At just 29 years old, Sam Wiebe is one of the most esteemed inspectors in Manitoba. A graduate of Red River College’s pre-employment program with a CSA w178.2 Welding Inspectors qualification as well as his ticket qualifying him as a structural welder in multiple processes and positions.
“I had interest but no real experience in welding”, Wiebe tells me of his decision to go to Red River. “I figured it was a good place to start, not too expensive and I could get some general information and experience”, he continues. “Then you get tickets out of the program too”.
The course runs just shy of a year and offers successful applicants an opportunity to gain real work experience in the field.
“We started doing production welding, but that wasn’t for me”, Wiebe says. “They offered me a job, but I couldn’t do this. I wanted to quit the first day that we started.”
It was during his time at Red River that he met an inspector at AXIS who suggested he apply for a position with the company. After meeting Dan Shewfelt, one of the co-owners at AXIS, he was reminded that in order to inspect work done by other welders, it was probably a wise idea to really learn how to weld yourself.
“You’re only out of school”, Shewfelt told Wiebe. “Come see me in a couple of years”.
Taking an entry level job as a welder at a local shop, Wiebe says he learned a lot during his time, partly due to the shop being a little “rough around the edges”.
“You learn quick or you get fired,” says Wiebe.
His first day on the job, the foreman handed him a galvanized bike rack that had been mangled by snow removal equipment. Without any training, he was tasked with repairing it and doing so in a timely manner.
“It’s a rough shop,” admits Wiebe. “Dirty, dingy and not the safest place to work. Good experience on how you don’t want to keep going with your career.”
Now, just a few years later, Wiebe is working in his dream job as a Level I Welding Inspector at AXIS Inspection.
“The best part (of the job) is meeting different people”, Wiebe tells me. “Traveling is always neat. I was just up in the Northwest Territories. I was there yesterday. Just came home.”
Arriving at work, Wiebe is dispatched to his jobs for the day and starts out by preparing for what he needs to do.
“You could be going up north where there’s no contact or just down the street. It varies quite a bit,” he tells me.
One day he could be inspecting small parts or the next he might be examining a whole windtower.
“You don’t know what you’re getting into,” Sam says.
For more information on what it’s like to work as a welding inspector, contact Bonnie at AXIS Inspection.
Thank you to Sam Wiebe for sharing his story.
Until next week!