August 23, 2019

Working in a car dealership, Century College alum Kyle Trepanier felt that something was missing in his life.  He had earned a degree in Auto Service Technology at Century College, and always loved working with cars, but he wasn’t fulfilled.  He realized he didn’t want to always be fixing the equipment he was working on, he wanted to design it as well.

A Second Degree Leads to a New Career Path

Kyle returned to Century College and began working on his Additive and Digital Manufacturing program degree.  At the same time, he began an internship with Gopher Electronics, gradually working his way into his current position as a Manufacturing Engineer, a job that many with Master’s degrees aspire to achieve.

“It worked out really well,” Kyle notes. ”The timing was perfect, because I was able to work my way up in the company while I was in school, and I was able to test out what I was learning in my classes, while I was at work.”

At Gopher Electronics, he’s responsible for developing efficiencies on the production floor and empowering his technicians to make those changes stick or to change them as needed.  Additionally, he develops new products, travels to help design products with customers, and audits suppliers’ quality systems. “I use the knowledge of every single class from the ADM program every single day,” Kyle says.

A Unique Position at the Right Time

Kyle’s degree in Auto Service Tech and his experience put him in a unique position.  Because of his mechanical aptitude, technical writing came easily to him, and he was able to distill a lot of difficult information into basic, necessary steps.  He also honed his customer service skills through his auto experience, while learning practical, problem-solving skills  ”I’ve had the practical experience before learning the theory, and that really helped me when I moved on to my ADM degree.”  

“You must constantly learn and adapt and apply what you already know in the workplace,” observes Kyle. “It doesn’t really matter what degrees you have, it’s how you apply what you already know.”

Opportunities to Enhance Leadership Skills

He’s currently mentoring technicians at Gopher Electronics, which is another aspect of his education at Century College. “I was a tutor for Intro to Engineering students,” Kyle remembers. ”And that gave me practical experience in leadership.  I’ve always wanted to be a project leader.  I like to bring people up with me.”

Two other Century College experiences enhanced Kyle’s leadership skills–he was a winner in Century College’s annual Muskie Tank Challenge, creating a new, cost-effective storage box for tools, and he also worked on a solar energy grant sponsored by Xcel Energy, which measured the effectiveness of solar energy panels via cleanliness during inclement weather. 

“Winning the Muskie Tank challenge saved me financially,” Kyle says, “I was able to finish school with the winnings.”

Future Plans

Kyle plans to own his own business one day, perhaps as a side gig.  He wants to be involved with product development and design, patent process, and wants to help others.  He feels that Century College has prepared him well.  “The ADM program has no upper limits.  I’m the kind of person that wants to push the limits of possibilities and ADM allows you to explore those limits.”


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