Proud to Do More to Develop the Next Generation of Welding Professionals

Posted by Chris Kielb on Jul 8, 2024 10:03:58 AM

It gives us tremendous pride that Christopher Kielb, our president, was recently elected to the Board of Trustees at Western New England University (WNE) in our hometown of Springfield, MA, and will also serve on WNE’s College of Engineering Advisory Board.


IMG_5366-1The same passion that has driven Chris to climb Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro and Russia’s Mount Elbrus, and to continue summitting the famed Seven Summits on each of the world’s continents, fuels his desire to help ensure that the next generation of engineering and manufacturing talent can meet the challenges posed by fast-changing technologies and an increasingly dynamic marketplace.

His interests in vintage cars, modern-day supercars, competitive cycling and kayaking, and competing in triathlons, underscores his desire to get the best out of himself and to help others do the same.

Having seen significant changes in global manufacturing over the past 30 years strengthens Chris’s desire to give back to the community, and industry.

Those activities have included Chris serving as Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Chicopee Comprehensive High School’s Welding and Fabrication Department, creating and running a welding internship program for students from the University of Hartford and WNE, serving on the Putnam High School Board in Springfield, MA, and being involved with Lincon Tech’s welding programs on the school’s Connecticut campuses.

A History of Service

Chris with Dean Cheraghi of the College of Engineering1Our involvement with WNE goes back many years and includes more than the internship program. We also sponsor WNE’s Golden Bear Racing Team by providing students with materials, welding training, and advice in building the best possible vehicle to compete in the annual Society of Automotive Engineers Baja competition. We have also allowed team members to use our facility for fabrication and testing. Those activities attracted the attention of Dr. SHossein Cheraghi, Dean of the College of Engineering and, later, WNE President Robert Johnson, resulting in a firm friendship with both men.

Our ties to WNE have grown stronger over the past year through our work with Dr. Seyed A. Niknam, an Associate Professor of Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management. This collaboration with him and his colleagues, Professors Vedang Chauhan and Linda Jones, resulted in WNE receiving a $1.1 million grant from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to fund a three-year project that fosters the establishment of a research and training cluster in advanced robotic welding technologies.

The award will support a collaborative project between WNE's Center for Advanced Manufacturing Systems (CAMS) that will work with Worcester Polytechnic Institute and local industry partners, including Advance Welding, to grow the advanced welding cluster and deliver new highly skilled workers to employers in the region.

Chris’s commitment to the welding industry specifically, and to the manufacturing community in general, is illustrated by his having served as vice president of the Western Massachusetts Chapter of the National Tooling and Machining Association and in being a longtime, active member of the American Welding Society.

IMG_5363Chris is also a multi-year board member of Aerospace Components Manufacturers (ACM), was recently elected vice president, and aspires to serve as president of the organization. ACM is a non-profit regional network of independent Connecticut- and southwestern Massachusetts-based aerospace companies. The organization's mission is to attract the global aerospace industry to the region.

Whatever challenges the WNE Board of Trustees faces during Chris’s term of service, one thing is certain: Chris’s dynamic personality, breadth and depth of experience, and can-do attitude that has been apparent since age 5, when he performed his first weld in his father’s home shop, will help the institution fulfill its mission, which is to empower the next generation for success through applied and experiential learning, fostering individuality and self-directed growth to better the world. 

Chris is grateful to his father, Kaz, who taught him about all things in the welding and metal fabrication industry, as well as the fundamentals of how to run a shop. He also thanks his mother, Carol, for playing peacekeeper, being even-keeled, and always finding humor in business and life. Lastly, he appreciates his sister and business partner, Melinda Martin, for her patience, understanding, knowledge, and support for all that they get themselves into.

To share your thoughts about this milestone in the life of our company, or about educating the next generation of manufacturing professionals in general, Contact Us


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