James O. Smith will graduate as the first Chattanooga State Engineering Technology student with a double concentration in Non-Destructive Testing and Quality Assurance/Quality Control on Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Memorial Auditorium.
Mr. Smith became a displaced worker when his job at LA Z BOY moved south to Mexico in 2008. After three months of unemployment he found the path to a new career at Chattanooga State thanks to Tim McGhee, dean, Engineering Technology and Jackie Smith, assistant professor of Non-Destructive Testing. Mr. Smith was convinced that a career in NDT offered great potential for secure future employment.
Even though he had been out of school for several years, Mr. Smith says, “I found life around campus to be very enjoyable with a friendly atmosphere. The challenge of math and engineering subjects was tempered by the comradery of getting together with other panicky students to grasp a concept being taught.”
Mr. Smith started working part-time at IveyCooper last summer as a NDT tech. After working in the field performing radiography, ultrasonic inspection, magnetic particle testing, and other testing procedures, he realized he was interested in the bigger picture. He decided to complete one more year of studies at Chattanooga State to get his QA/QC degree to both complement his NDT degree and lead to additional career options.
According to Ms. Smith, "Nondestructive Testing is a subset of Quality Control. James Smith wanted to learn more. What were the root causes behind the flaws he was detecting using NDT? With a background in manufacturing, he also wanted to know how companies ensured quality products were being manufactured.”
After graduation, Mr. Smith has a job as quality manager at IveyCooper services waiting for him. His family is very proud and supportive of his accomplishments. They include his wife, Sandra a Chattanooga State graduate in medical assisting, two adult children, and three grandchildren.