• Dan Zabel  
    Dan Zabel

Dan Zabel

  • Program: Welding Technology

    Education/Industry Certifications: AAS, 6G Pipe Qual.

    Has Taught at SCC Since: 1982

    Years of Work Experience Outside SCC: 2

    Describe your teaching philosophy.
    Welding requires a lot of hands-on practice. We show students how to do it, then coach them as they practice. Classroom lecture also is important to give the students the why’s and how’s of what they are doing. We try to get them ready for whatever they might see in industry.

    Why did you decide to teach at a community college?
    My goal was to teach Industrial Arts in a high school. I took some Welding classes through the University of Nebraska via SCC, and enjoyed it and was good at it. This made me want to maybe teach Welding. I taught some night classes while working in a welding fabrication shop. A fulltime teaching job came up, and I jumped at it. Still enjoy it after 32 years.

    What can prospective students expect when they enroll in your program?
    Welding is a very popular program right now. We give them the basics of four welding processes, and they are able to customize their direction of expertise after that. They get plenty of hands-on fabrication experience, along with the classroom knowledge of Blueprint, Metallurgy, Non-Destructive Testing, and Layout. They become an AWS Certified Welder before they graduate.

    What experiences outside of SCC do you bring to the classroom/laboratory that enhance student learning?
    I worked as a fabricator before teaching and gained experiences working in a shop and going to the job sights to do repairs, using a variety of welding processes.

    What advice do you have for students pursuing a degree in your program?
    Jobs are plentiful for good, hard-working individuals. Wages and conditions vary depending on skill level and experience. There are a lot of different directions a person can go with a degree in welding.

    What do you enjoy most about working with students?
    The satisfaction of teaching someone a trade that they will use to make a living.

    What is the best part about being an SCC faculty member?
    I enjoy working with the students and other instructors. I have made friendships that will last a lifetime.

    What has been your proudest moment as an instructor?
    Working with student organizations, Skills USA in particular, where we have had two national welding champions. I also have been the advisor for the American Welding Society Student Chapter. We are able to let students grow, by doing projects, going to conventions and field trips, and participating in contests.

    What do you like to do when you’re not teaching?
    I use my welding skills to restore old garden tractors. I am also a huge Husker fan and enjoy going to Husker football and basketball games.

    What would students be surprised to know about you?
    Probably that I have more than 50 garden tractors that I have restored and show at local shows.

    Is there anything you’d like to add?
    There have been many changes take place over the years in the Welding Technology program. We had steady growth in the 1980s, then almost had to close the program due to low numbers. During the last few years Welding has become one of the more popular programs on campus. It is exciting to see young people so enthused about the welding profession. The development of high school programs and The Career Academy also will keep the program going full steam ahead for years to come!