Wyatt Balmes: One of The New Generation of Welding Professionals

Wyatt Balmes

We signed Wyatt Balmes on CTE (Career and Technical Education) signing day while he was still completing the two-year dual credit Welding Program at the Lake County Tech Campus. The CTE Program is designed to connect businesses with students to discuss potential internships and future jobs.

Wyatt showed his welding potential early, earning a stick welding certificate in his Junior Year, earning the title of Senior Welding Student of the Year and being named to the National Technical Honor Society. He joined us full-time as a Spot Welder after graduating from Warren High School in June of 2019.

why welding?

Wyatt knew early on that a 4-year college was not on his agenda. A technical career was a better fit for his personality. “At first welding was just a practical choice. It’s a growing industry, welders are in demand and my research showed that it pays well.” It wasn’t until his first class at the Tech Campus when he put on the helmet that the coolness factor set in. “I was hooked,” he admits. After a through grounding in safety fundamentals and the basics on the effects of heat on metal, it was practice, practice, practice. Two hours a day gave him practical experience with stick, MIG and TIG welding.

mentors everywhere

When practicing his technique in high school, the assignments were pretty much simple metal to metal applications under ideal conditions. As Wyatt adjusted to life on the line, he realized the pieces were more complicated, and determining the proper setup was just as important as executing the weld. He was pleased to discover that he was surrounded by mentors who were more than happy to answer his questions. Not only his supervisor, but his co-workers gave him the value of their experience. He found out that different approaches could give the same result, increasing his range of options.

This helpful and open attitude is one of the things Wyatt likes about working at Laser Precision. “Everyone wants you to improve as you work.” Each piece of advice increases his knowledge, and each qualification he earns builds his confidence.

moving forward

Since joining us, Wyatt has moved into a welding booth as a Tack Welder and most recently has been helping with the training of new Spot Welders in the department. “Tack welding is more hands on, which I enjoy, but spot welding is giving me experience with programing a machine to do the weld. Both are valuable skills to have.”

The next step is earning his Welding Certificate. Wyatt is working on this goal by attending classes in the evening at the College of Lake County.

outside the shop

When not welding in the shop, Wyatt puts his skills to use while working on his ‘93 Chevy Blazer. “I like almost every kind of DIY project and welding the rusty frame of the Blazer is good practice.” He also likes to hang out with friends, playing games on his Xbox and bow-hunting during deer season.

His family owns property in Arkansas and they spend time together fixing up their house there. Wyatt has visited almost every state in the Union as well as the country of Mexico. He also holds a second-degree black belt in Taekwondo and credits his instructor for instilling the traits of discipline and determination that he continues to use today in his pursuit of a welding career.