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Alumni Spotlight: Adam Lawrence – CAD-D


Adam Lawrence from Penn Commercial Business/Technical School

Adam Lawrence graduated from Penn Commercial Business/Technical School in June 2017. He completed the Computer-Aided Drafting and Design (CAD-D) program and graduated with his associate’s in specialized technology. Adam completed the program in just 18 months, enhancing his knowledge from his previous field and launching himself into a new career.

Prior to Penn Commercial, Adam graduated with an associate’s in machine technology in 1998. Once completed, he moved from Pennsylvania to North Carolina, where he lived for five years while working at Alison’s Machine Shop. At that point Adam moved back to the East Coast to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and worked at Dechert Dynamics for 10 years. His most recent move was back to southwest Pennsylvania, where he currently resides, while working at Ross Mould for about three years. The inconsistency and uncertainty of the field, however, forced Adam to start re-evaluating his career. “They laid me off several times and I decided I needed to make a change or find another job. I jumped on the chance to go back to school and learn something new.” He spent 18 years of his career working as a machinist, but it was time for a change. “I thought drafting would enhance what I already know or put me into a whole other field. It’s a win both ways.”

Adam’s experience at Penn Commercial was exactly what he was looking for. “The curriculum gives you a little bit of everything. You work AutoCAD start to finish, which is the basis of all of the other programs. They give you a good background of everything.” He continued on to explain the curriculum highlights and his exposure to various software programs, such as SOLIDWORKS, Inventor and 3D modeling. Adam is mostly used to reading mechanical prints, not architectural, so he really got a great deal out of the curriculum. On a personal level, it was a phenomenal experience, as well. “There are very good teachers there that really do care about their students, which is definitely a plus. That is hard to come by.”

For the last 12 weeks of Adam’s program, he completed an externship at Lighthouse Electric Company, Inc. He worked hard and performed well, so once the externship was over, they offered him a job. As a now full-time employee of the company, his main responsibilities involve kitting, which is the process of individually separate but related items being grouped, packaged, and supplied together as one unit. Specific to Adam’s role, it is on a much larger scale. “I break large buildings into individual rooms. Switches, motors, anything that goes into that room to make it more efficient for the electrician. I break each room down into individual devices. Once it’s set for the job, the electrician can grab this container, with the devices inside it, and knows what he’s doing and has all the tools he needs to do it.” In other words, his role is to make the process as efficient as possible.

According to Adam, his previous work experience was completely different. “Nothing is the same. What I did before was all mechanical, and now it’s all architectural. I am involved in the electrician trade, so it’s a lot different. There is no comparison. It’s a difference I am enjoying.” Aside from relishing in his newfound responsibilities and skill development, for Adam the best thing about his new career is the people. “With what I am doing now I truly do love the people I work with. It is a great bunch of guys. They are all just a bunch of good guys to work for. That really makes all the difference if you ask me.”

Adam Lawrence graduated from Penn Commercial Business/Technical SchoolReflecting on how Penn Commercial helped him get to where he is now, Adam explained that “being an older student, you’re not necessarily prepared for learning something new, compared to what I’ve been doing the last 18 years. You get in a routine. Learning is a mindset. You get away from that after working so long. Penn broke that routine for me and helped me better myself.” Looking toward the future, Adam hopes to stay where he is and grow with the company. “I can definitely see a future here. I feel I am somewhere I can be for a long while. I am definitely where I need to be.” Although incredibly motivated and hardworking, Adam still maintains a go-with-the-flow attitude. “At the end of the day, no one knows where life is going to take them. I went back to school at 40 – I wasn’t planning on doing that. So, I hope I can finish out my working years here and make this a career.”

Overall, things are looking pretty good. “I am a lot happier now that I have my new education and I am at a job that I enjoy. I enjoy what I do because of the choices I made and because of what Penn Commercial has taught me.” According to Adam, similar to his current company, what he appreciates about Penn Commercial is the people. Through his senior project, he was exposed to many different instructors from varying departments – for example, electrical and HVAC. “The staff were all very friendly and helpful from the beginning to the end. I think very highly of them. They know their business. They are all just genuinely good people who want to have their students succeed.”

In his spare time Adam is currently working on flipping a house. He enjoys anything that involves working with his hands. “Anything outside of the box I enjoy doing. I guess through Penn Commercial it helped me push myself a little bit.” With a laugh, he added, “Maybe I am a bit smarter than I think I am.” Strong education, accomplished career and a great attitude. How can fellow students reach this level of success? “Take a deep look at yourself and what you want to do. Do a little research for what field you’re going into,” and, most importantly, “take a chance on yourself.”