During the week, Judge J. Kent Adams presides over the bench of the Justice of the Peace Court, Precinct four, Position One for Harris County. His docket of cases include assaults, criminal cases, evictions, traffic tickets and more. Everyday he makes tough decisions that will-in some cases-forever contour the future of young lives.
In the evenings, he uses his steely fortitude to shape iron at Lone Star College-North Harris.
For the past two semesters Judge Adams has been enrolled in welding classes at the campus through the college's continuing education program. "While the general population thinks that welding classes are only taken by students who want to move into a full-time career, there are quite a few number of students who enroll in our welding classes for their personal goals and enjoyment like repairing farm equipment, working on cars, and building whatever they want," says Russell McDonald, LSC-North Harris welding professor.
According to Judge Adams, learning to weld has always been a desire of his for many years.
"As a lawyer I represented several welding shops, fabrication facilities and ship yards and always wondered how the welding process was accomplished," says Adams. "Welding involves metallurgy, heat control, and technique that are best learned by formal training. Trial and error can be time consuming and expensive to say nothing of the frustration levels experienced. The luxury of having a well experienced teacher or professor to trouble shoot your errors and make helpful suggestions is invaluable. I have also had the advantage of using the best of equipment and consumables all for a very nominal expense."
Adams has been busy exercising his new skills. "I have already put my Gas Metal Arc (MIG) Welding class training taken last fall to valuable use," says Adams.
His list of finished projects include a custom-made welding table, three new six foot by six foot welding screens to protect people and animals from flash burns to eyes and to protect from fire exposure, and a large steel storage bin that is used to organize his metal inventories. "I have also completed various repairs to a tractor, a trailer and I am designing a customized fire place for one of my children's home," explains Adams.
As word gets out about his newly garnered skill in welding, other family members are also placing orders. One of his son's has recently asked Dad to create two iron baby beds-as the son and his wife are expecting a second set of twins. According to Adams, "There is no shortage for projects. I am now in my second class involving Gas Tungsten Arc (TIG) welding, which I plan to use in welded sculpture projects that are really fascinating."
What does the Judge think has been the most interesting part of learning to weld?
"Being involved with a group of very interesting and dedicated teachers and students has been very satisfying. I have so much enjoyed meeting and observing young men who are dedicated to their training and advancement for a better position in life. Unfortunately as a judge I see all too many rudderless youth that possess no compass in their life to advance and better themselves. It is a blessing to associate with these task oriented young men who have a mission and are willing to sweat and try again to improve their skills," says Adams.
Adams states that he is also very impressed with the cadre of professors and instructors and their gusto for teaching.
"Professor Russell McDonald is a prize of experience and gentle instruction. James Childs is an unflappable instructor that is so willing to share his extensive experience-no matter how bad you are performing that evening. Lucky (I have never known any other name) is a real magician with a welding torch. He is so willing to show you the procedure again and again without judgmental comments," says Adams. "I have even had help from another instructor that is not connected with my regular class, but answered the call for help just because."
Adams relationship with Lone Star College-North Harris goes back to the early days when his friend W.W. Thorne was President of North Harris County College in the 1970s. "I wouldn't think of another teaching facility," Adams elaborates. "The location is convenient and people like CeCe Sutphen, the college's media relations manager, who found me wandering around the campus last fall found a class for me that had closed and again this summer assisted in getting me enrolled. Her kind assistance made my welding training possible. And now, my number 11th and 12th grandchildren will have iron baby beds to sleep in."
To date, Adams has completed three welding courses and plans to build on his skills and enroll in a basic arc welding (stick welding) this fall.
For more information about LSC-North Harris welding courses call, Russell McDonald at 281.618.5517.
Lone Star College-North Harris is located at 2700 W.W. Thorne Drive, one-half mile south of FM 1960 E, between Aldine-Westfield and Hardy Roads. For more information about the college, call 281.618.5400 or visit: NorthHarris.LoneStar.edu.
Lone Star College System consists of five colleges, including CyFair, Kingwood, Montgomery, North Harris, and Tomball, six centers and Lone Star College-University Center. It is the largest college system in the Houston area, and third largest community college district in Texas. To learn more, visit LoneStar.edu.
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