AWS Future Leaders Program

AWS Future Leaders Program

The American Welding Society (AWS) has initiated the Future Leaders Program to develop the next generation of AWS leaders and to aid in the continuing efforts of AWS to ensure a diversity of viewpoints reflective of the entire AWS membership, especially the next generation of welding industry professionals. The Future Leaders Program offers opportunities for early career members of the welding community to interact with industry leaders to contribute to AWS at the highest level of governance. 

 Apply Online

The deadline to apply has been extended to April 28, 2023.


  • Serve up to a three-year term, commencing on January 1st.
  • Attend two (2) AWS Board of Director Meetings (spring and fall) and participate as a non-voting member. Attend all AWS Board of Director Orientation and Training Sessions at the Board Meetings. 
  • Attend FABTECH, including all AWS required meetings and events.
  • Participate in AWS policy-setting committee meetings.
  • Work with a mentor (a member of the AWS Board of Directors will be assigned as mentor)
    • Understand Board of Director meeting protocol
    • Sit with Board of Director mentor at meetings
  • Participate in local AWS Section activities when possible

AWS will pay for travel, lodging and per diem at required in-person meetings or events.

Eligibility Requirements

  • AWS Member
  • Must be 18 years of age or older on January 1 of their first year in office
  • Must be no older than 35 years of age on January 1 of their first year in office
  • To ensure diversity within the program, one participant will be selected from each of two categories every year.
    • Minimum HS Diploma or equivalent, as well as be a CWI, welder, or welding educator.
    • Minimum 4-Year Degree, as well as engineers, scientists, professors and business, sales or marketing personnel.

Desired Attributes

Applicants for the Future Leaders Program will be evaluated based on potential for leadership. Where applicable, your attributes can be listed on the application form. Examples of desired attributes include but are not limited to the areas shown below.

  • AWS Scholarship recipient
  • SKILLS participant (list ranking at state, national, or world level)
  • AWS Leadership Symposium attendee
  • Involvement in AWS Section and/or Student Chapter activities
  • AWS Section or Student Chapter Officer
  • AWS Committee involvement
  • Community service
  • Involvement in other leadership activities

Future Leaders Representatives

The American Welding Society (AWS) Future Leaders Program aims to promote the involvement of early career members, including students, into AWS activities.


Neil Cox Killeen
Neil Cox

Neil is a Welding Process Specialist for Airgas where he travels his region helping customers with weld process selection and optimization, as well as capital equipment purchasing and training. He earned an associate degree in Welding and Fabrication from Southwestern Oregon Community College and a bachelor’s degree in Welding Engineering Technology from Ferris State University.

Jonathan Hiebl
Jonathan Hiebl

Jonathan is a welding teacher at Chippewa Falls High School in Wisconsin who excels in developing strong, student centered, career and technical education (CTE) programs through community supported projects, business and industry partnerships, and specialized facilities and equipment. He earned a bachelor’s degree from UW-Stout in Technology Education while working as a welder and fitter in the sanitary process industry.


Brandy Killeen
Brandy Killeen

Brandy is the Program Director and Welding Instructor at West Virginia Northern Community College. She is an AWS Certified Welding Inspector and earned an associate degree in Welding Technology from West Virginia Northern Community College.

Robert Watson
Robert Watson

Robert is a Welding Engineer with the Weld Execution Team at General Motors Corporation in Warren, Michigan. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Welding Engineering Technology and an associate degree in Welding Technology from Ferris State University.


Hannah J. Wolff
Hannah J. Wolf

Hannah is a full-time faculty and outreach specialist for the trades at Madison Area Technical College in Wisconsin. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities and a technical diploma in Welding and Metal Fabrication from Madison Area Technical College.

Past Future Leaders


Andrea Orr, Research Engineer, Ford Motor Company


Gabrielle Bettengnies, Mechanical Design Engineer, System Technologies Inc.


Mitchell Grams, PhD. Candidate at Canadian Centre for Welding and Joining, University of Alberta Victoria Shekastehband, Intern, Savannah River Nuclear Solutions

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