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Meet the Faculty

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Qualified Instructors with real world experience.

Our faculty doesn’t just understand welding – they have years of real-world experience in the trade. They understand the challenges you’ll face and can help you learn the skills you’ll need to succeed. Over the years, they’ve trained hundreds of students, from complete beginners to industry veterans looking to enhance their abilities.

Piedmont Corporate Office

Gene Crook, President, Founder, and CEO

David Crook, COO

Heidi Bray, Executive Vice President

Kyle Davidson, Chief Financial Officer

Amber Gibson, Compliance Officer

Emily Packard, Regional Director of Admissions

Sherrone McCord, Director of Financial Aid

Sarah Brantley, Director of Student Services

Piedmont Branch Campus

Jonathan Crompton

Jonathan Crompton is the Lead Welding Instructor at the Main Campus in Piedmont. Jonathan has more than 11 years of experience in the field. He got his start in welding at a local career center and continued to learn to weld and fabricate during his time in the Marine Corp. He has worked at Renfrow Brothers, Spirit Construction, New England Mechanical Overlay, and Ellcon National. He is heavily experienced in stainless steel. In his free time, Jonathan enjoys spending time with his family, hunting, and fishing.

  • Certificate, Industrial Welding, Tri-County Technical College, 2014
  • Certificate, Welding Instructor, NCCER, 2019
  • Certificate, Core Curricula Instructor, NCCER, 2019
  • Certificate, Pipe Fitting Instructor, NCCER, 2019

Josh Allen

Josh Allen is a part-time Welding Instructor at the Main Campus in Piedmont. Josh has been welding since 1995. Currently, he is the Welding Supervisor at Watson Engineering. Josh has experience in all types of welding processes and is an American Welding Society certified structural welder in aluminum, stainless steel, and carbon steel. In his free time, Josh enjoys hunting, fishing, and going to the lake.

  • Welding Certificate, Greenville Technical College, 1999
  • Certificate, Welding Instructor, NCCER, 2017
  • Certificate, Core Curricula Instructor, NCCER, 2017
  • Certificate, Pipefitting Instructor, NCCER, 2017

Nate Lackey

Nate Lackey is a part-time Welding Instructor at the Main Campus in Piedmont. Nate has over 8 years of experience as a pipe welder at GE. In his free time, Nate enjoys spending time with his family.

  • Certificate, Specialized Welding, Greenville Technical College, 2011
  • Certificate, Robotic Welding Fundamentals, Greenville Technical College, 2011
  • Certificate, Welding, Greenville Technical College

Bob Fellers

Bob was one of the original members of the Arclabs Team. He retired in 2017 and has returned to assist with the classroom training in Piedmont.  Bob Fellers is an adjunct Welding Instructor at the Piedmont Main Campus and is a Certified Welding Inspector who assists in our Accredited Test Facility as needed. Bob has been welding since 1981 and has a long history in the welding trade; he was president and primary owner of a steel erection company prior to joining Arclabs. Bob enjoys woodworking, playing guitar, and spending time with his grandchildren in his free time.

  • Diploma, Welding, Tri-County Technical College, 1981
  • Certificate, Certified Welding Inspector, American Welding Society, 2003
  • Certificate, Certified Welding Educator, American Welding Society, 2008
  • Certificate, Industrial Welding Instructor, NCCER, 2009
  • Certificate, Pipefitting Instructor, NCCER, 2009
  • Certificate, Core Curricula Instructor, NCCER, 2009

Chet Rowans

Chet Rowan is an adjunct Welding Instructor at the Main Campus in Piedmont. Chet has 43 years of experience in the welding field in oil and gas, nuclear, boilers, gas turbines, fabrication, and teaching. He has worked for General Electric, BF Shaw, PCI Energy Services, and Zurn. In his free time, Chet enjoys fishing, traveling, and hunting.

  • A.S., Business Administration, Southern Wesleyan, 2003
  • Certificate in Welding, Crawford County Vocational School, 1974

Luai Jridi

Luai Jridi is a Welding Instructor at the Main Campus in Piedmont. Luai has over 10 years of experience in the welding field in nuclear, papermills, and fabrication shops. He has worked for Duke Energy nuclear stations and Century 3, spending most of his time doing shutdowns. Luai enjoys spending time with his children, fishing, and racing in his free time.

