Great Grad 2017: Bill MacKeigan

Soon-to-be graduate and Lodi resident Bill MacKeigan found success in the MEMS and microelectronics program, along with the TRAIN OH internship program. He will earn an associate degree from Lorain County Community College this spring.
For MacKeigan, 58, this is not his first career. He is also a military veteran of the U.S. Army and a retired Elyria U.S. postal service letter carrier. At first he was nervous about being an older student, but he said LCCC made him feel very welcome.

When looking for a new trade, he learned about the MEMS degree program at an information session and knew it was an up-and-coming industry. “The instructor, Johnny Vanderford, was very enthusiastic about the program and got me hooked,” he said.

Micro-electro mechanical systems, also known as MEMS, is a technology that uses micro and sub-micro scale mechanical structures to produce electrical output. They are sometimes referred to as “sensors.” The components are often connected to other microelectronic components, semiconductor integrated circuits and millimeter scale electronic devices on printed circuit boards (PCB). The field requires knowledge and training in electronics, materials and manufacturing.

MacKeigan is completing his second internship at RBB, a company that manufacturers printed circuit boards, in Wooster, Ohio. MacKeigan was originally hired as an intern to work on the PCB assembly manufacturing floor as part of the TRAIN OH internship program.

Upon graduation, he will be hired as a full-time employee. “My training in the MEMS degree has prepared me well for this job,” MacKeigan said.

Working at a local PCB manufacturing company as part of the program has allowed him and other students a chance to make connections in the Cleveland-area MEMS and microelectronic manufacturing workforce.

MacKeigan said “LCCC seemed to give me the most bang for my buck, as well as it was close to my home.” Through classes in the MEMS degree program, he became certified in soldering with an IPC Association Connecting Electronic Industries certificate in J-STD-001 soldering, a credential that is requested for potential employees by RBB as well as other companies in the PCB industry.

In MacKeigan’s capstone project, students design and build a fully functional working circuit. “It has been challenging so far, but I’m working through it just like my fellow classmates,” he said. “With as frustrating as it can be, it’s still been a lot of fun.”

The MEMS degree is currently supported by 28 Ohio-based MEMS and microelectronics companies including six companies in the Richard Desich Business and Entrepreneurship Center. Additionally, the TRAIN OH internship program is supported by the NextFlex Flexible Hybrid Electronic Manufacturing Innovation Institute, a public-private consortium of companies, academic institutions, nonprofits and governments with a mission to advance U.S. manufacturing of flexible hybrid electronics.