The Utah State University Eastern welding fabrications team won the national title for collegiate teams in the StillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference. This is the third consecutive win for USU Eastern, as they took first place in 2018, 2019, and now 2021. The contest was not held in 2020 due to COVID-19.
USU Eastern has been competing in the welding fabrications SkillsUSA contest since 2008, said Austin Welch, the team’s advisor. Since then, USU Eastern has earned 10 metals for their welding skills.
“There, there are basically four major welding processes and some thermal cutting processes that they're judged on," Welch said. "As part of the contest, we're required to propose an idea for a future contest. There's typically a welding theory test that's included. “
This year, the team built a dip tank that will coat preservation solution on standard size lumber. The team had to work in a record-breaking heat wave where temperatures in the shop they worked in would approach 90 degrees.
“The contest committee teamed up with a with a nonprofit called Sleep in Heavenly Peace that that builds and donates bunk beds for underprivileged children. So the dip tank that we built will be used to treat standard sized lumber and they'll then use that lumber to build bunk beds,” Welch said.
Welding fabrications is one of many contests held as part of the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference. Each year the organization holds 106 contests from welding to commercial baking to medical terminology.