From his start as welder, to teaching, to hosting the Arc Junkies Podcast, Jason Becker fully immerses himself in his profession every single day. In this episode, Jeremy and Eric sit down with Jason to talk about his fascinating journey as a welder. Among other topics, we learn about his early career, his passion for teaching the next generation of welders, and how he became the host of Arc Junkies. Be sure to listen in as Jeremy and Eric get another compelling story of a devoted trades worker and fellow podcaster.
Jason Becker never planned to pursue a lifelong career in the trade when he started working as a welder at age 15. Shortly after high school, he joined the US Marine Corps and found himself as a combat engineer for four years. While considering re-enlisting, Jason decided that he wanted to do more with his skills outside of the military.
He eventually left the Marines to obtain an Associate's Degree in Construction. While studying to receive his Bachelor's Degree in Welding, Jason began teaching at Valenci College in Florida. He immediately fell in love with it and has been teaching ever since.
"It's been a hell of a ride.. teaching something that I'm truly passionate about. It's just amazing, you know, and that's kind of what drives me to get out of bed in the morning, every morning, I don't dread going to work, I get up, I'm excited. And you know, I get to pass that knowledge off to the next generation. It's really cool."
One of the biggest values Jason instills in his students is having a good work ethic. He recounts the opportunities presented for him in his own experiences, and tries to pay it forward as an instructor himself.
"Everything that I've done I think it's based off of my work ethics and efforts that I put forward and people see something in you and they give you an opportunity just like my professor.. he saw I showed up to class every day I was there early.. turning on my assignments on time.. He saw enough in me to say hey, you know I think you'd be a really good fit for this position over here with the college."
While in college, Jason also had several jobs over the course of ten years doing structural steel iron work. He first got into structural steel by accident through a welding job he found through classified ads. On the second day of work, Jason was brought onto a jobsite where the team was executing more construction-oriented work, which opened up a whole new world for him.
"I started getting into helping them out doing I-beams and bar joists and decking.. framing steel buildings and all that stuff and, you know, doing the stairs and when I wasn't doing the stairs, I'd be back out with the iron work crew."
Jason grew accustomed to long hours, working as much as 84-hours per week between studying in college. During this time, he had to learn the importance of keeping his mental and physical health in check to carry out his job on the highest level.
"I think the biggest thing that's helped out is like physically taking care of myself, trying to find time to get to the gym and stay away from crap foods.. give my body the best fuel, take all the vitamins I'm supposed to.. you gotta take care of your body. The biggest tool that you have is your body."
In April 2020, Jason was asked to take over the Arc Welding Podcast from former host and good friend Jimmy McKnight, who was moving on from welding. As an avid listener of the podcast, he was caught off guard when asked by Jimmy to carry the torch. From there on, Jason taught himself the ins and outs of podcasting after one episode and a brief instructional Zoom call with Jimmy.
"He gave me a list of equipment you know good better best and I kind of bought the best that I could afford at the time we did an episode together and he kind of walked me through via zoom how to record the podcast and then once we're done he did a screen share showed me how to edit and upload everything to the hosting service and he's like alright man, good luck!"
From welding, to teaching, to podcasting, and everything in between, Jason has opened doors for himself through hard work and dedication to his craft.