Date: September 30, 2020
CONTACT: Lisa Garrett,

By Lisa Garrett

WESTMINSTER -- After 20 years of working as a technician in a local manufacturing company, Chris Rothell was ready for a different challenge.

He spent his career at Sealed Air Corporation as an electronics technician, right after graduating from Tri-County Technical College with a degree in industrial electronics technology. 

“I liked what I did but I was looking for a change,” said Rothell. Through research he learned about Horton, Oconee County’s newest manufacturing facility located at the Oconee Industry and Technology Park, located on Highway 11 in Westminster. It co-locates the Oconee Campus of Tri-County Technical College, a new career center for high school students and industry.  

He interviewed and was hired as the facility’s maintenance group leader.  He was the seventh hire at the Westminster plant.  Horton’s engine cooling solutions are found around the globe -- almost any place you find engines with optimized cooling systems. The company manufactures fans and fan clutches for on- and off-road diesel applications, such as heavy, medium and light-duty trucks, on motor coaches and buses, on construction, agricultural and mining equipment, and on generators and industrial compressors.

“It’s a new challenge and a chance to step up my game.  This is an opportunity to move up in my career.  I had peaked where I was.  I’m in a new job, learning new skills every day in a new facility among a new group of co-workers.  It’s very energizing,” he said.

“Horton has put together a good team with great experience. It was a very good move for me,” added Rothell, who brought with him two decades of experience in equipment repair and installation, logistics and lean manufacturing.

“My Tri-County degree continues to serve me well,” said Rothell.  “I always tell young folks that a two-year degree is the way to go.  You can’t beat it.”

As maintenance group leader, he is responsible for scheduling preventive maintenance for current equipment; troubleshooting and maintaining machinery; leading and participating in cost reduction and process improvement events, and coordinating training of associates.

“The plant is in start-up mode and we are very busy,” said Rothell, who says he arrives early every morning.  “I can’t wait to get here. Several times I have had to make myself leave for the day because it’s exciting to see it all come together, coordinating with vendors and contractors and supervising equipment moves from the company’s facility in Indiana.”

He also makes time to serve as a mentor for younger associates, who often also are Tri-County graduates.

“I want to share my knowledge. Anytime I can stop and show them something, I will.  After high school, there were individuals who took the time to teach me.  I want to be that guy for others,” he said.

“Horton is a family-owned company and they are able to attract the best.  Their biggest asset is their employees and they want to take care of us through training, tuition reimbursement and other things.  We are a happy workforce.”


Tri-County Technical College is a public two-year community and technical college serving Anderson, Oconee and Pickens Counties in South Carolina. The college 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