AHC Alumni Teach the Next General of Industrial Technology Students

13 of the 18 attended Hancock

IT Faculty

At a recent Allan Hancock College industrial technology department meeting filled with welding, machine technology and automotive instructors, department chair Eric Mason had an “aha” moment: Nearly all instructors in the department had been former students in their programs.

“It wasn’t necessarily planned that way, but there is a sense of having had a good experience here as students, and when positions open up, often alumni are the first ones to apply,” said Mason, who is also an auto body instructor. Mason is pictured above, fourth from the left.

Of those 18 part-time and full-time instructors gathered at the meeting, 13 had graduated from Allan Hancock College or had earned a certificate in welding, automotive technology, machining and more.  All had taken at least one class at Hancock.

“Of course you don’t need to have attended a school to come back and teach, but the fact that you’ve got some history, you’ve got an attachment to the institution, it makes it even more rewarding for me personally,” said Patrick McGuire, automotive technology instructor (pictured below).

IT Faculty-Pat McGuire

Mason and McGuire both consider themselves indicative of a program that has always supported students and encouraged them to reach their goals.  McGuire arrived at Hancock in 1985, intending to study mechanical engineering.

“I had been a student for a while, but the first time I ever sat down with a counselor was here,” he said.

He took an automotive class for fun and was taken in by the entire department.

“The whole experience really turned me into a disciplined student.  My teachers, the staff, they were all focused on making me successful, and it worked,” McGuire said.

McGuire transferred to Cal Poly and after graduating with a degree in engineering, left to work at a Fortune 500 company.  After a few years, he came back to the Central Coast to start his own machining business.  In 2005, as longtime instructor Bob Leeds was preparing to retire, another instructor, Ron Domingos, asked McGuire if he’d ever considered teaching.

Much as his first automotive technology class hooked him years ago, McGuire started teaching a night class at Hancock and was hooked all over again. 

“Teaching is extremely rewarding; in fact, it’s the best job I’ve ever had,” he said.

After graduating from Hancock, Mason also left to work in the automotive industry.  Eleven years ago, however, after a shop accident caused him to lose sight temporarily in one eye, he began to think back to how much he had enjoyed being a student worker at Hancock.

“My wife is the best teacher I know, and she encouraged me to get back into the classroom where I had always felt at home,” Mason said.

He went back to school to earn his bachelor’s degree, and in 2004, when an opening came up for an auto body instructor at Hancock, Mason applied.

Mason and McGuire are just two examples of the many types of alumni that have stayed involved with the industrial technology department.

“I think people have good memories of their time at Hancock and they keep in touch,” Mason said.  “It’s not a prerequisite to employment in our department, but we do have a great number of talented and qualified alumni.”

McGuire said that he feels that, as a graduate of Allan Hancock College, he has a high standard to live up to.

“You can say to your students with some authority, hey I did it, so you can do it,” he said.

Having been influenced as students by their own instructors, both men have given some thought to their own legacies at Hancock.  Mason’s goal as department head is to get as many students as possible to come for career training and then stay and earn their associate degree.

“No one can take that education away from you; it’s something you’ve earned and something you can build on,” he said.

As he was inspired by his instructors, McGuire is looking toward the next generation to continue the tradition of excellence in the industrial technology department.

“Our enrollment is as high as it’s ever been and our students are as talented as I’ve seen,” he said.  “I tell my students, one day one of you will be standing up here, and it’s the truth.”

For more information about the industrial technology programs, contact Marna Lombardi 922-6966 ext. 3335 or email her at mlombardi@hancockcollege.edu

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Last Modified May 2, 2014