  • Certificate, Industrial Technology, Greenville Technical College, 2007
  • Certificate, Industrial Technology – Specialized Welding, Greenville Technical College, 2006

Jesse Hayes

Jesse Hayes is a Welding Instructor at the Main Campus in Piedmont. Jesse has over eight years of experience in the welding field. He is a certified welder who has worked in the construction, manufacturing, and fabrication industries. In his free time, Jesse enjoys fishing and spending time with his family.

  • Certificate, Welding Instructor, NCCER, 2020
  • Certificate, Core Curricula Instructor, NCCER, 2020
  • Certificate, Pipe Fitting Instructor, NCCER, 2020

Jon Crompton Sr.

Jon Crompton is an adjunct Welding Instructor at the Main Campus in Piedmont. Jon has 40 years of experience in the field, currently on his 32nd year of employment with General Electric Created August 2009, Revised 03.01.2021 Page 85 of 95 as a pipe welder. He has taught welding for around 19 years at multiple South Carolina Technical Colleges and Career Centers. In his free time, Jon enjoys spending time with his family, hunting, fishing, and projects around the house.

  • Certificate in Welding, Fluor Daniel, 1988
  • Certificate, Welding Instructor, NCCER, 2003
  • Certificate, Core Curricula Instructor, NCCER 2003
  • Certificate, Pipefitting Instructor, NCCER, 2003

Justin Freeman

Justin Freeman is a Welding Instructor Aide at the Main Campus in Piedmont. Justin learned to weld in high school and immediately knew he was passionate about welding. In 2018, Justin was the winner of Arclabs High School Welding Competition. After graduating from the Advanced Welding Program at Arclabs. Justin started his career as a traveling pipe welder in the construction industry.

  • Welding Certificate, Arclabs Welding School, 2019

Columbia Branch Campus

Jerode Powell

Jerode Powell is the Lead Welding Instructor at the Columbia Branch Campus. Jerode has over 12 years of experience in structural and pipe welding of nuclear components to commercial welding. He learned welding at the Newport News Apprentice School, and he has worked for Huntington Ingalls Industries, CB&I, and Fluor. In his free time, Jerode enjoys taking his family on spontaneous getaways.

  • Journeyman Welders Certificate, Newport News Apprentice School, 2011
  • Certificate, Certified Associate Weld Inspector, American Welding Society, 2017
  • Certificate, Welding Instructor, NCCER, 2018
  • Certificate, Core Curricula Instructor, NCCER, 2018
  • Certificate, Pipefitting Instructor, NCCER, 2018

Joe Boyd

Joe Boyd is a part-time Welding Instructor at the Columbia Branch Campus. Joe has over 40 years of experience in the welding field. He worked at International Paper for 27 years as their key welder/Maintenance Tech and Fluor Daniels for 15 years as a pipe welder prior to that. Joe has also had his own welding and fabrication business since 1989. In his free time, Joe enjoys playing golf and chess.

  • Certificate, Industrial Welding, Midlands Tech, 1976
  • Certificate, Welding Instructor, NCCER, 2019
  • Certificate, Core Curricula Instructor, NCCER, 2019
  • Certificate, Pipefitting Instructor, NCCER, 2019

Tristan Price

Tristan Price is a part-time Welding Instructor in the Columbia Branch Campus. Tristan joined the US Army in 2005 and served his country for six years, doing two deployments to Iraq; he welded and fabricated various items while in the military. Before serving his country, Tristan was a welder/fabricator working on farm equipment with his uncle.

Tristan is also a certified gunsmith; during his gunsmithing education he learned how to oxy-acetylene weld, braze, and silver solder. He then attended Arclabs Welding School to broaden his knowledge and welding capabilities, earning four certifications using various filler metals and weld positions. Tristan has been the Welding Instructor at a local high school career center for the past five years. He is married and has four children. In his spare time he enjoys gunsmithing, hunting, fishing, four-wheeling, and fabricating/welding various projects.

  • Welding Certificate, Arclabs Welding School, 2014
  • A.S., Gunsmithing, Colorado School of Trades, 2011
  • Certificate, Industrial Welding Instructor, NCCER, 2015
  • Certificate, Core Curricula Instructor, NCCER, 2015
  • Certificate, OSHA 10 Hour, American Welding Society, 2015

Brett Vaughn

Brett Vaughn is a Welding Instructor at the Columbia Branch Campus. Brett learned how to weld at the Lexington Career and Technology Center when he was in high school. After high school, Brett enrolled at Arclabs and completed the 900 Hour Advanced Welding course, successfully completing pipe welding. After graduation, Brett advanced to a local fabrication shop for two years, then chose to become a Nuclear Power Plant Welder. Brett brings his field experience, as well as his knowledge as an instructor, back to Arclabs. In his free time, Brett enjoys hunting and fishing.

