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Manufacturing

17-year-olds, start your engines

By Abbe Miller

August 2009 - When most high school students are at the mall with their friends, Brennan Palmiter is taking night classes at the local college. When his peers are playing video games for hours upon hours, he's in the garage, honing his welding skills. When kids his age are cruising in their moms' SUVs, Palmiter is smoking his competition on the racetrack. Doesn't sound so bad after all, now does it?

Although Palmiter can tout the title of race car driver, it's just one of his passions. In addition to racing stock cars, he's an avid welder and started taking classes toward an associate degree in industrial manufacturing technology when he was a sophomore in high school. And if that weren't impressive enough, he's traveled from middle schools to high schools to community colleges, inspiring students--the future of America--to follow in his footsteps.

"At career days at school, there was always a firefighter and a policeman and an ambulance worker, but there was never a welder," says Palmiter. "It made me want to tell kids about these great careers in manufacturing that they didn't know about."

Full speed ahead
Palmiter started racing when he was 7. As soon as he was behind the wheel, it was obvious he had a knack for high speeds. He started out with go-carts and quickly graduated to bigger cars and bigger tracks.

"I learned quickly how different it was to drive on asphalt," Palmiter says, comparing the experience to the days of driving a go-cart on a dirt track. "I came off one of the corners and ended up wrecking the car. It wasn't really bad, but it was bad enough to where we couldn't fix it ourselves."

The incident led Palmiter to what would be his second calling in life: welding.

"We had a friend in Jacksonville, Fla., who said that he'd help us fix [the car] to get me back on the race track," he recalls. "He ended up having to cut the front clip off of the car and weld it back on. He got the clip done and he was tacking it together and looked at me and said, 'Well, do you want to weld it up?' But I was only 10 years old and told him that I didn't know how to weld. But I leaned over his shoulder a little bit, which one of the guys in the shop noticed."

Palmiter ended up getting a 20-minute tutorial on MIG welding. The rest is history.

"From there, I was hooked," he says. "It wasn't hard for me to catch on. It was easier than English class. I don't know if I was a natural, but I was interested, so I took the time to practice."

Road worthy
Palmiter's demeanor is that of a confident young adult. But he doesn't let it go to his head.

"I don't really see myself too much as a celebrity," he says. "I see myself more as a normal kid that just happens to drive a race car." FFJ

Sources

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Company Profiles

AIR FILTRATION

IRONWORKERS

NESTING SOFTWARE

SERVICE CENTERS

Camfil APC - Equipment Trilogy Machinery Inc. Metamation Inc. Admiral Steel
Camfil APC - Replacement Filters

LASER TECHNOLOGY

PLASMA TECHNOLOGY

Alliance Steel
Donaldson Company Inc. AMADA AMERICA, INC. Messer Cutting Systems Inc.

SOFTWARE

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Mazak Optonics Corp.

PLATE

Enmark Systems Inc.
MetalForming Inc. MC Machinery Systems Inc. Peddinghaus Lantek Systems Inc.
RAS Systems LLC Murata Machinery, USA, Inc.

PLATE & ANGLE ROLLS

SigmaTEK Systems LLC

BEVELING

TRUMPF Inc. Davi Inc. Striker Systems
Steelmax Tools LLC

LINEAR POSITION SENSORS

Trilogy Machinery Inc.

STAMPING/PRESSES

COIL PROCESSING

MTS Sensors

PRESS BRAKE TOOLING

AIDA-America Corp.
Bradbury Group

MATERIAL HANDLING

Mate Precision Tooling

STEEL

Burghardt + Schmidt Group Fehr Warehouse Solutions Inc. Rolleri USA Alliance Steel
Butech Bliss UFP Industrial

PRESS BRAKES

TUBE & PIPE

Red Bud Industries

MEASUREMENT & QUALITY CONTROL

AMADA AMERICA, INC. BLM Group
Tishken Advanced Gauging Technologies Automec Inc. Prudential Stainless & Alloys

CONVEYOR SYSTEMS

METAL FABRICATION MACHINERY

MC Machinery Systems Inc.

WATERJET

Mayfran International Cincinnati Inc. SafanDarley Barton International

DEBURRING/FINISHING

LVD Strippit

PUNCHING

Flow International Corporation
ATI Industrial Automation Scotchman Industries Inc. Hougen Manufacturing Jet Edge Waterjet Systems
Lissmac Corp. Trilogy Machinery Inc.

SAWING

WELDING

Osborn

METAL FORMING

Behringer Saws Inc. American Weldquip
SuperMax Tools FAGOR Arrasate USA Inc. Cosen Saws Strong Hand Tools
Timesavers MetalForming Inc. DoALL Sawing T. J. Snow Company

HYDRAULIC PRESSES

MICROFINISHING TOOLS

HE&M Saw

 

Beckwood Press Co. Titan Tool Supply Inc. Savage Saws

 

Triform

 

 

 


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