Sometimes we realize that we’ve got to make a change for the better. That’s the conclusion Chad Shupe came to a few years back, when he decided to return to school as a 22-year-old and enrolled for the second time at Pellissippi State Community College.
He declared Computer Integrated Drafting and Design Technology as his major. That was nine years ago, and since then, Shupe’s passion for computer-aided drafting has led to an internship, two jobs—and a partnership with software giant Autodesk.
“I chose Pellissippi State the second time because it’s smaller, with more one-on-one with professors. The faculty there is very bright and energetic,” Shupe said. He graduated two years later with an Associate of Applied Science degree.
“The first time at Pellissippi State, I took both drafting and AutoCAD 101,” he said. “I particularly liked the 3D Studio Max software used in the animation class taught by Joan Davis. I had enjoyed it so much that I decided that was what I wanted to do for a career.”
Shupe said he originally dropped out of college because he was serving in a restaurant in Oak Ridge and making good money.
“I decided I didn’t need a college degree,” he said. “But after a couple of years, I realized that was a mistake. By then I was engaged and wanted to have a more stable financial footing.”
Now life is very different: Shupe is married with three young children and has a career he’s enthusiastic about.
A few months before receiving his degree, he interned at Delta M Corporation in Oak Ridge. A month after graduating, his first child was born and his internship became a full-time job as a computer-aided design administrator. He later moved on to become an application specialist at Alstom Power in Knoxville … and a consultant for software giant Autodesk.
Shupe’s lucky break was the result of something he did for fun: his daily visits to the AutoCAD forum www.davetyner.com. Because of the great free advice he offered about digital design, he was recruited by Autodesk to be part of a special operations team.
“Autodesk contacted Dave Tyner for individuals to form a special ops team,” said Shupe. “There were 15 or 16 of us across North America that were chosen from an online CAD plant design forum.”
The team was tasked with developing a 3D data set using Autodesk’s new software AutoCAD Plant 3D. A video of the work was created by Tyner and shown at the 2010 Autodesk University in Las Vegas. The video is available on YouTube. Shupe’s models of tanks, pumps and pipelines are part of the 16 models on the video.
He has since worked as a consultant for Autodesk.
“When Autodesk needs CAD data tested, they contact me,” he said. This past August he served as “Ask the Expert” on Autodesk’s Plant Exchange.
“It’s an interesting field to get into,” said Shupe about his chosen profession. “Being able to do something in 3D on the computer is really interesting. There’s a lot of potential out there for jobs. You’ve got the government that does 3D work, and all these power plants and engineering firms all need 3D designers. The potential for employment is great.”
Pellissippi State offers two paths for students interested in a career in CAD: a 15-credit-hour Architectural AutoCAD Applications certificate and a two-year Associate of Applied Science degree in Engineering Technology, with a Civil Engineering concentration.
For more information, go to www.pstcc.edu/catalog or call (865) 694-6400.