In just a few short years, Chandler Vincent went from being ready to drop out of high school to being named one of the best welders in the world.
Like many stories, Vincent’s begins in high school. In short, he wasn’t a fan. He preferred being outside hunting and fishing to being in a classroom.
Vincent’s mother convinced him that he should give high school one more chance by finding one class he liked. That’s how he discovered the welding program at Uintah Basin Applied Technology College (UBATC) in Vernal, Utah.
“When I first got into the program, I was a high school dropout,” Vincent says. “My mom convinced me to go for one semester to see if I could do it. I found welding at the UBATC, and it kept me in school.”
As his mother, Melinda Hadlock, adds, “He realized he loved welding his freshman year, and then he decided to be the best welder he could be. We are proud of him.”
It wasn’t long before Vincent was competing — and winning — his state’s SkillsUSA competitions. After competing twice at the national championships, he was selected to participate in the Welding trials for the SkillsUSA WorldTeam.
“I set a goal to win the U.S. Welding trials and focused exclusively on making that happen,” Vincent says. He achieved that goal in 2016. After more training, he traveled to the United Arab Emirates, with the rest of the 11-person team of student competitors.
While he didn’t medal in Abu Dhabi, Vincent was named Best of Nation as the U.S. team member with the highest overall total score.
Vincent also received a Medallion of Excellence in his trade. These are awarded to competitors who earn 700 or more points out of a maximum possible total of 800.
The young welder is quick to recognize the trainers, supporters and industry partners who helped him along the way.
“I am thankful for the sacrifice and support of others who made it possible for me to pursue my dream. It is an honor to represent my country and the welding trade at the WorldSkills Competition,” he says.