Make Your Mark™ Series: Meet Tom Spadoni

Tom is a welding and shipfitting instructor for the Chariho Career and Technical Center (CHARIHOtech) in Wood River Junction, Rhode Island, a certified Career and Technical Education (CTE) institution. When deciding where to go for educator professional development, Tom says there was one choice: the Lincoln Electric Welding Technology and Training Center (WTTC) in Cleveland, Ohio. “What better place than the source to be taught the proper way,” he insists.

CHARIHOtech offers a four-year program that provides students with a working knowledge of welding; skills and theory in the characteristics of metals, along with their structure and properties; welding metallurgy; electric theory; and welding technologies. Students learn how to layout, fabricate, assemble and install various structures, frames, and components in the maritime industry.


Shipfitting is an essential part of the CHARIHOtech program. The maritime industry is a major employer and engine of economic activity in Rhode Island, and companies are looking for skilled welders. But education at CHARIHOtech is not limited to shipfitting. It covers shielded metal arc welding (SMAW); gas metal arc welding (GMAW), or MIG; flux-cored arc welding(FCAW); and gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW), or TIG.

The breadth of topics prompted Tom to expand his understanding of welding processes. At the WTTC, his first course was the one-week Motorsports Basic Materials Program. He learned TIG and MIG welding basics on alloys like aluminum and stainless steel. The class included discussions regarding metallurgy, chemistry and other sciences; when it’s appropriate to pre- or post-heat the base metal; and additional factors that help produce quality welds. Tom also added to his existing understanding of filler metal selection for different applications.

“I’m confident I can use the knowledge I learned this week on Monday when I return”, he maintains.

Even more valuable, perhaps, are the relationships Tom established with his Lincoln Electric instructors. “I know I can email questions and get sound answers that will help in my own instruction,” he says. “I have a set of experts to lean on.”

Since many CHARIHOtech students grew up on farms and want to learn how to repair tools and equipment, Tom plans to return to the WTTC for additional professional development to gain expertise on alloys and hardfacing issues.

“I came to acquire knowledge I could use, and the information I learned at the Lincoln Electric immediately affects my
students,” he says. “I look forward to coming back.”