Airgas Makes Valuable Donation to Ferris’ Welding Engineering Technology Program

Ferris State University

Officials from the Airgas Corporation joined Ferris State University Welding Engineering Technology students and faculty Thursday, March 24 in the Swan Technical Arts Building. Airgas donated personal protection equipment valued at $50,000 for use in Welding labs. (Front row, from left,) Thom Burns, Airgas, Director, Advanced Fabrication, Great Lakes Region; Nick Horton, Sean Harrington, Brent Williams, Assistant professor of Welding; Garrett Simon, Kate Wernecke, Bobbi Jo Matheny, Caleb Brewer, Philip Fent, Airgas, District Manager, Great Lakes Region; Kevin McDougal, Airgas, President, Great Lakes Region; Dan Sheets, Director, Advanced Fabrication, North Pacific Region. (Second row, from left) Jeff Hardesty, Professor of Welding and program coordinator; Kim Norris, Airgas, Account Manager; Paul Otto, Chris Grunst, Jackson Davis. (Third Row, from left,) Ty Lattimore, Bret Parks, Ken Kuk, professor of Welding; David Murray, Associate professor of Welding; Jeff Carney, Associate professor of Welding.

Ferris State University Watch the Airgas Donation to Ferris

Students in Ferris State University’s Welding Engineering Technology program will pursue their laboratory work in greater comfort and safety, thanks to an equipment donation from the Airgas Corporation.

Approximately $50,000 of personal protection gear was received at the Swan Technical Arts Building Thursday, March 24, with members of the university’s administration and corporate leaders joining Welding instructors and students for the delivery. The products from Radnor, Arc One and Tillman include welding beanies, flame-retardant jackets and gloves, along with safety helmets that use liquid crystal display technology to auto-darken when a welding torch is being used.

Welding Engineering Technology professor and program coordinator Jeff Hardesty said that these items are a welcome addition to their laboratory equipment.

“It will keep our students safer, and more comfortable,” Hardesty said. “It will make their learning lives better. These items will be helpful, as we look forward to the opportunity to expand our facilities, and program.”

The Michigan legislature has given the university its authorization to develop plans that would double the instructional and laboratory space for the Welding program. Hardesty said that once funding is approved, the facility expansion would help reduce the time that their program applicants spend on a waiting list.

Ferris provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Paul Blake said that he was at a meeting in Chicago when Airgas made their original offer of support.

“They made clear their intentions to support the Welding Engineering Technology program,” Blake said. “I was really taken by the mutual respect, the collegiality between our graduates, and their corporation’s commitment to benefit Ferris State University.”

College of Engineering Technology Dean Larry Schult said that the “hands-on” nature of the programs he supervises rely on industry partners to help them promote excellence in training.

“Airgas’ contribution is just phenomenal, and every one of our programs has this kind of support, which helps us to offer state-of-the-art learning,” Schult said. “Without them, we wouldn’t be able to make this kind of investment in our students.”

Dan Sheets, a 2010 graduate of Ferris’ Welding program, is Airgas’ director for Advanced Fabrication in the North Pacific region. Sheets said the contribution of equipment is part of their corporate obligation to help customers remain competitive.

“We look at the manufacturing industry as the backbone of our economy,” Sheets said. “Our commitment includes actively recruiting Ferris Welding students to pursue careers with us.”

Airgas is a Radnor Township, Pennsylvania based corporation, and is the United States’ largest distributor of industrial, medical and specialty gases, and hardgoods related to welding and safety.