July 23-28, 2023
8669 NW 36 Street
Miami, FL 33166
Senior Manager, Conferences, Competitions & Events
The AWS Instructors Institute provides welding instructors an opportunity to enhance and strengthen their teaching skills, experience hands-on learning of new teaching techniques, and learn more about AWS programs such as SENSE.
Meeting together with other instructors, the participants will be able to communicate and share their experiences in a setting that is devoted to their specific concerns. Each year, a welding instructor is selected at each of the 22 District Conferences to attend the institute, held at AWS HQ in Doral (Miami), Florida.
We have planned evening activities Sunday, Monday and Thursday evenings. You are more than welcome to bring a spouse or guest to these events but there is a minimal fee for the guest. Tuesday and Wednesday evenings are open.
WE ASK THAT ATTENDEES BOOK THEIR OWN AIRLINE FLIGHTS TO AND FROM MIAMI
Recommended Services to Book Your Flight:
- Orbitz (www.orbitz.com)
- Cheep Flights (www.cheepflights.com)
- Expedia (www.expedia.com)
- Travelocity (www.travelocity.com)
Transportation from Miami International Airport to Hotel:
Once you have made your travel arrangements, please forward a copy of your airfare receipt to Martica Ventura at email@example.com.
Provided that this receipt is received by us at least three (3) weeks prior to the institute’s start date, a refund check will be issued and mailed/delivered to you prior to the conclusion of the event. AWS will not reimburse baggage, main cabin extra or preferred seating fees.
Jack Valles, I’m the welding instructor at MMA in Castine Maine, from district 1 in Maine. Currently, I am on the scholarship committee for AWS. From Winterport Maine.
Chris Blough is the Welding Instructor at The Mount Academy in Esopus NY. The Mount Academy is a private high school with a small but strong vocational emphasis. Chris has been in the welding industry for 25 years, mostly with Rifton Equipment, and has now been teaching welding for 5 years. Blough became a CWI in 2021 and has had welders and fabrication teams participate in the National Skills USA competition in 2022 and 2023.
Landon York is the welding technology Instructor at the Career Technology Center of Lackawanna County. He comes from a vast array of industries revolving around the welding trade. He has held many positions, from being a structural fabricator and pipe fitter to performing machining, millwright work, and ironworking. He has traveled to many different states and has been exposed to various atmospheres, including fabrication shops, paper and pulp plants, natural gas compressor stations, power plants, and nuclear power plants.
CHRISTOPHER PHILLIPS, Christopher Phillips is a professor and oversees the AWS student chapter at Central Piedmont Community College, Charlotte, NC. He trains students in SMAW, GTAW, and GMAW welding processes in Level I-III and recently added an Introduction to Pipe-Fitting Course to the curriculum. Phillips has over 23 years of welding industry experience, including welding pipe in all processes and foreign materials. He holds an Associate Degree in Welding Technology from Central Piedmont Community College.
Juan Ayala has been in the Welding and Fabrication industry profession for 34 years. He is a certified AWS Welder, currently dedicating his skills and knowledge as a Welding Instructor and Coordinator for the welding program at Valencia College Advanced Manufacturing Training Center in Kissimmee, Florida. As an instructor, he has had the honor to educate, mentor, and celebrate the accomplishments of program graduates, who have also achieved AWS certifications. To further expand his expertise and continued contribution as an educator, Juan is currently pursuing his CWI certification. This motivation for continuous learning and education has provided Juan opportunities to travel globally, learning the welding trade and cultural practices in countries such as Japan and Germany. Juan expands his curiosity and enjoyment of life by spending quality time with his family, including his daughter and three grandchildren who keep him busy. He enjoys golfing and scuba diving with friends, bowling with his son, and Sunday motorcycle rides with his wife.
Scott Quick, Scott is a Senior Welding Instructor and Admissions coordinator for Rochester Arc + Flame and their Welding and Fabrication Program, which is partnered with Monroe Community College. Scott has over 15 years of welding experience in the field. He started his welding career in the military where he attended the Army’s Metal Worker School, 44B. Scott went on to work for the Department of Defense as an Army/Civilian Technician where he enhanced his welding and fabrication skills. During his military career, Scott deployed 5 times in support of OIF and OEF as an Airborne Infantry Ranger with Special Operations, 1st Ranger Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment.
