WARREN, Ohio – When most people think of welders, the word artist likely isn’t the first that comes to mind.
But that’s exactly how Stacey Gray describes himself.
“I think it’s a form of art,” says the Livi Steel Inc. employee. “When you weld, it’s almost like drawing. It takes a lot of thought.”
Gray got his start in welding while he was working at VXI in downtown Youngstown. He was encouraged to look into Flying High and enrolled in the school after checking it out.
Growing up, Gray didn’t consider manufacturing as a career.
“I had no clue. I was lost when I was younger and didn’t know what I was going to do,” he says.
As he got older, friends encouraged him to pursue welding. Gray is certified in stick welding. His favorite type of weld is vertical up with stick.
“I like the flow [of the process],” he says. “After you’re done, the bead is so pretty.”
His craft is noticed beyond his work. Donald Livi, president of Livi Steel, praised Gray’s attention and dedication to his performance.
Livi Steel, based in Warren, is a member of Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition.
“Stacey’s work ethic can be described as admirable,” Livi says. “His skills allow him to be effective, productive and efficient.”
When he’s not welding and earning certifications, Gray produces music and raps.
To anyone interested in a career change or looking for a new direction, Gray suggests considering manufacturing. It offers a consistent process of growing and challenging yourself, he says.
“It’s an environment where you’ll always have to be aware,” Gray says.
Going into a trade, be prepared to make mistakes.
“It’s like with everything – you get better with time,” Gray says.
Pictured: Stacey Gray was working at a call center when he decided to take up welding.