Graduate Connections – Meet Dorrius Tellis

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Dorrius, 20, was born and raised in Houston, Texas. Dorrius graduated the seven-month Professional Welder program at Tulsa Welding School & Technology Center in Houston in May 2021.


Thanks for your time, Dorrius. Did you go to welding school right out of high school?

I graduated high school in May 2020 but was trying to figure out what I wanted to do. I played football. I was quarterback for my high school and on the JV team, but I didn’t feel the vibe to go any further with it. So I was at home and working security for Five Star Staffing in Houston. I worked at the Houston Rockets stadium, all over really, for a couple of months before I got laid off because of COVID.


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Where did the idea of welding first come from?

After I got laid off, I was at home trying to figure out if I was going to go to college for criminal justice or start working. I was trying to work out where I could succeed in life. I was on YouTube and an ad came up for Tulsa Welding School & Technology Center here in Houston. It really interested me, so I signed up for a tour, talked to a guy in Admissions, and started school in August.


Had you ever done any welding?

No, I was completely new to it. I’d heard about it before, but I’d never really paid attention to it. My first day I was a little nervous about the fire to be honest, but I had to get used to it. I told myself, “I‘m going to be a welder, I have to get used it this!” As time went on, I got used to it and just started doing my thing!


What was it about welding that made you think you could be a welder?

As I started looking into welding, I started watching videos. I knew I could figure out how to do it. I also prayed on it. “Will I be able to do this? Can I make a living out of it?” I prayed and it came to pass. But it was really also the videos. I just watched videos, videos, and more videos! I got a better understanding of it. I just flowed with it when I went into Tulsa Welding School and I adapted to what it threw at me.

What did you enjoy most about Tulsa Welding School?

My favorite part was TIG welding. I discovered a love for TIG, just moving metal around, putting metal together. TIG welding is the best for me, I really enjoy it. One of the instructors, James, taught me how to make my welds pretty. He told me if I did it this way, I could make this kind of money. I really appreciate James for helping me and guiding me through TIG welding. Another instructor, Mark, also helped me learn how to TIG weld, because it was very difficult for me. When I first started, I had no clue how to do it. Mark actually encouraged me to retake the phase, even though I’d passed. I didn’t want to, I wanted to move on, but I decided I did want to get better. So I rephased, and I’m glad I did because I got a job TIG welding!


Sounds like you have a lot of time for the instructors.

All these guys were very helpful to me; I learned a lot from them. When I needed a helping hand, they were there for me to help me get through. There was another instructor I want to mention, Alan, who taught me how to Stick weld. I’m here now and I’m in a great state of mind with welding; I’m enjoying it and a lot of it is down to those guys.


You finished school just last week, where are you working?

I’m about to start work for JDub Welding and Fabrication. They are a stainless-steel fabrication shop out of Ohio, but they are sending me to a project in Madison, Wisconsin next week. It’s about a three-week project, and then they will then send me somewhere else, and I’ll keep traveling. That’s the plan and I’m very excited to be TIG welding for them.

Did Career Services help you get the job?

Truthfully, I prayed and asked God for a TIG welding job that required traveling. I searched and found this job. I called and spoke with a guy named Josh about welding and the opportunities I could have with this company. Everything worked out phenomenally!

Congratulation! Will moving to Wisconsin be a big deal for you?

It’s a very big deal, I’ve never traveled before. It’s a big move for me, and I thank God that I was able to get the opportunity to travel. So, yes, it is a very big deal for me.      

Did you have to take a weld test?

No, they didn’t mention a test. I actually sent them a picture of what I could do, and they loved it. Now I’m going to be up there welding, and it’s a total blessing. 

Are you excited by the potential of this career? How is the money?

Oh yes, it’s a good feeling to be starting in the range that I am. I didn’t think I would be! I also get a per diem, and they cover the hotel cost directly, and they give me a rental car.

What’s your career plan from here?

My plan right now is to work hard and strive to be great, and to not give up on what I’m trying to accomplish. And that is to have my own welding machine, eventually my own company, helping out people and welding for them. That’s a goal that I will achieve, but, for right now, I just want to focus on succeeding, being happy, and at peace. I want to keep myself motivated, and to not give up on what’s in front of me.

What do you enjoy most about your new trade?

That’s a good question. I believe it is the creativity. Just putting metal together and making it look pretty, that’s what I enjoy, especially TIG welding. Welding is not easy, but if you put the work in, practice, watch videos, you will become better. As you get better you get more motivated to get the job done right.

What advice do you have for new students for them to be successful at TWS?

Stay motivated, stay strong, and be positive. Don’t quit. It’s not going to be easy when you start, but as you continue to study, to practice, to watch videos, you will become better. There’s a phrase I’ve heard, “Greatness is only determined by service.” I believe that once you put in the service, your work, you’ll be great in whatever you do. So get up every morning, drink your coffee or whatever you do, go to school, and be motivated to get your diploma and then get a job. Stay strong, don’t quit! If you put in your service, you will be great.


If you’re a TWS graduate and would like to share your success and be an inspiration to others, please email [email protected] to be considered for a Graduate Connection interview. Please include details such as your graduation date (month/year), program, and campus name (Tulsa/Jacksonville/Houston). 

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