Notch Mechanical Constructors hosts 17th annual Notch Pipe Welding Challenge
CHICOPEE, MA – Students from nine vocational high schools in Massachusetts and Connecticut came together on May 20, 2015 to compete in the “Bend Off”, the final phase of 17th Annual Notch Pipe Welding Challenge, a craft skills competition held at the headquarters of Notch Mechanical Constructors in Chicopee, MA.
From the field of 104 competitors, twelve students made the semifinals with the following students the top three finishers:
- First Place “Top Notch Welder”: Lenin Diaz, Chicopee Comprehensive High School Welding Teachers: Mr. Mike Douville and Mrs. Amanda Mucha
- Second Place: Spenser Tanner, McCann Technical High School Welding Teacher: Mr. John Kline
- Third Place: Walter Pielai, Franklin County Technical High School Welding Teacher: Mr. Jesse Edwards
“It’s exciting to see so many talented welders being developed in our vocational high school programs,” said Douglas Neveu, VP of Operations of Notch Mechanical Constructors and himself an ASME qualified welder. “The 2015 Weld Challenge was intense with 104 competitors. While there were only twelve names on the semifinalist list, it was not from a lack of good welders. Rather it reflects an increasing level of quality being achieved by the competitors.”
The twelve semifinalists were all diligent welders. Each had their weld samples pass both face and root tests. From the twelve, only seven passed both visual and bend test requirements to earn their 1G ASME certification. Neveu noted that the degree of difference between the students’ weld quality was very tight and the judges stepped out of the room to rank each competitor’s work on criteria beyond the ASME standards.
As part of the Weld Challenge event, Neveu spoke to students about how past and future experiences can unwittingly provide benefits for their careers. Not knowing what the future holds, he advised students on never missing an opportunity to learn something new every day.
Special guest Chicopee Mayor Richard Kos gave the students words of encouragement and special congratulations to the winning welder from Chicopee Comp. He also congratulated the winning instructors, including Amanda Mucha, who has come full circle. She was a participant in the competition when it first started, then joined Notch as an apprentice and earned her journeyman pipefitter license, and now guides her students to victory.
Mrs. Mucha is not the only teacher who was once a Weld Challenge competitor. Welding teachers Jessie Edwards from Franklin County Technical School and Ben Weingarden from Howell Cheney Technical High School both participated in the Challenge when they were students.Mayor Kos congratulated the Chicopee Comp welding students on winning this years competition. He also congratulated teacher Amanda Mucha who was winner of the challenge as a student when the program first started and who now guided her students to victory!
This year’s participating schools included:
- Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School, Marlborough, MA
- Chicopee Comprehensive High School, Chicopee, MA
- Franklin County Technical School, Turners Falls, MA
- Gateway Regional High School, Huntington, MA
- Howell Cheney Technical High School, Manchester, CT
- McCann Technical School, North Adams, MA
- Old Colony Regional Vocational Technical High School, Rochester, MA
- Shawsheen Valley Technical High School, Billerica, MA
- Taconic High School, Pittsfield, MA
Several generous sponsors provided a variety of “tools of the trade” to the winning school and the top three students participating in this competition. Additionally, door prizes were given to all students in attendance.
Notch Mechanical Constructors, one of New England’s top mechanical piping contractors, has sponsored this competition for welding students from around New England for 17 straight years. This competitive learning experience outside the traditional classroom setting is enlightening, refreshing and invigorating for everyone involved.