Materials Joining Engineering Alumni

Duane K. Miller

Graduated 1978

The Lincoln Electric Company
Cleveland, Ohio

(1978-Present) Manager, Engineering Services. Responsible for technical support for customers in welding design-related areas. Activities include consulting, failure analysis, technical writing, and conducting seminars. Professional activities include AWS D1 Structural Welding Committee (currently First Vice Chair), AWS D1.8 Seismic Welding Committee (Chair) and AISC Specifications Committee (member).

How has the Materials Joining program at LeTourneau affected you?

The Lincoln Electric Company, Cleveland Ohio: (1978-Present) Manager, Engineering Services. Responsible for technical support for customers in welding design-related areas. Activities include consulting, failure analysis, technical writing and conducting seminars. Professional activities include AWS D1 Structural Welding Committee (currently First Vice Chair), AWS D1.8 Seismic Welding Committee (Chair) and AISC Specifications Committee (member).

I graduated from LeTourneau University in 1978 with a double major in Mechanical and Welding Engineering. Upon graduation, I joined Lincoln Electric, a unique company with high standards and even higher expectations of its employees. I was placed in a training class with nine other individuals from prestigious universities from around the country. LeTourneau prepared me to go toe-to-toe with my colleagues and excel. In many cases, the advantage I enjoyed was the practical, hands-on experiences, taught to me over the years by my dad, but enhanced by the practical orientation of LeTourneau. My supervisor at the time introduced me with the boast: "He's from LeTourneau. "He's had dirt under his fingernails. He's a good man." This background allowed me to quickly establish a reputation within this company and build a platform for an ongoing career.

When I enrolled in graduate school at the University of Wisconsin, I did so with some trepidation: Would my experience at LeTourneau be adequate for this challenge? In graduate school, I discovered that the quality of instruction received at LeTourneau was in many cases superior to that of Wisconsin. The depth of instruction in graduate school was more advanced, but in terms of the commitment to education, interest in the students and the overall level of rigor, the balance tipped in favor of LeTourneau.

While the academic and practical education in welding and the other engineering topics was, and continues to be, important to me, the most important lessons were gleaned from the spiritually-focused discussions, whether in the Old or New Testament survey classes, Chapel or dorm room discussions. Some of the most important lessons were learned from interaction with Godly professors who were committed not only to excellence in education, but in building with "gold, silver and precious stones". These lessons are the most treasured aspects of my LeTourneau experience, and for those dedicated professors who taught me those lessons, I will forever be grateful.

Finally, at LeTourneau I met people who continue to be friends to this day. My "randomly" assigned freshman roommate (Rich Campbell) was my best man in my wedding four years later. And, twenty six years after that, when my son was married, Rich and his wife Evelyn showed up at that wedding. The roommate assignment was anything but "random": It was God-ordained, and our relationship to this day continues to be part of the LeTourneau heritage.

In more ways than I can summarize in this brief message, my experience at LeTourneau was life-changing. The combination of academic excellence, the practical focus, the spiritual training, the dedicated staff and the friends that I made cause me to be thankful for my LeTourneau experience.

Pete Nicklas

Graduated 1998

ESAB Welding & Cutting Products
Hanover, PA (2001-1998)

Research Engineer II. Worked in Research & Development, formulating welding consumables. Most of my work was spent on stainless steel flux-cored wires, stainless steel stick electrodes and metal-cored wires and flux for submerged arc welding. Also worked as in Quality Assurance, handling field complaints and approving and auditing raw material and steel mill vendors.

ITW Hobart Brothers; Troy, OH (Present-2001) Product Development Engineer. Working in Research & Development formulating welding consumables. Responsible for Trimark brand consumables for submerged arc welding, including wire and flux development, technical support for both the Hobart Brothers and Miller Electric field sales, submerged arc literature and technical papers. I work closely with our sister company Miller Electric, with their equipment for submerged arc welding and promoting new technology in submerged arc welding.

What do you think of the Welding/Materials Program at LeTourneau?

I had the privilege to spend two years studying under Mr. Kielhorn, and two years under Dr. Adonyi. This gave me the chance to fine-tune my hands-on skills, as well as learn and use some of the most sophisticated analytical tools available to industry today. Not too many schools can you get time on an SEM as an undergrad. LeTourneau has continued to improve their facilities and program since I have graduated, and I sincerely feel that today's program is second to none for an undergraduate welding/materials engineering degree.

