Vikki Gordon, Ed.D., brings to her job as Macomb’s skilled trades apprentice coordinator and tool design instructor a level of experience unmatched in a field that still employs few women.
“My dad was a concept illustrator for GM,” explains Gordon. “He is the one who encouraged me to take a job with Modern Engineering in the Tech Center in Flint where he worked.”
At Modern, Gordon picked up CATIA CAD software quickly and advanced to laying out assembly line tooling. From there, she became a tool designer and manufacturing project coordinator, working at various manufacturing firms for 10 years. When the recession hit, she sought out another career tract, earning degrees in business administration from Baker College, where she also worked as a liaison with manufacturing facilities.
“I was bringing Baker’s educational programs into the plants,” relates Gordon, who joined Macomb’s team as the designated academic advisor for the technology area in 2010. “I love manufacturing and I love education, so it was a perfect fit.”
Macomb’s apprentice coordinator for the past three years, Gordon oversees apprenticeships for about 75 companies. The apprentice program at one of those companies, Futuramic Tool and Engineering, was touted as exemplary by Hilary Clinton, the former democratic presidential candidate, when she brought her campaign there last summer.
“Apprenticeships are good for the company, the economy and the individual,” says Gordon. “I love encouraging students to take advantage of what is a great opportunity.”
Gordon also teaches Technical Report Writing and Die Theory One, a course she helped develop, and received a teaching excellence award from the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development in 2016.
“I have all these aspiring vehicle designers and, yes, I tell them, the car is beautiful,” says Gordon, pointing to her dad’s sketch of a’63 Corvette that hangs in her office. “But I try to show them the way I learned it. I do my best to open their eyes to the field of tool design.”