by Eric Jensen
Sparks fly when Mike Wilson goes to work, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.
Wilson is an adjunct instructor teaching welding at Victoria College’s Gonzales Center in Gonzales, Texas, and he enjoys helping students learn a trade. Wilson’s most rewarding moments come when his students get that “light bulb” experience: that moment of understanding when all the lessons come together in a flash.
“The biggest ‘up’ for me is getting in there and showing them how to do things, interacting with them, and helping them,” Wilson said. “Seeing them at the end of class think, ‘I achieved something today; I can do this;’ makes it all worthwhile.”
The instructor began teaching at VC’s Gonzales Center early in 2014 when the first welding class started in Gonzales. He can be seen teaching Welding 1 to a group of Gonzales High School students five days a week from 2-4 p.m. He returns in the evening to teach Welding I from 6-10 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays and Welding II from 6-10 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
“He is a natural teacher,” said Jackie Mikesh, VC Gonzales Center Manager. “Mike is one of those who came from the welding industry. Not everyone who can do a skill can also teach — he can. He has a real knack with students.”
The courses are taught in the Gonzales Workforce Training Center, a building trades academy, which opened in May 2014. It includes an open bay area, two classrooms, a construction training classroom, and 16 welding booths.
With 25 years of experience in the welding industry, Wilson worked as a welder with Alamo Group in Seguin for 10 years. Prior to that, he worked with several manufacturing companies in Texas, California, Utah, and Arkansas.
Wilson enjoys barbecuing and traveling when time permits, but his first love is welding.
“I enjoy it maybe a little too much because that’s all I do,” he admitted. “That’s most of what I know. It has done me well this far.”