From Cashier to Field Engineer, RichmondCC Graduate Making Big Strides in His Career
Nov. 5, 2021 - While working as a cashier at a convenience store, Micheal Connor remembers many nights taking every spare moment to open his college textbook and study a calculus problem. Those days are long gone but not forgotten for Connor, who is a field engineer for Southeastern Connections, a subcontractor for Piedmont Natural Gas.
"I am responsible for making blueprints (as-builts) and bill of materials for completed jobs to ensure that we bill the proper amount to the contractor and that we know where the pipeline is located for future reference," said Connor of Rowland.
Connor is a 2020 graduate of Richmond Community College's Mechanical Engineering Technology program. His interest in this field of engineering began when he was a student at Purnell Swett High School.
"I took various engineering-based courses such as architectural drafting, robotics and mechanical drafting. The thing that stood out to me about mechanical engineering was the concept of having an idea and that you, the person, could make that idea become reality," he said.
In the Mechanical Engineering Technology program at RichmondCC, students learn how to develop and test a design idea and then improve upon it. They learn engineering graphics, engineering fundamentals, materials and manufacturing processes.
Connor had heard that the program at RichmondCC was a good one, but more importantly, he said, "I heard the instructors cared about their students’ future and well-being.”
Mechanical Engineering Technology lead instructor Annie Harden said Connor was not a student anyone could overlook.
"Michael met no strangers, and as his instructor, there was never a dull moment in class. With an extrovert personality and skills obtained from the program, Michael will go far as a mechanical engineer technologist," Harden said.
Connor, a first-generation college student, received the Ron Ferbee Scholarship, which is awarded to a drafting student in high school. This scholarship and the financial aid he received helped him afford the cost of going to college.
"Richmond Community College impacted my life greatly. It gave me a head start in life and taught me to become a very respectable and dependable person in my professional life," he said.
Connor is the type of person who enjoys learning new things and bettering himself. He's into gaming, cooking, stock trading and house flipping. He has also been taking classes to become a licensed real estate agent for future investment purposes.
“I plan on taking other courses such as finance and project management to help me along with my financial goals,” Connor said. “Education has given me a boost in life. It’s gotten me ahead in a short amount of time.”
RichmondCC is now registering students for the 2022 Spring Semester. Visit the Hamlet or Scotland County Campus to meet with a counselor to schedule spring classes and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Call (910) 410-1700 or visit Admissions to complete a free application online.