Chattahoochee Technical College graduate Nicholas Long is putting his education in Computer Numerical Control (CNC) to work in a fulfilling career as a highly skilled professional in Cobb County at Win-Tech, Inc., which is deemed an essential business during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Win-Tech is a custom precision machining and manufacturing shop that makes custom parts for a wide range of industries, including the aerospace industry. They currently are making ventilator pieces. “You name it, we do it. We make the parts they need,” said Long. “I’m making things that matter, and I’m making a difference in the world. You don’t get that kind of fulfillment with a lot of other jobs.”
A 2013 graduate of Kell High School, Long began his college education at a four-year university, with an interest in mechanical engineering. “They didn’t want us to be machinists or welders. They just wanted us to be exposed to it,” said Long. “But I got to take one class that was a combined machining and welding class, and that really bit me with the bug to go into this kind of work.”
“I decided to look for a college program that was exclusively machining and metal working, and saw that Chattahoochee Tech had a brand-new program for CNC Technology,” said Long. “So, I thought, yeah! I’m going to go that route! I wanted to be out on the floor running machines, making parts, and being active in doing something. I didn’t want to be stuck behind a desk.”
The CNC Technology program at Chattahoochee Tech was a perfect fit for him, according to Long, with small class sizes that allowed him to connect strongly with the other students in his class, as well as with his instructors. “It was leaps and bounds more personal,” said Long. “You could walk over to your instructor to ask questions, and he would have time to explain something to you, and show you how it relates to everything else. Even after class or between classes, he would have time to sit down and talk with us, and get to know us.”
While he was still a student in the Chattahoochee Tech CNC Technology program, Long secured a job in October 2018 at Win-Tech as a machinist, and was able to count that work toward his internship elective for school. He continued working at Win-Tech upon graduating from Chattahoochee Tech in 2019. “Our shop manager recognized Nicholas with a Win-Tech challenge coin not long ago. He was recognized in front of his peers because he embodies the Win-Tech values of accountability, accuracy, and respect,” said Win-Tech Operations Director Allison Giddens. “He’s someone eager to learn the next thing and ready to get it right. We are grateful Chattahoochee Technical College fosters that kind of attitude in our workforce.”
Would Long recommend Chattahoochee Tech and this career to others? “Yes, definitely,” said Long. “A four-year college isn’t the only option. A lot of people make the mistake of thinking they just go to college and that’s it, that they’re set. But they pick a degree that there are no jobs for, or there’s no real money in it,” said Long. He credits Chattahoochee Tech and the college’s CNC Technology instructor Wayne Plos for guiding him into a solid, well-paying career. “I want to say thank you to Chattahoochee Tech and to my instructor Wayne Plos for teaching me and helping me. He taught me what I know,” said Long. “Without his guidance and encouragement, I don’t know if I would be sitting so happy where I am today.”