"I think the one thing that students love about me is my energy and enthusiasm for the material that I teach. I bring tons of energy to the classroom and make education fun and interesting for them."
After graduating from Penn College with a bachelor’s in Building Automation Engineering Technology, Kevin immediately put his skills to work in the industrial sector. Building real-world experience, he designed motor control and PLC control systems. He also spearheaded the launch of a new product and traveled the globe installing and troubleshooting wastewater systems. Today, he's sharing his time-tested know-how in the labs on the campus of Penn College.
TAKING THE LEAD
Q&A with Kevin
WHAT PROMPTED YOUR FASCINATION WITH ALL THINGS ELECTRICAL?
I was always intrigued with electricity and thought it would be a great field because of its big role in our everyday lives. That means the field should have great job security. But, I really did not get “hooked” until I was exposed to the industrial side of electricity with motor controls and PLCs.
SOME PEOPLE USE ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONICS INTERCHANGEABLY. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?
In my eyes, the terms are different. In electrical, we generally talk about larger power items and don’t get down to the circuit-board level of things. We can see a project through from installation, wiring, programming and troubleshooting circuits in the residential, commercial and industrial worlds. We usually deal with higher voltages and currents because of the items we are working on and the places they are.
WHAT PROVIDES YOU WITH THE MOST SATISFACTION IN TEACHING ELECTRICAL TECHNOLOGY?
I get the privilege of teaching many students in their first and last semesters. I love to see them grow with their content knowledge, application, critical thinking and troubleshooting capabilities. I also get great satisfaction in watching the students find their specialty area inside the electrical world since this field is so broad.
WHY SHOULD SOMEONE INTERESTED IN ELECTRICAL TECHNOLOGY CONSIDER PENN COLLEGE?
Penn College offers a great balance of theory and hands-on application. Our faculty come from the workforce and have done the stuff they are teaching. They possess a wealth of personal experiences. Our recent renovation gives us the modern technology upgrades that we need to stay on task with changes in industry. Also, we have great connections with companies that hire our electrical students and support our programs.
HOW IS HANDS-ON EXPERIENCE INCORPORATED INTO THESE PROGRAMS?
The hands-on experience comes into play with just about every one of our classes. Our labs are custom made by the instructors and our advisory committee members, who share their own experiences and real-world scenarios. Our students get to work with tools, controllers, electrical equipment and test equipment just like they will use on their future jobs. In most of our hands-on classes, we try to incorporate as much troubleshooting as possible. The ability to troubleshoot is an important skill for the electrical workforce.
WHEN YOU INTRODUCE STUDENTS TO THE CAREER POSSIBILITIES WITHIN THE ELECTRICAL FIELD, WHAT SURPRISES THEM?
I think the three most common things that surprise the students are the large number of job openings, the quality starting pay, and the vast diversity of jobs that are out there.
WHERE DID YOUR PATH TAKE YOU AFTER GRADUATION & BEFORE RETURNING TO PENN COLLEGE?
After I graduated from Penn College, I worked for a local manufacturing company as an automation sales engineer. I designed motor control and PLC control systems and traveled the world installing and troubleshooting wastewater treatment and re-use systems. While working full-time, I started working toward a master's in Workforce Education at Penn State. While taking courses, I was offered a teaching position at Williamsport Area High School as an electromechanical and mechatronics instructor. This move started my transition into education.
WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER TO BE YOUR BIGGEST PROFESSIONAL ACOMPLISHMENT?
My biggest professional accomplishment outside of teaching would be the part I played in starting a locally owned company. I was involved with product development, technology advancements, ISO certification, state certifications, company literature, and product documentation used for installation, operation, and maintenance of equipment.
HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR PULSE ON THE INDUSTRY?
I never got out of the industrial sector. Today, I still work part-time at an off-shoot of the original manufacturing company that I started with. I am fortunate to be part of the manufacturing world while also educating students in a trade that is in such high demand. This helps keep me up to date of the new technologies and trends in industry.
Learn all the ins and outs of electrical and automated systems, training in specialized labs using equipment just the pros.
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