Jonathan G. Vasconcelos

Scooping Up Skills

by Cindy Davis Meixel, writer/photo editor

Published February 26, 2020

“Volvo is king in Portugal,” said Jonathan G. Vasconcelos as he sat in a Volvo EC220 excavator recently loaned to the college by Volvo Construction Equipment and facilitated by Highway Equipment & Supply Co.

Vasconcelos’ family hails from the Azores, a nine-island archipelago off the coast of Portugal. Specifically, his father’s side of the family is from Graciosa, and his mother’s side is from Terceira. 

“I was baptized there, and we’ve been spending the summers there for the past 23 years (all of his life) in order to see the rest of the family; there’s a large portion of us still remaining there,” the December graduate said.

Vasconcelos was born in Massachusetts, but his first language was Portuguese. He now resides in New Hampshire, where he returned after earning Penn College associate degrees in the operator and technician emphases of heavy construction equipment technology. The New England states offer abundant year-round work operating equipment for landscaping, construction, logging and snow removal – and Vasconcelos has his work cut out for him with numerous job opportunities to choose from. 

“I’ve been interested in equipment since I was a little boy and was looking for a school to assist me in getting a jump start on the industry,” he said. “Most schools I found had a decent program, but only gave a certification or a license at the end of the course or had only a mechanic course or an operator training program. 

“Penn College came up in my internet results, and I took the drive from Windham, New Hampshire – that borders Massachusetts – to Williamsport. When I toured the school, I applied that day. The program is so much more well-funded and beyond any other school, that I did not hesitate. I am thoroughly excited to get back to work.” 

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