Ross Hill on his goal to be one of the welding elite
When Ross Hill was in the seventh grade he found his dad’s plumbing torch and started experimenting. “I soldered pennies together for fun. Hot things are really cool.” And the die was cast. “I’ve pretty much known I’ve wanted to be in the welding field since then.”
So enthralled with welding was Ross that he looked into taking night-classes at Sutton-Garten, a welding supply company in Indianapolis, just a stone’s throw south of his hometown of Zionsville, Indiana. This was when Ross was 11 years old. “They didn’t quite know what to make of me,” said Ross, “They’d only had adult students before.” After some head scratching and when they realized there was no age requirement for classes, Sutton-Garten accepted their youngest student ever.
Ross also got into scouting. “All my friends were in it,” he said, and so he joined. But Ross realized something that made him strive to go as high in scouts as he could. “Not all great men are Eagle Scouts,” Ross said, “But all Eagle Scouts are great men.” And Ross wanted to be a great man. For his Eagle Scout project he refurbished a trailer for his church and achieved the elite rank of Eagle.
During high school Ross managed to turn his love for welding into the best part-time job ever. He ran a welding and fabricating business out of his parent’s garage. “It’s a hobby that I love and makes money. That’s 2 for two.” Ross was repairing lawn mowers and trailers for neighbors and family. His dad bought Ross a “cheap harbor freight flux core welder” but soon that wasn’t enough. Business was so good that a 220 volt power plug had to be installed in the garage so Ross could use professional welding equipment.
Currently, Ross is finishing his 9-month training at Hobart Institute of Welding Technology in Ohio with the help of a work ethic scholarship from mikeroweWORKS. But that’s just the beginning of his training. Beyond Hobart there will be training at Ivy Tech Community College and eventually he plans to attend, and graduate from, Ohio State. “I want to be one of the welding elite,” he said. Ross’ dream job is to work for NASA as a welding engineer, which I’m told is a cross between a mechanical engineer and a welder. “It’s about analyzing the metal to determine the strongest bond possible.”
I asked Ross his thoughts on student debt and he had this to say, “Racking up a hundred thousand dollars in debt before you can legally drink? It’s a free country and everyone’s prerogative to do so but that has to be one of the stupidest ways to ruin your life while under 22.”
Instead, Ross’ advice is to “Learn a skill with your hands and no one can ever take that away from you.”