PENDLETON --- Husband and wife Nathan and Stephannie Albrecht spent the last two years in Tri-County Technical College's Mechatronics program, both seriously dedicating themselves to building competitive resumes to present to potential advanced manufacturing employers.

The minute Danny Stovall, technical trainer for Voith Industrial Services, saw their names come across his desk, he immediately set up an interview and testing, hoping to make them a part of his team.  The former program coordinator for Tri-County's Mechatronics program, Stovall recognized and remembered their tenacity and work ethic in the classroom and knew they would be an asset to the Spartanburg Voith team.

Both Stephannie and Nathan passed the written, mechanical and electromechanical aptitude tests and one month before Tri-County's spring graduation, the Albrechts have secured jobs as maintenance technicians (Level II) for Voith, a contractor for BMW's Greer plant.

"They are the best candidates for our training program," said Stovall.  "We wanted them to work for us because they are dependable and hard working. They know the material.  They ask questions and they want to learn more. We need 40 more just like them."

The couple from Williamston will enter Voith's three-year technical training program that is available for Mechatronics, Industrial Engineering Technology and General Engineering Technology graduates.  Voith Industrial Services is supplying multi-skilled maintenance technicians and MRO associates to BMW in Greer.  They are teamed with BMW's Equipment Services Associates (ESA's) in class and on-the-job training.  "We are building a pipeline of skilled workers," Stovall said. "This is a great opportunity to develop people and put them on a career path," he added.  

Voith is a maintenance and engineering supplier to BMW, in addition to other major automotive companies.

 "We're a performance-driven company and there are opportunities for advancement," he said. 

"This is a great opportunity for graduates with no experience," he added. 

"We offer our associates experience," said Stovall, "and BMW looks at our training program graduates and selects them for ESA technician positions.  We need the best candidates because BMW is relying on Voith.  Stephannie and Nathan will work 12-hour shifts and will take classes in robotics, PLC motor drives and pneumatics (scheduled around their shifts).  After six months on the job, they can test and advance to a Level III technician position." 

Stephanie came into the Mechatronics program with no college credit.  She was an honor student in high school in North Carolina, but didn't pursue college because she unsure of what she wanted to study.  So she worked as a server in various restaurants.  She met Nathan in 2011, they got married and moved to Jacksonville, NC, (Camp Lejeune) where he was stationed in the Marine Corps.

She was a stay-at-home mom for son, Jackson, until they moved to South Carolina in 2012 and she began working in restaurants again.  Nathan spent 10 years in the Marine Corps and when he got out in 2012, they moved to Easley. He worked in law enforcement until a shoulder injury and surgery made him think about changing careers.

Both knew they needed college to move forward.

They began to look at colleges online and discovered Tri-County.  "Our friends were in the Mechatronics program, working at BMW and very happy so we researched it and scheduled a tour of the department," said Stephannie.  By the time Stovall finished the tour, they were sold on the program and both enrolled. 

"Tri-County changed our lives and gave us opportunities we wouldn't have had before," said Nathan. 

"A manager at Voith said we are the perfect candidates for fast track and I attribute it to (instructor) Ron Talley's solid state class, as well as Mr. Stovall's basic electricity class.  It gave us confidence. Nothing on the maintenance aptitude test stumped me and it's because of those classes," said Nathan.