Made in Eastern Iowa: The Art and Science of Welding in Anamosa

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ANAMOSA, Iowa (KCRG) -- Gary Block spins a catchy phrase here and there when talking about work.

Engineered Welding, in Anamosa, combines laser cutters and four robotic cells with experience to weld together anything that is asked.

"Don’t put your shoes on in the morning if you don’t like where you go to work," said Block, a longtime welder and owner of Engineered Welding, on the eastern edge of Anamosa.

Engineered Welding, on Old Dubuque Road, can appear like just another business to anyone who drives by.

Take a moment to look inside, though, at what Block and the employee use to weld just about anything together.

"We have the 'big boy toys' at the mom-and-pop price," said Block. "So we’re a very small shop and you can look around and say 'you have $110,000 in this and $110,000 here' but our overhead costs are extremely low and, so, by doing this, we have the small shop so we can also take a lot of the cost out for a larger company."

With two HD plasma laser cutters and four robotic cells, Block talks about the combination of technology but also the need to keep the skill in a vocation like welding.

"You’ve got the baby boomers in there and they’re just starting to retire out," said Block. "There’s a major, major shortage of welding. It’s not just of a matter of pulling the gun. It’s an art and a science."

Block serves as the owner and a welder but he may also be the most vocal proponent of the profession in Iowa.

"I’ve been in this business for 47 years," said Block. "I’ve noticed it’s constantly evolving and progressing and everyday I’m learning something new. Every day I put two materials together, I may learn something new. I don’t care how many parts you did, I really only care about the high-quality.