where you get to shine.

If you want to keep it, you shine on it, and it'll stay yours too.

But typically I'm, like I just finished a 500 post job.

I'm going straight over from mig welding to tig welding in a few, whenever we back out on the shop today.

And from there, you pretty much sometimes you have to grind your parts, make your parts, press your parts.

Sometimes you're the whole operation, on top of welding.

And then that doesn't necessarily mean you weld only, you'll have to grind it, make it, build it, cut it, put it together, blueprint it and then it's yours.

Tig welding is, you have a rod in one hand and you have basically a tungsten steel rod here and a hand controller and you operate it by your foot and you feed your weld.

A mig welder, you just squeeze the trigger and it's automatically going to come out and you just have to either whip it or lay it the way you want the weld to look.

I would say going back to school, at whatever age, do it.

You know, you can't make less money.

You, you will not have whatever skill you are after -- you're not going to get it thinking about it.

You have to go do it.

The first thing I did, before I even finished the class, is I started making my own products on eBay and Craigslist.

I make weight sleds, you know I make weight sleds,

I make grills. So you're technically welding. You will be able to make what you see.

I don't know any other way to put it.

You can make what you see.

Whether it's a car or a building -- you name it, you do it.

Let's say we're in Russia.

I don't speak Russian.

All I need that blueprint.

I don't have to say another word to anybody else.

You give me that blueprint and my helmet and I'm covered.

The skill speaks for itself. It's something you can do anywhere in the world whether there's a language barrier or not.

And you can do it for yourself.

You can't beat it.

And if you're young and you get into it, let's say you're 18, you want to do it.

By the time you're 25, you're probably making 50, 50 grand and you're not even a master yet.

So, by the time you're 40, you're somewhere in some A/C looking at blueprints.

You're not even welding any more, you, you got it, so.

It's pretty good.

The younger you are, the better it will probably be.