Derek Supanik is a 9th year Welding Instructor at Parkway West Career and Technology Center in Oakdale, PA. He is also an OSHA Authorized Construction Trainer, giving the OSHA 10 to students in the school. Derek shares over 120 welding students with his partner Huck Hughes. Together, in 2021, they had succeeded in becoming an ATF, and giving students the opportunity to earn their AWS certifications.
Blake Hamric is one of the welding instructors at Calhoun Community College where he thrives to instill the skills needed to progress in the welding/fabrication industry. He has over 12 years of experience as a boilermaker and uses his experience to set an example for his students.
Michael Payne is a welding instructor at Pinson Valley High School in Birmingham, Alabama. Michael is also the Education Chair for District 9, Birmingham section.
Luke Hummer is a Welding Instructor for Erie County Community College (EC3), in Erie Pennsylvania since fall 2022. He has been teaching welding curriculum since 2018, mostly in the Vo-Tech setting. Hummer has approximately 20 years of experience in the welding industry and has been AWS CWI certified since 2020. He was newly appointed to the 2nd Vice Chairman of the NWPA AWS Chapter in Spring 2023. He has welded everything from farm equipment, cranes, tanks, locomotives, and the occasional arts and crafts.
BLAKE BALLOU, Blake Ballou is the welding instructor at South & West Washtenaw Consortium (SWWC) in Saline, Michigan. Ballou has seven years of welding experience and is pursuing his Associate’s Degree in Welding Technology at Washtenaw Community College, then going on to pursue his Bachelor’s at Ferris State University. The 2023 school year is Ballou’s first year as the lead instructor; prior to this year, he spent the last four years as the SWWC welding technician. In his first year at SWWC, his students competed in ten competitions with great success, even having a student compete at Skills USA Nationals this year.
Erik Ogren is a Welding instructor for the Wisconsin State college system. His teaching career includes instructing and welding coordination for Steamfitters Local 601 in Madison and Milwaukee area, Instructor for MATC Oak Creek Wisconsin, and Instructor for Gateway Technical College Racine, WI. Erik is a 23-year member of Steamfitters Local 601 and has 13 years of teaching in the technical college system for the state of Wisconsin. He is currently sitting on multiple boards, both for the college system panels and Steamfitters Local 601. Erik also has 25 years of welding experience and carries a multitude of certifications in the welding and teaching field. He currently resides in southeastern Wisconsin and is the current president of Steamfitters Local 601 and a full-time instructor.
My name is Theresa and I am a Certified Welding Inspector with my WPQ-1 endorsement and studying for the WPQ-2 endorsement. I am one of the Welding Coordinators at Illinois Valley Community College. I have been teaching / training students in the four main welding processes for about 6 years. I am an advisor for two student clubs on campus – Weld Club and Women In Technology (WIT). I have an Associate’s in Production Welding along with numerous certificates. I have many years of experience welding in a specialty shop, where every day there is something new to repair or weld.
In addition to my educational duties, I am the secretary/treasurer for District #13 – Section #139 Illinois Valley. I have held leadership roles in Boy Scouts of America, 4-H, First Lutheran Church Council, and various local women’s groups. I have also hosted various painting classes for charity fundraising. I have been married for 38 years to a wonderful man who is a full-time farmer and part-time IVCC CDL Truck Driver Trainer.
We have three lovely adult children: Brandi, 32, works as a rural carrier for the U.S.P.S. and has a BA in History, which she uses as a substitute teacher. Aubrey, 29, has a BA in Chemistry and MA in Biology, and she works for a local chemical company in the Illinois Valley. Thomas, 23, has a BA in Astrophysics, and he works at the nuclear plant in Byron, IL.
In addition, we have a plethora of animals, including two dogs – Roxy and Moose, one indoor cat – Lily, several barn cats, and a herd of cattle on our 4th generation family farm. In my downtime, I enjoy spending as much time with family and friends making new memories, whether it be crafting, cooking, gardening, hiking, biking, walking, playing board games, or taking photos of nature with them; it is always time well spent!
Bud Merrill is a welding instructor at the Jefferson County Public Schools system in Louisville, Kentucky, for the Kentuckiana Machining Association apprenticeship program. He is also the Sales Enablement & Integration Lead at Welders Supply & Gases. Bud is currently serving his 7th term as chairman for the AWS Louisville Section.
