Alpesh Thaker, director of manufacturing for K-FLEX USA, recently spoke to students in the Mechatronics Engineering Technology program at Vance-Granville Community College. His presentation was the first in a planned series of visits by representatives from various companies involved in advanced manufacturing, according to Cherrelle Lawrence, job placement coordinator for the NC TechHire grant program at the college. The visits, collectively called the “VGCC TechLink Speaker Series,” are designed to help students in Mechatronics and Welding Technology know more about potential employers in their fields.
Thaker applauded the students for being enrolled in the Mechatronics program, which prepares them for careers in advanced manufacturing. “I truly believe in education, and your investment in it will pay off,” Thaker said. He holds two master’s degrees himself, one in electrical and computer engineering from Wayne State University and the other an MBA from Duke University. “Community college will provide you with a good foundation,” Thaker noted, particularly in the manufacturing field. “The whole concept of manufacturing has changed drastically in recent years with computerization, so you have to have those skills.”
He worked for many years in the automotive manufacturing field and now directs the operations at K-FLEX in Youngsville, the only plant in the U.S. for the global company, which manufactures elastomeric foam insulation products. Thaker told students that his company has many career opportunities that pay well and offer pathways to growth and advancement. The Youngsville facility is in the midst of an expansion, he added. “We need good people,” Thaker said. “I’m looking for the best of the best. We decided to expand here because we're already committed here and we’ll be able to have a one-stop shop for different manufacturing processes. You just have to have a good work ethic, integrity and be willing to learn.” Thaker encouraged students to “do the best you can in class, always ask your instructors questions, and learn as much as you can.” He added that he looks forward to partnering with VGCC to promote training and internship opportunities.
For more information on the TechHire grant program, contact Cherrelle Lawrence at firstname.lastname@example.org or (252) 738-3386. For more information on Mechatronics, contact J. Keith Shearon at email@example.com or (252) 738-3256.
Above: Alpesh Thaker, director of manufacturing for K-FLEX USA, talks about careers with VGCC Mechatronics students at the college’s South Campus, where the program is based. (VGCC photo)