2022 Graduate | Drew Falon
Following high school Drew Falon spent time working as an electrician, in an automotive shop and as a steel welder/fabricator in Washington and Alaska. Wanting a new career that would enable him to better provide for his family, Falon began looking into nearby surveying and civil engineering programs.
“I have always been drawn to engineering and designing on any level,” said Falon. “I chose the construction design and survey program after seeing a need for surveyors in the field. Coming from a structural steel career as an ironworker, we were constantly in need of people to do layout and basic surveying of job sites as we were constructing projects. I saw an opportunity to continue working for the union but with a degree I could put myself in a position to advance my career.”
Ultimately, he chose to pursue his degree through Yakima Valley College’s Land Survey & Construction Program. After starting classes in the winter of 2021, he learned that he could also add the Civil Engineering Technology Program to his educational coursework to provide him with even more career options coming out of school.
“The civil engineering degree came halfway through my first quarter of school when I realized that there was potential for me to stack my resume and make myself more valuable as an employee with my construction experience,” he said.
Falon noted he’s been able to build on his past experiences in the construction industry during his studies.
“My favorite parts of this program include seeing the digital design process of buildings, after seeing the other side of construction where I was the one putting the structures together,” he said. “Seeing how they are designed and engineered it gives me the full scope of everything that goes into designing and constructing structures.”
He’s grateful that the faculty in YVC’s Engineering Program have crafted curriculum that supports student success.
“I would recommend this program and the school in general to anyone looking for a career in construction. To anyone that has a desire to work with their hands and build things this program is right in their wheelhouse. The instructors in the engineering program are knowledgeable and very personable. They have real world experiences that make them quality instructors.” — Drew Falon
He’s also thankful for the relationships and networking opportunities he’s experienced throughout the course of his studies, which are culminating with him earning associate of applied science degrees in Civil Engineering Technician and Construction Design and Survey.
“The relationships I’ve gained with my professors and the networking ability I have gained from being involved in the STEM program have allowed me to meet some amazing people who have helped me get to the point I am now,” he said.
Starting in mid-July, Falon will begin a new career working for the Washington State Department of Transportation in the Surveying Department. He will be working under the direction of the land surveyor as an assistant, a position that will enable him to learn all the processes involved in roadway construction related to surveying.
“I think between my prior construction experience and the formal education given to me by YVC, I feel adequately prepared to handle anything that the workforce can throw at me,” Falon said. “The program has given me the basic knowledge to walk into any field I have studied and have enough experience to be a contributing factor immediately.”
Ultimately, Falon would like to become a licensed land surveyor in the Yakima Valley. He hopes to continue his education and eventually earn a bachelor’s degree.