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Alumni Spotlight: Nicholas Jones

Nicholas Jones who works for Eaton as a VAVE engineer is a graduate of Fort Valley State University (2014) with a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics and of Georgia Institute of Technology (2017) with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering. He is a graduate of Southwest High School (2012). Nicholas says that the leadership skills he acquired from 21st Century Leaders helped him turn an internship into a part-time job while still in college and later into a full-time job when he graduated.

Paint a picture of what you are doing now.

My current role is a VAVE Engineer at Eaton’s Lighting Division in Peachtree City, GA. VAVE is an acronym for Value Analysis and Value Engineering. I have served in this role for a little over a year, and in this role my primary objective is to reduce the costs associated with our lighting products while maintaining or improving quality and value. This includes examining and/or changing manufacturing processes, suppliers, and product designs.

How did participating in 21CL change you and/or lead you to where you are now?

Participating in 21CL helped me work something that is very invaluable: soft skills. The programs at 21CL help students focus on communicating and building networks, which is a key resource in navigating college and career fields. Developing these skills helped me turn an internship into a part-time job during my last semester in college, which I was able to turn into a full-time position at Eaton once I graduated.

What was a memorable or ‘aha’ moment in 21CL? (Particular program, meeting a professional, etc.?)

The most memorable moment for me during my 21CL participation was learning to Salsa at EarthCare in 2009. It was memorable for me because it was a chance to interact with people I hadn’t normally interact with during the camp. It was also a chance to see everyone there having fun learning something new together in a more relaxed environment.

Which programs did you participate in, and when?

I participated in two 21CL programs: Earthcare at Berry College in 2009 and G5 ( now SYLI) at Goizueta in 2010.

How did 21CL prepare you for your next steps? Going into college and taking on leadership roles, heading into a new era of professionalism, etc. What tools/perspectives have helped you along the way?

Participating in 21CL prepared me for my next steps in life because it helped me appreciate diversity and different perspectives other than what I was used to. Being appreciative of and open to different thought processes and ideas allowed me to be a better leader in organizational roles in college. This is a key to being an effective leader.

What’s something you have recently learned about leadership?

Recently, I have learned that in order to be an effective leader, you have to know and build relationships with those under you. It’s important for those you lead to know that they can talk to you about issues they are facing.