Miller Presents: Building a Welder with Michael Brandt

Miller Presents: Building a Welder with Michael Brandt

Michael, how old were
you when you actually first experienced the zen of welding? At age nine I got my
first taste of welding in my grandfather’s
workshop and it was awesome. How good were you at it? I sucked at it. I was doing good if I could get the electrode not to stick to my work piece. And that’s an accomplishment. Yeah, I was told when you’re a kid you can’t play with fire, and here I had this amazing opportunity to play with fire and not get in trouble and I remember having my welding hood on and I was just really
in my own little world under that welding hood and it was really kind of an escape for me with what I was going through
at that time in my life. Things were changing whether
I wanted them to or not. So that’s really the turning point when a lot of things started to slide downhill for me for many years. In this period, even
at that young of an age, you started going down
the wrong path, right? I was really left to my own devices to do, and come and go as I wanted. Some days I’d wake up and
I’d skateboard to school, you know, or I’d steal
money from my mom’s purse and then go play video games and maybe not even make it to school. And we’d be riding skateboards and we’d be doing, you know, tricks on our bicycles and all this stuff and that’s when I was first
experienced with marijuana. So the alcohol and drugs never stopped. I was a bonehead. It was me forging my step-mom’s signature to be able to skip
school without, you know, them being alerted. My dad was working his butt off. He would teach me, you know, life skills and the morals that I needed that I live on today, but at the time I was just like. I was in-and-out of jail. I got a possession charge. I got caught with some methamphetamine and then they let me out state probation and I went right back into dealing drugs. When they arrested me
they knew my dog’s name, they knew how much drugs I
was selling for this person, and there was no denying anything. And I clearly remember the day I went, that I got busted, the
doors to the adjoining room swung open and it was the
DEA, the FBI was there, it was a great turning point in my life because I was so unhappy
doing what I was doing that I took as, I remember
clearing taking a deep breath and telling myself, I don’t
have to do this anymore. That’s, that’s pretty
interesting you say that was a great event. And obviously sometime
while you were in prison you had to make some steps to correct your bad decisions in the past. Yeah, absolutely. When I went to prison I
felt so guilty internally that I was doing things
that ruined families. You know when I was doing it I was using and so the feelings of
that guilt were numb, but when I no longer
had drugs inside of me I felt huge amounts of guilt for bringing people down
instead of bringing them up like I was taught you
know, in my upbringing. So you started making better decisions. You did what, six years? Yeah, six years and I really did my best to be a model inmate. The instructor said one thing one day that hit me like two tons of bricks, and that was, your true test to freedom is gonna be if you can do what’s right when no one’s looking. And I didn’t know at the time, but that’s integrity. Yeah. And that hit hard and I’m like, my whole life I’ve been doing whatever I could get away with. All I gotta do is what’s right when no one’s looking
and things get better? That was one of the most
powerful turning points, you know, from that program that I took away–
Outstanding. That allowed me to, to get to a point where I could be released and start doing the right thing when no one was looking. From that half-way house
I had work-release program and my sister and her husband
had a job lined up for me at a forklift dealership and I didn’t know a single thing about forklifts, but I went to the forklift
dealership everyday and I cleaned that shop
like nobody’s ever cleaned that shop and things really got good. Within a 5 1/2 year period of time I went from sweeping
the floors in that shop to having a company vehicle,
a company credit card, and then being the number one tech at a large manufacturing facility, over 185 pieces of electrical, battery-powered material
handling equipment. At some point in here you bought your first Miller Welder, is that correct? Yep, I had an interest
of these chopper bicycles. My son was starting to coming up to visit every now-and-then and I thought, maybe if I can learn how to weld good, and I can build these bicycles then that’d be fun. So, welding started out as a hobby and I bought several different welders and they were junk and
they weren’t working for me and then there was a guy that I knew that had a Miller 185 that he hadn’t used in seven years and it was just in his warehouse, all dusty. He agreed to sell it to me for $750 and that Miller 185 changed everything. It was reliable. I could actually produce
good-looking welds with it and that’s what hooked
me on Miller Welders, is that first machine. So hooked on Miller ’cause it was working and I’m like I need to
find a Miller TIG Welder. I thought that if I could weld aluminum from my garage at home
that’s gonna give me an advantage over other people that tinker around in their shop and I was right. You stepped right from
their first two machines into your first really
professional job, right? Yeah, I was invited to place a bid on a permanent art
structure for Rock City. I won the bid, the lady
called me and says, congratulations, you won the bid, and my heart sank. Like I had this huge
commitment I just made. And now you have to do it, right? And now I have to build it, but build it I did. Welcome to Invitation, this
is a permanent art structure I built in 2011, mixed media. We got carbon steel, stainless steel, and wood that we built
