P.O. Box 241, 20902 Washington Avenue, Onaway MI 49765




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.

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.  He has a few years of teaching experience and has been a 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


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.

Continue Reading About Ann
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.

Michael Rocheleau

Welding Lab Technician & Manual Machining Instructor

Michael began his machining career in 1988 when he enlisted in the United States Navy. He served for four years during the Persian Gulf War in Machine Repairing. Following completion of our Comprehensive Industrial Welding Program in August 2015, Michael has become IAI’s paraprofessional for all Youth Camps and High School Work Based Learning classes. In 2016 he became our Manual Machining Instructor and completed a NIMS workshop in Georgia and has since received 8 NIMS credentials.

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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 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.

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