Washtenaw Community College welding student Alex Pazkowski won first place in the American Welding Society SkillsUSA U.S. Invitational Weld Trials in Las Vegas, Nevada last month.
Pazkowski, a Saline High School graduate, will compete with the second and third place winners from that competition at a welding run-off in Daytona, Florida in February 2013. The winner of that competition will go on to represent the United States at international competition in Leipzig, Germany later that year.
“I feel relieved to have this competition behind me, and I’m glad that I did as well as I did,” said Pazkowski. “Last year I placed in the top three of the weld off, but lost in the international pre-trial in Kansas City. I feel like I have some unfinished business to attend to. It’s good to be going back to take care of it.”
This isn’t the first big win for Pazkowski, who has represented WCC in competition since 2009. He won a gold medal in the 2010 SkillsUSA national welding competition, continuing a long tradition of WCC state, national, and international welding champions.
WCC’s dominance in welding competition and its ‘exemplary dedication to promoting the image of welding’ led to the college being named 2012 Educational Institution of the Year by the American Welding Society and the Welding Equipment Manufacturers Committee.
Every two years, hundreds of young welders from 51 member countries or regions demonstrate their skills in the WorldSkills Competition.
Pazkowski is already hard at work preparing for the February contest in Daytona. If he wins, he advances to the international contest in Germany.
A serious competitor, you will find him in the welding lab from 8:00am to 5:00pm daily, perfecting his technique and assisting his instructors in teaching other WCC students the craft. It is the constant pursuit of a flawless weld that keeps him focused and motivated.
“You can never really make a perfect weld,” he claims. “But it’s the never-ending goose chase that is really what keeps me going.”
Once the practice and competitions are over, Pazkowski would like a career in application engineering. But his ultimate goal is to become a teacher like the men and women at WCC who have inspired him.
(This article was republished with permission of Washtenaw Community College)