Instructors

Pat Dorris, Dean of Machining

Pat Dorris has more than two decades of industry experience working in manufacturing shops serving the automotive industry. He was introduced to the industry through his family’s business, a machine shop called Turn-Matic, Inc. A graduate from Western Michigan University, Pat holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in German/Accounting. He attended Macomb Community College where he studied automotive/tool design. After moving to San Diego from the Detroit area, Pat continued to work in the manufacturing field as a mechanical designer and CNC programmer/machinist. Since 2006, he has owned and operated his own machine shop. Pat also teaches CNC programming at San Diego City College, a position he has held for 11 years.

Scott Leoncini, Machining Instructor

Scott served as a combat engineer in the United States Marine Corps and holds a Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Realizing criminal justice wasn’t the right path for himself and his family, he enrolled in the Workshops for Warriors machining program and graduated with seven nationally recognized credentials in computer-aided design, computer-aided manufacturing, CNC Milling and CNC Turning from Mastercam, National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS), and SolidWorks. Upon graduation in Summer 2015, Scott was asked to be a Teaching Assistant for the machining programs. In 2017, he was promoted to full-time Machining Instructor. As a Veteran who dealt with the difficulties of transitioning out of the Military and finding a civilian job to support his family, Scott’s true passion is helping other Veterans have an easier transition than he did.

Lyle Palm, Dean of Welding

Lyle Palm retired a Senior Chief Petty Officer from the United States Navy with over 20 years’ experience as a Hull Maintenance Technician. He specialized in welding nuclear and non-nuclear piping systems and structural components onboard submarines and surface ships. In 2015, Lyle was awarded American Welding Society’s Excellence in Welding Award in the veteran category. His education background includes a Master of Science degree in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Workforce Education and Development from Southern Illinois University, along with a wide variety of industry certifications including journeyman combination welder. Lyle owned his own welding and fabrication business with his brother Tim Palm for ten years. In addition to instructing welding classes at Workshops for Warriors, Lyle is an Instructor at Assault Craft Unit 5 for Marine Systems Corporation where he trains military and civilian welders.

Derek Beecher, Welding Instructor

Derek Beecher retired a Master Chief Petty Officer from the United States Navy with 30 years of experience. He specialized in welding nuclear and non-nuclear piping systems and structural components onboard submarines and surface ships. Also an expert in damage control practices for fighting shipboard fire, flooding and casualty damage repair, Derek was further trained in basic chemical, biological, and radiological warfare recovery practices. He is well versed in welding and silver brazing processes including sheet metal fabrication, pipefitting, structural fabrication and repair. A graduate from Three Rivers Community College, Derek holds dual Associates of Science degrees in Construction Management Technology with an emphasis in Computer Aided Drafting and Business Administration.

Tim Palm, Welding Instructor

Tim Palm served in the National Guard and then joined the United States Navy as a gas turbine systems technician, serving for a combined total of 10 years. After serving in the military, he held various positions ranging from package assembly mechanic at Solar Turbines to supervisor at Greenfield Environmental. Tim and his brother Lyle Palm owned their own business called Old Swede Repairs, a welding and fabrication business, for ten years. Tim is a licensed contractor in the state of California. He is also a licensed wastewater treatment plant operator. In addition to teaching at Workshops for Warriors, Tim is a wastewater treatment plant operator at Chicago Bridge and Iron, a company contracting for the military. Tim’s expertise in welding was founded on coursework at Dakota County AVTI and his experience in running his own company as a licensed contractor.

Shafer Bark, Evening Welding Instructor

Shafer Bark starting volunteering in 2013 and was able to participate in the welding program and became the youngest certified welder in America. After completion of the program, Shafer went on to work for VetPowered full time where he was able to attend additional training and earn certifications in CNC Machining, NC3 Snap-on and Starrett precision tools, and Waterjet. Shafer was offered a position as a teaching assistant for the evening welding program. After completing several successful semesters as the teaching assistant, Shafer was promoted to welding instructor and continues to teach the evening welding program.

Abraham Aldama Vasquez, Welding Teaching Assistant

Abraham Aldama Vasquez joined the Workshops for Warriors team in November 2017. He is an honorably discharged U.S. Marine and served 4 years as an Infantry Mortarmen with 3rd Battalion 5th Marines and 2nd Battalion 4th Marines. Abe specialized in gun line operation such as, manning the 60mm and 81mm Mortar system and being in charge of a Gun Team. He was further trained in Fire Direction Control (FDC) and Forward Observing (FO). A graduate of the El Cajon Valley High School Metal Design and Fabrication Course, Abe was trained in metal fabrication, basic shop equipment operation, and received his first (3G) GMAW certification at the age of 16. As a Workshop for Warriors alumni, Abe graduated with certifications in short circuit GMAW (all positions), spray transfer GMAW (2G), SMAW (all positions), and FCAW (all positions). Abe proudly works as the teaching assistant here at Workshops for Warriors for the day welding class.

Austin Thompson, Welding Teaching Assistant

Austin Thompson joined the Workshops for Warriors team in January of 2018. Originally from Beaverton, Oregon, Austin enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 2010 and honorably served six years as an infantryman, and installation security guard. After leaving active duty, Austin enrolled in the Workshops for Warriors welding program where he earned American Welding Society (AWS) qualifications in SMAW, MIG, Fluxcore, and TIG welding. Following his graduation from Workshops for Warriors, Austin secured a full-time position as a welder for Fox racing, and also serves as the teaching assistant for the evening welding program here at Workshops for Warriors.

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