Success Stories & Testimonials

American Welding Society names CDA Technical Institute Program Director Adam Leese winner at 2017 Excellence in Welding Awards


The American Welding Society, an international non-profit working to the science, technology and application of welding and allied joining and cutting processes, and WEMCO, a provider of wire handling equipment to utility companies, electrical contractors, and more, have selected CDA Technical Institute Program Director Adam Leese as the winner in the educator category for the 2017 Excellence in Welding Awards.

Leese will be honored at the American Welding Society Foundation and WEMCO EIW Awards at FABTECH in Chicago, Illinois on Monday, November 6th, 2017.

Beginning his welding career in 1994 as the lead welder for Carlisle Container in Green Cove Springs, Florida, Leese served in the United States Marine Corps as an Artillery Fire Direction Control Operator and Safety Specialist. After being honorably discharged from the Marine Corps, Leese worked for a jewelry manufacturer soldering precious metals before moving back to Florida.

Upon his return to Florida, Leese began working as a welder in heavy equipment repair, and shipyard repair before attending the Applied Welding Technologies Program at First Coast Technical College.

In 2003, Leese began his career as an educator, working with First Coast Technical College’s welding program as an assistant instructor.

Leese joined CDA Technical Institute in Jacksonville, Florida in 2011 where he specializes in SMAW, FCAW, GMAW, and GTAW. He has a BS/BM degree from the University of Phoenix, is a member of the American Welding Society (AWS), and is certified under AWS in 6G Pipe.

CDA Technical Institute is a post-secondary school designed to provide the diving, inspection, maritime and medical industries with entry level personnel, who excel in superior knowledge, skill, safety, and work ethic.  Our training is comprehensive, rigorous, and designed with individual student career objectives, abilities, and interests in mind.

To learn more about FABTECH, visit

posted 09/19/2017 in Commercial Diving, Education, Maritime Welding, The Lighter Side, Underwater Welding

Tags: commercial diving, underwater welding

Since graduating from the 4-Month long Maritime Welding Program, Nathan has gone on to acheive tremendous success as a master welder working for the US Navy as a government contractor.

Nathan Farmington - CDA Technical Institute Maritime Welding Program Alumni

Currently working and living in Japan, he travels 35% of the year to locations such as California, Guam, Hawaii, and Washington state. With all the work he's been doing, he been able to earn a six-figure income and can comfortably provide for his wife and 2-year-old son. 

Check out what Nathan has to say about his career in his own words:

"I'm currently living in Yokosuka, Japan working for AMSEC/Huntington Ingall's SEMAT as a Master Tradesperson 4 MTP4. I have my very own crew working under me - shouldn't say it like that - we are a team (family).

Click here for more information on the Maritime Welding Program at CDA Technical Institute.

I got married 2 years ago and have a baby boy named Vinnie who is healthy and growing fast - his one year is January 30th.

The good thing is, my wife is an active-duty sailor, and after landing this job and having such a good resume I am able to travel anywhere in the world with this company.

I will be stationed with her in Japan for 3 years, but I get flown from here to California, Guam, Sasebo JP, Pearl Harbor, and Washington 35% of the year.

Nathan Farmington - CDA Technical Institute Graduate

My wife's detailer said we will be going to Guam after our term here in Japan, so I've already notified AMSEC and they responded: "That will be perfect Mr. Farrington, we will have your crew signed up with a few bids by that time". ;)

Even if they give me a month off, $60 an hour has earned me over the 100,000 figure mark last year!

We have been super busy here in Japan with 3 more ships pulling into port and the same bids on installing new ship equipment. I'm still getting my hands dirty, and that has earned my respect throughout the crew.

From TIG/Flux/Mig/Copper to Nickel Brazing and working the plasma torch, there hasn't been a task I can't complete. I get some tight jobs done because of my size, which I have [earned] the nick name HotRod. They say hands down I am the next generation welder.

Nathan Farmington - CDA Technical Institute Maritime Welding Program Alumni

Since I left CDA, I have over hauled 32 different class naval vessels and USCG ships. One thing that I have learned - that gets my Stars and Stripes - is being able to read Ship Board Blueprints.

Essentially being handed a 300-page packet with detailed information containing naval bids from start to finish, and how to locate spaces and how to work with the other trades.

I have electricians, mechanics, painters, labor workers, fire watches, fitters, welders, as well as Naval personnel that I have to keep informed and working at a speed that will get the job done safely and on time.

You also have to know where to find Fire Marshal's Office (Damage Control), which is located in different areas on all naval ships.

You must also get the hot work tickets signed by the right chain of command, and have them posted and up to date before the work begins. Having chemists called in at the right time to have spaces checked and cleared once you get it all down and have all the trades working at a smooth pace it's truly an amazing feeling.

Nathan Farmington - CDA Technical Institute Maritime Welding Program Alumni

I completed my last bid - which was $1.9 Million dollars - ahead of schedule, and we picked up more work right away.

My crew goes home to be with their family in one piece, and they earn the amazing respect from the Captain and fellow crew members aboard these great naval ships.

I make sure my crew knows that it is a Great Honor to be aboard the vessels and take part in rebuilding the world's greatest Navy.

"I want to take a moment to say thank you to you and the staff at the school for the real world education that it provides.  I'm not sure that my son Jacob Sobeck, has communicated with you since he graduated in August of this year, so I thought I would.  He is presently working for a company in Oklahoma City called Order-matic Corp., as a machine welder. They are the one of largest suppliers of restaurant equipment in the country (as their web site describes). He got the position about three weeks after finishing school. He is doing well and loving the new found responsibility of lead welder in is department. It's quite a bit removed from the marine environment, but the scope of learning that the school provided, has without a doubt, been a tremendous asset to his advancement at the company.  In closing, I personally want to thank you again for all the help and guidance that the school offers for those kids who do not want the conventional trade school path.  You can count on my recommendation to anyone interested in the CDA."
Carl Sobeck, Father of CDA Graduate, Jacob Sobeck

“I checked out a couple of different schools and CDA seemed like a good fit. We’re on the barge – in the barge on the side off the barge – its real world, real time experience that a lot of other schools can’t offer."
Nathan Kubicki, CDA Welding Graduate

"I learned a lot at CDA's Maritime Welding Program. Every day I think about how better off I am for going to this school. Right now I'm in Newport News at a shipyard and I love every second of it. The pay is great and there are a ton of opportunities for me in the future."
Tucker Merrihew, CDA Welding Graduate