“Ever since I completed the IMMR program at STC in 2018, I’ve been pursuing a form of Computer Aided Design called BIM (Building Information Modeling). I landed an amazing job as an Architecture Associate at Parker Walter Group Architects in Sarasota, Florida, and I want to thank my instructor, Mr. LaGasse because I discovered the BIM field from him.” Former Industrial Machinery Maintenance and Repair (IMMR) student John Sikora reached out to STC Instructor Thomas LaGasse to thank him for exposing him to Computer Aided Design (CAD) while enrolled in IMMR almost five years ago.

In 2018, while residing in New Jersey, John heard about the IMMR program through a friend in Sarasota. He was immediately interested in the program and decided to head back to his former home and enroll at STC with his buddy. Upon completion of the program in 2019, John went to work as a laborer in power plants alongside his father. By 2022, he had saved up enough money to learn Revit from the Virtual Design & Construction Institute. John says he originally discovered CAD at STC and wanted to pursue the field he came to fall in love with.

During the course at STC, John says that Mr. LaGasse made it important to incorporate not only the physical side of machining and general knowledge, but also to add on Solidworks, which was his first exposure to CAD software. “When I learned about CAD, it was the turning point in my life where I knew I could turn it into a career.” John says that STC’s mix of physical and virtual knowledge about industrial standards and trades allowed him to transition into the CAD world a lot easier. “The myriad of different practices in the industry that Mr. LaGasse taught, truly prepared me for this career.” In addition to learning about the CAD field, John says that Mr. LaGasse created a culture in his classroom that promoted teamwork and collaboration, as well as providing independent mentorship when it was needed. “He always focused on keeping his students engaged throughout the day and regularly encouraged us to keep learning, which is great practice for any field.” John says that it was always apparent that Mr. LaGasse truly cared about the success of each and every student.

John currently works as an Architecture Associate at Parker Walter Group Architects, where he absolutely loves going to work every day. He also stated, “STC was by far, the best educational experience I’ve had in Florida and I’m so grateful to the college and to Mr. LaGasse.” For more information about STC’s Industrial Machinery Maintenance and Repair or Computer-Aided Drawing Programs, please visit our PROGRAM link at Suncoast.edu or contact a school counselor at 941-924-1365 / Ext. 62283.

By Laurie Dillon
November 2, 2023
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