Dalton Acree Mechatronics Graduate DSC5116
Dalton Acree

Press Release                                                                                                                                                   
April 23, 2024
Contact: lgarrett@tctc.edu

(By Lisa Garrett)

Mechatronics Graduate Dalton Acree is Engineering Technician at Baxter Manufacturing

PENDLETON --- A self-avowed outdoorsman and nature lover, Dalton Acree spent the better part of his youth aspiring to be a game warden for the Department of Natural Resources.

But he also had a mechanical aptitude and his free time also included working on vehicles and volunteering to repair broken items around the house.

As he approached his junior year at Walhalla High School, he had a shift in thinking that affected his career choice.  “I recognized I needed a four-year degree to be a game warden,” he said. He began to weigh his options. “I could go up to $100,000 in debt to pursue a bachelor’s degree or enroll at Tri-County Technical College (TCTC), incur no debt and hone my mechanical/electrical skills to prepare for a job in manufacturing making a great salary.”

In 2017 he enrolled in the Mechatronics program full time carrying 16 credit hours a semester while holding down an eight-hour second-shift job as a maintenance technician at Baxter Manufacturing in Westminster. It was the first time the outdoor lover had worked in an indoor environment and realized it was the right choice.

“I still enjoy the outdoors but I never looked back,” he said.

“I graduated from TCTC with zero student debt (he had a Life scholarship.) I own my own home now and I have a job I love -- all before the age of 25,” he said.

He was 20 when he graduated from TCTC and joined Baxter Manufacturing full time as a maintenance technician. Last year he was promoted to engineering technician. He advises others to get on-the-job training while in school. He was able to take classroom knowledge and apply it on the job. “I learned something new every day in both places. I still do today in my job at Baxter. (The Westminster plant produces plastic injection mold interior parts for BMW’s Greer facility.)

 “This industry is changing every day. It’s always evolving. That’s what makes it interesting. I am super thankful for where I am. There is so much room to grow at Baxter. It is family owned and operated. It’s a smaller company so you can grow. I work with the best maintenance team. We all get along and take care of each other.”

Recently he participated in a panel discussion held prior to the graduation ceremony for a group of eight associates working in the plastics industry in Anderson and Oconee counties. These individuals successfully completed TCTC’s second plastic injection molding class. The six-week, 22-hour program that was taught at TCTC’s Oconee Campus. The associates are employed at Eugen Wexler, CurTec, Horton Manufacturing and Baxter Manufacturing.

He urged them to “never stop learning.”

In the future, Acree plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in management.

“It has been an honor for me to watch Dalton build on his education from TCTC,” said Jim Whitfield, corporate maintenance manager for Baxter Manufacturing. “He is an exceptional technical support specialist and a remarkable young man. The sky is the limit for him.”

Whitfield also is a TCTC graduate. He holds Industrial Electronics Technology and General Engineering Technology degrees. 

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, business administration, 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.