Featuring Mueller & Ernie Peels
What is your name?
What is your position at Mueller?
I am a welder at Mueller.
How long have you been in this role?
I’ve been welding for about two years, but I’ve been at Mueller for four years. I started my career in a different department and when I had the opportunity to learn welding, I knew I should take advantage of it.
What does a typical day look like for you?
It really depends on the day. I weld all kinds of different parts. I weld for all departments and then support other areas as needed. I also do different kinds of welding. I use what is called a jetline; it is a manual welder where I can place a tapping sleeve (used to tap into a water line underground) and it will run a weld across the top of it. We also do robotic welding, which is something I would like to learn at some point.
How would you describe your career to someone unfamiliar with it?
There are many different types of welding. Depending on what you are trying to weld will depend on what type of welding you will do. It looks easy, but you need some basic knowledge of welding in order to know how or what to do. Welding uses electricity and metal to join two pieces together. Welding is multi-faceted and because there are a variety of welding techniques, you need to understand the material and the purpose to ensure you are doing things correctly.
What do you enjoy about your career?
For me, it’s something new and it’s always challenging. There is always something different to do and keeps me interested. I enjoy seeing the work I do and knowing it makes a difference.
Did you pursue a traditional four-year degree?
No, I joined the Army. I attended college while in the Army for military purposes but did not pursue a degree. In the Army I was a fuel supply specialist honorably discharged as an E5 Sergeant while serving 14 years. Serving in the Army prepared me for civilian life; there is a difference between expecting something and earning something. I know what it means to earn, and I work hard every day to continue developing my skills and following the opportunities Mueller has to offer.
What kind of certifications or training opportunities did you have to become successful?
I received a certification from Cleveland State Community College along with the hands-on training which allowed me the opportunity to gain the knowledge and skills to be able to do this as a career. I attended both TIG and MIG courses while at CSCC which broadened my skillset and has really helped me develop my trade. Watching welding is completely different than actually doing it. Once you can start welding, you develop the ability to get better and better.
What would you tell a high school student or adult considering a career similar to yours?
I would tell them to be patient with yourselves. It doesn’t come easy and it’s not as easy as you think. It can be overwhelming and sometimes frustrating, but it’s worth the work and effort. Stay on task and stay focused on your end goal, and you will see success.
What training do you feel is most valuable to someone considering a career similar to yours?
CSCC courses helped tremendously. It gave me the knowledge and experience to understand welding. Hands-on practice gave me the experience to perfect my skill. I encourage you to pay attention to those who are trying to help you. If you watch them and listen it will all start to connect, especially once you get the opportunity to start trying it.
What is it like working for Mueller?
I am really thankful to be working here. The welding opportunity was offered to me through Mueller and I took advantage of it. At the time, they did not have any welding positions available, but I knew it was an opportunity to pursue. They entrusted me and paid for my education and I worked my regular schedule then attended classes at night. I had to earn it and like most things in life, you must give something to get something. I’m grateful they allowed me the opportunity to learn and develop a new skill.