By Cathy B. Koplen Contributing Writer
The Daily Star
---- — Some people know what they want to be when they grow up, while others fall into an accidental occupation that suits them well.
Such was the case with Rick Andrews, who owns and operates Andrews Welding and Fabrication in West Davenport.
“I had gotten a job with Delaware County,” Andrews said in a recent interview. “When they hired me, they told me I would not be doing much welding. I had gone to school for mechanics. But it ended up that there was a lot of welding I had to do. So, I bought a used welder and taught myself how to weld at night when I got home from work.”
It turned out that Andrews had an affinity for welding and fabricating metal. He began to take on a few outside jobs. Within a couple of years he was so busy at his part-time job, he quit his state job and went to work for himself.
“There was so much work,” Andrews said. “Big companies were building, and when the bulldozer broke down, they never asked how much it was going to cost to get it fixed. But they always asked how soon we could get it fixed. There was big money in construction back then. I wish Kyle could have seen it. I don’t think that kind of business will ever come back again.”
Kyle Andrews is Rick’s son. He has been working with metal since he was a child.
“We still have the first thing Kyle made when he was little,” Andrews said. “It is a little ornament of sorts.”
Rick Andrews incorporated his business in 2006. His business quickly grew from a single welding machine to four gas powered mobile welders. His trucks are brightly painted and are equipped to provide welding and fabricating services on location.
In addition to heavy machinery, Andrews Welding and Fabricating specializes in intricate rail work as well as building needs, automotive body repairs and small-engine repairs.
Kyle recently finished a job for Brooks’ House of Bar-B-Q. The father and son team did the welding for Panera Bread and replaced a railing at Hartwick College.
“We have diversified,” Rick Andrews said. “I was originally trained as a mechanic, so I can do engines.”
Rick Andrews purchased the farm upon which his parents lived when he was born.
“My parents rented that house when my mother was pregnant with me,” Andrews said. “They bought a place a little down the road. When this property came up I bought it because my wife liked it.”
Rick Andrews is now bringing his son into the family business.
“This is my truck,” said Kyle Andrews. “It is not as nice as Dad’s truck. This is the one we take out when the weather is bad.”
When asked why he is following his father’s footsteps in the business of welding, Kyle Andrews said it is fun to make things out of metal and there is nothing like the schedule of the self-employed.