Start Your Engines: Car Television Series and Racetracks Begin a Welder’s 20-Year Career

August 2023
By: By Roline Pascal
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Padraic L. Bean

Most people fall into a career through influences from their high schools or parents, but that wasn’t the case for Padraic L. Bean. While attending East Brunswick High School in East Brunswick, N.J., Bean was at a loss as to which direction he wanted to go. The high school did not offer any welding programs or courses or even a shop class. But he was a frequent viewer of the Discovery Channel television series Monster Garage and American Hot Rod. He was fascinated watching people take an idea and a stack of material and then turn them into a work of art. From there, a career spanning nearly 20 years began to form.

Upon graduating high school in 2004, Bean attended Wyoming Technical Institute (WyoTech) in Blairsville, Pa., the following year for automotive technology. Once he took courses in chassis fabrication and street rods, he knew he wanted to pursue a career in welding and fabrication. After finishing his studies at WyoTech, he enrolled in Divers Academy International, Gloucester Township, N.J., in hopes of a future career in underwater construction and welding. Although he decided to stick to structural welding, his experiences at Divers Academy International opened his eyes to the different career paths in the welding industry. And he received his certification as a commercial diver.

Bean was heavily into motorsports. In between WyoTech and Divers Academy, he worked as a welder and fabricator at several companies that housed NASCAR and Rally teams, including Penske Racing in 2007 and Subaru Rally Team USA. He also worked at Front Row Motorsports in 2013.

Then he relocated to Alstom/Bombardier Transportation in New York, where he worked in manufacturing and building commuter railcars. He started as a welder on second shift then moved on as a tooling fabricator. After a couple of years, the company invested in his talents and skills and sent him to Hobart Institute of Welding Technology, Troy, Ohio, where he became an AWS Certified Welding Inspector (CWI) and Certified Welding Educator (CWE) in 2016. This allowed him to transition from a welder to a quality-assurance/quality-
control role. Afterward, he held various supervisory jobs within Alstom/Bombardier Transportation, including welding inspector, welding technician, and responsible welding coordinator. He then moved on to The Lincoln Electric Co. in Euclid, Ohio, as its senior customer training instructor.

1. Why did you decide to become an AWS CWI and CWE? 

I became an AWS CWI/CWE to advance my career. I did not have a college degree, and the best way for me to do it was through professional certifications. I was lucky enough to work for a company that was willing to invest in me and took the opportunity when given.

2. What inspection processes do you use at Lincoln Electric? What welding/inspection processes do you teach as a training instructor?

At Lincoln Electric, the vast majority of inspection I do is visual inspection. However, at Alstom, I held multiple SNT-TC1A Level II certifications in magnetic particle, dye penetrant, and straight beam ultrasonic testing.

3. How has becoming an AWS CWI and CWE been beneficial to your professional career?

Becoming a CWI has been a game changer in my career. Since becoming a CWI/CWE, I have been able to train 

welders, train inspectors, and become a member of the AWS D1K Subcommittee on Stainless Steel. All of these doors opened once I became a CWI.

4. What words of encouragement do you have for individuals thinking about becoming an AWS CWI and/or CWE?

Becoming a CWI is not easy. It takes dedication and a willingness to learn. However, like everything that is difficult to accomplish, the sense of pride you get from success is great. Once you attain your CWI, the possibilities for professional development are endless.

5. What is the highlight of your career?

I would say the highlights of my career would be building [NASCAR] Cup cars that took first and second place in the Daytona 500, being part of projects that transport 25-million-plus people a year, and being part of a company that is on the cutting edge of welding technology and helping manufacturers implement that technology.