This Story is by Duane Olivier, a Welder with Vermeer.
With just a few weeks left in December, it’s that time of year again when many start reflecting on the past year – and looking forward to the next. With that mind, I wanted to share a few reflections that other welders like me, and other workers in our industry, may find useful.
I’ve worked for Vermeer, a global manufacturer of agricultural and industrial equipment in Pella, Iowa, for 10 years. And after some prodding by a manager a few years ago to go to welding school, I got to where I am today.
I feel privileged that I was given the opportunity to learn to weld because it’s a skill everyone is wanting now. Actually, people treat me like royalty. I love that it’s a creative art and realize it’s something not everyone can do. When I’m welding, I feel like Picasso. I look at my work as my signature that I’m putting on everything that goes out the door.
It’s with that same pride that I’d like to share the following reflections and advice as we all head into the New Year:
– Take time to help others: If I weld a part, I weld as if I’m going to buy it myself and I try to help other welders see it the same way so that we put out a quality product. If you take pride in your work, and help your colleagues be better, it can be contagious.
– Take a moment to thank someone each day: My manager recently told me, “I’m very proud of you.” I can’t explain how good that made me feel, and now I want to have that same effect on others. I try to improve as a welder, and I’d like to teach others to be better welders, too. I’m proud to come to work every day, and I want others to come to work feeling that same way.
– The people you work with are more important than the work itself: Since the tornado hit Vermeer this past July, I often think about how no one got hurt and how important it is to work together. My wife was in a car accident a few years ago and I took the cross from her wrecked car and hung it on my locker at work with the American flag and a sign that says “God is good.” When the tornado came, there were other parts of the plant that were in bad shape, but our corner where that locker is was fine. That’s a blessing. There’s something to be learned there.
– Pass on your experience to future generations: I often think about how I can help the next generation of workers. If I could do one thing, it’s simply to encourage them. Welding provides a challenge and there are so many opportunities as a welder to grow and succeed. In welding, you learn something new every day, and go home with a sense of accomplishment.
To summarize, welding is a great career and I’m thankful for it every day. As we head into the new year, I invite you to reflect on what went well, what didn’t go so well, and try to bring the best of what you learned into the new year – the more we do that, the stronger our whole industry can be.