The Surehand® Spotlight shares just some of the many thousands of stories in the skilled industrial trades, shining a bright light on the hard-working tradesmen and women who build, operate, maintain, and ensure the safety of the world we live in. We also focus on the individuals and organizations working hard to advance industrial sectors and ensure their success over the coming decades.
This month we shine the spotlight on Caity Brown–better known as “Miss Madskills”, owner of MadSkills, a specialty welding and inspection training company. MadSkills offers on-site consultation, procedure qualification, welder qualification, auditing, and QA/QC – they do it all! With experience in AWS, ASME and API codes, structural and pipe welding standards and industry experience, they understand the problems workers and companies face and how to fix them. We spoke to Caity about her business, the future of welding, and advice on getting started.
Photo credits: Caity Brown
I’m the very lucky daughter of a guy who said that I could do anything I wanted if I was interested in it. So I did dance and gymnastics and also learned to change the oil in my dad’s truck. I started playing around with welding when I was 14 and it was the first thing anyone told me I was naturally good at. It was the first thing I had a knack for. When you’re good at something, it’s easy to want to learn more.
I have an associate degree in Welding from Casper College in Wyoming. And then was lucky enough to have a job waiting for me when I graduated. I was in a welding contest in school, which was held at a welding supply store. People were coming in and buying things at the store. One of my friends who worked at the store talked to a customer who owned a company. That man told my friend that “if that girl wants a job, tell her she has one.” The company was called Dodge Machine Corp. I worked there on and off doing contract work for about 2 or 3 years.
I created my own CWI course to help people become ready to take the Inspection test. I actually come to the customer company location and train people on site. I go to places that no one goes such as places in Wyoming and even Alaska. I also do specialty welding inspection work and I would love to do more training with people on things such as becoming an inspector and working with specialty alloys.
There is more and more government oversight, documentation, and safety practices, and welding needs to keep up with that. And also the industry itself is facing a huge labor shortage. If we don’t learn to tap into women and minorities and bring them into the industries, we are looking at a giant shortage.
I would love to see women stop being portrayed as princesses and to be shown as capable partners. The people I have respected most are the ones who are interested in whether or not I can do the job and have treated me as an equal. I am exceptionally good at what I do and I feel that’s the best thing I can do is to represent my trade as a professional.
It’s embarrassing how little it takes to stand out. Show up on time, wear professional clothing that doesn’t have profanity or holes. I took every opportunity and shook hands with everybody who would shake my hand. There are opportunities all around. Go to every industry event. Even if you don’t have a business, have a card. Get an adult email with no jokes, or profanity. There are just little things that can set you apart. I can teach anyone to weld, but I can’t teach you how to show up or how to care.
I volunteer with the Texas Highschool Welding Series which is a non profit organization that works to promote welding in young people. We have certification events so kids can pass and certify in the industry. It’s a lot of fun.
Our thanks to Caity Brown for making time to share her story and industry insights with us.
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