When Nick Peterson talks about welding, his eyes light up.
“A lot of people see welding as just fusing metal together,” he said. “I don’t. You have to have that little touch to make it look great. It brings out my creative side.”
Peterson’s grandmother, who raised him, was an artist. If she wasn’t watching the Food Network, she was drawing. Several of his six siblings picked up the gift, but Peterson never acquired it.
“She could look at something and draw it as if you took a black-and-white photo of it,” he said. “I tried my hardest to draw. I also went to culinary school for a while, because she taught me how to cook. I wasn’t the greatest at that, either. Now I know that welding is my art.”
But it wouldn’t be until he reached his late 20s that Peterson discovered welding when a co-worker convinced him to leave his grocery store assistant manager job to work at John Deere as an assembler.
“It paid well, so I took the opportunity,” he said. “As I was going through orientation, they asked, ‘We have 22 welding spots open. Anyone want to try welding?’ They had a six-week training program, and if you passed, you became a welder.”