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What Is Welding? A Peek Into the World of Welders

Welding is a process for permanently joining two or more pieces of metal to make a single piece. It is an important industrial process, and has a huge impact on the economy of the United States. In fact, almost all of the things we use everyday has either been welded or had been manufactured by equipment that had been welded. These include kitchen utensils, automobiles, buildings, bridges and other infrastructure.

Welding is done through application of heat or compression or both. Usually, heat is applied using an arc flame. This type of welding is called arc welding. Some people have this confused with soldering, which is a slightly different process. In soldering, another material is melted in between the parts that are to be fused. Arc welding, on the other hand, uses the heat from the arc to actually melt the pieces of metal together.

Welding may also use a filler metal that is melted into the seam of the fused pieces. This is done either through a manual wire feeder in the welding rod, or a welding gun equipped with a wire feeder.

In preparation for the welding, the edges of the pieces to be welded are shaped into a groove, usually a V-shaped groove. The arc flame creates a molten pool from the grooved edge of the metal pieces and the filler metal. A shielding gas from the welding torch surrounds the molten pool. The shielding gas is necessary to prevent oxygenation and weakening of the welded pieces.

Commonly welded metals include aluminum and steel. Plastics are also welded, but the heat source used is hot air or an electric resistor.

Different industry groups hire different types of welders. In the construction industry, welders work on building of bridges and subways. Machinery manufacturers employ welders for making cranes and bulldozers, food-processing equipment, printing machinery, and other heavy equipment. The transportation industry hire welders for manufacturing land and water-based vehicles, as well as aircraft.

Welders also perform maintenance and repair work for automobile body shops and shops that specialize on repairing industrial machinery. Welders are present in the petroleum industry, especially in the construction of oilrigs. In the electric industry, welders are needed in the building of electric generators and appliances.

Training of professional welders usually requires knowledge of industrial math, measurements and workplace safety regulations. Technical skills focus on the identification of electrode colors, selection of the correct tip for gas welding, understanding of welding prints, and a working knowledge of the different applications of gas tungsten arc welding and gas metal arc welding. Welders also need to be familiar with the different shielding gases and filler metals used in welding. They are given training on proper procedures for inspecting and testing of welds. Welding training always go hand-in-hand with apprenticeship and on-the-job training, as the best way to acquire the necessary knowledge in this field is through direct application of skills learned. If you are interested in becoming a professional welder, and are looking for a suitable training school, look for one that is aligned with the standards of the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training.

Key Areas of Systemization and Marketing Automation

A common and valid question that often comes up in business revolves around change: Does change help or hurt industry? Publishers, for instance, faced a major shakedown when e-books, the new kid on the block, hit the scene. Publishing houses downsized, closed, restructured or merged as a result. Popular book stores like Borders closed. Barnes & Noble faced financial crisis, and the industry was virtually turned into panic stew.

But it wasn’t just the publishing industry that was rocked to the core by changes revolving around technology. A similar evolution is taking place in other businesses, including automotive, building and construction, IT, manufacturing, retail, and other industries across the board. Partnered with advances in technology is marketing automation, and with marketing automation comes a tug of war between “connection” and “disconnection” that business owners worldwide are experiencing with their customers. Clearly the connection that resulted was to the Worldwide Web, but “disconnection” is what happened between customers and business owners and personnel. There’s no question that automation provides distinct advantages, including freeing up time for business owners to concentrate on building their businesses rather than working in them 24/7. But, as with many new advances, there also comes challenge.

Don’t get me wrong. Automation is not automatically a bad thing. As a business coach, I work with Business Owners to automate certain areas of their businesses for efficiency. But “systems automation” and “marketing automation” are two different things. Systems automation involves focusing on four key areas that can be grouped and systemized.

The four key areas to systemize in business are:

1. Employee Matters and Educational Tools

2. Delivery and Distribution

3. Testing and Measuring

4. Systems and Technology

Employee and Educational Matters consists of developing training systems. These might include technical training, effective communication training, conflict resolution training, management skills training, etc. Other areas within Employment matters include positional contracts that clearly state the objectives, goals, responsibilities and accountabilities of the position and standards that need to be met. Other areas that can be systemized within the Employee matters areas are How-To Manuals, Training Manuals, Service Manuals, Employee Handbooks, etc.

Delivery and Distribution systems generally relate to running paperless, for instance, developing inventory control systems, determining what can be outsourced, order and reorder tracking systems, and the like.

