Northeast welding student swims with the sharks during business competition

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Special to the Viewpoint

SIOUX CITY, Iowa – A student at Northeast Community College in South Sioux City was thrown to the sharks recently, but he is doing just fine.

Welding student Jesus Delgadillo, Dakota City, was among those who participated in Briar Cliff University’s annual “Swimming with the Sharks” competition – an event based on the television program, Shark Tank, in which entrepreneurs pitch their product before a panel of investors, known as sharks, who then decide whether to invest in them.

Delgadillo was one of five finalists who were selected from 60 applicants. Each finalist had five minutes to sell their idea to the panel of judges, while the panel had an additional five minutes to ask questions.

Delgadillo tied for third place with his plan for Delgadillo Welding, a mobile welding company focused on pipe fabrication, structural and sanitary pipe welding. In his presentation, he pointed out that by the year 2024, there will be shortage of 400,000 welders, which, in turn, will lead to an increase in the demand for those in the profession.

During his presentation, Delgadillo provided detailed cost estimates for equipment purchases, maintenance and consumables. His long-term vision is to develop multiple mobile units and employ others in his company.

Delgadillo’s interest in welding began in middle school. It was during this time he forgot to return a book and used it as a resource the following summer to independently learn the technical aspects of welding. He said his enrollment in Northeast’s welding program was an easy decision based upon research he had conducted and in speaking with Pat McCarville, Northeast welding instructor in South Sioux City.

The judges awarded Delgadillo $750 to purchase the needed equipment for his mobile welding unit company. While he has been doing small jobs during breaks in between his collegiate studies, Delgadillo plans to begin his business full-time this May upon his graduation from Northeast Community College.

The judging panel in the Swimming with the Sharks competition was comprised of various economic development organizations in the Siouxland region, which supplied the $5,000 award money.

Swimming with the Sharks is part of Briar Cliff University’s annual Entrepalooza event featuring 10 days of events for entrepreneurs to kick start or expand their business.

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