American Fabrication Academy

About Us

Our Mission

Creating Careers in Metal Fabrication

American Fabrication Academy provides students with hands-on skills required to become marketable candidates for employment in the metal fabrication and welding industry through comprehensive teaching methods provided by our experienced and AWS certified instructors. Everything which we specialize in teaching could be found here in our curriculum tab to answer any potential capability questions you might have about us.

About us

America Needs Metal Workers

The American Fabrication Academy is a state of the art metal fabrication and welding school in Corona, California. Our trade school boasts small class sizes, and a hands-on stress free learning experience. Centrally located in beautiful Corona, California. Our metal fabrication and welding school is currently scheduling future enrollments. Call to schedule a tour with one of our instructors or fill out a form.

About us

Our Founders & Staff

Jason Saunders

(Director/Chief Executive Officer/Chief Financial Officer)

Jason has a bachelor’s degree in Biology from CSUF and has owned/operated several businesses since 2004. He has never suffered a financial loss in his business ventures and works closely with private CPAs Cieslik and Glenn to ensure financial security. He has a passion for working with people young and old, who may be misdirected or lack proper guidance to achieve their goals and dreams. He understands that not all people are offered equal opportunity or guidance in life to be successful contributing members of society. American Fabrication Academy is one of the vehicles used to fulfill this life goal. Jason’s duties as Director, CEO, and CFO of American Fabrication Academy are to oversee the administration of the institution's mission and objectives and have direct supervision of the CAO and COO.

Luke Czaplinski

(Director of Career Services/Instructor)

Luke has over 27 years in the welding and fabrication industry. He is American Welding Society (AWS) certified and has 6+ years of metal fabrication teaching experience. With Luke’s years of experience teaching fabrication, he has spent many hours identifying and meeting recruiters from all facets of the metal fabrication industry. Luke served as a non-commissioned officer in the United States Marine Corps Infantry Division for 4 years and is a key component in the recruiting of veterans to be trained and placed in the career of their dreams. In addition to teaching, Luke’s responsibilities include but are not limited to, assisting students in resume writing, interview prep and job search. Luke will aid each student on an individual basis to best locate job opportunities that fit the students' goals.

Marcio Umanzor

(Chief Academic Officer/Instructor/VA School Certifying Official)

Marcio is a master fabricator and has more than 25 years’ experience in the welding and fabrication industry, also owning his own motorcycle chassis building company for several years. He is American Welding Society (AWS) certified and has 6+ years of metal fabrication teaching experience. In addition to teaching, Marcio’s responsibilities include but are not limited to, creating curriculum, enforcing school compliance, as well as student orientation. As the school’s CAO, he report to the CEO and is also responsible for the supervision of faculty, development of educational programs and curricula, and implementation of American Fabrication Academy's mission, purpose, and objectives.

Robert Claro

(Chief Operations Officer/Instructor/VA School Certifying Official)

Robert is a master fabricator and has more than 23 years in the welding and fabrication industry. He was previously with the Imperial County Sheriff's Office but is now following his passion for teaching. He is American Welding Society (AWS) certified and has 4+ years of metal fabrication teaching experience. In addition to teaching, Robert’s responsibilities include but are not limited to, overseeing day to day operations, equipment maintenance, as well as coordinating monthly staff meetings. He is also primarily responsible for administration of the American Fabrication Academy’s business operations, finance, management, personnel, and contracting for goods, services, or property.

Ronald Warkentin


With over 25 years of experience in the fabrication and welding industry, Ronnie’s background in motorsports sets him apart from the other instructors. As the previous owner of a custom truck accessories fabrication shop, Ronnie acquired specialized skills that focused on customized details. He spent several years fabricating in motorsports, circle track, off road, drag race, and road race, to name a few, until the opportunity to teach was presented. Ronnie has been an instructor for 10+ years and is passionate about sharing his knowledge and experience with his students to prepare them for amazing opportunities in the industry.

Kyle Fuquay


A former sergeant in the United States Marine Corps, Kyle spent two tours in Afghanistan before ending his 4-year military career and starting in the motorsports industry. After receiving welding and fabrication training from Luke and Marcio, Kyle began his 6-year career in aerospace where he assembled space components for United Launch Alliance and NASA. He also spent some time working part-time from home welding travel trailers, conducting automotive based repairs, and using his CNC plasma table to make custom signs and artwork. He was eventually promoted at work and took on the role of supervisor for the machining of aerospace components for customers including Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman. Kyle’s experience and knowledge in the industry paired with his professionalism and patience is what makes him an asset to the team.

Rafael “Ralph” Alvarez


After completing his 4-year enlistment in the United States Navy, Ralph followed his passion for motorsports and enrolled in classes at Riverside Community College where he earned his T-Ten Toyota and Lexus certificate as well as an AA in Automotive Technology. It was during this time that he learned how to weld and fabricate. After completing his education, Ralph worked for large companies such as CRST, General Electric, and Honeywell Intelligrated. With his 20+ years of valuable, real-world experience in the automotive, transportation, and railroad industries, his main goal is to share his knowledge and prepare our students for their careers after graduation.

Juan Solis


Juan spent 5 years in the United States Navy as a Hospital Corpsman in the Infantry Unit before deciding to seek training in the welding and fabrication industry in 2015. Being instructed by Luke, Marcio, and Ronnie, Juan obtained the knowledge and skills needed to start a career in the offroad industry building Baja buggies, cages, and long travel kits for GNR Fabrication and Magnum Offroad. From there, he ventured into welding high-end stairwells, gates, and fences at Coastal Welding in Carlsbad, CA. Juan eventually startedJ1 Welding and Fabrication, where he provides mobile repair on trailers and vehicles, and continues to offer welding of stairwells, gates, and fences. He is dedicated to providing detailed instruction to our students to ensure they become successful in their future careers.

Gustavo Hernandez

(Director of Admissions)

A University of Redlands Graduate with a degree in Business, Gustavo knows that it takes hard work and dedication to be successful. He has worked as a shift lead at Starbucks, managing a team of several baristas, and as an admissions representative for 8+ years. Gustavo has spent the last few years working with the Skillbridge program at the Marine Base in Twentynine Palms and has been successful in enrolling service members into trade programs that prepare them for today’s workforce.

Heather Valdez

(Office Administrator/VA SCO)

With her 20+ years of experience in a financial aid office setting, Heather brings a wealth of knowledge and skills to the team. She has worked for both large corporations and small businesses, assisted in Human Resource duties, and managed teams of student employees through Federal Work Study. She has been a School Certifying Official for the Veterans Administration (VA) for more than five years and has been a key player in obtaining approval from The California State Approving Agency for Veterans Education (CSAAVE) and the Council on Occupational Education (COE) for national accreditation. Her strong work ethic and problem-solving skills make her a valuable asset to the AFA team.

Silvia Monteon

(Administrative Assistant)

Silvia is extremely well rounded when it comes to working in an office and with students. She spent the last 6 years as a paraeducator in ABA therapy for the Corona-Norco Unified School District and did in-home ABA therapy as a certified Registered Behavior Technician. Prior to that, she worked for 10 years as administrative support for TD Laser, a toner manufacturer. She worked as a supervisor for the Orange County Public Defender’s Office for 8 years before that, and mentored children after school, assisting with homework and other activities. Silvia’s ability to connect with students, willingness to help with anything, and positive attitude are greatly appreciated by AFA staff and students.

A Sneak Peek Into Our School