Home News & Events Steamfitters Local 449 – New Welding Technology Training Center

Steamfitters Local 449 – New Welding Technology Training Center

May. 10, 2017

The Steamfitters Local 449 (Pittsburgh, PA) Technology Training Center opened its doors with a grand Open House celebration Friday and Saturday 2-3 June 2017. It was a kick-off celebration for a very grand “state of the art” training facility in Harmony, PA. This event drew many hundreds of people ranging from UA Members, new perspective students, to key persons from industry like Bechtel, Shell and Kiewit. This facility is over 75,000 square feet filled with the latest tools and equipment to train persons interested in building upon a career in welding, cutting, pipe, rigging, as well as the complete HVAC industry. If one wants a career in these fields you might as well train with the best I always say, and no one can do it better. The Local 449 has a very long and rich history that is over 100 years of serving its members and this region. This two day event was everyone’s opportunity to tour the facility, network with manufactures like Bug-O Systems, Mathey Dearman, CK, Lincoln and many others that support the UA. Plus the Steamfitters had all of their instructors and staff on hand to help host this party with food and music outside for the majority of both days. Everyone had a great time and learned a great deal as well.


This Flagship Training Center is truly one of a kind and will serve the region and industry well. “It couldn’t be more perfectly located” Mike Shaffer stated during the Open House. Mike Shaffer once the head of Bug-O University, has joined the Woodstream Midwest Welding and Technical Sales and he would know because he has an office within this Training Center. Here he represents Bug-O products and many lines that support the Steamfitters as well as the welding and cutting industry. Bug-O Systems, along with the principals of Woodstream Midwest Welding & Technical Sales, (Campbell, Campbell & Shaffer) recognized the strength of the Steamfitters and this Training Center. Together they wanted to be a part of supporting the needs of the industry.


We are proud to support this training facility by donating our famous GO-FER IV, Modular Drive System and Automatic Pipe Coupon Cutting Machine within their training center so that all the people coming through the facility will now have an opportunity to see and lay their hands on Bug-O equipment. Additionally, the UA feels so strongly about the need to expose their members and students to all types of technology for cutting and welding that they made a commitment to have our Piper Plus Pipe Welding System in their training facility as well. Our Jeff Nelson, Pipeline Industry Segment Manager, has already planned a “Train the Trainer Day” for all the Steamfitters Instructors. In addition to the Steamfitters using this system on a regular basis, we are also discussing a co-shared quarterly program. 


Now, why is this such a great location for this center? Because the area is about to receive a new, built from the ground up, ethane cracker plant. Shell is driving this project that is expected to create 600 permanent operational jobs when it opens. This ethane cracker plant is intended to capitalize on the historic price difference between more expensive oil and less expensive natural gas of which this region has a great deal of. The ethane molecules are extracted and both can be “cracked” to produce ethylene, which are building blocks for pharmaceuticals, industrial chemicals and consumer goods. 


This will be a huge shot in the arm for the area economically. The Steamfitter Training Center will allow them to train the people necessary to build the Cracker Plant as well as train the teams of people that will work to maintain and make necessary repairs long-term in that plant. Make no mistake; the Steamfitter Local 449 is very far reaching. They have members and new students that come from as far away as Oklahoma and Texas to train at this phenomenal facility. For more information I suggest you contact Brad Tisdale, Director of Training NW, PA at bct@ua449.com. For an inside look at this facility, click the video link below.




Norm Sted – Director N.A. Sales & Global Marketing