Where Are They Now? A Look Back on Engineering Technology Graduates!

If you were a 90’s kid, you probably heard, or even watched a television series called “Where are they Now.” The show provided viewers with current updates on past celebrities. Drawing up similarities from the show, in this edition of the FLATE Focus we take a similar trajectory in tracking the professional and educational pathways of a few students who graduated from the A.S. degree in Engineering Technology (A.S.E.T) from one of the community/state colleges in Florida.

Chris Mizell was fresh out of the military when he started his degree in engineering technology at Hillsborough Community College (HCC). He knew he wanted to pursue a workforce-ready degree which as he thought would be a fast-track to launching a career in a new direction. The A.S. degree in engineering technology was just the right fit for him. “The program by far is the best route for any industrial tradesmen looking to enhance his/her knowledge and make that next step into a career.” The degree helped Mizell broaden his knowledge in the concepts, applications, and working of an industrial production process. The courses also helped build his electrical and electronic capabilities in the fast-growing technology industries.

Today Mizell works as a Maintenance Technician for Advanced Airfoil Components in Gibsonton, FL. He enjoys the constant change in the type of job he encounters on a day-to-day basis and appreciates the complex process involved in manufacturing a product and getting it ready for use in the real world.

Valerie Bullington’s journey speaks of another rising star whose foray into the world of
manufacturing started back in 2010 when she attended the FLATE robotics camp at Hillsborough Community College. At the time she was a 13-year-old middle school student who was completely new to the world of robotics, much less manufacturing. Attending the robotics camp “greatly impacted the choices I made for my future,” said Bullington and set her on a path to pursuing an engineering-related field.

Fast forward to today and Bullington has come full circle. She currently works as an associate for an Amazon facility in Ruskin, FL while pursuing an A.S. degree in electronic engineering. The classes she’s currently enrolled in may not be directly related to what she does at work,  however, she feels they have had a huge impact on presenting growth opportunities for her both inside, or outside of Amazon. She is an MSSC Certified Production Technician and is working hard for a chance to be promoted as a maintenance technician at Amazon. Bullington is set to graduate in the summer of 2020 and is looking forward to pursuing rewarding opportunities in the manufacturing industry.

Our final spotlight is on a graduate who earned his A.S.E.T degree in 2012 from the State College of Florida (SCF). Andrew Sink’s exposure and journey into the world of manufacturing started as an international exchange student at SCF. The international student exchange program was an educational program that culminated through a partnership between FLATE, the Florida-based National Science Foundation Center, SCF, HCC and Usurbilgo Lanbide Eskola, an overseas college in the Basque Country that offers similar engineering technology programs.
The opportunity served as a conduit for Sink to embark on a rewarding and lucrative career in manufacturing. He currently works as an additive manufacturing applications engineer for TriMech Solutions, an engineering services provider with offices located throughout the east coast, providing coverage from Maine to Florida. “There is nothing I enjoy more than seeing how things are made” says Sink whose primary area of expertise lies in additive manufacturing and 3D printing. He is based out of Charlotte, NC, where he is in charge of the entire southeast region from North Carolina, to Arkansas to Florida.

“Every day is totally different as I travel all over the east coast and beyond as part of my job” says Sink. A large part of what he does involves touring factories, manufacturing plants, research labs and examining what processes a company currently uses and accordingly determining how 3D printing can give the company a competitive advantage. He also teaches training classes that are focused on advanced design for additive manufacturing concepts such as design, implementation and material selection, and enjoys helping clients understand how additive manufacturing can improve processes.

Looking back, the core courses Sink took as part of his A.S.E.T degree at SCF, greatly prepared him with the skills needed to succeed at work. The “Intro to SolidWorks class” for example, was Sink’s first exposure to parametric 3D modeling and 3D printers and has helped him tremendously as he uses it nearly every day at work.  Sink is thankful to the ET program at SCF and the partnership with FLATE for introducing him to the world of manufacturing. “It’s a great time to get involved in manufacturing,” says Sink. As automation continues to become more prevalent and new opportunities for process improvement and problem-solving are created every day, Sink believes the next ET graduate could easily be “the” person to come up with a revolutionary concept “to design and implement those new solutions.”

The Engineering Technology degree program was developed by the Florida Advanced Technological Education Center with community colleges and industries across the state and in close partnership with the Florida Department of Education Division of Adult and Career Education. The Degree was developed to address a growing need to supply manufacturers and high-technology industries with qualified, highly- skilled workers in the foreseeable future.  The program is a cohesive, comprehensive framework that focuses on a set of core classes that cover introductory computer aided drafting, electronics, instrumentation and testing, processes and materials, quality and safety. These core skills align with the national Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC) Certified Production Technician Certification. The ET Core coupled with a second year degree specialization prepares students for many jobs in manufacturing and many other high-technology industries.

For a full list of state and community colleges currently offering the A.S.E.T degree in Florida visit http://madeinflorida.org/engineering-technology-degree/e-t-overview, or contact Dr. Marilyn Barger at barger@fl-ate.org/813.259.6578. To join a consortium of engineering technology graduates across Florida connect with us on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/company/et-degree-community.

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