Frank Johnson is an NCCER-certified welder and a journey-level boilermaker and pipefitter. As a welding trainer and instructor at PBF Energy Toledo Refinery, he tests and qualifies welders and writes and qualifies welding procedures. He has created and qualified nearly 38 welding procedures so far.
Q: WHY DID YOU CHOOSE A CAREER IN THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY?
A: The reason I chose a career in welding is because of my grandfather who owned a welding shop. I started welding at his shop when I was 13 years old. He pushed me to read and learn as much as possible about welding so that I could solve problems as they arise. I was also inspired to weld because of my love for steam tractors and the opportunity to weld them whenever they were in need of repair.
Q: WHAT TRAINING HAVE YOU HAD? WHY IS TRAINING IMPORTANT?
A: I took welding courses at Penta County Vocational High School. Upon graduation at just 18 years old, I passed the state pipe test, which is a rare accomplishment for someone so young. I worked as a welder for a year before joining the military. Though I didn’t work as a welder during my service, I received increased pay in the military because of my success at passing the pipe test. Training is important because you need to know welding codes, variables and demands of the industry.
Q: WHAT TYPES OF WORK HAVE YOU DONE IN YOUR CAREER?
A: After the service, I started my boilermaking apprenticeship. Six months into the apprenticeship, I became recognized as a skilled welder, which enabled me to receive journey-level pay. I worked at various refineries, including the Davis Bessie Nuclear Plant in Ohio. At the time, Davis Bessie needed welders, so I welded there for about a year then worked for two and half years as a pipefitter/welder. I went on to become a journeylevel pipefitter and boilermaker. After that, I worked at Enrico Formi Nuclear Power Plant in Monroe, Michigan. While there, I was recruited by Detroit Edison, an electric utility, to work with their welding engineer, and I qualified 95 percent of their welding procedures.