This spring I'm interning for Steve Ward, welding teacher at Watauga High School in Boone, NC.
Besides high school classes, Steve also teaches a nighttime adult welding class through Caldwell Community College. The shop has been Steve's baby for 15 years. There's 35 welding machines ranging from shop-made engine-driven portables to state-of-the art Miller Dynasty TIG machines. Also a dozen machine tools and plenty of support tooling. Steve likes to buy American and loves high-end tools. He's got a great collection.
This summer WHS will be transitioning to a new facility, and that means moving the welding shop across town. Part of my internship is to begin laying out the shop and planning the move.
North Carolina has 20 high schools with welding programs. WHS is likely the only one that incorporates machining into the welding curriculum. Steve is one of only two NC high school welding teachers with an advanced degree.
Photos from the first of our several visits to local high school and college shops are here
In other news, I'll be flying out to San Francisco in late February to volunteer at Cleantech Forum. I'm excited to see Elon Musk of Tesla Motors give the keynote. Steward Brand (creator of The Whole Earth Catalog and overall badass) will also speak.