From Machinist to Inspiring Technical Trainer
October 20, 2023
Jeff Wright loves to build wood strip kayaks, read, throw disc golf, spend time with his wife and their combined seven adult children and eight grandchildren (with a ninth on the way), and he loves his job at Tulsa Tech! Jeff has worked here for 11 years, three as an adjunct instructor and eight full time, including his current role as a BIS Technical Trainer, but he’s been a machinist for over 37 years.
“I’ve always worked with my hands and had a mechanical ability,” Jeff said. “When I got out of high school, I started machining and built my career as I went. I worked my way up from the guy that sweeps the floors to shop foreman.”
And then one day he saw an ad in the paper for an adjunct instructor and he made a call to a friend that worked at Tulsa Tech. Jeff started coming to campus in the evenings and went through the curriculum, and then they asked him to teach as part of Business and Industry Services.
“I taught that first class and I absolutely loved it,” Jeff said. “I really like helping people make a difference in their lives. I’m not in it for the awards and kudos, my reward is when a student calls me two years down the line and says ‘Man, I’m doing great, thank you so much.’ That means everything to me; I feel privileged to get to do something that I absolutely love to do.”
Three of the things Jeff likes the most about his job as a technical trainer is the administration, the students and working with the business partners.
“My boss, Rana McVay, and her boss Matt Litterell, they hire people that can do the job and then they let us do it. They aren’t micromanaging, they are very supportive, and they let us expand our own training repertoire.”
At Tech, Jeff teaches students where they are. His students are unemployed or underemployed and he helps them build up the skills that they need to get out into the workforce and succeed, teaching not only the hard skills like math and precision measurement, but also the soft skills like interview preparation. Since he’s been out in the trenches, he knows what they need and where they are coming from.
“In my job, I get to go out to different shops all around town and train the clients on their own equipment. There is nothing more fun for me than going out to a shop and seeing what they are doing with their machine and then show them what it will really do. It makes a difference in their operations and their lives.”
Jeff is just one of 100’s of Tulsa Tech instructors making a difference, but to each of his clients he makes all the difference in the world!