Industrial Arts Institute has partnered with the Petoskey, MI branch of the Salvation Army to craft a “Big Red Kettle” for the philanthropic Christian organization. 23 students, under the guidance of welding educators, are fabricating the kettle out of mild steel. The design and engineering of the kettle has been administered at Moran Iron Works (MIW). The finished project will stand 7ft. tall and 7ft. round with a weight of approximately 2000lbs.

“Working with the folks at MIW and IAI has been amazing. To have a business, school, and charitable organization working in conjunction with one another for the benefit of the cherished folks in our region is exciting. The “Big Red Kettle” is not only fun to display in a parade but also helps us engage the community and raise awareness of what The Salvation Army is and does. The Salvation Army provides food, clothing and emergency assistance to literally thousands of folks in real need throughout Northern Michigan; not just at Thanksgiving and Christmas but throughout the entire year. The red kettle thus becomes a symbol of hope for folks who are struggling. They know there is a place they can turn to that will provide assistance to them in love, without discrimination and with the dignity and respect every person deserves. We cannot express adequately our gratitude and appreciation for the folks at MIW and IAI, not the least of which are the awesome students!”

— Greg Irwin, Corps Administrator/Pastor, The Salvation Army of Petoskey, MI

Red Kettle History: It started in 1891 with a desire to provide a free Christmas dinner for destitute and hungry residents in San Francisco. Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee was committed to provide 1000 meals to the city’s poorest residents on Christmas Day. He used an iron kettle to gather donations from passers-by and soon had enough money to fulfill his goal.

“Integrated projects like the Big Red Kettle, provide our students with the opportunity to use the multitude of skills they have learned at IAI simultaneously. They are empowered to work as leaders, read blueprints, fabricate, machine and weld the entire structure together using the critical thinking of the team. On top of that, they are experiencing philanthropy…contributing to their communities.”

— Georgia Abbott, Executive Director of IAI

Captain McFee’s kettle idea launched an institution that has spread all across the world. Public contributions to Salvation Army kettles enable the organization to operate with year-round efforts to help those who would otherwise be forgotten.

“It is a real privilege to help fabricate this kettle for The Salvation Army and be a part of what it stands for. This project will really test the skills we have developed in our course especially because making round objects is one of the most difficult tasks in the industry. Constructing this kettle will allow us to apply our knowledge in blueprint reading and our capabilities welding with GMAW Pulse.”

— IAI Student, Jake Florenski – Petoskey, MI

The project will be completed and unveiled at 3:20pm, before IAI – Cohort 4’s Graduation Ceremony at 3:30pm on December 11, 2015.

Special thanks to Sign and Design of Petoskey for creating the artwork for the kettle.

About IAI

Our Staff

Our Facility



IAI News




Financial Aid


Student Life


NE Michigan



Comprehensive Industrial Welding

Basic Welding

Ornamental Welding


Shielded Metal Arc Welding

Gas Metal Arc Welding & Flux Corded Arc Welding


Welding Qualification Testing


Summer Youth Offerings

IAI Community Volunteer

High School Welding Competition