News Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: Kim Schmelz, External Relations & Alumni Development
Phone: 608.822.2379
Mail: 1800 Bronson Blvd., Fennimore, WI 53809
Date: July 18, 2017

Southwest Tech hosts ProAm Competition with Mobile Welding Lab

Fennimore -

Southwest Tech opened up the new Mobile Welding Lab in Mineral Point and hosted the first ProAm competition with nine students and two industry partners the week of June 24. The lab is a 53-foot long semi-trailer and is equipped with eight welding stations that allow four different types of welding techniques.

The four-day course allowed high school students the opportunity to learn welding techniques from Southwest Tech instructor Ed Anderson and Safety Compliance Lab Assistant Brian Kitelinger along with professionals from two manufacturing facilities in Mineral Point, Sielaff Corporation and Cummins Emission Solutions. The students were also able to tour each facility allowing them to see the different welding methods used to manufacture products. The week ended with a welding competition for the students and professionals.

“Watching the students working with area professionals was a great experience.  The professionals from Cummins and Sielaff were as excited about welding as the students were.  I am looking forward to the next Pro Am already,” stated Anderson.

The Cummins Foundation awarded the Southwest Tech Foundation a grant in the amount of $90,699 to support the Mobile Welding Lab. A component of the grant request included the ProAm Competition. Bobby Lee, Off-Highway Quality Programmer and Community Involvement Team Leader who worked with Southwest Tech on the grant stated, “The Mobile Welding Lab is a very innovative idea that will help bring industry professionals and standards to area students.  The lab will certainly help to spark our area student’s interest in the welding trade while giving them hands on experience.  Cummins Mineral Point is very excited to be associated with this project.”

Sielaff Corporation, a strong supporter of Southwest Tech and a sponsor of the Mobile Welding Lab expressed their excitement in this opportunity to work with high school students and allow their employees to educate others about the trade. “Sielaff Corporation was proud to participate in the ProAm challenge, and to play a small role in helping SWTC bring the Mobile Welding Lab to the public.  One of the manufacturing industry’s great challenges is to find creative ways to inspire young people to have an interest in our sector of the economy as a career choice.  This mobile concept certainly has the potential to help with that effort.  It was great to see the level of engagement and excitement that all the young men and women demonstrated…Truly refreshing!  Thank you also to our good friends at Cummins.  The products we make are worlds apart, but the processes and the motivation are all the same.  Thanks for making it so much fun,” said Harold  McConnell, Production Manager at Sielaff Corporation.

For more information on the Mobile Welding Lab or the ProAm competitions, please contact Business and Industry Services at or call 608.822.2360.

Photo caption: Nine students from area schools participated in the first Southwest Tech Mobile Welding Lab ProAm competition.



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