Testing and Measuring involves testing and measuring everything, including establishing a measurement for where you’ve been, if that’s not already in place, and modifying and increasing what currently needs to get done. Clearly, once numbers start coming in, analysis of what needs to be done to improve things needs to happen, as well as implementing new strategies.

Systems and Technology is a matter of scheduling regular maintenance on all equipment, using computer invoicing, documenting all tasks, keeping up with the latest programs, and having a sound security system in place.

While these just scratch the surface of automation in these areas, it does give you an idea of where to start.

With regards to automation marketing, there are some key areas to address in this arena as well. These include:

1. Team

2. Team

3. And team

I don’t mean to be facetious, but marketing is, after all, about management, sales, and communication – in other words: Team.

The automated part of the marketing involves three key functions:

1. The creation and analysis (testing and measuring) of campaigns

2. Generating leads

3. Compilation and interpretation of data

Six top marketing automation software systems to familiarize yourself with include: Eloqua, InfusionSoft, HubSpot, Teradata/Aprima, and Unica, Marketo.

However, to effectively bridge the gap between automation (software) and personalization (team), one must hire the right people. This Dream Team might include:

a. A Property (Content) Manager. Think of content like real estate. You want the investor, or in this case, the customer, to buy your product or service (property), and to do that, you have to make that “property” appealing. How? First through compelling content. Communication is the key, here, and you need to be sure that the person you assign to this task has skills in writing, psychology (or at least an understanding of personality types), research abilities, and of course computer skills.

b. A Problem-Solver Manager. This person primarily manages operations and will be skilled in integrating project, creating reports, sequencing, and developing flowcharts that systemize your campaigns. The right person for this job is generally detail oriented, and has an innate sense of “how things work”. Maybe they built models as a kid, or were great puzzle solvers!

c. A Protector Manager. Ah, yes. The nurturer. This is someone who can make lemonade out of lemons. In other words, a visionary who can take what you have that might not be working and turn it into a viable product or service. Think of this person like the farmer or gardener, tending the growth and nurturing of your projects and/or services at all stages of their development.

You can see that automation marketing is a good venue for the Property/Content Manager, and certainly for the Problem-Solver Manager, but the Protector/Nurturing Manager might suffer to some degree from lack of personal contact with your clients. Still, each of these team members can be effective in this technically automated world, if they’re given the right tools, the right training, and the right “systems” to work with.

Hopefully, upon reading this article, you were able to glean some insights on systemization, from both an operations and marketing standpoint, and recognize skill sets that are necessary to have in place in order to keep you and your team fully engaged with customers.

Key West Customs and Courtesies: Getting to Know the Local Ways

History and Culture: Key West’s many distinct customs and cultures are a reflection of the island’s rich mix of ethnicities, intertwining social classes, and accompanying diverse ‘life-styles.’ Since the early 1800′s, through an ongoing process of nurturing and preserving and blending together on a speck of an island situated 150 miles out to sea and just 90 miles from Cuba, Key West culture and customs have peculiarly evolved.

In the 19th Century, most of the residents settling on the island were former British loyalist immigrants moving from the nearby Bahamas, Cubans who were arriving in increasing numbers after 1830, and African Americans who were fleeing southern states looking from freedom from Slavery. Some of these newcomers joined the sponging and turtle industries and most early immigrants joined the island society by following Cuban cigar manufacturing and businesses.

A plethora of Cigar manufacturing plants were founded and operated by determined businessmen from the mainland of Florida who lobbied for the economic development of the tropical island. The strategic geographic position of Key West in the Florida Straits created a natural and important Caribbean seaport that became both a world shipping location and a Navy stronghold. Lucrative trades in Cuban cigar making, fishing, and sponging, salvaging, and rum running were developed. Today fishing is still an important local industry, treasure hunters continue to scour the sea bottom for ancient galleons lost at sea, and you can still find tiny open-air ‘mom and pop’ cigar stores owned and operated by Cuban cigar rollers. Through these trades that originated in the 1800′s, the island manifested into one of the richest cities in the U.S. – both financially and culturally, and during this time a large collection of some of the most charming wooden Victorian architecture in the world was built and it still stands today as part of a preserved indigenous landmark in the authentic historic district of Key West.

