Columbia Gorge Community College Alumni Interview

Richard Valdez Columbia Gorge Community College Alumni.

Richard Valdez

Columbia Gorge Community College Alumni from the Electro-Mechanical Technology Program

The Beginning

Richard Valdez had been working the night shift for years making railroad ties when he decided it was time for a change. He was introduced to the Electro –Mechanical Technology program at Columbia Gorge Community College by his Jujitsu sparring partner and faculty member at Columbia Gorge, Jim Pytel. After hearing from Professor Pytel about the career possibilities with a degree in Electro-Mechanical Technology, he knew it was a good fit for him.  Richard said, “it was so efficient, well organized, and an environment that just made him comfortable to be in.”

Education Provided Essential Skills

Since graduating, Richard has been working at Avangrid Renewables as a Wind Technician. “The electrical theory and motor control courses are essential to what I do now and the program was beautifully to the point.” One of his favorite things about his job is troubleshooting problems with the turbines. The knowledge acquired through his education at Columbia Gorge provides him with the skills necessary to address whatever he encounters.  “It’s amazing to climb a wind tower at 300ft and look out and see everything around you while fixing a mechanical problem on a turbine hub.”

Work To Be Proud Of

Richard is proud of the work he does in renewable energy, “I get really excited at the thought of what we can produce from the environment, and that I now get to be a part of this and make a difference in the future.” When asked if he had advice for future students considering a career in the energy industry, Richard said, “There is a lot of space for people out there looking for good productive jobs – and not just out of high school but those restarting new careers.  The energy industry is the place to be.”