Fincher be­gins WorldSkill­s Weld­ing Com­pe­ti­tion this week

The Standard Journal - - LOCAL - Staff re­ports

Ge­or­gia North­west­ern Tech­ni­cal Col­lege (GNTC) alum­nus and Skill­sUSA World Team Welder Ryan Fincher of Cedar­town will be­gin the four-day WorldSkill­s Weld­ing Com­pe­ti­tion, an elite in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion against the best welders from around the world, on Thurs­day, Aug. 22, in Kazan, Rus­sia.

The 45th WorldSkill­s Com­pe­ti­tion is the world cham­pi­onship of skills and is con­sid­ered the most pres­ti­gious in­ter­na­tional vo­ca­tional skills com­pe­ti­tion. Com­peti­tors from 63 Mem­ber Coun­tries and Re­gions are ex­pected to take part in WorldSkill­s Kazan 2019, which will in­clude com­pe­ti­tions in a wide range of skilled trades.

“Al­ways push your­self to be bet­ter don’t set­tle for just good enough,” said Fincher. “Push your­self and see what you are ca­pa­ble of or you’ll never know.”

Gold, sil­ver and bronze medals will be awarded at the end of the com­pe­ti­tion. Medals for Ex­cel­lence are also awarded to com­peti­tors who achieve above av­er­age scores in their con­tested area.

The last WordSkills Weld­ing com­pe­ti­tion took place in 2017 at Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emi­rates and in­cluded rep­re­sen­ta­tives from China, Korea, Ja­pan, Chinese Taipei, United States of Amer­ica, Malaysia, Aus­tralia, Rus­sia, Thai­land, Nether­lands, United King­dom, Canada, Brazil, Hun­gary, Ire­land, Iran, Bel­gium, Mon­go­lia, New Zealand, Aus­tria, Switzer­land, United Arab Emi­rates, Nor­way, In­dia, South Africa, Be­larus, Swe­den, Spain, In­done­sia, Saudi Ara­bia, Kaza­khstan, King­dom of Bahrain, Kuwait and Zam­bia.

“Well there’s a lit­tle bit of a lan­guage bar­rier some­times with other com­peti­tors but every­one has re­spect for one another be­cause we’ve all made it to this level and we all know what it took to get to this level,” said Fincher.

Fincher was se­lected as the Skill­sUSA World Team Welder to rep­re­sent the na­tion in Fe­bru­ary. The an­nounce­ment was made at an awards pro­gram hosted by the Amer­i­can Weld­ing So­ci­ety (AWS) in Huntsville, Ala.

As the World Team Welder, Fincher will re­ceive a $40,000 schol­ar­ship in ad­di­tion to rep­re­sent­ing the na­tion against the best WorldSkill­s welders from other coun­tries.

“It is an honor to be able to rep­re­sent the U.S.,” said Fincher. “I have al­ways dreamed about this since I heard of WorldSkill­s.”

Fincher com­peted in a fourstage process to be­come the Skill­sUSA World Team Welder and has been train­ing for WorldSkill­s for years.

“Ryan is the first per­son in the State of Ge­or­gia to be­come the Skill­sUSA World Team Welder,” said Matt Hayden, in­struc­tor of Weld­ing and Join­ing Tech­nol­ogy at GNTC. Hayden is also an in­struc­tor of Met­als and Weld­ing at Cedar­town High School and has been coach­ing Fincher since he was high a school stu­dent.

Ev­ery two years, the AWS in­vites the top 48 weld­ing com­peti­tors from the Na­tional Skill­sUSA Cham­pi­onships to com­pete in the four-stage com­pe­ti­tion to de­cide the Skill­sUSA World Team Welder. All com­peti­tors were state cham­pi­ons and have com­peted at the na­tional level for Skill­sUSA.

Fincher al­ready has ex­pe­ri­ence in in­ter­na­tional weld­ing com­pe­ti­tions. He was se­lected by the AWS to be the Amer­i­can rep­re­sen­ta­tive in the China In­ter­na­tional Weld­ing Com­pe­ti­tion 2018 in Bei­jing and won the bronze medal. Fincher also has trained in Eisen­berg, Ger­many and Gansu, China.

Fincher’s trip to China was part of his prepa­ra­tion to com­pete in the four-part Team USA Welder Se­lec­tion com­pe­ti­tion. There were rep­re­sen­ta­tives from China, Mon­go­lia, Korea, Rus­sia, Aus­tralia, and other coun­tries at the com­pe­ti­tion in Bei­jing.

“I was amazed at the qual­ity and level that the other welders at the com­pe­ti­tion in China were op­er­at­ing at and it has given me a goal to try to be bet­ter than what I have seen them ac­com­plish,” said Fincher.

As a GNTC stu­dent, Fincher won the gold medal in the Weld­ing Com­pe­ti­tion at the Skill­sUSA Na­tional Lead­er­ship and Skills Con­fer­ence in 2017 and be­came the col­lege’s first ever na­tional cham­pion. Fincher grad­u­ated from GNTC in 2017.

“These com­pe­ti­tions have pushed me to al­ways find bet­ter ways and more ef­fi­cient ways to be a bet­ter welder and strive for per­fec­tion each time I step into the booth,” said Fincher.


Ryan Fincher com­petes this month at the World Skills con­test in weld­ing.

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