PICKENS COUNTY — The 2015 Alliance Pickens Scholar Technician of the year was Steven Hoke Durham, with Nathan Brown and Sylvia Townsend also placing as finalists.
Durham is a graduate of the Machine Tool Technology program at the Pickens County Career and Technology Center who also attended Daniel High School. He is currently approaching his two-year anniversary of working as an apprentice at United Tool and Mold in Easley.
At UTM, Durham is continuing to develop his machining skills, performing tasks such as basic CNC operation and mold tear down machine operation, while also learning new skills like CNC programming.
Durham used the Scholar Technician scholarship to help pay for his first semester at Tri-County Tech.
Durham is now in his second semester of the two-year Mechatronics Technology Associate’s Degree program at Tri-County Technical College, which is being paid for in its entirety by his employer.
Durham’s plans for the future involve continuing to work at UTM, while also continuing to develop his specialized skills through applied technical education.
Nathan Brown is a graduate of the Mechatronics Integrated Technologies program at the CTC who also attended Daniel High School.
This past March marked Brown’s one year anniversary of working at Yokohama Industries Americas Inc. in Easley, where he works full-time as a maintenance technician. The main focus of his work at Yokohama is fixing problems with various automated machines, but he also assists with other tasks, such as machine programming and working with cleaning dyes.
Alliance Pickens works regularly with existing Pickens County industries to match CTC students with companies that have such opportunities available. Last year, Yokohama was one of the firms Alliance Pickens invited students to learn more about.
Brown is currently enrolled full-time in the two-year Mechatronics Technology Associate’s Degree program at TCTC, and he is being reimbursed for his educational expenses by Yokohama.
“The quicker you figure out what you want to do, the better,” Brown said. “Once you do figure it out, push hard for it. Be determined. Don’t set a limit – set a goal.”
Sylvia Townsend, another graduate of the Machine Tool Technology Department at the CTC, attended Pickens High School. Townsend is currently working as a Machinist Apprentice at General Electric Co. in Greenville.
She has been with G.E. for over eight months now. G.E. has her in a training program whereby they rotate her to different areas within G.E.’s operations so that she can learn the variety of machines at G.E.
Townsend is also taking a full course load at Greenville Technical College, and G.E. is covering her tuition, fees, and book charges in accordance with her apprenticeship. She is currently pursuing a certificate in Machine Tool Technology.
Upon completing those requirements, she plans to continue attending Greenville Tech to complete the remaining required credit hours for their Associate’s Degree in Machine Tool Technology.
Townsend currently has a four year contract with G.E., and she hopes to have a long career at G.E. after the conclusion of her contract.