January 14, 2021

“I definitely recommend it. Great Bay prepared me for a new career in a short amount of time.”

Class of 2018

Kevin Lopez is a poster child for the possibilities of an education at Great Bay Community College. When Lopez and his wife relocated to the Seacoast region in 2015 because of her career, he began exploring professional opportunities interesting to him.

“We were new to the area, and we began researching different jobs in high demand that paid decent money,” he said. “Nondestructive testing kept coming up. A lot of companies were hiring.”

A little more research revealed that Great Bay had the perfect program for him. He enrolled in Great Bay’s program in Nondestructive Testing in fall 2017 and less than a year later earned a certificate and began a rewarding new career.

Nondestructive testing involves the examination and evaluation of the properties of a material, component or system without destroying or altering it. NDT is essential in mechanical and civil engineering, as well as other fields of engineering. The goal of the Great Bay program is to prepare students for entry-level positions in a field that is experiencing a rapid growth because of high retirement rates among senior technicians.

The Great Bay program includes a combination of classroom instruction, hands-on training and demonstrations, and field trips. The program emphasizes technical training in the inspection methods most commonly used in Southern and Seacoast New Hampshire, including radiography, ultrasonic, liquid penetrant, as well as visual inspections.

Lopez, 35 of Rochester, loved it all. “The more courses I took, the more interested I became in the NDT world,” he said.

His first job out of school was with the aeronautics company PCC Structurals, Inc. in Tilton. He now works at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery. At the shipyard, Lopez’s work largely involves inspecting the integrity of welds made by his co-workers. His job is to reject or accept those welds.

“I’ve been there two years in March, and I am really happy,” Lopez said. “It’s a great career, and I feel I am pretty good at it. I had a great experience at Great Bay. The instructors were helpful, they encouraged us to ask questions, and it was all very hands-on.”

He strongly encourages others to follow his path to Great Bay. “I definitely recommend it. Great Bay prepared me for a new career in a short amount of time,” Lopez said. “I enjoyed my experience at Great Bay. I got a lot out of it. I got a career that I love.”