My name is Tyler Dreher, and I have been a welding instructor for 6 years at Alexandria Technical College in Minnesota. I am also a Certified Welding Inspector (CWI) and Certified Welding Educator (CWE). Additionally, I serve as the Vice Chairman for the Northern Plains Section in District 15. I graduated from the welding program at Alexandria College and have a total of 15 years of experience in the welding industry. On average, we take in roughly 40-45 students every year, but due to a large waiting list for the past 4 years, we are in the process of expanding our shop and will be taking 58 students this year.
Fernando Fajardo is an instructor at Salina Area Technical College in Salina, Kansas. Working with and under the guidance of welding technology department chair Eric Vannoy, he has assisted in training about 150 high school juniors and seniors, helping them navigate their entry into the welding industry. After receiving his CWI/CWE certification in 2017, he has dedicated his time to cultivating a passion for welding with the area youth through summer camps and assisting several troops in achieving their welding merit badges.
Steve Austion is a full-time instructor at Ozarks Technical Community College since 2016. He worked for 16 years in the ASME pressure vessel industry prior to teaching. Steve has been a Certified Welding Inspector (CWI) since 2013.
Eric Pesak is a welding instructor in Columbus, Texas, and the Executive Director of the Texas High School Welding Series (TXHSWS), where he works tirelessly with others passionate about striking the arc and bridging the gap between education and industry. Under his guidance, the TXHSWS witnessed remarkable growth through competitions that not only enhance students’ welding skills but also prepare them for successful careers in the industry. Eric’s visionary leadership and commitment to excellence have earned him recognition and respect from educators, industry leaders, and students alike. Eric is a graduate of Texas A&M University.
Kristopher Margaret is the lead Welding Technology instructor and chair of the Manufacturing Trades department at Walla Walla Community College, where students’ educational focus is in welder/fabricator or construction and infrastructure welding. Kris’ most recent industry background includes a position as a Combination and emergency response Welder for Montana Dakota Utilities in Washington State, and prior to that, he was employed as a Welding instructor at the Washington State Penitentiary. Kris earned an associate’s degree in welding technology in 2006 and continued his education through graduate school while maintaining continuity as a full-time employee in the welding industry.
Jared Massic is a welding educator at Maple Mountain High School in Spanish Fork, Utah. He’s been teaching for 14 years and annually instructs 180+ students in his program. Jared previously taught night classes at Mountainland Technical College for 7 years, as well as several years of community education welding classes taught out of his program at MMHS. Jared is married to his wife Khristen for 15 years, and they have 4 wild children. He holds a Master of Science degree in Technology with an emphasis in welding education from Brigham Young University. He also completed his CWI/CWE from the Hobart Institute of Welding Technology. Jared is currently the chair for Section 59/Utah.
Eric Phye CWI/CWE Welding Instructor for Western Maricopa Educational Center. He lives in Phoenix, Az. and teaches out of a CTE school called West-MEC in Buckeye, Az. Eric has 27 years in the welding industry working for Mass Transfer company in Wichita, Ks. for 17 years then transitioning to Aerospace welding for 10 years. Eric has been teaching high school students for the past 7 years in the art of welding, blueprint reading, and fabrication. Eric also does inspection and welding qualifications on the side as well as welding consulting work.
JAVIER VALENCIA, Javier Valencia is an instructor of Welding Technology at Laney College, Oakland, California. He has a background in manual machining and welding.
Athena has been a trainer with Miller since the beginning of 2019. She is currently based out of Atlanta, GA where we have a training center and warehouse location.
Athena was introduced to welding her freshman year in high school, where she took 3 years of welding at LCCTC. She went on to college on a volleyball scholarship later changing her major from PTA to Welding Technology. She quickly fell in love with the trade and was offered a welding job during her 2nd semester in the program. She continued working and going to school fulltime. Athena graduated from NWSCC in Alabama and obtained her AWS CWI, CWE and CWS through out her career. She worked in the railcar manufacturing industry for 7 years before expanding her knowledge and took on a different career path in construction utilizing her CWI. This is also when she over came her fear of heights. You may also find Athena at local schools, events, and on podcasts sharing her story and encouraging others to get into trades.
