Defining a champion

April 16, 2013
By: Amanda Carlson

As I was putting together this issue’s Shop Stories featuring Tim Baber of College of the Canyons, Santa Clarita, Calif., one word from our conversation stuck out in my mind: Champion.

Champion is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as a warrior or a fighter; a militant advocate or defender; one that does battle for another’s rights or honor.

A champion quite simply is someone who makes their situation or surroundings better; someone whose personal investment runs so deep outsiders have a hard time separating the entity from the individual.

This issue is full of people who are champions by definition. Baber is most certainly a champion. It wouldn’t surprise me a bit if his name were synonymous with welding and College of the Canyons in that area by those in the know.

For the last 12 years he has worked very hard to keep the program on the cutting edge of technology and relevant to the needs of area industry. He’s developed a robotics program and a laser welding program back-to-back. He’s chased grant money and familiarized himself with the grant application process. He’s worked tirelessly to find quality part-time instructors who care as much about teaching (or more) as they do their own careers and he’s held their feet to the fire to make sure they master the art of teaching. Finally, he’s joined the efforts Weld-ED not for his own personal gain but to help advance the resources available to welding instructors around the nation. Basically, he’s more than just a guy who’s interested only in picking up a pay check. He is a militant advocate and/or defender.

Besides Baber, you’ll read about Stephanie Dwyer, a metal artist from Jackson, Miss., who overcame difficult life situations to live life by her own set of rules. While she may not be considered a champion of a welding program or business, Dwyer absolutely is a champion in charge of her own life. She was and still is a warrior and a fighter.

And then there’s Merrill Fabricators, Alma, Mich., which began a veteran’s only welding class to help combat the high unemployment numbers among former military personnel. Merrill has committed themselves to serving the ones who have served us; they are going to battle for another’s rights or honor.

Speaking of champions, we are still accepting your nominations for the 2013 PWTeacher of the Year. Please e-mail your nominations to and include a brief paragraph explaining why the person you are nominating should be considered for the award. The winner will be unveiled on the cover of the July/August 2013 issue. This is your opportunity to recognize a champion in your area. I look forward to hearing from you.
Amanda Carlson

Amanda Carlson

FMA Communications Inc.
2135 Point Blvd
Elgin, IL 60123
Phone: 815-227-8260