By, Brenda Fisher – UBMedia

A new partnership between the Uintah Basin Applied Technology College and two well-known welding companies could spell big changes for the Uintah Basin. UBATC President Aaron Weight announced the new partnership between the school, Miller Electric and Norco, Inc., during two news conferences held at the Roosevelt and Vernal campuses on April 20.

“This is an exciting day for us,” Weight said. “UBATC is quickly becoming known as the welding championship school in the state of Utah. For the last three years, we have produced the best new welders in the state of Utah. You can simply say that welding is a tradition in the Uintah Basin and a way of life. It provides an excellent income to many people and provides a much-needed service to our local industries.”

This partnership between these three will give UBATC welding students the opportunity to not only get an education from the best instructors but to have access to the latest state of the art equipment, something unheard of in a small town. Weight said discussions for this partnership started last November with Bryan Kwapis, a district manager for Miller Electric.

“We started to outline what we wanted and Kwapis said he’d get with his superiors and those he wanted to partner with and come back together with a plan,” Weight said. “We met again in January and I was so impressed when I walked into that room and there on the white board was the partnership laid out exactly how we wanted it to be. They were already thinking partnership, already wondering how they could be a better partner with the UBATC.”

Weight identified five ways the partnership would benefit UBATC students; by giving them an experience second to none an excellent consumable supply chain, training and exposure to other welding fields, curriculum assistance for the instructors and student scholarships.

Miller Electric Regional Sales Manager Jim Truett said this partnership is unique for several reasons and will bring a new level of educational opportunities to students from all over the Basin. By providing the machines and materials the students need, they will be able to enter the workforce already trained, Truett said.

“When the students go through the program, they will be trained on state-of-the-art equipment,” Truett said. “You will hit the street running when you start looking for jobs. Your skill set is going to be so high that you’ll be very valuable to the industry. It’s going to be a wonderful partnership moving forward.”

This partnership will not only help students get the education they need now to become welders, it will also come into play when the UBATC breaks ground on their new welding building later this year, Weight said.

Local leaders, representatives from both companies and welding students attended the news conferences and there was an excitement in the air at the possibilities this new partnership could bring to the Basin. Duchesne County Commissioner Greg Todd said this is going to be a game changer for the Uintah Basin.

“This is unique and it’s something that all three parties are excited about,” Todd said. “I know of companies that are coming in that will need welders and the timing is perfect. Once you get something started and there is a hotbed of expertise, people and companies come to where there is expertise. We know we have advantage here and now we can push to make that advantage a reality.”



(Left) Norco Outside Sales Rep Tony Baumgardner, UBATC President Aaron Weight and Norco Regional Sales Manager Larry Booth. (Right) Miller Electric Regional Sales manager Jim Truett, Miller Electric Welding Education Manager Jessica Marhfke and Miller Electric District Sales Manager Bryan Kwapis.