What are you currently doing with your degree?

Since I have graduated I have been fortunate enough to work for two of the three largest welding manufacturers in the world. Both positions have offered me the rare chance to develop products that are used in many different applications that are used throughout the world. I have the opportunity to develop products in the laboratory and then travel the world to test and apply these new products to industry. My degree from LeTourneau gave me an excellent base in engineering principles, metallurgy and chemistry that I use everyday.

If any perspective students would like to contact me regarding the welding program or my experience, feel free to contact me via email. My email address is: pete.nicklas@hobartbrothers.com

Tom Landon

Graduated 1975

CB&I (formerly Chicago Bridge & Iron Company)
Plainfield, Illinois

My career with CB&I began in July 1975, shortly after my graduation from LeTourneau University. My current position is General Manager, Corporate Welding & QA Technologies. I am responsible for a 14 member professional and technical staff located at the CB&I Corporate Technical Center in Plainfield, Illinois. The department is responsible for providing welding and Quality Assurance direction, oversight and operational support to district and project personnel company wide. I am also responsible for recruiting and professional development of welding & QA technicians and staff engineers.

Over the past 29 years, I have held numerous positions in the CB&I organization and have worked in a variety of locations. Previous assignments include working as a Welding Manager in CB&I's Latin American construction district located in Miami (1980 - 1985), the Central USA construction district located near Chicago (1985 - 1989) and the Southern USA construction district located in Houston (1989 - 1994). I also served as an Area Welding & QA Manager for Europe, Africa and the Middle East in 1994. In 1995, I began 5 years as the Corporate Equipment Manager responsible for the fleet of construction equipment employed by CB&I worldwide. In 2000 I returned to the Corporate Welding & QA Technology department in the role of Senior Welding Engineer and in 2001 assumed my current position as General Manager of that department. The Corporate Welding & QA Technologies group moved from Houston to its present location in Plainfield, Illinois in 2002.

In addition to my career responsibilities with CB&I, I have maintained active participation in several professional organizations and code bodies. These activities include:

  • Local Chapter of American Welding Society
  • AWS Committee D14 on Machinery and Equipment
  • AWS Subcommittee D14C on Earthmoving and Construction Equipment (Current Chairman)
  • LeTourneau University Engineering Advisory Council
  • LeTourneau University Welding Advisory Council (Past Chairman)

What do you think of the Welding/Materials Program at LeTourneau?

When I graduated from LeTourneau in 1975, I believed that I was well prepared to enter the field of construction engineering and take on the role of Welding Engineer for one of the leading metal plate construction companies in the world. I felt like the "hands-on" welding background I received as well as the engineering and metallurgical principles that I learned had properly equipped me for my planned career.

That was true in 1975, but in today's world, the standards have changed and the bar has been raised. Industry demands that Welding Engineers today have more than a solid welding background and a fundamental knowledge of welding metallurgy. They must know and understand current technology for welding processes and advanced materials. They must have experience in research and development initiatives that push the leading edge of their industry. They must be practiced with the tools and equipment that populate the laboratory and the work place.

The Welding / Materials Joining department at LeTourneau has done a remarkable job of meeting the expectations of their industry. The strong mix of practical and theoretical instruction along with the detailed lab experience makes the LeTourneau graduate as well prepared as any Welding Engineer entering the marketplace today. This is why I continue to recruit LeTourneau welding engineers for CB&I and why I encourage and support my son, who is entering his senior year in the LeTourneau Welding Engineering Program.

What are you currently doing with your degree?

My Welding Engineering degree from LeTourneau University opened the doors for a career that has more than met all my expectations and desires. I have had the opportunity to visit and work in more than 40 countries on 6 continents. I have been involved in the design, fabrication and field erection of some of the largest and most intricate metal plate structures in our industry. I have met and worked with colleagues and professionals in all walks of the welding world, including equipment manufacturers, consumable manufacturers, material producers, fabricators, constructors, designers and end product users in government and industry.

I have also had the opportunity to share my LeTourneau experience and give back to the industry that has employed me for almost 30 years. Through involvements in professional groups and code committees I have been privileged to help expand the construction welding business. And, through various training classes provided by or supported by CB&I, I have been able to teach others many of the things I have learned throughout my career.