Welding Journal: Ryan Mulcahy
In 1989, Ryan Mulcahy was simultaneously born into this world and the
welding business, With his father as the owner of a successful welding and fabrication business, Mulcahy grew up with the shop as his playground.
"As a young boy, I spent hours with my father in his fabrication shop that he built adjacent to our family home in Santa Fe, New Mexico," he recollected. "I spent hours alongside my father watching him weld and playing with tools."
However, over time, Mulcahy became discontent with watching his father weld; he wanted to weld, too. Under his father's supervision, Mulcahy welded for the first time at the age of eight.
"That was all it took. I was hooked,"
he recalled. "While my friends were out playing video games and riding their bikes, I was in the shop with my father welding and tinkering with his tools." One of his first childhood welding projects was a go-kart frame that he built using the 150-A gas metal arc welding machine he got for Christmas.
Several years later, Mulcahy was able to hone his craft at Santa Fe High School, which offered technical courses as electives. During the day, he took all the welding courses he could, and in the evenings, he learned the ins and outs of the family business.
"After school hours, I worked with my father in his fabrication business, furthering my knowledge of welding craftsmanship and learning the nuances of owning a fabrication business," he said.
Mulcahy also became an American Welding Society (AWS) member during high school — a membership he has held for about 15 years.
After high school, Mulcahy earned an associate's in welding technology from Ferris State University, Big Rapids, Mich. After working in the welding industry for several years, he returned to his studies and took home a bachelor's in welding engineering, with a concen tration in manufacturing, from Weber State University, Ogden, Utah. During his undergraduate studies, Mulcahy was awarded District and National Scholarships from AWS, which he describes as being "a big help" with his school costs.
Not ready to stop learning, Mulcahy went on to earn a master's in welding engineering from The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.
In addition to his degrees, Mulcahy holds multiple credentials. He is a Society of Manufacturing Engineers certified manufacturing technologist and certified additive manufacturing technician, a Level Il inspector in visual testing, and an AWS Certified Welding Inspector. In the future, he hopes to add to his professional repertoire by becoming an AWS Certified Welding Engineer.
He credits his well-rounded education for preparing him for a variety of different jobs within the welding industry.
"Having a formal education and an advanced degree in welding engineeringj many opportunities for employment opened up for me," he affirmed. "I was fortunate enough to work for a variety of industries including aerospace, national defense, heavy equipment, and space. I have found the work to be challenging, satisfying, and interesting. The wide range of industries and applications that welding applies to is so vast! I love that there will always be more opportunities to learn something new."
"Working with and welding nuclear materials has been a highlight of my career so far," he said. "The uniqueness of the materials, how they are welded, and the applications are incredibly fascinating on every level."
Today, Mulcahy enjoys his job as a materials and process engineer at Blue Origin, Kent, Wash. His job entails aiding in the creation of specifications and qualifications for NASA's Human Landing System Program.
"I enjoy working at Blue Origin, as I find the work stimulating and challenging," he explained. "I have a great deal of respect for my colleagues, and I appreciate the gravity of working in a field where history is in the making. Furthermore, we are constantly on the cutting edge of developing new mate- rials and processes for our applications, and being part of this development always motivates me in a big way.
Looking to the future, Mulcahy is excited to see where his career takes him next. He also hopes to one day pay it forward by volunteering.
"I feel truly blessed having accomplished all that I ever wanted to do. The unknown and what lies ahead next for me is exciting to think about," he affirmed. "I hope to continue to develop professionally and personally, and from this find more time to give back and volunteer in the welding community and/or with AWS."