ANDERSON, SC – Doug Wilson is energized by investing in others’ lives, whether it’s building race cars with his teenage nephew on weekends, mentoring and teaching young associates through his job at Robert Bosch in Anderson or leading the men’s ministry group at his church.
“I like to take what I’ve learned over the years and help others to be better individuals,” said Wilson, whose work with Tri-County Technical College to design, launch and lead the Bosch Technical Scholars program earned him the College’s 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award, which highlights his dedication to his alma mater. President Ronnie L. Booth presented the award at the College’s spring commencement May 8 at the Anderson Civic Center.
The recipient of this award must have been awarded a degree, diploma or certificate from Tri-County; must have graduated at least one year ago; and must have made significant contributions to the College, the Alumni Association, or the community.
A 1991 Electronics Engineering Technology graduate and senior associate development specialist at Bosch’s Anderson plant, Wilson spent the past year implementing a scholars program targeting Tri-County students enrolled in their last semester of Industrial Electronics or Mechatronics Technology. The program helps students to adapt to their workplaces more quickly by getting hands-on experience in various areas of the manufacturing process, introducing them to departmental colleagues and their job functions, and providing an overview of policies and procedures, as well as an understanding of plant protocol.
Doug Wilson, senior associate development specialist at Bosch in Anderson, left, received Tri-County Technical College’s 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award, which highlights his dedication to his alma mater. President Ronnie L. Booth, right, presented the award at the College’s spring commencement May 8 at the Anderson Civic Center. Wilson is a 1991 Electronics Engineering Technology graduate. The recipient of this award must have been awarded a degree, diploma or certificate from Tri-County; must have graduated at least one year ago; and must have made significant contributions to the College, the Alumni Association, or the community.
“We’re getting ready-made technicians who will feel engaged right from the beginning, and therefore have a personal and professional investment in the company. Bosch wants professional-level technicians, who are high performers and can move to the next level,” said Wilson.
“Usually, it takes five to six weeks to fill a technician job at Bosch,” said Wilson. “This co-op program will decrease the time it takes for us to hire because it creates a pipeline of qualified persons already pursuing a degree at Tri-County. This also ensures that we have multi-skilled candidates for the technician openings. We want to be ahead of the curve.”
Since the program launched in February 2013, Wilson and the Bosch team have collaborated with faculty and staff providing feedback that has led to improvement in program development and curriculum design. He will join Industrial Electronics Technology faculty members and career services staff as presenters at the Automation Conference 2014 May 20 – 22 in Chicago, Illinois. The team’s topic will be “Bridging the Skills Gap: Enhancing the Talent Pipeline through Local Technical College Collaboration.”
Wilson wishes he had had the benefits of a mentoring experience with a technical scholars program when he was a senior at Crescent High, working 40 hours a week at Culp Woven Velvets while going to school. He was hired as a full-time employee after graduating and worked there seven years before contemplating entering college. “I needed a change to move forward and I knew that change had to be me. Education was the change I needed,” he said.
He entered the Electronics Engineering Technology program and continued to work and attend night classes. It was tough, he remembers, because he worked different shifts. Feeling pulled in all directions, he quit college for a while, and continued the grueling shift of working 13 days on, one day off. “I needed a break,” he said.
When his schedule became more stable, he began taking classes to finish his degree. Before graduating he was hired at Bosch as a technician and he finished the degree with a supervisor’s encouragement. He worked with the start-up operation of the relays department in Anderson and trained in Germany for three months in preparation. He left Bosch several years later to work at Michelin for two years and was back at Bosch in 1999 as a technician.
“I thought I’d be a lifelong technician,” he said, but his role has expanded over the years. He has been promoted several times and in January 2013 was named senior associate development specialist. He is responsible for the performance management and technical development for all technicians at the Anderson plant. That includes training and teaching Bosch scholars during their work schedule at the plant. “I enjoy being a teacher,” he said. “I’m hands on. I encourage them to ask questions and I support an open forum classroom,” he said.
“We’re a family here,” he said, adding that that’s why Bosch is a place he continues to call home. “There’s room for growth and expanding your career path. It challenges me. We care about our employees,” he said, adding that he experienced that sentiment and support first hand in 2010 when he was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (an abnormal heartbeat). Until doctors reached a diagnosis, he was in intensive care for 28 days, with several of them being touch and go. “Bosch employees rallied, like a family, for me and my wife, Cindy. It’s just a great place to work.”
He’s active in the community as well, serving as the men’s ministry chair at Varennes Heights Baptist Church. “Our mission is to shape men to walk according to the calling of God,” he said. It’s an opportunity to work together accomplishing things as a team. In addition to participating in small group Bible studies and community service projects, a group of 18 church and community members built a 1923 T bucket hot rod.
Wilson often tells scholars and the men’s group that he believes that life is like a football game, divided into quarters or stages. “To be successful in your personal and professional life, by half time you need to establish priorities and rely on teammates. Despite whatever setbacks you may have during the game of life, the goal of the second half is to finish strong.”