Pete graduated in 1964, with honors, with an associate degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology. “I decided to go to Vermont Tech after one year at UVM and four years in Marine Corps Aviation, where I was an aircraft structural mechanic and a qualified machinist. With my certification, VTC created a summer program to help me succeed in getting my degree! I even became the President of Student Council, which are just some reasons why I loved my time at Vermont Tech!”
“I was part of the first class to take the Mechanical Engineering program. When we started, we helped put in and install the metal working machinery [lathes, mills, and grinders], that are nothing more than antiques now. My favorite professors were Mr. Wonka, Mr. Angell, and Mr. Murry. Angus Murray’s English course was instrumental because he gave us words that MEC used daily and we had to define, spell, and use in context. During class we would discuss the terms and become familiar with their uses. I found this to be fundamental in my studies because I was able to communicate with my peers, as I knew the correct jargon and how to explain it in the workplace.”
Pete also did an internship while attending Vermont Tech at Fellows Gear Sharper Co. in Springfield, VT. He explained, “I got to work in the engineering department translating blue prints and documents. Further, they let me do hands-on work with the machine assembling team. This helped me tremendously with my studies and how things happened in the real world.” Learn more about internships and career resources for students and alumnx at Career Services.
After graduating from Vermont Tech, Pete started his first job in a high metals research lab with a contract to build the Apollo “S” Band high gain antenna. He further explains, “Working for NASA really shaped my career and has provided many new opportunities.” You can learn more about Pete’s work at the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History and the Apollo Missions – Making the Communication System, as Pete was a guest speaker explaining how he helped to build the communication antenna that would be a part of many of the Apollo rockets!
After his years at NASA, Pete used his knowledge to “start a business, make it grow, and retire early.” Pete notes, “These were the wise words from my father, and that’s exactly what I did.” Since 1989 I have been happily retired in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina.
Advice he wants to leave students:
- Even though you might be in a specific program and want to focus solely on that program, it is necessary to understand the other important courses as you never know when you are going to use the material you learn in the real world.
- Internships are important! Try and do one while in school as it helps connect the material to the real world.
- If you can get your foot in the door of a science-oriented company, it will open the door to an exciting career full of the unknown problems that need to be solved.
- Enjoy all the small moments, stay involved, and ask as many questions that you can think of. You have the benefit of having experienced and knowledgeable professors that will help you get the best higher education you need to succeed!