this entire structure and planters and stuff out of. We won, Artist of the Year,
in 2011 for this project and it was a huge undertaking that made me feel confident
that I could take on anything that I put my mind to. Each one of these walls was built in my two-car garage laying flat on top of saw horses and they’re
about 800 pounds a piece. I worked on this for 11
months every night after work and every weekend. And the relationship I
built with that company is probably one of the most
important relationships I have today. Rock City will now call me to come and put a bid on it, they’ll give me very basic directions and they’ll like, they step back and they give me 100% creator freedom and
they say, do what you do because they know I’m
gonna go the extra mile. I really care and people
from all over the world come to enjoy my projects there and that’s pretty flattering. Michael, another part of your business we haven’t really touched on is you also have mobile
welding capabilities, correct? Yeah, sure enough. We have our own self-contained trailer with a Miller Engine
Drive as the power source. We have air compressors. We can take our plasma cutters. For the most part we can do whatever we do within
the shop in the field. The cool thing about our mobile welding is that we can build
portions of stuff here and then actually go and install and weld things then onsite and that’s a large
portion of our business. And Michael, you also work with a lot of youth groups here
at Garage Bound, right? You know, part of me, righting my wrongs from the past, is by giving back in a very positive and constructive way to
current youth groups. Three times a year we work
with youth organizations where we have the amazing opportunity of sharing with them what
we’re passionate about with Miller Welders, with Miller PPE and exposing them to plasma cutting and TIG welding and MIG welding and stick welding. We do it all right here in our 6,600 square foot facility and we have ten welding stations and plenty of other people that come from within the community
to help facilitate that. And we have amazing
corporate and local sponsors for this event. And it’s just growing. Beautiful. We call him, Rockstar, his name is Ethan. He is a Rockstar man, this
kid acts like he’s 18. Anytime I get to spend time with him is a genuine pleasure. I’ve never found anybody, so far, that I’ve worked with, that is just that attention detailed. I’d go ahead and fill the gap starting where you stopped. Alright. He sold that machine and saved enough money and I found him a Dynasty 300 DX TIG machine
that’s here in my shop that he comes and uses. Excellent, good job buddy, bam. And he brags at me that his machine is 20 amps more powerful
than my Dynasty 280 DX, so. So start the next generation, right? Starting the next generation, yeah. I really feel that he’s gonna have something to offer and I really hope that I can groom him
into the type of employee that would be perfect for my business. Michael, tell me why Miller? When I buy Miller Welders I feel like I’m buying into a product
that’s going to work for every need of my customers and I share that with them. So that’s something I actually market because I believe in it. I’ve been able to visit the Miller Factory and meet these people and
fall in love with the company even more because I know
that every single one of ’em there is passionate about doing the best that they can and
if something comes back, it hurts ’em, and I’m like that. If something comes back from my work, which thankfully doesn’t happen often, it hurts my pride. But having Miller in my corner allows me to be more successful
and allows my customers to receive the best product possible. We have multiple employees at Garage Bound that share the same vision I do and they are always constantly wanting to be better craftsmen. We practice together, no job is too small and that’s really how I collected money, collected equipment, you know, and I built it off that and I really built up
a network of customers that appreciate that because so many other fabrication welding shops just won’t take the time to do small jobs. So, it’s really important to me, and one of my mentors told me, don’t ever forget those people and always make time for them because that’s how you started. And so we do that. So we have a lot of small odd-and-end jobs that come in and then we
get some very large jobs and I can’t do it all on my own and it takes a unique team like this to be successful. – Michael, one benefit of this interview, you’ve got a unique opportunity. Is there anything you’d
like to say in closing to Miller Electric? – Yeah, I wanna thank
Miller for the relationship that we’ve built and for them doing such a great job building the machines that are the backbone of my business. – Well thank you man. And from Miller, I wanna thank you for helping make us look good. – Alright, thanks man.
– Thank you. If you’ve got an interesting story about how you got into welding, we wanna hear it. So go to our website at and tell us your story.

13 thoughts on “Miller Presents: Building a Welder with Michael Brandt

  1. Both these men Dwayne and Michael are very talented and awesome individuals plus I always use the power of blue?Miller Welders…

  2. Gentlemen , Very good video , thank you . I bought my first set of torches at age 11 , just bought a Miller Bobcat 250 EFI at age 67 . I was going to buy a back-up generator for the house but then I thought "Why not get something useful" . Miller might consider promoting the Bobcat 250 EFI as a back-up generator to dinosaur welders like me . I say the EFI because it is supposed to start in cold weather . I'll let you know . Next I must figure out what dual purpose a tig setup can do ….. Cheers and thanks again for a great video . Barry

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