News & Events

Meet Jesse Barrientos

Jesse at work Jesse, aged 25, graduated from the Electro-Mechanical Technologies program in July 2014. Originally from California, Jesse has been in Phoenix most of his life. He now lives in Mesa, and works statewide. Thanks for your time Jesse; why did you decide to go to HVAC school? Out of high school I was a butcher’s apprentice, but that didn’t work out. Then it was an uphill battle with part-time jobs. You name it, I’ve worked it. I was going ...

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Grad Connection – Meet Jose Gutierrez

Jose Gutierrez moved to Arizona from California almost nine years ago. He graduated from the Electro-Mechanical Technologies program in October. Married to Norma for 13 years, they have two children aged 11 and 9. Thanks for your time Jose. What made you interested in HVAC? It was kind of a career change; I’d worked with Goettl before, but I was doing construction and other kinds of work for them. I started to help out on the A/C side and that’s ...

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Grad Connection – Meet Matt Bagby

Matt Bagby Matt Bagby, age 20, was born and raised near St. Louis, Missouri. He graduated from the Professional Welder program in May 2015, having started at TWS just six months out of high school. Thank you for your time Matt; what brought you to a welding career? I first tried welding when I was 12; my grandpa had a little welding machine in his shop. I’d heard people talk about how much money you could make welding. So I tried ...

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Grad Connection – Meet Jose Dominguez

Jose Dominguez, age 19, is from Moultrie, GA. Just a few weeks after graduating high school, he moved down to Florida to attend Tulsa Welding School – Jacksonville campus. He’s a brand new graduate! Thanks for your time, Jose. You took the seven month Professional Welder program didn’t you? Yes that’s true, but I only had to do five months because I articulated. Articulated? Tell us what that means. To qualify for the articulation program, you need to have taken welding in ...

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Grad Connection – Meet Tolu Atakenu

Tolu Atakenu, aged 29, moved to Montana from Nigeria in 2011. After three years working in health care as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), Tolu decided he wanted to change direction and enrolled at Tulsa Welding School. He graduated from the Professional Welder program in March 2015. Thank you for sharing your story Tolu; health care to welding, that’s quite the career change. It was a drastic change! I worked in a hospital in Montana and was very close to ...

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Grad Connection – Meet Blake Comeaux

Blake Comeaux, age 23, is from Youngsville, Louisiana. He enrolled in the Professional Welder program at Tulsa Welding School in July 2010, just six weeks after graduating high school. About midway through the program, Blake decided he wanted to be able to take his welding career to the next level. That’s why, after successfully completing the Professional Welder training program, he went on to earn his Associate of Occupational Studies in Welding Technology. He completed his degree ...

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Graduate Connections: Johnny Pipes

Meet Johnny Pipes Johnny Pipes hopes to make a name for himself as a welder. Who wouldn’t want to be a welder with a name like that?! Johnny, aged 24 from Columbia, Missouri, graduated from the Professional Welder program at Tulsa Welding School in April 2015.   Thanks for your time Johnny; why did you decide on welding? I’ve got a couple of buddies who weld; they were always talking about how much fun it was, how it didn’t feel like they ...

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Graduate Connections: Rafael De La Torre Jr.

Meet Rafael De La Torre Jr Rafael, aged 24, was born in Los Angeles, CA. When he was two, his family moved to San Elizario, just outside El Paso, TX. Rafael graduated from the Professional Welder program in December 2011, aged 20.   Thanks for your time Rafael; have you always wanted to be a welder? No, music was my thing in high school. I was in the drum line; my idea was that I’d go to college and be in ...

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Graduate Connections: Donny Jaeger

Meet Donny Jaeger Donny, aged 40, was born in Indiana, grew up in Las Vegas, and moved to Phoenix in 1992. He graduated from the Electro-Mechanical Technologies program in July 2015, but first went into HVAC in 2007.   Thanks for your time Donny; what did you do before entering the HVAC field in your early 30s? Nothing really as a trade. My dad owned a bakery, so we had a family business for quite a few years. After that ...

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Graduate Connections: Chad Ball

Meet Chad Ball Chad, aged 44, was born in Chicago, IL, but moved to Phoenix with his family back in 1984 when he was 13. Chad graduated from the Refrigeration Technologies program in November 2014. Chad is married with three children, aged 15, 14 and 4.   Thanks for your time Chad; what brought you to RSI in your early 40s? I guess it was my third career change. I started out in retail and retail management as a young man; ...

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