By Diana Hammond & Jul DeGeus
Aviation Institute of Maintenance Welding program at AIM Atlanta.
In honor of April being National Welding Month, we sat down with AIM Atlanta welding instructors, Shane Graham, David Coetzee, Carlos Murphy and Roger Anderson, to get their feedback on what sets the welding field apart from other trades:
What led you to want to study and work in the welding field?
Shane: Form the first arc I ever stuck when I was kid on the farm, I guess you could say I fell in love with welding. It got in my blood. There’s nothing compared to the instant gratification of lifting your hood to see that perfect bead you’ve been working on all day, all week or even years. To know you’re one of the few that can call yourself a welder is a great felling and it comes with a certain amount of respect.
David: My father told me when I was very young that if I developed skills with my hands, then I would never go hungry. This led me to pursue fabrication and machining skills. I also enjoyed be
ing able to create things and having the abilities to take most projects from start to finish.
Carlos: I liked that I could start my own business and that the money was good for an advanced welder.
Roger: I was inspired by multiple family and friends who worked in the steel manufacturing industry.
What’s the most fascinating thing about welding to you?
Shane: I weld because I love testing myself and pushing my skills every day. There are so many metals to weld: Titanium, nickel, hastelloy, cobalt, carbon, aluminum, stainless, etc. Nothing beats being able to start with plate steel or tubing, and by the time you’re done, you’ve made something like a boiler or a crane or a backhoe. The options are endless as to what you can make.
David: The joining of metals at the molecular level is very fascinating and with technology rapidly advancing, the options are almost limitless. The only limiting factor is your imagination. Welding can be done in space, on land, or underwater. There is such a vast array of specialized welding careers in the industry- it would take more than 10 lifetimes to experience them all.
Carlos: There’ such satisfaction and pride for me when I see the masses of people using the products that I made by welding. To see that soldiers and marines drive the armored vehicles that I welded for them to stay safe.
Roger: I love the security in the sense that after retaining the knowledge of welding and fabrication, it’s very easy to make extra funds or start a small business with very little overhead.
Welding students, Jude and Warren, with instructors Mr. Coetzee and Mr. Cash, at graduation.
What advice would you give someone interested in the welding?
Shane: Welding opens up the door to a lot of adventure’s and opportunities; it challenges you daily. It’s a skill that can take you around the world. If you can dream it you can build it. A welder’s job is not one that is set in stone. There are thousands of different roles in thousands of different industries working with thousands of different products. One can accomplish great things as a welder. 35 years in the field has given me the opportunity to own my own company, with 100+ full time employees, and build multimillion dollar projects. I’ve made a lot of money and I received the National leadership award from Congress. Looking back over my life, I would do it all again, with no regrets.
David: Pay attention to details, ask questions, specialize and do what you love and have a passion for; the money will come to you.
Carlos: Welding is a great source of income. It’s fun and you will meet great people in this business.
Roger: The person interested in a welding career should not be afraid of minor burns, cuts, dust, dirt, smoke, fumes, or hard work.
What inspired you to teach this subject rather than work in the field?
Shane: I’ve already made a lot of money in my life, traveled the country. In this chapter of my life, I wanted to give back and slow down a bit, as am older now.
David: I saw a demand for skilled and knowledgeable welders. I felt compelled to help pass on trade skills and techniques, so I turned my attention from working in the field to being an instructor.
Carlos: I wanted to share the science of welding. I wanted to improve and refine the economy by teaching students the proper knowledge and information for the workforce.
Roger: I have worked with so many knowledgeable men and women with copious amounts of experience. They passed that information down to me, so I feel obliged to pay it forward!
Do you have a teaching moment at AIM that you want to share?
David: I have had a number of good moments in my short time here at AIM, but one stands out to me most: A graduating student introduced me to his parents and said, “[I] was the best instructor [he] had ever had.” He said, “[I] was more than just a welding instructor, [I] was like a life coach to him,” and that felt good.
Carlos: I teach the do’s and don’ts of interviewing to my students. I show students how to speak to a recruiter. I also teach students to take pride in their work, improve their resume, and land a welding job.
Roger: Everyday working with students who are new to the process is a fun moment.
By Jul DeGeus
Imagine this: Your final paper on ”The History of Cleaning and Corrosion Control” is due tomorrow but you forgot to cite the book you used, and even worse, you forgot the name of the book. You make an emergency trip to the library, but when you walk in, no one is there. A building abandoned, books are scattered everywhere, piled atop of one another with no rhyme or reason in how they are categorized. Will you find the book in enough time to turn in your paper?
Thanks to the hard work and organization skills of librarians, this is an unlikely situation to find yourself in. April 4th is National School Librarian Day and here at the Aviation Institute of Maintenance, we wanted to take the time to recognize some of our all-star librarians:
Rebecca (left) assists a student with homework.
“Rebecca Crosby has been working for AIM Atlanta for nearly 14 years. She is a superstar on campus and we are proud to have her as our librarian. Rebecca became interested in Library Science as a high school student. She took five years of Library Science courses while attending Berkmar High School in Lilburn, GA.
