Caleb Holtrey is a young welder whose first exposure to the craft came from his family. As a boy, he watched his father and grandfather welding in their shop.
I recently asked Caleb some questions about his work.
JW: Could you explain what kind of work do you do? What got you started? How did you decide on your career path?
CH: I do a variety of repair welding using MIG, TIG, and stick, depending on the application. I also build parts and weldments from blueprints, as well as performing some freelance fabrication and welding in my spare time.
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My interest in welding developed as a child watching my dad and grandfather in the shop; it’s something I’ve always enjoyed. I love designing and creating things, taking something from an idea sketched on paper to a functional piece.
JW: What type of background do you have? Any formal training, or are you self-taught?
CH: I attended two years of the vocational welding program offered at my high school, which is where I learned the fundamentals of the trade. I started working at my first fab shop job when I was 21 years old. There I was introduced to Walter George. He is easily the most knowledgeable, skilled fabricator I’ve ever known. The skills and techniques I’ve acquired can be credited largely to his willingness to help me learn, perfect, and expand my skill set as I worked alongside of him.
JW: What is the favorite part of your job?
CH: My favorite part is designing, building, and creating something different every day. And of course, simply working a job I love.
JW: What are your future goals, career-wise?
CH: My largest goal is to one day own and run my very own weld shop.
JW: What advice would you give your peers if they wanted to follow a similar path?
CH: My advice would be that if you have in interest in a trade, absorb all the knowledge you can. Read books and articles, search online forums … anything that will help you gain a better understanding. Knowledge is free, and it never hurts to know more. You’ll always find a use for what you learn.