Student Spotlight: Chris Hall
Hometown: Elmwood Park
Chris Hall, who has been involved with manufacturing and metal forming, is now adding automation to his skills set.
"Robotic automation is a big key to operating efficiently and keeping jobs here in the U.S.," he said. "Employees working with and the operators of robots are finding new interest in their work and feeling valuable as they receive training for the operation, programming and servicing of robots."
When he toured College of DuPage prior to enrolling, Hall was more than impressed by the equipment in the labs.
"Most of what I have seen elsewhere is out-of-date," he said. "For students to get a good grasp and understanding of technology, electronics and automation prior to going into the field, COD is bar none the best place to start. I took a robotics class and was immediately in love with the modern equipment. Most robot trainers are extremely old, worn and not realistic to the real world. The Fanuc robots at COD are very much the real deal. I now work with identical models at various companies on a regular basis."
Hall also was impressed with the support from faculty and staff.
"COD actually took my career goals and tossed them out the window -- in a good way," he said. "The instructors and coordinators at COD opened my eyes to far more than I could see on my own. They helped me find the best job I have ever had with the best company I have worked for."
In 2012, Hall finished his first complete robot cell with automation.
"It has been a great project to put together, including a vision system and robot transport unit tied to multiple machines and conveyors," he said.
While Hall works on his final classes for his Associate in Applied Science in Electro-Mechanical Engineering at COD, he's already employed as a robotic systems engineer with Ellison Technologies Automation.
"As I continue to train with them, I have been traveling all over to various companies to work with robots," he said. "I have been able to see and be a part of how some of the greatest things we depend on every day are produced. Some of the work is programming, preventative maintenance and electrical.
"I never thought I would be able to to do things I am doing fresh out of school, especially in today's economy. I am less stressed. I actually love going to work. I feel my future and the future of my family is far more secure than ever before."
Hall hopes to become more involved in the actual design of robotic automation and electrical design. For now, he simply enjoys working with robots to improve processes and make someone's job physically easier.
He hopes others aren't afraid to dream big with their careers.
"Don't limit yourself. Take steps forward, but don't worry about the end of the road," he said. "The faculty at COD have been some the best coaches and mentors I've had the opportunity to learn from."
2014 College of DuPage