A desire to graduate with a high school diploma and associate degree — at the same time — led Port Angeles resident Colby Groves to join Peninsula College’s Running Start program two years ago.
Groves knew from the start that he wanted to pursue a career in welding, and Program Coordinator Eoin Doherty said his talent was evident from the very beginning.
“We immediately saw how good Colby was at picking up information from the instructors and he rapidly learned the welding processes taught in the program,” Doherty said. “We also started to see how meticulous he was with fabrication, so he was allocated some intricate projects such as the aluminum start/stop line at the BMX track in Port Angeles.”
Groves reports that his favorite part of the job is completing the work and seeing the final product, especially when he has built items for other people. Past projects include exhaust systems and turbo kits. TIG, or Tungsten inert gas welding, is Groves’ favorite kind of weld because it is ideal for high-quality and precision welding.
“TIG welding is a cleaner process, and you can get a cool-looking weld that is more appealing to the eye,” he said.
Initially, Groves was employed at Screaming Diesel Products, then was offered a job as welder at the new Stabicraft boat factory in Port Angeles in November. Once hired, the company flew him to New Zealand for three weeks to train with experts at the Stabicraft factory. Now home, Groves will take what he learned in New Zealand to his position as an aluminum fishing boat welder at the Port Angeles site.
Groves said he appreciated the entire experience, from visiting the country to receiving training from the company’s home base.
As for his time at PC, Groves said he is grateful to the PC welding instructors that kept pushing him to improve and not give up.
“It can be hard as a Running Start student at first because it’s a lot of back and forth between the schools, but it’s worth it in the end,” he said. “I’d recommend it because the welding is amazing, and you learn a lot.”
“We’re so proud of Colby in what he has achieved in such a short time,” Doherty said. “He’s a wonderful ambassador of the Running Start program and shows what one can achieve with a skill like welding and fabrication.”
Learn more at pencol.edu.