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Beyond the Classroom: LBCC’s NDT Instructor Scott Ballard

Photo by Brenda Autry

Scott Ballard has been a Non-Destructive Testing instructor at Linn-Benton Community College for the past seven years. He graduated from LBCC with an associate degree in metallurgy (the old title for the NDT program) in 1991, and soon after he decided he wanted to be a shop teacher. Ballard continued his education at Western Oregon University, earning both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in secondary education.

“I wanted to do an emphasis in vocational education, but Oregon State University had just discontinued that program,” said Ballard. “So I went to Western Oregon and chose social studies as my emphasis. I’m nationally certified to teach both manufacturing technology and social studies.”

Ballard spent 22 years teaching shop classes at Philomath HIgh School before coming to teach at LBCC.

“I enjoy working with young people and training people of all ages so they have an opportunity to make a good living,” said Ballard. “Especially at LBCC, where I can work with industry partners and help students find a good career fit.”

Ballard also spent much of  his life working on farms, and as a mechanic. 

“I started working on farms in the summers when I was 9 or 10,” said Ballard. “From age 15 until I was about 40, I spent the summers working as a mechanic on farms. I was the ‘shop guy’ doing welding, fabrication … everything.”

Outside of the classroom, Ballard is a self-described “outdoorsman.” He loves hunting, fishing, backpacking, and camping. He and his wife, Kathy Ballard, own a small farm outside of Monroe where they raised their three children – two sons (Ben and Joseph) and one daughter (Rebekkah), along with several “strays” as Ballard affectionately refers to the many extended family members who he helped raise throughout the years. 

The Ballards grow a lot of their own crops and raise lambs, a few of which are sold. They also have a commercially licensed food kitchen on their property where they butcher game, and process meat for sale. They even had a small foray into the world of haggis making.

“I’m a big foodie so we started a food truck and I had my kids all working for me helping out. We had the food truck for about 14 years,” Ballard said. “One year we made haggis for a renaissance faire and people really liked it. Eventually we were asked to make the haggis for the Robert Burns Festival up in Portland, too.”

“We sold the truck about eight years ago, but we still occasionally do catering for family and close friends,” said Ballard.

Though Ballard is out of the restaurant business, it seems to have stuck with his children. One of his sons and his daughter have gone into business together and recently opened The Chicken Shanty in Corvallis.

Family is important to Ballard, and he makes spending time with them a priority. 

“We have a big family so we always have a lot of family stuff going on,” said Ballard. “My youngest son and another family member still live at home with us, and my oldest son just bought the property across from us, so now it’s like we have a big family compound.”

Ballard was always involved with his kids’ sports and spent 30 years coaching wrestling. His oldest son wrestled for OSU, and is now the head wrestling coach at Monroe High School, where Ballard still helps out as the assistant coach. 

He and his family like to spend time outdoors together. “Especially hunting,” said Ballard. “Around 70-80% of the red meat we eat at my house comes from us hunting.”

The Ballards also do a lot of camping and backpacking together. “We try to spend at least 10-12 days a year backpacking,” said Ballard. “I backpack mostly in Oregon. I like to go off trail for three or four days at a time. And once a year our whole extended family gets together for a big campout. My dad is the oldest of nine, so depending on the year, there may be 30-40 of us, or, if the family from Texas and Florida make the trek up, as many as 120 of us.”

Ballard is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the outdoors, farming, and, of course, NDT. If you have questions about NDT stop by and say hi. He loves talking about his program.

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