Victor Technologies announced the six winners of its “Innovation to Shape the World” contest for students in welding and cutting programs at secondary and post-secondary schools.
The individual winners are Mikayla Bradford from Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School, Marlborough, Mass. (instructor Neil Mansfield); Rudy Gonsalez from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Lucedale, Miss. (instructor Joshua Pierce) and Justin Clay from WEMOCO Career and Technology Center, Spencerport, NY (instructor Filippe Rocha).
The themes of the winning essays were the influence of oxy-fuel cutting at sites like Ground Zero to inspire Mikayla to want to be a Navy Seabee, Rudy’s observations on innovations and human creativity, and the inspiration Justin receives from his instructor and father (who is a welder and attended the same school) to make each weld better than the last.
The team winners hail from Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School (students Mitchell Miller and Jesse Lemanski, instructors George Aziz and Chris Wittmier); Santa Fe College, Gainesville, Fla. (students Zachary Adams, James Moore, Matt Taylor, Matt Parrot and Syson O’Brien Hall, instructor Joseph Mahoney) and Highland High School, Gilbert, Ariz. (students Brett Eschliman, Matt Focht, Jack Daniel, Zach Benn, instructor Curtis Willems).
Winning projects were a “two tank patriotic salute” in honor of the cutting and welding used to build and repair military equipment, “the mighty D.U.C.,” an ancient utility vehicle converted into the ultimate mobile welding cart using mostly scrap found on a farm, and 6-ft.-long metal alligator constructed from 1/8-in. rod, pipe and scrap metal.
Individual winners won a $250 cash prize for their winning essay. Members of the winning team each won a $500 cash prize for their welding project. All schools associated with the winners also won a cutting, welding and gas control package valued at $4,000 each. Products in the package included a Victor® Journeyman Welding & Cutting Outfit, a Victor® Thermal Dynamics® CUTMASTERä 42 Air Plasma Cutting Outfit, a Fabricator® 211i3-in-1 Stick-MIG-TIG Welding Machine Kit and two (2) Tweco®4-sensor auto-darkening welding helmets.
“The winning students and schools demonstrate the spirit of innovation that enables them to use cutting and welding equipment to shape their careers and the world around them,” said Martin Quinn, CEO, Victor Technologies.
The sentiment of winner Justin Clay is worth sharing. He wrote, “I’m not only writing this to enter the competition, I’m also trying to get my message out to encourage anybody that has a chance to get to a CTE (Career and Technical Education) center while you are still in high school. It is the best decision I have made, and it can make a dramatic difference in one’s life.”
Quinn also noted Mikayla’s essay referred to the need for Ironworkers at Ground Zero. Because the firefighters did not have the knowledge or expertise, the Ironworkers came in and used cutting torches to help remove rubble and debris. Unknown to Mikayla, Victor created special, extended length torches for that very purpose.
Tom Wermert, one of the contest judges and Senior Brand Manager for the Fabricator 211i 3-in-1 welder that was awarded, commented that, “The team winners demonstrated great imagination in turning what was often discarded scrap metal into works of function and beauty. In all cases, the project components only cost a few dollars, but the vision shown by the teams was priceless.”