  • Welding Certificate, Arclabs Welding School, 2014
  • Certificate, Welding Instructor, NCCER, 2017
  • Certificate, Core Curricula Instructor, NCCER, 2017
  • Certificate, Pipefitting Instructor, NCCER, 2017
  • Certificate, Curriculum Performance Evaluator, 2017

Steven Crout

Steven Crout is a Welding Instructor at the Columbia Branch Campus. Steven has been in the welding field for over 20 years. In his career, he has worked in welding fabrication and with specialty alloy metals. Steven has welded on projects that range from structural steel to AMSE coded piping and pressure vessels. Along with teaching part-time at Arclabs, he currently works in a full-time position as a Welding and Fabrication Manager, with certifications in advanced pipe welding and metallurgy. In his free time, Steven enjoys drag racing, building race cars, restoring antique tractors and cars and blacksmithing.

  • Certificate, Advanced Pipe Welding, Midlands Technical College, 2019
  • Certificate, Management Skills for Supervisors, AMA, 2019
  • Certificate, Metallurgy II, AWS, 2020
  • Member of American Welding Society (AWS)

Joshua Newman

Joshua Newman is an adjunct Welding Instructor at the Columbia Branch Campus. Joshua is a United States Marine Corps veteran who has been in the welding industry for seven years, including the oil, power, pharmaceutical, fabrication, aeronautical, and construction fields. He has worked for companies such as Thompson Construction, SEFA Industrial, MSI Construction, and Metals and Alloys Co. and has current welding certifications and experience with heavy wall carbon, stainless alloys, and titanium. In his free time, Joshua enjoys spending time with his wife and his animals and working on engines.

  • Welding Certificate, Arclabs Welding School, 2016

Shane Roberts

Shane Roberts is an adjunct Welding Instructor at the Columbia Branch Campus. Shane started his career as an apprentice, and ultimately finished his apprenticeship as a Journeyman Pipe Fitter and Pipe Welder. He has over 14 years of experience as a welder in a wide range of industries: pipe fabrication, nuclear power plants (both live and offline), paper mills, food grade plants, pharmaceutical plants, and oil and gas refineries. Shane has traveled throughout the US with specialty welding outfits, both as a foreman and field hand and has run automatics and fusion orbital machines. He has professional experience with Wachs, CB&I and Thomas Mechanical. When Shane is not spending time with his family, he enjoys dirt racing.

  • Certificate, Welding Instructor, NCCER, 2020
  • Certificate, Core Curricula Instructor, NCCER, 2020
  • Journeyman Pipe Fitter and Pipe Welder, 2012

Charleston Branch Campus

Chuck Meek

Chuck Meek is the Lead Welding Instructor at the Charleston Branch Campus. He provides over 25 years of experience to the students of Arclabs. Chuck is a native of Rhode Island and moved to South Carolina in 1993. He has worked in a multitude of various welding environments, which has given him the stable platform for his welding expertise. His journey began in vocational classes offered in high school and mastered stick and flux core welding at Metal Trades in Charleston while building cranes for the State Ports Authority. From there he journeyed around to different companies and landed a major spot at Force Protection building Mine Resistant Ambush Protecting Vehicles for the military. Over the years he has obtained certifications in FCAW, GMAW, GTAW and SMAW in structural and pipe. In addition to basic metals, Chuck has certifications in Aluminum and Inconel as well as Nuclear Welding. When Chuck is not sharing his wisdom with others, he uses his talents to make useful things or metal art.

  • Certificate, Welding Instructor, NCCER, 2017
  • Certificate, Core Curricula Instructor, NCCER, 2017
  • Certificate, Pipefitting Instructor, NCCER, 2017

Ian Barker

Ian Barker is a Welding Instructor at the Charleston Branch Campus. Ian has over 45 years of experience in the welding field, to include a variety of welding processes. He got his start in the welding field through on-the-job training at General Dynamics Electric Boat in 1974. He has worked at Triad Mechanical, Jacobs, Deyten’s Shipyard, and General Dynamics. In his free time, Ian enjoys golf, billiards, family time, and traveling.

