PITTSBURG: Los Medanos College (LMC) has a thriving welding technology program, with hundreds of students of all ages learning a trade in demand by a wide array of industries. The program has been very popular, so popular that classes fill extremely quickly.
Recently the College has taken steps to help move the LMC Welding Technology Program forward. A new full-time, tenure track instructor (Dann Gesink) was hired this past fall. New cutting-edge equipment was purchased which allows students to be more precise and efficient in their work.
Dann Gesink has been teaching for LMC since 2011 as a part-time instructor. He comes to the college with years of training and experience. He holds an Associate of Arts in Welding Technology from Kalamazoo Valley Community College (Kalamazoo, MI), and a Certificate in Mechanical Drafting from Diablo Valley College. He also attended the Hobart Institute of Welding Technology (Troy, OH) for his certified welding inspector/educator test preparation. Dann has worked in the welding industry his entire career. The last four and a half years, he was employed as a welding inspector/testing technician, working on a wide range of projects, including the Hetch Hetchy water pipeline at the Hayward Fault, the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, the SLAC National Accelerator Lab, Kaiser Oakland, Google and Facebook.
When asked why he began teaching, Dann replied, “I knew from my experiences training others on the job that I liked teaching welding, and when the opportunity to apply at LMC arose, I was excited to pursue it. My first week of teaching confirmed for me that teaching was something I want to do full time, and by hook or by crook, I was going to make that happen. I love the trade and enjoy passing my knowledge on. I’ve benefitted from a handful of generous mentors and co-workers who gave me a chance, a listening ear and a kind suggestion. It’s time for me to inspire others.”
Joe Meyer, LMC’s Welding Department faculty lead, is enthusiastic to have another fulltime faculty member in Welding. He explains, “With another fulltime professor, our evening courses become dramatically stabilized. Students now have the ability to take the same instructor for both theory and lab courses. This develops a much deeper relationship and stability for the students. It also gives the instructor more opportunity to work with the students and educate them to their full potential.”
“And then there’s the fact that our new fulltime professor is Dann,” he continues. “Dann is an exemplary performer. His industry experience and knowledge is an asset to our program. From the time he started here as an adjunct instructor, he has consistently exhibited a high degree of professionalism, commitment and competence as a welding instructor. He incorporates a positive attitude in performing his duties and towards instructing his students. He is very knowledgeable in demonstrating the different welding processes we offer, assisting students with the techniques, and critiquing their progress. Lastly, his soft skills are what we all desire, someone who is easy to talk to, very approachable, and always passionate in teaching welding to students.”
The new equipment is also very exciting for the Welding Department. Joe explains, “Our new welding equipment will not only help our students succeed in class, but help them develop skill using the type of equipment they most likely will use on the job. This equipment includes shielded-metal arc welding inverter power supplies where students can set their amperage precisely and weld with very smooth arc characteristics. In addition, we have new flux-core arc welding power supplies with digital readouts so students can set their wire feed speed and arc voltage exactly to create quality welds. Our previous equipment was not as precise so it took longer to find the optimum settings. ”
Additional plans include acquiring equipment and tooling to create a “Fabrication Techniques” course where students will learn how to measure, cut, bend, drill, tap, rivet, metal items using hand and power tools. Joe feels this important because ”This would make the students more valuable to employers and lessen their learning curve and oversight in using tools, working to a drawing, and become more productive in their work. Overall, we strive to offer the latest welding equipment and technology thus providing students with the best educational experience.”
Natalie Hannum, Dean of Career Technical Education and Social Sciences, fully supports the efforts to optimize LMC’s Welding Technology Program. She explains, “This is an example of government systems working collaboratively: Industry indicated it needed more welders; a TAACCCT grant provided funds to expand the lab and obtain state of the art equipment; and the college added capacity by hiring additional faculty to meet the need. It is a win for industry by providing a skilled workforce, and it is a win for students by providing more access to courses by offering night and weekend classes. Welding is a high wage and high demand job and encompasses numerous industries, so there are a lot of opportunities for students. It is an admirable career, and today’s welders are key to the California economy.”
As LMC’s Welding Program continues to improve and thrive, courses fill early, students accomplish their goals with the program, and many get jobs quickly once they have earned a certificate and/or degree. Interested in exploring a career in welding? Check out our Welding Technology Program at www.losmedanos.edu/welding.