Wilson Machine and Welding Shop, Cordova, Ala. was presented the 2007 Silver Star of Excellence Award during ATEA's 44th National Conference on Technical Education, Feb. 28--March 2. This award is presented jointly by the American Technical Education Association and the National Technical Honor Society. It is presented annually to a company that is supportive and committed to postsecondary technical education. In addition to the award, Wilson Machine and Welding Shop will be listed in the NTHS National Hall of Fame for Educational Excellence.
Wilson Machine and Welding Shop was nominated for the award by Bevill State Community College, Jasper, Ala. Wilson Machine and Welding Shop is a small company in Alabama that employs about 90 machinists. Mining and steel are two important resources in Alabama. They make repairs for the steel mills, the mines, and the power plants in the Cordova and Decatur areas. Wilson Machine opened in 1972 and is owned and operated by Harold Wilson, a strong proponent for the Machine Tool, Diesel, and Welding programs at Bevill State Community College. He has donated scholarships, time and equipment to these programs on the Sumiton Campus.
The Machine Tool program on the Sumiton Campus of Bevill State closed the summer of 2002. Because of demands of the community and need for machinists in the area, Wilson became an advocate for the reopening of the Machine Tool program. As a member of the advisory committees for Machine Tool and Welding, Wilson worked with the Office of Applied Technology to raise the interest in this community effort by encouraging other machine shops in the Bevill State service area to support this project. The Machine Tool program was reopened in spring of 2006. To ensure the success of the program, Wilson offered his employees the opportunity to enroll in the program providing them with flexible schedules where they could work during the day and attend classes at night.
Wilson's need for machinists and his interest in the revitalization of the Machine Tool program was the driving force that led to the reopening of the program on the Sumiton campus. He provided six scholarships for Machine Tool students for the spring, summer and fall semesters of 2006, which totaled approximately $20,000.
He sponsored more than five tuition scholarships, estimated at $20,000 for his employees and potential employees in the Welding program at Bevill. Since 2002, Wilson has donated two Mig Welders, and steel for special school and community projects in the Welding program. In the Diesel Mechanics program, Wilson sponsored three students for SkillsUSA. He assisted the college with donations that enabled these students to attend and compete in the competition.
Wilson Machine and Welding Shop has provided jobs for the citizens in central and north Alabama for 34 years. The impact of this company on technical education in this area has surpassed the expectations of the college. Wilson's contributions reflect his interest in technical education and displays this support by making contributions to the college and employing its graduates. The assistance from this company has provided the Machine Tool, Welding and Diesel programs additional resources therefore, providing students with the specific training needed in the workplace.