Jesse Taber ~ Working in his desired field and graduating debt free
Jesse Taber was born in Shawmut, Montana on his grandfather’s cattle ranch. He didn’t stay there long. Jesse’s older brother, Jacob, had a heart condition – a rare one that required special treatment. And after searching America for the best doctor to treat that condition, the family left granddad’s ranch and moved to Maine. Jesse was 6 and by the time he was 8 the doctor moved to Duke Children’s Hospital & Health Center “We pretty much followed the doctor there.” And that’s where Jesse and his family are today.
Growing up Jesse liked to argue. Not just to be contrary, but to clearly state his point of view, which he did with great skill. He had an amazing memory and a way with words. He was so good at arguing, his teachers nicknamed him Las Vegas Lawyer. His family called him The Instigator. Having the gift of persuasive reasoning, it was always assumed that Jesse would grow up to be a lawyer. Even Jesse thought this, until he started making things with his dad.
Jesse and his dad would make knives together. It required knowledge of steel, wood and leather, and Jesse loved it. “I liked making things with my hands. A part of me is in everything I’ve ever made.” It was at this point in his life that he began to entertain a career path that would allow him to build actual things rather than just arguments.
Jesse’s mom introduced him to her boss’ husband. He worked as an engineer at Buhler Motors in Raleigh. They make motors for everything from farm equipment to elevators. Jesse took a tour of the facility and talked extensively with the engineer. Jesse learned that the successful engineers had a background in machining. “You can design anything, but it helps to know how things are actually made.” Jesse decided he wanted to be an engineer. But first he would learn machining.
The summer before his junior year of high school, Jesse toured Johnston Community College in Smithfield, NC. He was fascinated with their computer integrated machining technology. “I saw that you could literally make anything you can imagine. Ideas can actually become objects.” Jesse was sold. This is where he would go once out of high school.
“I felt some friends looked down on me because I was choosing a community college rather than going straight to a 4-year university.” But Jesse wanted to learn the details of machining hands on. He wanted to be one of the truly successful engineers.
Within months of studying at Johnston CC Jesse got a part-time job working at Wakefield-Vette they are an electronic packaging systems company specializing in thermal solutions. Jesse works there as a machinist. “Not many people can say they have a job in the degree they’re going for.” Thanks to this job and a work ethic scholarship from mikeroweWORKS Jesse plans to graduate debt free, as a CNC and manual certified machinist. Then Jesse will transfer to a 4-year school to study aerospace and mechanical engineering.
Jesse hopes to meet Mike Rowe one day. I asked him what he’d say if he did. This is what he said – “Thank you Mike, for everything you do for skilled workers. And thanks for what you’ve done for me personally. You’re helping me graduate debt free, and allowing me to be where I am today.”