Wed. Nov 13th, 2019

Three welders place first at SkillsUSA

Three members of the USU-Eastern welding team again brought home a gold metal from the SkillsUSA competition last summer in Kansas City, MO. The fabrication team, composed of Austin Welch (Price), Mike Montoya (Helper), and Joseph Fournier (Moab), managed to win the gold medal. Before qualifying for nationals, the welders placed first at the state level.

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Three members of the USU-Eastern welding team again brought home a gold metal from the SkillsUSA competition last summer in Kansas City, MO. The fabrication team, composed of Austin Welch (Price), Mike Montoya (Helper), and Joseph Fournier (Moab), managed to win the gold medal. Before qualifying for nationals, the welders placed first at the state level.
The fabrication contest requires hundreds of hours of preparation and practice.  Each year the organizing committee will announce a new theme and provide a list of materials that the competitors can use to design and construct their concept of that theme, said Lon Youngberg, welding instructor.
This year’s theme was “Welding Demonstration Table” and USU-Eastern’s team spent over 100 hours conceptualizing the project and preparing CAD drawings for the entry that ultimately won the contest.  Much of the design work happens during May when most students are enjoying their summer break, Mike Tryon, welding instructor added.
Then, in the month of June, the fabrication team built three prototypes that were incrementally refined.  Each change or enhancement requires changes to the drawings where the students learned the true meaning of “back to the drawing board.”
This long process and hard work culminated in Kansas City where the students were provided with the same raw materials as all the other teams and given about 8 hours to transform those raw materials into the product that they designed, Youngberg continued.
Ultimately each team is judged on craftsmanship, how well they complied with their design drawings, and how well they worked together as a team.  The week-long SkillsUSA competition ends with an awards ceremony where thousands of excited competitors, advisors, and family gather to find out the winners of each contest. 
Victory is sweet and each member of the fabrication team walked away with over $1000 in prizes, including welding gear, Carhartt clothing, Kobalt tools, grinders…. Enough stuff that it wouldn’t fit into checked-baggage and had to be shipped back to Utah, Youngberg added.
 Jake Clement represented USU-Eastern in the individual welder competition and placed fifth out of over 40 state champions.
USU-Eastern’s fabrication teams have taken gold or silver medals for four years straight.  In the individual welder contest, USU-Eastern has brought home a medal in four of the last six years.
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