Head of Engineering and Welding – Subsea Global Solutions
Uwe Aschemeier is a German born and educated Welding Engineer who has evolved through the metals industry by studying mechanical engineering and welding engineering at various advanced education institutions in Germany. Mr. Aschemeier worked for the German Welding Society at its Institute in Munich for several years prior to moving to the United States of America. He has continued his expertise development by working for the Chicago Manufacturing Center, a non-profit consulting organization as well as Charcas Engineering/Domson Engineering in Toronto, Canada. In 2000, he joined H.C. Nutting Company in Cincinnati, where he worked as a senior welding engineer, commercial diver, and consultant. After consulting for Miami Diver for several years in welding related topics, he joined Miami Diver LLC. (now Subsea Global Solutions) as their senior welding engineer and commercial diver in 2007. Over the next 10 years Mr. Aschemeier led the development of wet welding procedures to meet the class A requirements of AWS D3.6 through a JIP (joint industry project) with DNV/GL and the GL testing laboratory in Hamburg, Germany. Mr. Aschemeier serves as the US representative on the ISO/TC 44/SC 15 – Underwater welding subcommittee. He is the vice chair of AWS D3.6M Underwater Welding Code and serves on several other welding committees for AWS in different functions, member, chair or vice chair. He has authored and co-authored numerous welding and NDE related articles published in the “Welding Journal”, “Inspection Trends” and other national and international trade magazines. He also serves in the “Fachausschuss Unterwassertechnik” (Technical committee underwater technology) of the German Welding Society (DVS). For six years, he served on the AWS Board of Directors.
Padraic Bean is a CWI/CWE as well as a AWS D1.6 Committee Member. He has 20 Years in the Industry.
• Lincoln Electric – Senior Customer Training Instructor
• Alstom / Bombardier Transportation – Responsible Welding Coordinator / CWI/ Machinist/ Welder
• Subaru Rally Team USA – Welder Fabricator
• Penske Racing – Welder Fabricator
My name is Ryan Brill. I am a Vermont native and Lyndon Institute Alumni, currently living in St. Johnsbury, Vermont with my wife and two children. I have over 20 years of experience in the welding industry. Before becoming a licensed teacher at Lyndon Institute, I traveled the country welding on pipelines and still have my own welding business, Ryan’s Welding. I love all outdoor activities our wonderful state has to offer including hunting, fishing, kayaking, camping, vintage snowmobiling racing, riding four wheelers, and dirt bikes.
Juvenal Calvo is currently President of Republic Testing Laboratories, LLC and Vice President of TIPTIG USA. He is a Mechanical Engineer with 15 years of diverse engineering and hands-on welding, including experience with multi-national and regional manufactures in the Aerospace, Steel, Power, Nuclear, Pharmaceutical, and Oil & Gas industries. Mr. Calvo has demonstrated the ability to control cost and increase weld quality through the most effective use of weld processes, welder training, and joint design. He also has the ability to identify areas of weld strength and weakness, implement and/or develop company policies, and standards to optimize welding productivity in Carbon Steel, Stainless Steel, Nickel Alloy, and Titanium welding using FCAW, GTAW, GMAW, SAW, PAW SMAW, and Mechanized Process (orbital welding, flex automation, fixed automation).
John Douglass is the Associate Director of the AWS Foundation, where he oversees the scholarship, grant, and graduate research fellowship programs, which collectively award more than $2.5 million annually to support welding education. Mr. Douglass joined AWS in 2015, working his first two years in the AWS Standards Development department, serving as Program Manager of the C3 Committee on Brazing & Soldering, D3 Committee on Marine Construction, B1 Committee on Methods of Inspection and D14 Committee on Machinery & Equipment. Prior to joining AWS he held positions in fundraising, public relations, event management, and community education at various government and non-profit organizations. He is a 2005 graduate of the University of Dayton and served in the U.S. Navy Reserve 2003-2009.
Darrill A. Gaschler is the Director of Membership for AWS. In this role, Darrill seeks to enhance an understanding of the value and benefit of AWS membership.
Darrill began working for the AWS in July 2017 as a Program Manager in the Standards Development Department. In May 2018, he transitioned into the role of Sr. Manager, Sections and Student Chapters where he oversaw the day-to-day operations of AWS’s 165 Sections and 120 Student Chapters. Prior to joining the AWS, Darrill served as the first Manager of Corporate Social Responsibility for The Miami FC – establishing the Club’s Corporate Social Responsibility and Foundation platforms – and as Chief Operating Officer for HandsOn Miami – South Florida’s premier volunteer engagement organization.
J has been associated with welding processes over 30 years. His focus has been gas management and the oxyfuel processes. J has a degree in Welding Technology and Education, a published Author and has been associated with AWS for 37yrs. He serves on the AWS Board of Directors as District 17 Director. J is the Texas District Sales Manager for the HARRIS Products Group, a Lincoln Electric Co.