Rebecca began her career at AIM as a receptionist. The campus was based out of a hangar called “Briscoe Field” and had no library. When AIM Atlanta moved into its new campus building nine years ago, Rebecca made the leap to Campus Librarian. Rebecca loves working in the library because she is able to help students and connect with them on a daily basis. Like almost every other librarian, she also loves to read! Rebecca’s favorite book, for now, is “The Notebook” by Nicholas Sparks. “
-AIM Atlanta Staff
“Shout out to the amazing Mrs. Leah Veal, our Librarian and PSI proctor. No matter the task or project, she is always willing to assist wherever she is needed. Even if that means hunting down a missing manual; she will look for it and she will find it. Both students and staff appreciate you and your enthusiasm when helping others. Thank you, Leah, for everything that you do!”
-AIM Chesapeake Staff
“Valerie Harris has worked at AIM Dallas as the campus librarian since 2015. Prior to that, she worked in education for over 25 years. She graduated from The University of Southern Mississippi with a Bachelor’s Degree in Library and Information Science and minored in History. Valerie has improved our library processes and coordination. She is always willing to provide a helping hand to students searching for specific information or material. Thank you for always making sure the library remains a quiet haven for our students to study. “
-AIM Dallas Staff
“Lucero ‘Lucy the Librarian’ Rosales began her career at AIM Houston as a part time receptionist and was promoted to Assistant Librarian shorty after. Lucy is very creative and always willing to help any student or staff member. She currently attends Houston Community College where she is studying pastry arts and plans to open a bistro after college. We’re so proud of all of your hard work, Lucy!”
-AIM Houston Staff
AIM Kansas City
Frederick Douglas Thomas
Aptly named after the famous Frederick Douglass, AIM Kansas City’s Frederick Douglas Thomas is treasure to our school. A man of many titles, Fredrick is the Librarian, Career Services Coordinator, director of FAA test proctoring, and head of the graduation committee. He is a constant rock of support for his students and colleagues, encouraging excellence, honor, integrity and humility. He challenges everyone he interacts with to become their best selves and does it all while looking like a million bucks! Thank you for all that you do!”
-AIM Kansas City Staff
“Karoline received her BA in History from the University of Central Florida and her Masters in Library Science from San Jose State. Karoline became a librarian because, ‘I have a deep love for history and books; this is a career that allows me to fulfill that passion and share it with others.’ We’re lucky that our library is the one you get to share your passion with!”
-AIM Oakland Staff
“Noreen started at the Aviation Institute of Maintenance in Orlando on January 26, 2015 and plays a dual role. She is the testing proctor in the afternoons and the Evening Library Assistant, accommodating students with their Learning Resource Center needs. Noreen comes from New York, likes to keep busy and ‘loves to help people.’”
“Ruth is the Daytime Library Assistant at the Aviation Institute of Maintenance in Orlando. She started at the campus on May 12, 2016 and ‘loves working with our students.’ Originally from St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Ruth enjoys cooking and singing gospel music in her spare time. “
-AIM Orlando Staff
More work completed by students in Atlanta on their WWI Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter aircraft.
overhead view of oil tank and new battery box
Completed battery box
Volunteer students at Aviation Institute of Maintenance in Atlanta have been busy this week completing numerous projects on the WWI Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter. These promising aviation mechanic students finished plumbing the oil lines and the fuel systems hard lines on this challenging aircraft. Another group from the aviation school finished the battery box installation. They have started wiring the instrument panel for the Sopwith and all the wires that go through the firewall, ignition, alternator and such. One of the sheet metal instructors from the aviation career school in Atlanta has been helping on the nose cowl so that should be completed soon.
All in all the Atlanta WWI Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter project is moving along very well. There are still some hurdles to get over but they are getting there.
Join the team at
oil lines and filter
top of oil tank
Busy week at Aviation Institute of Maintenance in Atlanta. The students have finished fabricating and installing all the oil lines on the engine side of the firewall of the WWI Sopwith Strutter aircraft. This week they are also working on the lines from the firewall to the oil tank. As soon as they have finished the oil lines we will start working on the fuel line routing.
We have been averaging about 6 students everyday on the project, many are in term 1 so we are doing a lot of one on one instructing on tool use and interpreting the aircraft drawings.
Adding accessories to firewall
It has been a busy couple of weeks at the aviation career school in Atlanta. We have started the install of the oil lines, pumps, ignition modules,and oil filter on the firewall of the Sopwith. The students here at AIM are really excited about getting to work on the engine. We had to remove the exhaust tail pipes and weld extension on them to clear the bottom of the cowling. We have modified the instrument panel a bit, we will be installing it this week. The cabane struts are now welded in place so now we can start forming the back half of the cowling. I believe we set a record on the Sopwith Strutter project last Thursday afternoon. We had 14 Aviation Institute of Maintenance students helping out on the project. It was crowded in our work place but everyone got to help on a piece of the Sopwith. It is great to see so many students becoming interested in the project.
Follow future licensed aircraft mechanics in their progress on the Sopwith Strutter at the
The student volunteers at Aviation Institute of Maintenance in Atlanta finally installed the Rotec R3600 on the WWI Sopwith Strutter aircraft. The mount fit perfectly after being reworked. Now we can begin work on the cowling and routing all the lines and wiring for the engine.