Metro Tech Drafting Technician student applies CareerTech education to college and career

As a high school student at Oklahoma City Public Schools Southeast High School, Armanda Orozco-Pelayo didn’t have a future plan. He liked math and science, had an interest in engineering, but thought a college degree was necessary for any job in the engineering field.

Until his junior year of high school when he enrolled in the South Bryant Campus (SBC) Drafting Technician Program with teacher Russ Powers.

Armando said he quickly found direction.

“I learned there were career options, such as drafting, that I could do while pursuing the college degree to one day be an engineer or architect. Drafters do much of the work before design happens, so it’s an important skill to acquire,” he said.

Armando’s initial interest was architecture, but his hands-on learning projects at Metro Tech led him in a different direction. He was part of the State of Creativity Art Installation Project at the Civic Center Music Hall, which used drafting software for design. He was the lead on a wooden bridge building project that held 240 pounds and won first place at the OSU-OKC Construction Career Fair. He assisted with planning the tear down of a wall between classrooms at South Bryant Campus.

After graduating from Southeast and the Drafting Technician Program in 2015, Armando secured an internship with Smith Roberts Baldischwiler Engineering Firm through Mr. Powers’ advisory board member Marc Long, a civil engineer at Smith Roberts.

Today, Armando is employed full-time at Smith Roberts as a drafter, and he is a student at Oklahoma City Community College. Smith Roberts engineers said Armando’s proficiency in drafting software makes him an excellent asset to their team.

“Since today’s engineers will be using AutoCAD software as their design process, Armando came in ahead of the curve. We are very pleased with his performance and knowledge,” said Marc Long, Smith Roberts civil engineer and SBC Drafting Technician Program Advisory Board member. 

Armando said college hasn’t been difficult for him, thanks to Metro Tech and his current job.

“My hands-on experiences at Metro Tech and Smith Roberts have opened my mind to different areas of design. Although I initially thought I wanted to be an architect, I have since changed my major to Pre-Engineering because I enjoy the physics more than creativity,” he said.

Armando plans to finish his Pre-Engineering degree at OCCC and continue his education by majoring in Civil Engineering at the University of Oklahoma.