Internship fuels passion for learning

Published 01.10.2023

Michael Sormilic

by Michael Sormilic

Building Automation Engineering
Diesel Truck, Heavy Equipment & Power Generation

As if his pursuit of simultaneous degrees doesn’t give it away, Michael Sormilic relishes the educational opportunities afforded by his enrollment at Pennsylvania College of Technology. Working toward an associate degree in electric power generation technology and a bachelor’s in building automation engineering technology, the Southbury, Connecticut, resident spent the summer in a valuable industry internship. In this Q&A , he shares his takeaways from the experience – lessons in teamwork, gratitude, problem-solving and friendship.

Internship Title & Company.

I am a controls technician intern at Air Conditioning Equipment Sales LLC, better known as ACES, in Richmond, Virginia.

Tell us a little more about the type of work you are doing.

I have been working hands-on in the building automation industry alongside other controls technicians and electricians at numerous job sites. The job sites consist of new construction, renovations and finished buildings. This type of work consists of installing, programming and servicing hardware to control numerous types of equipment in buildings, mainly HVAC equipment. Other applications include controls and integration in lighting, power monitoring, security, fire systems, generators and more. There is also an interesting part of this work called graphics, where we make graphical representations of the systems and equipment in buildings with the purpose of creating a front end that allows customers to easily monitor their systems. The graphics also help the technicians in troubleshooting equipment on startups and service calls. We will point-to-point check equipment, controllers and sensors to start up new installations. Commissioning jobs for completion, as well as returning for service, all the while working alongside and helping other contractors. I have had the chance to see amazing things and places along the way. 

What do you love most about your internship?

What I love most about this summer’s internship is using what I have learned at Penn College and applying it in the field. I’m able to take what I have learned in the classroom and labs and make a connection at the job site and learn more while working. The people at ACES have been amazing; they have helped grow my experience with Honeywell and Alerton products and make me love what I’m doing even more. 

How has Penn College prepared you for your internship?

Penn College has allowed me to easily guide myself to find my own career path. While working toward my associate degree in electric power generation technology, I found my liking and skill in electrical work, especially in controls and communications. I then learned about the bachelor’s degree in building automation engineering technology, and have not once doubted my decision to do this dual degree. Every step along the way, Penn College has prepared me for my past internships and especially this one. The classrooms and labs, the technology, equipment, and the personal relationships with professors could not have prepared me better for this internship. I can say I feel confident working alongside my co-workers, asking questions and understanding the work being done, as well as being able to contribute to the efforts. Once I graduate, I will be able to seamlessly step into this career. 

When did you first fall in love with your field?

Once I got through my general education courses and started my major classes and got into the labs, I was able to really dig deep and find my liking for this field. I find myself always learning, working hard and keeping busy with side projects of my own and from professors. 

What is the biggest lesson you have learned at your internship?

The biggest lesson that I have learned during this internship is that we are just one small part of the job; it takes a team of people and contractors to work together to accomplish the result. That has taught me relationships with co-workers, general contractors on the job site, and even customers are often more important than the work itself. It allows for easier communication of goals and allows the job to move along with less friction. Problems or opportunities that arise can easily be identified and addressed. 

What might you tell others who are considering Penn College/your major?

Go for it! When you find something you’re passionate about, the investment is completely worth it. Stick with it and you won’t regret it. 

What brought you to Penn College?

You will hear this answer from a lot of students, and I cannot lie: My mother is who brought me to Penn College. I am grateful for my mom and how she has encouraged me throughout college. After visiting multiple schools, she set up a tour at PCT and I was impressed since my first visit. 

Any other details or stories about your internship you would like to share?

Overall, I have been extremely pleased with everyone from ACES. I am grateful for the experience they have offered me and friendships I have made. I want to thank Ben Garner, Matt Garter, Austin Knox, my professors and others who have helped me this summer.