Been with HIWT for 8 years. Started in 2014
Welder in the United States Marine Corps before joining the school. Combat veteran
Can teach 16 courses at the school (all major welding processes, oxy, pipefitting, blueprint reading, fab, etc.)
Main job is curriculum development
Teaching part time now
Wife and 2 kids
Grew up in Ohio
Dennis Peaton is a Associate Director, Championships at SkillsUSA, where Dennis leads the championships technical committee support and the move in and move out process from start to finish, including managing the technical standards, the state project support process and works with our Business, Partnership & Development team on securing donations and in-kind support.
Dennis has worked with all 600 plus business partners, including AWS, Lincoln Electric, Miller and others. Dennis helps business partners by either working with their teams on providing funding to our organization or in-kind donations to support our Championships. You can expect 100% transparency, no horror stories, and nasty surprises when working with Dennis.
Dennis is an avid supporter of the skilled trades as he is a cabinetmaker himself and is from the mighty state of Maryland. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to skillsusa.org to contact Dennis.
I have been in the welding industry since 1982
Worked at a local welding supply in Ocala, Fl 1982 – 1990
Worked at a national welding supply wholesaler 1990 – 2001
Worked at Thermal Dynamics (Thermadyne) 2002-2013
Worked at Hypertherm 2013 – Present
My roles through the years have focused on working with the end users as well as authorized distributors to promote and sell the products represented.
Miami Lakes Educational Center and Technical College (MLEC&TC)
Miami Lakes Educational Center and Technical College (MLEC&TC) is one of seven accredited technical colleges in the Miami-Dade School District. MLEC&TC was initially established as Miami Lakes Educational Center in 1976 and over the years, has evolved to meeting the needs of the changing community. In 2006 the center began offering a secondary high school component. This innovative, dual delivery educational institution is designed to serve various aspects of the community and to provide a unique approach to education. The school prides itself as an organization driven by its mission: Miami Lakes Educational Center and Technical College is to create a highly qualified future workforce by offering state-of-the-art academic, career and technical education to all generations within our community.
MLEC&TC encompasses a fully accredited technical college offering a wide variety of programs including licensed practical nursing, medical assisting, patient care technician, cosmetology, a culinary art, heavy equipment operator, A/C & refrigeration, major appliance repair, truck driving, diesel mechanic, electronics technology, automotive, IT, and more. Programs vary in length from one to four trimesters, and all lead to industry certifications. Various forms of federal, state, and local financial aid are available to those who qualify. Most importantly, students graduate debt-free. For more information call 305-558-8000 or log on to miamilakes.edu.
2505 NW 87th Avenue
Miami FL 33172
AWS will cover only the days of the Instructors Institute. Your hotel reservations will be made by AWS based on the information you supply on the Attendance Form. Any days before or after the Instructor’s Institute will be the responsibility of the attendee.
Also, AWS will only cover Room and Tax only. You will need to provide a credit card for incidentals. If you have any special requests (Non-smoking room, etc.) please contact us so that we may ask the hotel to accommodate your requests.
Check-in at the hotel begins at 4:00pm.
The hotel has several amenities; some outdoor pool, the Armillary Grill, the Armillary Bar and Lounge, a business center, and a gift shop. For a full list of the hotel’s amenities, click here.
Weather in Miami
The weather in Miami during July is hot, with temperatures in the mid to upper-90’s. High humidity can make this temperature feel even warmer. However, rain showers during the afternoon tend to cool things down.
What to Wear During the Day…
Our schedule includes classroom time and time in our welding laboratory. Please bring your own personal protective equipment including welding helmet, welding jacket or protective sleeves, welding gloves, overalls or working clothes and high top boots. If you use prescription safety glasses or welding helmet lenses, bring those. You do not have to bring any tools such as brushes or chipping hammers.
In the Evening…
All District Representatives are obligated to attend all the evening events. The evening events will be casual and you will have time to return to the hotel to change after the day’s activities. All guests should be 18 years old and above.
We’re here to help.
With the products developed and provided by our company it allows the opportunity for welders of any skill level, to focus and practice on increasing their welding skills. Our projects are precision laser cut for exceptional quality, dimensional accuracy, and perfect joint fit-up and alignment giving you the perfect opportunity to practice various joint designs, configurations, and positions all combined on a single project that arrives at your doorstep.