Alumni Spotlight Tammy Shaw
It’s good to have Alternatives (and Alternative Energy)
Alternatives. Choices. Options. Different ways of getting to the same end result.
At Marion Technical College, we believe we fall into the alternative category. We have lots of choices and ways to get to the same end result. We not only embrace the fact that we are a College with alternatives – we have a degree centered on the concept – it’s the Alternative Energy Technology degree!
Tammy Shaw has not been one to just go with the flow. She likes choices, she likes to try things out and then decide which way she wants to go. This is how she stumbled upon the Alternative Energy program at Marion Technical College – and she has never looked back! “I had a Computer Electronics degree from another college, but had been sidetracked when I met my husband and we moved to Maine,” Shaw recalls. “When we returned to the area, I wanted to try something different. I received a brochure in the mail from MTC and decided to check it out,” she added.
“I tried out a few classes before I landed on alternative energy. My credits transferred in from my first degree, so that worked out well, too,” Shaw said. She recalls being pretty quiet and withdrawn at first. One of her instructors, Russ Sivey remembers that about Tammy also. “I remember Tammy because she sat way in the back by the door in the very first class that I had her. As she continued to take my courses, she got closer to the front of the room and more vocal,” Sivey said. “She’s very sharp, so I knew she would do great in this program.”
Brian Tschanen, Division Manager at Vaughn Industries, has worked closely with Marion Technical College over the years and connected with Shaw during a capstone project. “I was impressed with her technical skills and leadership during the project,” Tschanen said of Shaw. “We stayed in communication. We were developing a new position at Vaughn and Tammy’s background fit. She applied and was hired,” he added.
Shaw began full-time work with Vaughn in June 2013 as a Renewable CAD Operator & Design Technician. She’s enjoying her employment and has never looked back. Shaw said that her foundation at Marion Technical College was a great start, but she has learned a lot on the job. “In class we were designing 20 panel units which are typical for a house. Now I’m designing for large corporations on a scale of 21,000 panels. There are a lot more pieces and parts.” But her “alternative” way of thinking and love of a challenge makes the job less work and more fun Shaw admits. And isn’t that how it should be?
Vaughn sees a need for more Alternative Energy grads in the future. The company has been around for 50 years with over 400 employees and watched this industry grow since the beginning. Megan King, Apprenticeship Coordinator, sees a need to continue the partnership with MTC. “We have a fantastic relationship with MTC that has grown and will continue to grow,” she said. King added that Vaughn’s apprenticeship program recruited many good candidates from MTC – in Alternative Energy and other trades.
The family atmosphere is evident at Vaughn. Matt Plotts, President, even took the time to comment on the partnership. “I interview almost all apprentice applicants. It is a pleasure when an MTC grad walks in because you know their background,” Plotts said. “We are like family here – we could see this when Tammy was hired. She fits right in.”
Plotts also commented on the alternative energy industry as a whole and how it has maintained the test of time. Initially he didn’t see the need lasting beyond the government subsidy, but the price of solar has dropped dramatically and the return on investment is substantial over time. “Now I see no end in sight to the need of alternative energy engineers.”
Be part of a great field that was built on the need for an alternative way of doing things! Learn more at www.mtc.edu/engineering or call 740.389.4636.