PTC-SC State Bridge Graduate Lauds Progressive Leadership at MEC in Greenwood
As he paddled a turbulent section of the Chattooga River between South Carolina and Georgia, Orlando Carrillo couldn’t help but take an engineer’s interest in the various rock formations and the patterns of rushing water circumnavigating them.
“I remember thinking about the water and the danger of the hydraulics,” Carrillo said. “You try to understand how the water assumes a circular motion. I think that is very interesting from an engineering perspective.”
The Piedmont Technical College (PTC) alumnus presents anything but the science nerd persona one might expect. He has played soccer all his life and enjoys rugged outdoor sports that include skydiving and ― yes ― whitewater rafting. Even before he earned his associate in mechanical engineering technology, Carrillo was employed as an engineering technician at MEC (Mayville Engineering Company) in Greenwood, an employee-owned metal fabricating enterprise founded in Wisconsin with locations in multiple states. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree through PTC’s Bridge Program with South Carolina State University (SC State). He’s now been with MEC for four years, during which time he was promoted to manufacturing engineer.
The SC State Bridge Program enabled Carrillo to “transfer” to SC State without having to commute to Orangeburg. Instead, through an articulation agreement with PTC, he was able to stay in Greenwood and complete courses toward an SC State bachelor’s in mechanical engineering technology on the Greenwood campus.
“The Bridge Program at SC State was designed specifically for people like Carrillo. It brings the classroom to the student, on a platform the student is very familiar with. Carrillo took advantage of the Bridge Program’s uniqueness, and the rest is history,” said Stanley Ihekweazu, chair of SC State’s Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering Technology and Nuclear Engineering. “The program is still open for those students whose jobs cannot allow them to travel to Orangeburg to complete their bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering technology or mechanical engineering technology. SC State goes to them.”