Jacob Bouchillon Distinguished Alumnus Of The Year And Courtney White DSC2344

Press Release                                                                                                                                                   
October 24, 2023

By Lisa Garrett

Jacob Bouchillon Receives TCTC’s Distinguished Alumni Award

PENDLETON --- Jacob Bouchillon, a 2009 graduate of Tri-County Technical College’s (TCTC) Industrial Electronics Technology program, is the recipient of the 2023 Distinguished Alumni Award. 

The recipient of this award must have been awarded a degree, diploma or certificate from Tri-County; must have graduated at least one year ago; and must have made significant contributions to the College, the Alumni Association or the community.

Bouchillon is a testament to the value of a two-year degree.

In just over a decade, Bouchillon has gone from an 18-year-old Michelin Technical Scholar to Technical Scholars/Youth Apprenticeship manager for all of the Michelin plants in the United States.

“Never in a million years did I ever think I would be in this position,” said Bouchillon, who never misses a chance to tell his story when he travels around the U.S. and Mexico recruiting talent for the company, always emphasizing that technical/advanced manufacturing degrees are the future.  

“I tell them I started out in your shoes,” he says. “I try to open their eyes to possibilities. I’m not the exception to the rule. With a two-year degree, there is a pathway to wherever you want to go. For me, it all started at TCTC.”

Bouchillon was part of the inaugural Bridge to Clemson class in 2006.  He originally thought he wanted to major in engineering at Clemson University, but quickly got interested in the electronics classes at Tri-County and decided not to transfer. “The teachers are awesome, and they really work with you.  Once I found Industrial Electronics Technology, I found my niche. I realized I wanted to work in industry in electronics.”

In his second year at Tri-County, he began working at Michelin’s Sandy Springs plant and was chosen as a prestigious Michelin Technical Scholar, a cooperative education program where students work while in college. The program offers tuition reimbursement and employee health benefits.  He also qualified for lottery tuition assistance.

“It came at the right time,” he said, because his father lost his job at Honeywell and later his mother was diagnosed with cancer.

Difficult days were ahead for Bouchillon, his father and younger sister, Angela, who was 14 at the time. TCTC instructors and Michelin worked with him as he and family traveled every week to visit his mother, who was hospitalized in Winston Salem, N.C.  “My instructors and Michelin worked with me and I will be forever grateful for what they did for me,” he said.

Bouchillon remained resilient and persevered to stay on track. “We have a strong family network,” he said. Despite losing his mother, he remained committed to his classes and earned a spot on the President’s List every semester -- and graduated debt free in 2009.

He began as a maintenance tech at Michelin in Sandy Springs and later became a teacher/trainer for Michelin AP Technical Training. At age 27, Bouchillon was one of the manufacturer’s youngest instructors for its internal technical training school. There are 98 technical scholars from 16 technical colleges participating in Michelin Technical Scholars programs across the U.S.

He took on his current role in Technical Recruiting and overseeing the Michelin Technical Scholars and Maintenance Youth Apprentice programs on December 1, 2021.

 “We have an extremely high success rate with our scholars becoming full-time employees after they graduate,” said Bouchillon. “The goal of the scholars program is to work directly with students to ensure they are prepared for the jobs and demands of the future. Tri-County students are top notch. They have demonstrated drive and motivation. Associate degree graduates have excellent hands-on skills. They are in high demand,” he said.

“Tri-County opened up a world of opportunities for me and the opportunities continue at Michelin,” he said. “None of this would have been possible without the Michelin Technical Scholars Program and the partnership with TCTC.”

About Tri-County Technical College

Tri-County Technical College, a public two-year community and technical college serving Anderson, Oconee and Pickens Counties in South Carolina, enrolls more than 9,000 students annually and offers more than 70 major fields of study, including computer technology, industrial electronics, mechatronics, nursing, and university transfer programs. Tri-County boasts the highest student success rate among two-year colleges in the state and ranks in the top one percent nationally for successful student transfers to four-year colleges and universities. To learn more, visit tctc.edu