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  • Writer's pictureTerry Bierwirth

I Love My Trade - Joe Brown, Welder

In honor of #NationalSkilledTradesDay, May 6, 2020, we're launching a series called I Love My Trade. We connected with Joe Brown on social media, a welder located in Phoenix, Arizona. Brown owns Hog On Welding, a company that fabricates custom containers, along with other fabrication fieldwork, modifications, repairs, and installations. Joe shared with My Work My Future a great story published about him in the online magazine the fabricator. Here is an excerpt from his story.

Joe Brown, Hog On Welding Phoenix, AZ

I decided on my career path in prison while being incarcerated as an adolescent. By the age of 13 I caught my first felony, at 14 I was initiated in the organization called Gangster Disciple, and by 15 I had dropped out of school and been charged with several felonies. Prison or death was the next step for me. Luckily, prison devoured me before death did. At the age of 16, I faced a possible life sentence due to charges stacked up against me. I received a 14-year sentence under the 70% law, where I would do approximately 10 years of my life in the Arkansas Department of Corrections.

My mom came down to visit me at the Corrections Facility in Arkansas when I was 17. She asked if I thought about what I wanted to do once I was released and suggested welding opportunities, thinking that I might be good at it. She sent me some information from the local library, and while I didn’t get a chance to start welding until a few years later, I knew it was what I wanted to do. I was 22 years old when I was able to get inside of the combination welding program in prison and completed the program in 2004.

Joe Brown, Hog On Welding

My advice to anyone that wants to be a welder or follow this path is that actions speak louder than words. As long as you're standing still, there will be no progress. Take that leap of faith. Invest in yourself. You don't need a college degree. You do need willpower. And don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Read the full story in the fabricator here.

Follow Brown on Instagram.

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