Portrait photo of Lynn Stanley

From the Editor




arch kicked off Women’s History Month. The month is set aside every year by presidential proclamation. It serves to recognize and celebrate women with notable achievements. Most of us recognize names like Rosie the Riveter, Helen Keller or Katherine Johnson, who provided the calculations that helped sync Project Apollo’s Lunar Module with the lunar-orbiting Command and Service Module. Early this month, Mahalia Jackson Story premiered on cable television, showcasing the life and times of the American gospel singer. But there are millions of women whose stories remain untold. They come from all walks of life and ethnicities. Though unrecorded, their quiet contributions have left an equally indelible mark on the fabric of this country.

In the April issue of FFJournal, I want to introduce you to one of these women. Austin, Texas, native Inez Escamilla owns and operates Loose Cannon Industries with her husband, Nic Joslyn. The company provides residential and commercial construction customers in Central Texas with custom welding and fabrication services. With an associate degree in the Applied Science of Welding Technology from Austin Community College under her belt, Escamilla combines an artistic flare for 3D metalwork with her experience as an architectural and structural welder. Nic is a pipe welder. Both are well versed in MIG, TIG, stick and arc welding.

Loose Cannon’s quality work recently attracted the attention of JE Dunn Construction and netted the company work on 6 X Guadalupe. The one-of-a kind 66-story office and residential skyscraper will be the tallest tower in Austin. During the pandemic, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security identified Loose Cannon as an essential worker. Escamilla used the platform to shed light on the importance of trades.

We want to
teach veterans trade skills so
they can secure jobs in the industry.
Inez Escamilla,
Loose Cannon Industries
As part of an expansion plan, the company earned its certification with the state of Texas as a minority- and woman-owned business (MWBE). Loose Cannon works with Motorcycle Missions to help veterans and first responders with PTSD. The couple started welding classes for participants in December 2020. Escamilla also has plans for her own non-profit to teach veterans trade skills.

Among her roles, Escamilla is a mother, wife, welder, employer and a volunteer. She wears a lot of hats without fanfare, just grit and determination. We were introduced to Escamilla through Baileigh Industrial Inc.’s Proud Sponsor Campaign. Based in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, the company designs and manufactures industrial metal and woodworking equipment. It began its recognition program about three years ago. Selected companies receive multimedia promotion and exposure and a product donation. In the case of Loose Cannon, Escamilla requested a large industrial fan to help her crew battle the Texas heat. But the company also purchased a Baileigh 350-SA dual miter band saw. Baileigh has featured approximately 35 companies to date, but keeps a low profile about its efforts to shine a light on metalworkers like Escamilla. “Baileigh doesn’t make any money off these promotion campaigns,” says Andrea Alves from Los Angeles public relations agency Jones & O’Malley. “It’s simply about the reward that comes from recognizing people who work hard and are contributing to their communities.”

As an editor, I would have to agree with Baileigh. Talking with manufacturers across the country, listening to their stories and writing about them so others can read about the interesting things they are doing is the best part of my job.