By the mid 20th Century, Key West was attracting some of the more famous intelligent and creative minds of the time, such as Henry Flagler, Harry S. Truman, Ernest Hemmingway, and Tennessee Williams, setting a precedent for an ongoing influx of remarkable individuals and intriguing characters seeking a more independent and artistic life-style. With more bars and more churches per capita than anywhere else in North America, the 1970′s and 80′s attracted a whole new wave of creative free-thinkers with the arrival of literary groups, actors, musicians, treasure hunters, artists, designers, photographers and film makers, entrepreneurs, trades people, sailors, philanthropists, self-proclaimed ‘pirates’ and members of the hippie ‘counter-culture’, openly gay and lesbian people from every walk of life, and expatriates – most of whom flawlessly blended into the tiny existing community of local Conch’s, Cubans, and African Americans. From thence forward the tropical island of Key West has morphed into an intriguing microcosm and one of the most interesting places to live and unique tourist destinations in the U.S.A.

One Human Family: A continual welcoming and accepting attitude toward all kinds of people to this tiny island has created a unique cultural convergence of different ethnic groups, languages, traditions, religions, foods, and free-thinkers and has resulted in a remarkably distinct cultural character that the community refers to as the “ONE HUMAN FAMILY” philosophy. In the year 2000, Key West artist resident J.T. Thompson coined this phrase to formally capture the essence of this all-accepting and all-inclusive ‘state-of-mind’ and it was formally adopted by the City of Key West Commission as the ‘official philosophy’ of Key West.

While the unique neighborhoods of Key West reflect and retain their distinctive and delightful flavors by celebrating original Bahamian Conch, Cuban and African-American cultural heritage through unique customs, celebrations, and architecture, the citizens of the island honor and practice a remarkably accepting life-style by readily integrating “newcomers” and then striving to live harmoniously and work side-by-side with one another, setting aside social differences, regardless of ethnicity, social class, or sexual orientation. Irregardless of the inevitable flare-ups of small-town political foibles, there is a constant undertone in the community that reflects an undying feeling of, “we’re all in this together”.

One ongoing way this special sense of group connectedness is ritualized on this speck of an island, is through the generosity of its citizens to reach out to one another and strive to continually support each other and positively improve the community through a constant myriad of institutionalized annual ‘parties-turned-fund raisers’, (e.g. Fantasy Fest, Parrothead Meeting of the Minds), grants, charity work and endowments that meet multiple needs of the tiny yet diverse island community. And one unique example of the manifestation of community cohesiveness you find on the island is the efficient and heart-felt manner in which its diverse citizens immediately unify the in the aftermath crisis of a hurricane to care for one another at every level – from providing emergency food, shelter, transportation, medical service, and immediate financial assistance. It has been said by some locals that ‘by the time FEMA arrives, most of the human emergency work has already been done by the local people’.

While the practices of small island local politics, claims to property boundaries, debates about land development, and arguments over the presence of feral chickens in the streets can sometimes seem worthy of a comic or tragic theatre performance, there is nonetheless an underlying and uncommon sense of compassion and commitment that people seem to have for one another, their critters, and ‘their island’ that is pervasive in the island culture. Perhaps this naturally stems from the geographic isolation the island has from the mainland of Florida. Even though Key West is connected with the continental U.S. by a ribbon of narrow bridges that stream down over 100 miles of narrow islands – “there is only one road in and one road out” and once you get to Key West you’ve landed and become part of a tiny diverse and yet harmonious social microcosm that is closer to Havana, Cuba than Miami, Florida!

Come As You Are – Be Who You Are: Key West is full of great history and the intrigue of this small island community has always attracted a diversity of visitors, some famous and legendary. The impressive list of famous contemporary tourists includes the likes of Bill and Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Maya Angelou, Shel Silverstien, Jimmy Buffet, Calvin Klein, Laurence Fishburne, Kelly Mcgillis, Nick Carter, Peter Fonda, Mike Peters, Jeff MacNelly, Tom McGuane, Margot Kidder, Warren Oats, Elizabeth Ashley, Goldie Hahn, and Jamie Lee Curtis to name a few. Celebrities have easy access to the island with an airport equipped to land private jets and dockage for private yachts at several marinas.

Of course most tourists are people who are drawn to the authentic laid-back life-style and the carefree attitude of ‘come as you are and be who you are.’ Key West is as exotic as it gets within the United States and today is wonderful tourist destination, and the best way to really live the island lifestyle is by staying in a vacation rental in a Key West neighborhood. Check this list of amazing privately owned properties from historic cottages to elegant seaport estates.

This article is an excerpt from my blog at –