  • Certificate, Welding Instructor, NCCER, 2019
  • Certificate, Core Curricula Instructor, NCCER, 2019
  • Certificate, Pipefitting Instructor, NCCER, 2019

Pete Burgett

Pete Burgett is a Welding Instructor at the Charleston Branch Campus. Pete is a US Marine Veteran who has over 20 years of experience in the welding field, including over 14 years in education. He learned to weld in high school, and he continued his training during his time in the Marine Corps. His welding experience includes extensive industrial and government maintenance construction projects. Pete enjoys riding his motorcycle, kayaking, and being in the woods.

  • Certificate, Welding Instructor, NCCER, 2019
  • Certificate, Core Curricula Instructor, NCCER, 2019
  • Certificate, Pipefitting Instructor, NCCER, 2019

Justin Alexander

Justin Alexander is a part-time Welding Instructor at the Charleston Branch Campus. Justin has 26 years of combined experience in a multitude of fields, including carpentry, masonry, electrical, welding, sales and more. He has traveled all over the US and overseas. Justin found a passion for sharing his welding knowledge with others as a student of Arclabs’ Advanced Welding program, which led to his decision to become an instructor at the Charleston campus. When he is not working at Arclabs, he enjoys building things with his hands from metal art to automobiles.

  • Welding Certificate, Arclabs Welding School, 2017 Certificate, Welding Instructor, NCCER, 2017
  • Certificate, Core Curricula Instructor, NCCER, 2017
  • Certificate, Pipefitting Instructor, NCCER, 2017

Lee Alewine

Lee Alewine is a Welding Instructor Aide at the Charleston Branch Campus. In 2017 he was a winner of Arclabs High School Welding Competition. Lee is a 3rd generation welder and was first taught to weld by his grandfather when he was 14. While in High School, Lee continued his training through Dorchester County Career and Technical Center. After graduating from the 900 hour course at Arclabs, Lee went to work with AZZ welding boiler tubes. In his spare time, Lee likes to hunt and fish.

  • Welding Certificate, Arclabs Welding School, 2018

Houston Branch Campus

Wyatt Nations

Wyatt Nations is the day Lead Welding Instructor at the Houston Branch Campus. Wyatt has worked in welding in a variety of environments, including construction, fabrication shops, and refineries and power plants. He has many years of experience in structural welding as well as combo pipe welding and has worked for several companies, including Zachry Industries. In his free time Wyatt enjoys singing and writing music, and he travels to perform his songs in prisons, homeless shelters, and churches.

  • Certificate, Certified Welding Inspector, American Welding Society, 2017
  • Certificate, Real Educational Services Inc., 2017
  • Certificate, Welding Instructor, NCCER, 2019
  • Certificate, Core Curricula Instructor, NCCER, 2019
  • Certificate, Pipefitting Instructor, NCCER, 2019

Michael Martinez

Michael Martinez is the night Lead Welding Instructor at the Houston Branch Campus. Michael graduated from the Advanced Welding course at Arclabs and worked for two fabricating companies prior to returning to Arclabs as an instructor. Prior to welding, Michael had worked on several Tunnel Boring Machines, including the world’s largest, Big Bertha, in Seattle. When not working, Michael enjoys watching sports, hiking, snowboarding and off-roading.

  • Welding Certificate, Arclabs Welding School, 2017 Certificate,
  • Welding Instructor, NCCER, 2018
  • Certificate, Core Curricula Instructor, NCCER, 2018
  • Certificate, Pipefitting Instructor, NCCER, 2018

David Quiroz

David Quiroz is a Welding Instructor at the Houston Branch Campus. David has over eight years of experience in the welding and pipefitting fields and has been in educational instruction for three years. He started a summer job at Powell Offshore Industries that made him realize he wanted an industrial construction career. David has since worked all over the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii, and Canada doing shut-downs, turn-arounds, and start-ups. He has worked for Turner Industries, Repcon Inc., Gulfspan, TWS, H&H, Univer Plant Services, and more. David accomplished being a tube welder and received his NCCER Plus in Pipefitting while he worked in the field; more recently, he was an educator for a non-profit in the city of Houston and created a craft training program for welding. David truly enjoys being a welding instructor and loves to share his craft with students.

