2020 Grads Find Success

Jeremiah “Levi” Johnson ’20, a graduate from the Diesel Truck Technology program (left) and Joshual “Josh” Thomas ’20, a graduate from the Electronic Engineering Technology program (right).

Even in this unusual year, Johnson College graduates from the class of 2020 know how to thrive. Jeremiah “Levi” Johnson ’20, a graduate from the Diesel Truck Technology program, and Joshual “Josh” Thomas ’20, a graduate from the Electronic Engineering Technology program, have found success in each of their fields.

Levi was cautious about attending post-secondary school at a large university for fear of distractions, so when a high school friend enrolled in the Diesel Truck Technology program at Johnson College, Levi took a closer look at the College. Levi is a “big hands-on kind of guy” when it comes to his learning style and his friend assured him that the majority of education was hands-on, not just theory. He attended an Open House, and said he was, “sold.”

While looking for the next step to advance in his career while staying close to home, Josh, a military veteran, found Johnson College’s Electronic Engineering Technology program a great fit. According to Josh, the friendly and helpful staff and faculty stood out at the College, specifically, Rick Fornes, Electronic Engineering Program Director. Josh says he is an impressive instructor and mentor, who went beyond the classroom to help him professionally and personally. Josh said he felt like the instructors helped prepare him to tackle any job with general knowledge and common sense.

According to Levi, the strong relationships and communication skills that Levi gained at Johnson College help him in his current position. “I work well with my team, not because I’m the smartest, the strongest or anything like that, but because I can talk to them like I already met them before,” Levi said. “And I take a lot of that from Johnson College and hanging out with the people from class.”

When the Covid-19 lockdown hit, Levi was diagnosed with testicular cancer, which motivated him to make sure he found employment in his field. Months after treatment, he is now cancer-free and working in his current position at Digging and Rigging, Inc. as an assistant mechanic.

Josh said the robotics and automation portion of the Electronic Engineering Technology program was the most enjoyable for him. He also enjoyed working on his class’s Capstone project: building a large scale 3D printer. He felt accomplished creating something that is available commercially, and being able to build it from nothing and make it bigger and better. This project, included in his portfolio, helped secure his current position at Simona American Industries.

Both graduates said the lessons they received at Johnson were invaluable. Both Levi’s father and former Diesel Technology Program Director instilled a similar lesson: “You don’t have to be the smartest man in the room, but always be the hardest-working.” Levi expanded, saying, “No matter how pointless or easy something seems, keep your head down and work hard. Your boss will see that.”

As a self-described over-analyzer, Josh said the best advice he received from his program director was, “Keep it simple. Start with the basics and go from there.” He said this has helped him with tasks from designing to troubleshooting issues.

Both graduates had words of advice for current and future students. Levi said, “Take advantage of every little thing that they’re willing to let you do.” He wishes he took more advantage of the opportunities the College had to offer, such as industry specific training through the Diesel program. Josh said, “Everything about the College, from [the College’s motto] ‘We Work’ to how the classes are run, is geared towards a work environment. Take it seriously.” He elaborated, “The [work] ethic that is instilled is absolutely vital to being marketable and being a professional.”