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Head of the class

image Jonah Lumpe, owner of JTex Welding

HOUSTON - Upon graduating from college, most graduates are faced with the reality of finding work. It’s not uncommon for what those young people majored in to not apply or translate to what’s out there in the real world. Bummer.

 

 

 

    But for Jonah Lumpe, who is in his last semester at Sam Houston State, that problem has been solved because he formed JTex Welding while still a freshman. He has his own business already.
    Further, Lumpe’s major is construction management. He already knew how to weld, but construction management has taught him about the construction industry: how to bid on jobs, how to read blueprints and how a project flows.
    Lumpe credits the Discovery Channel and watching some of its welding shows as a kid as sparking (no pun intended) his interest in welding.
    While a high school student, he actually started welding in his shop class. He bought his first welding gear and turned the family garage into a shop.
    “It was nothing but support from my mother,” Lumpe said.
    During this hobby stage, Lumpe would build barbecue pits and knick-knacks for friends.
    Lumpe then got a job with a waste management company, repairing the trucks. All the while, co-workers would ask him to fabricate stuff for their trucks or Jeeps. “That’s when it clicked,” he said. He thought to himself, “I can make money doing this. I can make a business out of this.”
    He started JTex Welding while early in his college career. He passed out his new business cards profusely. While the first year was slow, “Over the past year I’ve gotten busier and busier,” he said.
    Lumpe likes doing a wide variety of welding projects. He loves the commercial side of his work.
    “You’d be surprised how much metal work goes into just a single story building,” he said. “Everything from railings, to modified security doors, to roof access ladders. I do a lot of that. I like to do more of the commercial side of things.”
    Lumpe leases a shop from which to do the fabrication items, but he stays mostly mobile, going from place to place. He’s gone as far as Fort Worth. His main turf, however, is the southwest Houston area.
    While this type of job still pays, Lumpe says he does not enjoy fixing what another welder did incorrectly. “Unfortunately, it happens more than you think,” he lamented.
    “I try to do everything as best that I can and leave it in better condition than I found it,” he said. Making a repair if something just wore out is preferred over fixing someone’s mistake.
    Lumpe said it just takes practice to know when the weld is good. “You really have to pay attention to what you’re doing.”
    For the future, Lumpe wants to grow JTex Welding into a bigger operation and employ some more folks. He never wants to be the big boss man who merely runs the show, but he wants to stay in his first love of the welding trade.
    “Taking the business to the next level is what I’d like to ultimately get to,” he said. Welding “is such wide variety and the field is so broad. It can change everyday. Everyday is new. Everything is a new adventure, a new challenge, a new learning opportunity.”
    With his diploma in hand this May, Lumpe is raring to devote 100 percent of his time to JTex Welding. While many of the other graduates are wondering which fast food restaurant to apply to, Lumpe is ready to take his construction management degree and apply his craft for contractors and those in need of it.
    For now, however, he still has to finish those pesky Renaissance Lit and Western Civ classes first.
    Go to the head of the class, son.
    JTex Welding runs its ops out of Sugarland. -dsz


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Dan Zulli dan@constructionnews.net