Four Joliet Junior College team members received third place in the International Society of Automation (ISA) Competition held at Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College in New Richmond, Wis. last April.
Students participating in the 2014 competition were Chad Allen of Joliet; Brian Matthes of Crest Hill; Nathan Geschke of Joliet; and Tim Quigley of Wilmington. All students are studying Process Controls Instrumentation Technology (PCIT) at JJC.
The competition, which lasted an entire day, consisted of five challenges: two design exercises and three analog calibration scenarios.
JJC came very close to winning – tying with two teams by the end of the night, Mesabi Range Community and Technical College from Virginia, Minn., and Northwest Iowa Community College from Sheldon, Iowa. The three-way tiebreaker was first settled by time, and because the JJC team spent the longest working on their design exercises, they were awarded third place.
In 2011, the JJC team received first at the ISA competition. Last year, JJC placed second.
Ed Meyers, JJC Technical Department adjunct professor and coach, said he was very proud of his students.
“They’re great students, and they’re smart,” he said. “They did an excellent job at the competition.”
Students who graduate from the PCIT program often accept jobs in petroleum chemicals, power engineering, manufacturing, sales, instrumentation, software engineering, automation engineering and more.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of petroleum engineers is projected to increase by 26 percent; software engineers will increase by 22 percent; sales managers will increase by 8 percent; and automation engineers will increase by 4 percent.
Meyers, who teaches the “hands on” and technical side of PCIT, said JJC students are always very successful after graduating from the program.
“There’s a lot of demand for these types of technical jobs. Some of the advantages JJC students have is that in our classes, we have extra equipment, newer equipment and technology,” Meyers said. “Anybody that comes in and finishes this two year program or gets a certificate at JJC, they’re going to get a job.”
The average salary for JJC graduates in the PCIT program, according to Meyers, is between $35-$40 an hour, with most working a little more than 40 hours a week. An ISA survey stated that the average yearly salary for those in the automation field is $106,772 in the United States. Those who attended only a technical or trade school had an average salary of $90,998.
JJC received a $16,500 grant from the Will-Dupage Section of the International Society of Automation, Citgo, ExxonMobil and LyondellBasell last year. This grant helped the college purchase more up-to-date equipment for the PCIT program.
For more information about JJC’s PCIT program, visit www.jjc.edu/info/technical.