Mitch Boss grew up in Milford
and was always familiar with Southeast Community College since it was such a
big part of the community. But it wasn’t until his sister’s friend graduated
from the Nondestructive Testing Technology program that he took notice.
“He graduated and came back
with a new Camaro and I said, ‘that’s what I want to do,’ ” he jokingly
He enrolled in the program,
immersed himself in his studies, and got a job before he even graduated in 1986.
He wouldn’t have done it any differently.
“I was hired and was working
two weeks before graduation; I didn’t even get a chance to attend graduation,”
he said. His first job was as an NDT technician
in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
“My first job I was 20 years
old and working on Boeing 707's, it’s a flying gas station (for in-air refueling of fighter jets),” he said.
“My associate degree was everything I needed to get my career path I needed. It
was the right stepping stone for me.”
Boss is now a senior staff test engineer
for Lockheed Martin Space. The company builds satellites and spacecraft for
government and commercial customers. It’s headquartered in Denver, with
additional sites in California, Mississippi, Louisiana and Florida. Boss is based in Colorado, but
travels frequently, including to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. He’s been with the company for more than 24 years.
“I still love coming to work,
and if you find a job you truly love, it’s never ‘work,’ ” he said.
Boss said he was caught by
surprise when he found out he was the recipient of this year’s Distinguished
Alumni Award for the Milford Campus. He said he’s always supported the College
and the NDT program over the years.
“I was very honored,” he
said. “I’m a strong recruiter for SCC and the NDT program. I tell them
(students) how I got involved and the opportunities it afforded me. Get into
something that doesn’t stay the same and make a change in your area,” he
advises incoming students.
He said the Milford Campus
has many programs depending on your interests. He never thought he would attend
SCC, but his dream of playing college football never materialized.
“Do your research on the
various programs in Milford and find one that intrigues you,” he said. “The
different programs give you a basis and foundation to get your foot in the door
in that company, and you can continue to make yourself better.”
Boss said there are
always openings in his industry, and his employer, Lockheed Martin Space, recently
hired a Milford graduate for the Denver office who is learning the ropes
about nondestructive testing in an aerospace manufacturing environment.
Once he retires, Boss said he will continue to do some consulting in the NDT field. He also credits his
parents for his success today.
“Obviously if it wasn’t for my parents,
Harry and Joyce, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” he said.