Welding Wars returns to Battle
Welding Wars is a fun competition for high school, collegiate and professional welders to show off their fusion skills to local businesses in Central Virginia. C&C Piping and Fabrication owners, Cody Hurd and Codie Cyrus, developed the tournament in 2018 as a way to bring attention to welding and address the need for welders in the region. The event immediately sparked great interest and is now a collaboration between C&C Piping and Fabrication, Virginia Career Works, the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance, and Central Virginia Community College, where Welding Wars is hosted… typically.
Welding Wars was one of many dates circled on the 2020 calendar which had to be canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The April/May time period is usually the event’s time-frame as that’s when schools see their most graduates. The frustration of being unable to put talented student-welders in front of prospective employers boiled over almost immediately. The committee found a way through the COVID “red tape” to host Welding Wars 2021.
Instead of trying to bring all the contestants to a central location, like CVCC, they completed their welding in their own spaces, signed an honor statement with a witness and mailed it in. While there were far few participants this year, the competition still saw more than 20 welders show off their work. Welds were due for judging by the end of April with a virtual awards ceremony scheduled for late May. Winners received scholarships, welding gear and introductions to local companies in need of their skill set.
“Southern Air has participated and sponsored in Welding Wars each year since its conception in 2018. Events like this are imperative to grow the nation’s future skilled workforce through trade programs,” says Sierria Phillips, Southern Air Director of Personnel Development. “The competition gives students an opportunity to hone their craft, show off their skills, and explore high paying and in-demand careers. Our people are our most important resource and the future of Southern Air.”
Phillips accompanied Greg Graham, Southern Air Mechanical Vice President to the virtual awards ceremony to present the high school winners their trophies and prizes. The ability to meet young welders and congratulate them on their progression, maturity and interest in skilled labor is something we all missed out on last year.
With restrictions beginning to loosen, the end of 2022’s school year should bring Welding Wars back into the shop. Southern Air looks forward to continuing our partnership as well as our participation. Stacking our welders against the competition brings about the most fun and best type of sportsmanship. The welders support each other, the jobs they’ve done and hope the best for each other’s careers.
In Welding Wars, there are only winners.