Meet the instructors that provide the skills, knowledge, and experience students need to find high-paying, in-demand welding jobs across the country.

Travis Bird


Lead Instructor

22+ Years Experience
Bird started out in 2000 at a local welding shop. He went to welding school in 2003 to learn the trade, and by 2004 he had progressed to working in refineries and power plants across the U. S. In 2007 T. Bird began running a rig truck and worked various projects such as pipelines, compressor stations, fab yards, etc. In 2016 he founded Arkansas Elite Welding Academy. In 2020, Travis was named the Arkansas Small Business Person of the Year.

Josh Waymack


Vice President / Quality Control Manager

21+ Years Experience
In 2001, Josh started working for an industrial fabrication shop as a laborer and structural welder near his hometown. After high school, Josh went to welding school where he learned how to weld pipe. Upon completion of welding school, he went to work at a fabrication shop where he gained knowledge in structural fabrication. In 2007, Josh moved into pipe and tube trades where he traveled across the nation welding in chemical plants, mills, refineries, power plants, etc. He was a top welder on heavy wall pipe and restricted welds. In 2013 he acquired his CWI and started into weld inspection as a Field QC. In 2016, he acquired an API 510 certification and became a Quality Control Manager for numerous projects across the U.S. Josh joined AEWA in 2018.

Travis Faulk


Instructor, Financial Director

27+ Years Experience
Travis Faulk started his welding career in 1995 with a local mechanical company in Conway, AR. He moved onto working shutdowns as a pipe welder until he hired in at Browning’s Welding in Wooster, AR. There he traveled the U.S. installing boilers. In 2003, Faulk started his own business upgrading the piping in food grade, water bottling, ice cream, and milk plants across the southeast U. S. In 2009, Faulk started as a Pipeline Inspector for SWN on pipeline and compressor station projects, and in that time, he was promoted to Construction Supervisor running multiple inspectors spread among various projects. Faulk obtained his CWI in 2017 and his CWE in 2019. Serving as an adjunct instructor since the founding of AEWA, he came to AEWA full time in 2019. Travis is a veteran of the United States Army.

Russell Edwards

CWI, API 1169 / Instructor

25+ Years Experience
Russ kicked off his welding career in 1997 welding on new piping construction jobs. Over the next 17 years, he welded from coast to coast on navel bases, pipelines, compressor stations, refineries, food processing plants, and various other projects. Russ acquired his CWI and API 1169 certifications in 2017. He also founded, owned, and operated Righteous Welding, a pipeline construction company, from 2012 to 2020, until coming to work at AEWA.

Dennis Black


52+ Years Experience
Mr. Dennis started his welding career in 1970, welding in a shop with his dad. In 1976, he took a job welding on a barge in the North Sea. He then spent 29 years working in various plants, specializing in stainless steel and boiler tube welding. In 2005, Dennis started pipelining until 2017, when he became an instructor at AEWA. Mr. Dennis is a veteran of the United States Army.

Marc Doty

Instructor / Safety Coordinator

16+ Years Experience
Marc started his career upon completion of welding school in 2006 as a structural welding for HMT Tank with the repair and maintenance division. Marc repaired storage tanks in refineries, tank farms, and pipeline terminals. He then rigged out in 2012 to chase and repair oil/natural gas rigs in central Arkansas. In 2016 he went back to his roots with HMT Tank as a new tank welder and quickly moved up to a foreman’s position erecting tanks across the country. He joined AEWA as an instructor in 2021.

Grant Ragland

Instructor’s Assistant / Registered Nurse

3+ Years Experience
Grant started his welding career in June of 2019 after completing the Elite Pipe Program at Arkansas Elite Welding Academy. He spent two years on the road as a pipe welder, welding in new construction and food processing plants, before coming to AEWA full time in 2021. Grant is also a Registered Nurse with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

Austin Harp

Recruiter / Instructor’s Assistant

5+ Years Experience
Harp began his welding career in 2017, just after completing his training at Arkansas Elite Welding Academy. He was in one of the first graduating classes. Harp spent two full years on the road as a traveling pipe welder, then found himself back at the academy, recruiting students from across the nation who are ready to begin their journey as a welder.

Lucas Stacks

Materials, Tools, & Logistics Manager

22+ years experience
After working as a lead warehouse manager at Amtran, Lucas went to work for Mountain Pure Water in Little Rock. While there he supervised over 60 employees, was over warehousing, and managed the sale of bottled water to Walmart. He then went to work in the oilfield industry for DNOW. While working there, Lucas managed inventory at four different branch locations and provided service for SWN. After moving four times, he decided to move back home to Central Arkansas, and he joined the AEWA team in late 2021.

Jake Odom

Student Advisor / Housing Coordinator

11+ Years Experience
Jake began working in the gas industry locally as an Electrical & Instrumentation technician and has traveled the state working in various refineries, chemical and petrochemical plants, and food processing facilities. Jake started his tenure with AEWA in 2020, to work locally, and ensure students are meeting their goals in and out of school. 

Sancy Faulk

Enrollment Director

19+ Years Experience
Sancy began her career in higher education administration as a Dean of Students in 2003. She then served as a college vice president from 2005 until 2021. She has supervisory experience in the areas of admissions, development, financial aid, housing, public relations, and student services. She holds a B.A. in Psychology and a M.S. in College Student Personnel Services & Administration. She came to AEWA in 2021.

Kelly Patrick

Finance & Human Resource Manager

33+ Years Experience
Kelly brings a wealth of professional experience to AEWA. She has more than 30 years of experience in various customer service roles, finance administration, and property and casualty insurance. Kelly currently holds a property and casualty insurance license, is a licensed Notary Public, and is a licensed Admissions Representative. Kelly was AEWA’s first employee.

AEWA’s mission is to provide ELITE, rigorous, and revolutionary training. We offer: 


A 10:1 student-to-instructor ratio


Instructors with 150+ years’ combined experience


Elite Individualized Training (E.I.T.)


A bonus curriculum for the truly elite students


Lifetime job placement assistance for qualified graduates


A 96.8% job placement rate for 2020 graduates


Lifetime brush-up benefits for qualified graduates