Darrell and Jody Bohle
The story of Darrell and Jody Bohle, the owners of Bel-Aire Welding Ltd. in Lethbridge, is not just a story of a smart business partnership. It is also a love story – one with all of the fire and sparks you’d expect in the welding world. The couple’s business has been providing welding services to southern Alberta for 23 years and is home to the region’s only PythonX, a robotic plasma cutting system that, simply put, “eats steel like butter.”
From the very beginning, when they started with only their credit card and a welder they towed with their car, they knew it would take their hardest work and most committed community engagement to build their business. An essential part of their business is supporting the community, including Lethbridge College. “It’s every business owner’s responsibility to give back, to try to work in and with the community,” says Darrell Bohle, a 1983 Welding grad. “And we wouldn’t be where we are today if we hadn’t attended the college,” adds Jody, a 1997 Business Administration alum.
Their support translated into a $50,000 gift to the college to create the Bel-Aire Virtual Welding Room in the college’s new trades and technologies facility. The new facility will be “transformational,” Darrell Bohle says, “and we want to contribute to that transformation by enhancing the training of welders.”
This experience is one that students remember.
Each spring, crowds of people, police cars, emergency vehicles and media flood the scene of a “disaster” on campus. Scores of students from the Digital Communications and Media, Criminal Justice – Policing, and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) programs are on hand to help the wounded, interview witnesses and report the news. And at the end of the day, they (thankfully) all get to go home healthy and whole – having participated in a multi-disciplinary collaboration from a real-life, large-scale disaster scenario.
“This experience is one that students remember,” says Marty Thomsen, a 1988 grad of the college’s Criminal Justice – Policing program and former Dean of the Centre for Justice and Human Services. “They come back long after they graduate and tell us what a difference it made to have practice responding to scenarios of this nature.”
Each year, several aspects are the same. The students have no knowledge of what type of scenario they will be facing, and they have to respond to the scene in real time – just as they will on the job as police, emergency responders or media.