David Lambrecht didn’t appreciate having to take classes like Psychology, Physics, Sociology and Math when he enrolled in the Electric Power Engineering (EPE) program at Mid-State Technical College. Twenty years down the road he sees value in all of his classes.
“When you are young, you think you know everything,” he said. “I didn’t understand the big picture. I used all of that knowledge later.”
After being discharged from the military, David was looking for a stable career field. He chose the EPE program for the good job placement and high pay. “Energy is a field that will always be there,” he added.
Even before he graduated, David had several job offers to choose from. He wanted to work in a power plant, but chose research and development. He is glad he did.
“I started out as a technician – level C, the very bottom level,” he said of his first job with Square D Company, now known as Schneider Electric. David has risen to manager of a research and development lab responsible for developing and testing electrical products like circuit breakers, switchgear and transformers for residential and industrial applications.
“The lab is a $45 million asset for the company,” he said with pride. He and his team support research and development for the company’s North American, India, Europe and Asia operations.
He’s a rare bird; the only one of his colleagues who does not have an advanced degree. “I have learned a lot through being around highly educated people and on-the-job training,” he explained. That and determination have gotten him to his current position.
David enjoys the challenges he and his team face each day. When a manufacturing flaw is discovered in one of the company’s products, they must find out why and make the necessary changes to fix the problem. When the team succeeds the rewards are great and they are held in high esteem by the rest of the company.
As David looks back on his career, his advice to students is: “Don’t get discouraged. Help yourself. Drive yourself forward. Follow the program through.”