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Welding Pros Share Tips on What Drives True Success

Ryan Eubank (left) and Jesse Srpan talk with welding and automotive/collision repair students in CAL.
Ryan Eubank (left) and Jesse Srpan talk with welding and automotive/collision repair students in CAL.
Srpan's custom chopper awaits a curious public.
Srpan’s custom chopper awaits a curious public.
Students didn't soon tire of assessing Srpan's meticulous handiwork ...
Students didn’t soon tire of assessing Srpan’s meticulous handiwork …
.. snapping photos and taking notes throughout the visit.
.. snapping photos and taking notes throughout the visit.

A packed house of Penn College students got a motivational push Friday from an unlikely source: a self-described dyslexic with a third-grade reading level who has taught welding to some of highest-ranking engineers in the world. Ryan Eubank, a longtime instructor at Lincoln Electric and Willoughby Career Academy in Ohio, was among the industry professionals to visit on the last day of spring classes. “Show up, shut up and do a great job,” he told the overflowing College Avenue Labs classroom, sending students off to graduation and/or summer employment with a heaping platter of food for thought. “Welding is a tool that can’t be taken away from you. If you keep your eyes open, your ears open wider and your mouth shut … and have a good work ethic … you’ll never, ever not have a job.” Eubank was joined by one of his former students – Jesse Srpan, a master motorcyle builder, owner of Raw Iron Choppers and welding instructor at Lakeland Community College. The two men toured the Avco-Lycoming Metal Trades Center, impressed by the welding labs and the work of the SAE Baja team. “You’re lucky,” Eubank told students. “You get to learn in one of the most amazing schools imaginable. A lot of your names are forgettable, but not the ‘a-ha’ moments that you’ve had with these instructors.” The visit was arranged by one of those faculty members, welding instructor Timothy S. Turnbach, who met Eubank during a training last summer. Turnbach intended for the presentation to invigorate students, to boost an energy level that typically sags at the end of the semester, and the Eubank/Srpan team didn’t disappoint. With the passion of a preacher and the optimism of a winning football coach, Eubank paced and gestured and engaged. And with a naturalness that comes from friendship, Srpan seamlessly interjected his thoughts, dovetailing on issues raised by his one-time mentor. “Someone told me there’s no such thing as giving 110 percent, that there’s 100 percent and that’s it,” Srpan said. “The other 10 percent is in the extra work, the giving back.” His words were echoed by Eubank, who urged students to look past their paychecks to the benefits beyond. “And don’t ever forget where you came from,” he told them. “Pay it forward – whether it’s mentoring, hiring former students, being a friend.” After the two-hour pep talk, the group traveled to the nearby collision repair lab, where students got a close look at the chopper Srpan custom-built for Discovery Channel’s “Biker Live” show.

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