Instructor's 'Last Words' Provide First Steps Toward Realizing Success

Published 10.22.2013

Welding & Metal Fabrication
Alumni News
Faculty & Staff
Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies News

 Presented with a plaque at the close of his lecture, Ryan P. Good is joined on stage by student nominators David J. Munn (left) and Jarad J. Askren.A Pennsylvania College of Technology welding instructor passionately inspired his Tuesday audience to visualize success, work incrementally to reach even the loftiest goals, communicate effectively and embrace the setbacks that arise along the jagged path to accomplishment. "It's not a mistake unless you don't learn from it," said Ryan P. Good, whose "Rock Your Revolution" was the sixth in the college's annual David London My Last Words Lecture Series.

"Haters gonna hate," Good observed, telling his students to ignore criticism and focus on problem-solving, even at the cost of time and sanity. "Always err on the side of being part of the solution," he said.Invoking philosophers as diverse as Maya Angelou and Rocky Balboa, Good urged listeners – particularly students throughout the Klump Academic Center Auditorium – to disregard the discouraging voices that often rise from within.

"Don't be an obstacle to your own success. Don't tell yourself, 'I'm no good at math,' just commit to being better."

While joking that students have survived moving away from home, feeding themselves and doing their own laundry, Good said there's a serious lesson in those small victories.

Good recommended that those in the crowd picture the path to achieving their objectives, then take the smaller steps necessary to get there. It's a strategy he used as late as that day, he said, to quell any nervousness about speaking in such an intimidating venue."Nothing that you've been tasked to do is anything that you can't handle," he observed. "There's only one thing more detrimental than failure, and that's not doing anything at all."

A Penn College alumnus, Good earned an associate degree in welding technology in 1998 and a bachelor's in welding and fabrication engineering technology in 2001. He drew upon that experience, as well as careers in manufacturing and education, to remark how quickly technology alters our world.

Good was especially grateful for the turnout of welding students and faculty among the night's attendees, saying they drink a "big, tall glass of awesome" every morning."I'm excited for the change that's going to occur when you enter the workforce," he told students. "My grandfather saw some amazing changes during his lifetime, but it's just a fraction of the change we're going to see."

The same goes for his three daughters, the oldest of whom (3 1/2) already knows how to operate a touch-screen smartphone.

"You know how I learned to type? On a typewriter. Anyone ever used a typewriter? I didn't see a computer until my senior year of high school!"

The speaker and Penn College physics instructor Joseph E. LeBlanc compare notes on their respective journeys to Japan. During his talk, Good discussed what he's learned from traveling half a world away from his comfort zone: "We're more the same than we aren't." In addition to offering moral support for a faculty colleague, LeBlanc was among the instructors who encouraged students to attend. Good was introduced by welding and fabrication engineering technology students Jarad J. Askren, of Warrensburg, Mo., and David J. Munn, of Athens, who nominated him for the honor. Malinda C. Love, assistant director of student activities for diversity and cultural life, welcomed the audience and presented Good with a plaque at the close of the program.

The presentation has been added to the college’s YouTube channel.