Instructor Profiles

DMACC Welding Instructor Alesa Pierce opens the door for women in welding

Alesa Pierce, DMACC Welding Instructor 

Job Description:
I am an Adjunct Instructor in the Welding department at Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) Ankeny campus.  I teach night and weekend welding courses. I have been teaching there since June of 2012.

First interest in welding:
I first got interested in welding when I was told by an employer that I couldn't possibly be a welder. The foreman told me I was not strong enough to hold a weld gun for 8 hours a day. I had the opportunity to attend DMACC through the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program after I was laid off by Maytag. I completed the welding program in 2005 and took my first full time welding job at McAninch Corporation.  While at McAnnich I discovered how much I enjoy welding, I also discovered I could hold a welding gun for 8 hours with no problems.

Working in a field dominated by men
I have always been a tom boy so working in a field dominated by men was not a stretch for me. Occasionally men doubt my abilities, but they soon find that I can hold my own.

Have you ever met any other female welding instructors?
No I have not, but the DMACC students don't seem to be skeptical of my abilities as an instructor, so that's great.

I am qualified in FCAW 3G and 4G with unlimited thickness and for AWS code D14.3, Earth Moving and Construction Equipment.  That basically means I have demonstrated advanced welding techniques and I can lay what we call a "sound" weld in these areas.

Why I do what I do:
I first became a welding instructor for the extra income; I quickly learned that I truly care about the students. It makes me extremely happy to guide them through the process of learning how to weld. It makes me feel pretty great to know that I played a part in that.

Women in Welding:
The best way to get women involved in welding is to lead by example. We need to find a way to show women that they can do anything if they really want to do it

My mentor:
My mentor is Mike Rahn (DMACC Welding Program Chair). He has taken the welding program at DMACC, along with the other instructors, and made it a very valuable asset for employers in the Central Iowa region. Mike also has an amazing ability to see a good welder in a person before they can see it in themselves.

What I do to get away from work:
Most of my free time consists of running my 2 children to various sporting events or 4-H meetings. I enjoy reading and camping with my family. I am also a Girl Scout leader to 14 wonderful, energetic girls.

I grew up in Mingo, I live north of there with my husband and children.

Words to live by:
Find a career that you love to do. It makes going to work every day much easier.