Wiregrass’ Mechatronics Instructor Headed to Russia

Staff Report From Valdosta CEO

Tuesday, June 11th, 2019

Wiregrass Georgia Technical College’s Mechatronics Instructor, Joshua Whittington is headed to Russia with the National Champions for Mechatronics for the WorldSkills 2019 competition this August.  Whittington has coached the National Mechatronics Champion team since 2017.  The WorldSkills competition is held every two years; this year it will be hosted in Kazan, Russia.

Whittington became interested in the field of mechatronics back in high school at Tift County.  “I was fortunate to graduate from one of the only Mechatronics programs in that state at that time,” shared Joshua.  After high school graduation he attended Moultrie Technical College to further his education in Industrial Systems Technology, a program closely tied to Mechatronics.  Joshua first got involved with the Nationals SKillsUSA when he was in college at Moultrie Tech.  He competed at the state level and made it to National SkillsUSA competition.  At nationals he was able to make great connections at the national level and after attending the WorldSkills 2017 Abu Dhabi competition, he was asked to coach the next team. His work with them began in 2017 as he was asked to helped choose, train, and manage the team.  The WorldSkills 2019 SkillsUSA Mechatronics Team is composed of the two national champions for Mechatronics.  These two competitors are from Stanly Community College in North Carolina.  “We have trained at the Festo United States headquarters in Mason, Ohio and here at Wiregrass Tech,” shared Joshua. “Our equipment here at Wiregrass provides the closest substitute to the equipment found at the WordSkills competition.”

"We are extremely fortunate to have a world-renowned technical expert such as Joshua at our institution. His experiences at the global level are an invaluable resource for our graduates and local industries,” shared Joe Sumner Associate Vice President of Program Development for Wiregrass.
Many may not be familiar with the term, “Mechatronics.”  Joshua describes this in-demand career field: “Mechatronics is the combination of everything that makes our manufacturing industry function. It includes electrical, mechanical, controls, and computer science.”  When asked if he sees this field growing here in South Georgia and his response was, “Yes!  We are beginning to see many industries moving to our region that incorporate mechatronics, and rural Georgia must establish an educated skills and equipped workforce to encourage more industry to move here.”