Meet James. He has GRIT.

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James Bowen, CWI has been promoted to Corporate Level III. In his new role, James will work with Director of Corporate Safety Ron Newman in the training, development and certification of ECS technicians performing non-destructive testing (NDT) services.

James has over 20 years’ experience working in non-destructive testing, special inspections and bridge inspection. He is certified as an ASNT Level III in Ultrasound and Magnetic Particle Methods, Master of Special Inspection, Welding Inspector and Bridge Safety Inspector.

“My passion is teaching, training and mentoring new inspectors,” says James. “I am honored and excited to be given this opportunity and look forward to continuing to grow our NDT services and continue ECS’ standard of excellence.”

Previously, James spent four years teaching the American Concrete Institute (ACI) Concrete Field Technician prep course and served as an assistant proctor for the ACI exam for the Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware Valley (EPDVACI) Chapter of ACI.

“My proudest professional accomplishment was being selected to review and edit the structural steel and welding sections of the International Code Council (ICC) Special Inspection Manual (2018 edition),” says James.

James was recently honored as the 2019 American Welding Society’s Dalton E. Hamilton CWI of the Year and is active in several organizations, serving as the vice-chairman for AWS Local Section #151. He also belongs to the Wake Technical Community College Welding Technology Advisory Committee.

James is a member of the International Code Council Exam Development Committee for Structural Steel and Welding Special Inspectors. He served on AWS Technical Subcommittees 59B1A- Nondestructive Testing, 60B1B- Visual Examination of Welds, 8B1- Methods of Inspection and 61 B1C Task Group on Welding Inspection Handbook.

James’ inspection career began in the late 1990’s in the Gulf of Mexico while working as a commercial diver. He was introduced to the underwater methods of Ultrasonic and Magnetic Particle inspection for offshore structures. Over the years, James has worked as a NDT Technician, Special Inspector and Inspection Supervisor in commercial construction and worked for various departments of transportation, naval facilities and the Army Corp of Engineers as a top side and underwater bridge inspector.

Q& A with James Bowen

How did you discover your passion was for teaching/training/mentoring?

By accident, of course! My old boss in Philadelphia used to teach the ACI Field Technician Certification prep course for the Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware Valley Chapter of ACI (EPDVACI). One day he asked if I would teach for him as he had a scheduling conflict. After some hesitation and encouragement, I agreed. I think he saw something in me that I didn’t see. I was nervous during introductions, but by the end of the class, I was having a great time with it. I found it so enjoyable and told my boss that anytime he needed me to fill in, I was happy to do it. He had been teaching it for many years and was tired of it, so we went to the Chapter President and got permission to just turn it over to me permanently.

I learned a lot about myself and used that opportunity to begin leveraging other opportunities to teach, train and mentor, which further confirmed that I had found something I truly enjoyed doing. A large part of me pursuing the Level III position is that those activities are at the core of the position. It really is as close as you can get to a perfect job for me.

Who inspires you?

Mothers. My children are teenagers now, but watching my wife or other mothers that I know is always humbling. The sacrifice and selflessness they routinely display with no fanfare or notice is amazing. It’s a mindset that we could use more of in our world.

What was the last book you read?

The Storm Before The Storm- The Beginning of the End of the Roman Republic by Mike Duncan

What’s your favorite movie?

It’s a tie between Aliens and Excalibur (1980 version- the new one is terrible)

Where’s your favorite place in the world? 

It’s a tie between my couch and Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA (Go Birds)

What’s the greatest bit of advice a parent or mentor has given you? 

Don’t pursue happiness. Just do the right thing, don’t avoid the hard stuff and eventually it leads to happiness

What’s the most exciting project you ever worked on and why? 

The Philadelphia Museum of Art Renovation. It’s such an iconic building. So many great memories from the project. People from all over the world came there to run up the steps and recreate that [Rocky] scene. The Architect really gave me a free hand in the job, I was allowed to write a custom welding acceptance criteria in the project specifications for all of the stainless weldments. I got to go to the fabricators shop in Atlantic City and qualify all the welders. They made some of the nicest welds I’ve ever seen and we left that wonderful old building in good shape for another 100 years. Everyone involved was really dedicated and proud to be on that job.