ECC ignited a career path and paved the way to business ownership
“Don’t expect to know what you want to do after high school. Go try stuff. Take a variety of courses and explore different industries.”
This is the advice Tim Slater, owner and operator of Centurion Performance & Engines, in Hampshire, would offer high school students today because this is exactly what he did 17 years ago.
Discovery in the Classroom
As a senior at Hampshire High School, Slater wasn’t sure about his future. He completed the requirements for his high school diploma, simultaneously taking trade classes, such as welding, at ECC. After graduating, he took courses in industrial manufacturing technology and computer-aided design.
“I knew I liked working with my hands, but I didn’t see what I could do with that skill until coming to ECC,” said Slater. “The faculty were all supportive of students and really helped us hone our skills and discover where our passions truly lay.”
Starting his Business
Slater went into aviation maintenance after attending ECC, but felt he could achieve more. In 2009, he opened up his own business, which evolved from automotive maintenance to custom builds and engines.
“There is no shame working in the trades, and there is something to be said about coming home exhausted from working with your hands and producing high-quality mechanical products,” said Slater.
Especially during these uncertain times, Slater strongly believes in the value of the trades, which many career and technical education students pursue after starting at ECC.
Finding Your Passion
Slater encourages students to try new things before deciding on a career path.
“A sliver of experience from a course in high school to trying out a new trade at ECC can be the spark that ignites enthusiasm that leads to passion, and passion leads to success.”
Want help identifying your passion and exploring career opportunities? Visit elgin.edu/careercoach.