Headed into the 9th grade at Dalton High, Rob Griffin and his classmates had to choose from a long list of electives – everything from weightlifting to concert band. And including, for the first time as he recalls it, a series of engineering courses created by Project Lead the Way (PLTW). “I looked down the list and thought these sound really cool,” he said. That first year, there were seven kids in the Introduction to Engineering Design class. “By the time I was a senior, they were crammed,” he says. Thanks to the drafting and engineering coursework, he landed high school internships at a local architectural firm and with Dalton Utilities, before being accepted at Georgia Tech.
“My first freshman drafting class at Tech, our first assignment was writing your name in block letters,” he says. “I had done that at Dalton High School four years earlier.”
He had also learned how to use AutoCAD and 3D modeling software that would be important to his studies at Georgia Tech, and in internships at the Georgia Department of Transportation and his current employer, SteelFab, Inc., which is one of the nation’s leading steel fabricators. The SteelFab internship turned into a part-time job while he was still in college, and then a full-time job when he graduated.
I can directly trace many of the skills I use on a daily basis back to the classes and opportunities that Dalton High’s technology program offered. – Rob Griffin
Since going full-time in 2012, Rob has managed more than 30 structural steel projects. Like most young managers, he started out on smaller projects but has quickly worked his way up. In 2015 Rob was one of SteelFab’s point men on the reimaging of Daytona International Speedway. Currently, he’s playing a similar role on the construction of the new Comcast tower in Philadelphia, which will be one of the tallest buildings in North America.
That probably wouldn’t be the case without CTAE. “I can directly trace many of the skills I use on a daily basis back to the classes and opportunities that Dalton High’s technology program offered,” he says.
“(The Project Lead the Way courses) taught me how to use AutoCAD and 3D modeling software, how to sketch and read construction drawings, and how to analyze, plan and execute projects from start to finish, often as part of a team.”