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Called upon

image Mike Parsons of Parsons Welding Services

DALLAS/FT WORTH - When Mike Parsons was young, he was the kind of kid all of the teachers called on – but not for answers to Geometry or History questions. The teachers at his Lewisville high school often called on Parsons to repair their torn-up motorcycles (and one teacher’s race car) and fix broken items on campus.

 

 

 

    Parsons had earned a reputation for his welding skills even before he was legally allowed to work.
    “My favorite uncle when I was a kid was a welder and he got me really interested in it,” Parsons explains. “He had a nice shop at his house, and I was always fascinated by the fact that he could build almost anything you wanted. He introduced me to stick welding when I was about 8 years old. I’ve been interested in it from then on.”
    Being raised in a rural town that encouraged industrial arts, Parsons took welding and woodworking classes in the 8th grade, followed by three years of machine welding classes in high school (the school allowed him to take an extra year of classes due to his high skill level). In addition to school-related welding, he built grass wagon water tanks for the Highland Village Fire Department where his dad was as a fire chief.
    As a senior, he scored a welding job for a small company through his school’s industrial cooperative training program. By age 18, he was the company’s foreman and night shift supervisor. From there, we applied his welding skills on microwave telecommunication antennas and in the oil and medical equipment fields. Finally, in 2001, he struck out on his own and established Parsons Welding Services.
    That’s when he almost struck out.
    “I opened my business in early September of 2001,” he says. “Little did I know that nine days later, we were going to have 9/11, and that pretty much shut down the manufacturing for six months. Everyone was just on hold for a while. I think I just quoted jobs until they started pouring back in. It was a very inopportune time to open my business, but I suffered through it and I’m still here!”
    Eighteen years later, the only other major challenge he has faced has been honing his salesmanship.
    “I think the toughest thing for me is that I’m not a salesman,” Parsons admits. “I’m a welder and fabricator and I really enjoy my craft, but I’m not really good at getting out there and selling it. That’s been a big issue for me, as I have had to constantly find new customers as clients’ businesses go under. Last time I counted, I think 18 businesses went under. It’s been pretty tough to hang in there. I have to be pretty diversified on what I can weld. That’s kept me busy and has kept it interesting.”
    Fortunately, his work specializing in high tolerance parts speaks for itself.
    “I weld mostly by appointment only, and people mostly find out about me by word of mouth,” he says.
    Parsons still continues to be called on and hopes that never changes.
    “At this point, I’m 60 years old, so I just keep hoping that we’ll stay busy,” he says. “I have no big retirement, and so I’m going to hope that phone keeps ringing.”
    Parsons Welding Services is located in Lewisville. –mjm


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Author Info

Melissa Jones-Meyer dfweditor@constructionnews.net