Kevin Symons

Uncertainty in the economy doesn’t have to mean disaster. Just ask 2002 Computer Aided Drafting Technology graduate Kevin Symons.

“Having dealt with a poor economic climate in New York, then being laid off 18 months ago, I filled my time with more education and occasional jobs to add to my resume until an opportunity opened up,” says the 28-year-old from Jacksonville, Ill., who now lives in St. Louis, Mo. “I’m working again because of my unique resume, which listed former jobs that, combined, perfectly match my current job description.”

Some of the skills Symons points to as keys to success are combining technical expertise with a passion for his work.

“The lessons I practice today are from my two CADT professors, William LaVigne and Jim Fugate,” he explains. “Clarity and attention to detail are critical when there are large projects and teams, because documentation and presentations are the best ways architects can explain how they want their work to be constructed.”

Symons’ NTID associate degree training led to his current position with Mackey Mitchell Architects in St. Louis, providing building information modeling support as part of a firm of 40 architects whose design work includes colleges and schools for the deaf.

“John Macko from the NTID Center on Employment was helpful with my job search,” he says. “He connected me to my first employer, John Stanton, [a 1980 RIT/NTID graduate] who helped me start in this field.”

In addition to classroom lessons, Symons gained valuable experience from Joe Hamilton in NTID’s Department of Cultural and Creative Studies.

“I got to know Joe from working in the theater,” he says. “He emphasized showing up on time and working hard. He also knows how to create a positive work environment.”

When asked about the future, Symons says he would like to begin working toward a bachelor’s degree, perhaps in architecture.

“My wife and daughter and I hope to add to our family,” he says. “And another St. Louis Cardinals World Series championship would be fun!”

This story appeared in the Spring/Summer 2010 issue of FOCUS Magazine.

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