IAI Staff

Our welding instructors come from different industry backgrounds, providing expert support to produce workforce-ready employees with welding certifications and qualifications.

Tamara Ward

Executive Director

A native of Indian River, Tammi earned her bachelor’s degree in Business and Communications from Saginaw Valley State University in 1993. Tammi joined the Industrial Arts Institute team in May of 2014 as Business & Student Services Manager and then advanced her position to Operations Manager and now as our Executive Director.  She brings a variety of workforce development, management, and student services skills to her current role with her 7 years at IAI and 15+ years of experience in economic and workforce development.  Tammi is proud to have been raised in Northern Michigan and understands the importance of developing a strong work ethic. She’s committed to being a part of creating a noble workforce of individuals who graduate from the Industrial Arts Institute.  In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and traveling every chance she gets. 

Dorothy Rohde

Office Manager

Dorothy Rohde is the newest addition to our team. She will bring 15+ years’ experience to her role as office manager. A very task oriented individual, her attention to detail and organizational skills will be applied throughout her office responsibilities.  When Dorothy isn’t busy working, she enjoys spending time with her family and all things outdoors.

Jeff Brown

Welding Instructor / Certified welding inspector (CWI)

Jeff was born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, but he moved and began his welding and fabrication career in Traverse City.  With nearly 30 years of industrial welding experience, Jeff has worked for companies like Soo Welding, Ace Welding in Traverse City, and Cadillac Fabrication in Cadillac.  His background includes experience mentoring and training welders and fabricators in the industry and he has been a Certified Welding Inspector (CWI) for 7+ years. In his spare time, Jeff enjoys working around the house, traveling, and spending time with his wife and two small grandchildren

Anna May Kohler

Associate Welding Instructor

Originally from southwest Michigan, Anna May first took wood shop classes, artistic welding, and blacksmithing.  She moved to northern Michigan to follow her welding and metal fabrication interests, where she studied here at Industrial Arts Institute as part of our tenth cohort.

Moran Iron Works offered her an internship that led to full-time employment, and Anna May worked for three years on a variety of different projects, like refractory pipes, MI CAT truck beds, aluminium boats, and steel barges.  “Lots of small and large weldments,” Anna says.  “And I even helped on the amphibious dredging machine that was built and welding at MIW.”  Anna was also one of the fracture critical welders at Moran Iron Works.

Anna May is excited to be blending welding and fabrication with another of her passions – teaching.  When she’s not hard at work, she enjoys being outdoors, hiking, camping, bonfires, being in and out of the water, making all kinds of art, baking, and road trips.

Ann Gildner

Ornamental Welding Instructor & Metal Artist-in-Residence

Ann enjoys art as much as learning. She holds a BFA from Siena Heights University and Certificates in Iron One Welding from Alpena Community College, Master Floral Design, Michigan Floral Designer and University of Michigan Master Gardener.   Ann’s 35 plus years in the art world brought her to Onaway to learn welding to create her ideas in large scale metal art. Tom Moran became her metal art mentor. She now exhibits her metal art throughout Michigan and has received several awards for her metal art works. Her community involvement was recognized by the State of Michigan and the Cheboygan Area Chamber of Commerce with the Francis and Gordon Spies Award for her involvement and direction in public art in Cheboygan, MI.  She was selected to be the Artist in Residence for the Iron One Studio and teaches Ornamental Welding Courses at the Industrial Arts Institute.

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Welding is a diverse and rewarding career. Apply to IAI today to start your journey to a career in welding.
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