  • Welding Certificate, Arclabs Welding School, 2017
  • Certificate, Tulsa Welding School, 2014
  • Certificate, Welding Instructor, NCCER, 2017
  • Certificate, Core Curricula Instructor, NCCER, 2017
  • Certificate, Pipefitting Instructor, NCCER, 2017

Silvestre Villazana

Silvestre Villazana is a Welding Instructor at the Houston Branch Campus. Silvestre has four years of experience in the welding industry as a pipe welder and fabricator at companies such as Turner Industries, Jacobs Industrial, and Flexsteel Pipeline Technologies.

  • Certificate in Welding, Premier Welding Academy, 2017

Heather Roussere

Heather Roussere is a Welding Instructor at the Houston Branch Campus. Heather has over 15 years of experience in the welding industry, ranging from oil rigs to vessel shops. She has held many leadership roles within the field, such as the Lead Pipe Welder at Surface Equipment Corporation and the Shop Supervisor at Tyler Fence. At a young age, Heather knew she wanted to be a teacher, and she has now been sharing her passion for teaching and welding for the last three years. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her boys, hiking, and surfing.

  • Certificate, OSHA 30 Standards for Construction, 2014
  • Certificate, OSHA 30 Standards for General Industry, 2014
  • Certificate, Welding Instructor, NCCER, 2019
  • Certificate, Core Curricula Instructor, NCCER, 2019
  • Certificate, Pipefitting Instructor, NCCER, 2019

Tyler Sutton

Tyler Sutton is a Welding Instructor at the Houston Branch Campus. Tyler has been welding for about five years throughout the Houston area with experience in ASME pressure vessels, ornamental welding, and shipyard welding. He has worked for companies such as Texas Plate Fabricators and Metal Railing of America. Tyler is a graduate of Arclabs Welding School, and he is excited to teach at his alma mater and give back to the next generation of welders. In his free time, Tyler enjoys traveling the coastline to fish and hunting.

  • Welding Certificate, Arclabs Welding School, 2019
  • Certificate, Welding Instructor, NCCER, 2020
  • Certificate, Core Curricula Instructor, NCCER, 2020
  • Certificate, Pipe Fitting Instructor, NCCER, 2020

Brian Musslewhite

Brian Musslewhite is a Welding Instructor at the Houston Branch Campus. Brian loves welding and has eight years of experience MIG, TIG, Stick, and Sub Arc on titanium, carbon, stainless, aluminum, and even gold (for a satellite). He joined Arclabs to create a new workforce of qualified welders. He loves giving back to the welding community that gave so much to him. Brian plays guitar and harmonica, and he loves fishing and spending time with his family and his dog.

  • Certificate, Welding Instructor, 2020
  • Certificate, Core Curricula Instructor, 2020
  • Certificate, OSHA 10 Standards for Construction, 2020

Kaden Hearn

Kaden Hearn is a Welding Instructor Aide at the Houston Branch Campus. Kaden has been welding since 2016 making grills, trailers, iron gates, and industrial barbeque pits. He developed a skill for layout, position, fabrication and welding parts and assemblies according to specifications. Kaden wanted to learn more about welding and wanted to improve his techniques, so he enrolled and graduated from Arclabs Welding School in Houston. Most recently, Kaden worked at Rock Solid Precast welding and fabricating structural molds for concrete castings. He loves MIG and Flux-core and is working toward his Instructor Certification for NCCER. In his spare time, Kaden loves to spend time with his family and enjoys continuing to develop his welding techniques in all processes.

  • Welding Certificate, Arclabs Welding School, 2020

AWS Accredited Test Facility

Steve Wheat

Steve Wheat is the Director of Testing for the AWS Accredited Test Facility. Steve started in the welding industry in 1986 after he got out of the Army. Steve has worked for Thermo Kinetic, Sanders Brothers and Gloenco. He has trained and certified all types of welders and welding operators and has developed welding procedures and processes for companies. Steve enjoys spending time with his children and grandchildren, working in his garden and riding his Harley.

  • Certificate, Certified Welding Inspector, American Welding Society, 2001
  • Certificate, Certified Welding Educator, American Welding Society, 2002
  • Certificate, Certified Welding Supervisor, American Welding Society, 2008
  • Certificate, Level II PT, American Society for Nondestructive Testing, 2009
  • Certificate, Industrial Welding Instructor, NCCER, 2010
  • Certificate, Pipefitting Instructor, NCCER, 2010
  • Certificate, Core Curricula Instructor, NCCER, 2010

Brandon Kelly

Brandon Kelly is a Materials Technician for the AWS Accredited Test Facility.

  • Welding Certificate, Arclabs Welding School, 2013