All Eyes On
Tell us a little bit about yourself – hobbies, family life, interests, etc.
My amazing wife and I are lucky enough to enjoy our twin 4-year old girls, who take us on new adventures daily, sometimes without leaving the house! I am an avid golfer and my girls started golf lessons this year, proud Dad moment, so I love taking them out on the course. Traveling is a favorite for us and working with M.C. Dean has provided an opportunity to see areas surrounding Georgia, Texas, and most recently Virginia.
Why did you choose NC State? Why did you choose Electrical and Computer Engineering? Where did your interest in the field come from?
My interest in the Electrical field came from my Dad. He started an electrical contracting company when i was 11 or 12, and he let me tag along on a few calls. He would ask me code questions, let me troubleshoot issues, and had me perform my first project takeoff when i was 15. Of course I was 2,500' short on pipe and wire and he let me know we would have lost our tail with my number, but otherwise an encouraging experience! Math was always my favorite subject, then I got introduced to Physics and fundamental circuit theory in high school by Mr. Winfield, an NC State Alum. Throw in a couple Science Olympiad competitions on NC State's campus along with the math/physics component and the electrical background from Dad, it was a perfect storm pushing me to NC State's Electrical Engineering program.
Was there a professor that had an impact on your career or time here at ECE? If so, who and explain.
Dr. Viniotis was influential in my academic and professional pursuit. He made topics enjoyable, applied hands-on experience, and facilitated a path to professional certification in the field. Thanks to Dr. Viniotis, I had the CCNA credential on my resume prior to graduation.
In what ways has ECE prepared you for current or previous positions?
ECE provided applicable and marketable skills required in the field. The most important, and universal, skill is problem-solving. ECE teaches the critical thinking and processes required to solve difficult problems across multiple disciplines i.e. power, signals, networks, software. I currently work for M.C. Dean, which is a Design-Build Systems Integration firm on the largest, most complex scale you can imagine. I apply the fundamentals of engineering learned in ECE on a daily basis.
What does having a degree from NC State and more specifically, the ECE department mean to you?
Every night when we say our prayers, my daughters go through the list of who they love, and they always finish with "Wolfpack OWWWWWWWWW". That pretty well sums up the pride I have in the Pack!
ECE is known around the world. The quality of professors, most recognizable contributors to advancements in their field of study, and top notch facilities, such as the state of the art Oval and Hunt Library, are unparalleled. Dr. Stancil does a great job of heading a superior teaching department while incorporating innovation and cutting-edge research.
What has been your biggest success in life – personal or professional or both?
My family, which is a personal success but also the biggest driver of my professional success. I found the most amazing woman that dated me when i was digging ditches for an electrical company, stuck with me through working while obtaining an engineering degree, moved across the country with me for work, and has become a better mother than I could have ever imagined. We're raising two girls that are demonstrating the values that are most important to us by being considerate, honest, and humorous.
Professionally, my first big job with M.C. Dean takes the cake, Martin Army Community Hospital Replacement in Ft. Benning, GA. Seeing a green field turn into an operational medical facility serving patients is something to be proud of, but coming from a Military town with many family members in the service changes my perspective. Knowing that I have contributed to a Hospital that will serve our troops and their families for years to come, is a sense of fulfillment that I wasn't aware I could obtain from work. I thank M.C. Dean for the opportunity and thank our troops for their service!
What do you miss most about your experience at NC State?
Everything! The campus, Carmichael gym, football and basketball games, the Professors, the restaurants (Five Star, Sitti, Beasley's Chicken + Honey, i'm getting hungry thinking about it!), everyone wearing red, Raleigh, the list could go on forever! It doesn't matter how long I go without visiting, it always feels like home when I come back.
What is the best piece of advice you received?
No matter what you do, give it 110%. Whether you're constructing a 112.5kV substation, playing soccer with the kids, or taking out the trash, give it everything you've got. I apply this mentality every day. There may be someone better than me at a task, but i can guarantee it is not because they work harder than me.
What inspires you?
My inspiration has morphed over the years. My parents inspired me to do something I enjoy, my grandparents inspired me to pursue higher education, my wife and kids inspire me to be the best I can be, and M.C. Dean's CEO, Bill Dean, inspires me to push the envelope professionally; looking beyond the typical production and profit metrics to influence innovation, advancement, and leaving a lasting mark on the industry.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
I went to NC State twice. The first time, fresh out of high school, I wasn't fully committed or prepared. NC State and I decided we needed a break from each other, I like to think it was a mutual decision. I returned a few years later with valuable work experience that included a sore back, blisters on my hands, and a ton of sweat. I knew I wanted an electrical engineering degree, and I was ready to make it happen. I made one B, in my defense it was in Thermodynamics which may or may not be related to black magic, and all A's in Electrical Engineering major courses.
For anyone struggling with their academic progress, I assure you that you are not the first, and NC State will give you the opportunity to succeed when you are ready for it. It may not be today, but don't get discouraged. I suggest you gain additional work experience to help identify what you are looking for in a career, find what motivates and inspires you, discover anything you absolutely do not want to do, and be prepared to capitalize when the opportunity presents itself!