Brandon West recently completed SJR State’s advanced manufacturing program, earning an Associate in Science Degree in Engineering Technology. Brandon now possesses the elements of engineering technology and industrial applications, including production processes and materials, automation, electronics, mechanics, robotics, hydraulics/pneumatics, and safety.
The skills he gained from the program prepared him to become Georgia-Pacific's newest automation technician.
"Every day I get to do something I love with robotics and take my skills even further in the field."
BRANDON, WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO ENROLL IN THE ENGINEERING PROGRAM AT SJR STATE?
My lifelong fascination with what exactly makes things work and how they are made. My interest was fueled even more as an employee in the manufacturing industry, collaborating with numerous types of engineers. I gained a strong appreciation for how smart they are. When Georgia-Pacific advertised to us about the opportunity to go to school, be reimbursed and work around our work schedule, I knew this was my golden opportunity to go to college for the first time and do something I had a passion for!
WHAT DID THE PROGRAM PREPARE YOU FOR?
The program actually prepared me to become Georgia-Pacific's newest automation technician! Every day I get to do something I love with robotics and take my skills even further in the field. I also take lots of pride in putting three college certifications and a degree on my resume for future advancements.
WHAT DID YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT THIS PROGRAM?
Working with classmates who share the same passion. We were able to overcome challenges together as a team and share knowledge with one another. There was also the gratification that I was actually working toward my dream of becoming an engineer.
WHAT IMPRESSED YOU THE MOST ABOUT THE PROGRAM?
What impressed me the most about the program was the lab equipment and how our studies involved the applications of real-life engineering. Professor Tim Gilboy is also a real engineer with lots of knowledge. His experiences helped motivate me toward my career path.
WHAT WAS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU LEARNED ABOUT YOURSELF DURING THE PROGRAM?
That I grew. Not only with educational success, but also with personal maturity, too. College has proved to me that I had to be dedicated, resilient, efficient and even forgiving at times. It’s definitely molded me as a better person inside and outside of the classroom.
WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO OTHERS WHO MAY BE CONSIDERING THE PROGRAM?
Just do it! Automation is an exciting field, and it’s growing rapidly everywhere we look. Get ahead of the competition before it starts. All the tools needed for success are in this program and you can gain back as much as you put into it. This program is definitely geared for people who need flexibility and want a college education.
ARE YOU CONTINUING YOUR EDUCATION?
I am continuing my education with plans to be enrolled in the mechanical engineering program at the University of North Florida by next year to earn my bachelor’s degree. I've also considered aerospace so I can call myself a rocket scientist!
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 10 YEARS?
I see myself as a lead automation engineer overseeing robotics projects with a comfortable salary, job security and lots of gratitude for all my hard work paying off. Hopefully, lots of well-deserved vacations, too! College has been one of the biggest milestones/accomplishments in my life.
Are you interested in Engineering/Advanced Manufacturing?
Ask questions and learn more about the program, the enrollment process, spring courses, financial aid, and deadlines by emailing TechEd@SJRState.edu or calling (904) 276-6893.
Core classes align with the Certified Production Technician (CPT) designation from the National Manufacturing Skill Standards Council.
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