Drafting Grads Find Array of Opportunities

K. Patricia Bouweraerts
Keaton Kiraly Image

Keaton Kiraly, TMCC drafting alumnus and 2D Draftsperson at Blast Deflectors, Inc.

Graduates with drafting skills are choosing from a variety of careers in Nevada’s transforming economy; including architecture, engineering, product development, and also job positions in industries that support the military and airlines.

The drafting field now has expanded opportunities for students to take a two-year program and go directly into a well-paying career or transfer to a bachelor’s curriculum in engineering, such as those offered at the University of Nevada, Reno.

“I have had several students transfer to UNR and receive their engineering degrees in several areas such as civil, structural and mechanical,” said Brian Ruf, Drafting Professor. “Students have also opened their own business and now apply what they learned in the classes on a daily basis, using the software for a variety of applications.”

Keaton Kiraly was able to go directly into his chosen career path following graduation from Truckee Meadows Community College.

“I enjoy drawing, creating and building things—I grew up with Legos,” Kiraly said. “I now build with really big materials.”

Jet Aircraft

In May, Kiraly completed an Associate of Applied Science—Manufacturing Technologies, Drafting Emphasis, and also holds a Certificate of Achievement in Drafting Technologies. His job title is 2D Draftsperson at Blast Deflectors, Inc., in business since 1954. It’s an international corporation that holds patents in noise suppression and has clients in 84 countries. Blast Deflectors, Inc. also completes projects for the U.S. armed forces.

Sound-suppressing projects are fences and enclosures that hold noise down around jet aircraft. In populated areas or at night, jet engines can be tested for safety with the assistance of the noise suppressing projects that his company builds.

“I like to be the Swiss Army Knife of drawing and adapt to whatever project needs to be drawn with AutoCAD software,” he said.

Kiraly said that he was able to complete all the training needed for his new career in three years, including a year of math that he took while thinking about a path in civil engineering.

“The quality of life I have with drafting, over that in construction, is like day and night,” he said. “I have good benefits and a great career. Working in construction can be hard on your body. My job now isn’t dependent on how the construction industry is doing with the ups and downs in the economy.”

Advice for students

Kiraly likes to draw with AutoCAD and by hand, and said that the skill of hand drawing is the base skill for using digital drafting tools. He enjoys drawing by hand at home, and at work performs most of his project drawings on the computer. Kiraly’s work is steel fabrication drawing; the front, side and top views (called orthographic in drafting) of steel pieces and assemblies. His drawings are sent to various fabricators so they can be constructed to specifications.

“Every class I took at TMCC helps me with my job,” he said. “Technical drafting and AutoCAD classes exactly relate to what I do every day. Even the other subjects, such as architectural design, math, physics and Microsoft Office I use in my job often, such as skills in Excel, Word and composing emails.”

He said that the general manufacturing knowledge he gained in coursework also prepared him to make sure that materials meet the needed codes of international verifying agencies such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), giving his company an advantage in overseas markets.

“My advice for students is to find out what their strengths are and what they like to do,” Kiraly said. “I recommend research into what different kinds of jobs there are. Figure out what you already like to do and try to find something related. That’s how I found drafting. I know I got a really good education at TMCC.”

For more information about Drafting Technologies at TMCC, please contact Brian Ruf at 775-674-7690.