After I graduated from Orange Technical College, I was hired as a CNC operator by a federal contractor named SFI Inc., where we make parts for different companies including but not limited to Lockheed Martin, Luminar Technologies, and Perry Baromedical. I started as an entry-level machine operator, and within a year, I escalated to the programmer position, working closely with engineers, designers, managers, and the owner of the company.
When I started attending OTC, I was a junior in high school and participated in the dual enrollment program. I was interested in the design and programming aspect of manufacturing, and joining the school jump-started my career and gave me a clear path forward. My education at OTC also gave me the confidence of knowing what the industry required, so when I started working, I was confident of my abilities as a machinist and was able to prove my worth to the world.
About halfway through my schooling, I found out that I was going to become a father. The news frightened me, but thanks to my teacher and his industry knowledge, it was easy to find different job opportunities, and due to the relatively short training time, I was in a good financial position to have a baby!
My message to the upcoming generation of tradesmen and women is this: if you are a person of high moral integrity and strong character, and not afraid of hard work, you will make it, regardless of where you come from. YOU decide your future, your past doesn’t.
As of today, I have started studying Engineering at Valencia college while I work full-time to continue to advance my career and knowledge. It’s an honor to share my story and hopefully motivate the upcoming generation of tradespeople!