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    DSHS student Gavin Collins, KCW Owner Keith Wilcox and DSHS instructor Jad Jadeja, who heads a number of engineering and technology initiatives at the school.

Engineering Internships can be life changing

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But KCW had a problem, owner Keith Wilcox explains, “I had Solidworks [software program] just sitting there. It kept crashing the computer,” Wilcox said.

As a high school senior, you might think your options for a job in the real world can be limited. But being exposed to real world problems and learning to solve them early in high school can make a world of difference.

Such is the case for Dripping Springs High School senior Gavin Collins.

Through his participation in various technology teams at DSHS, such as F1 remote control Land Rover 4x4, which went to the world finals, Collins has acquired training and certifications which give him a unique vantage point, and make a whiz kid at his new internship jog with KCW Fabtech.

Located in a non-descript converted garage on U.S. Hwy 290 near Henly, KCW Fabtech makes custom metal works ranging from small five inch letters, to custom metal parts for cars, and everything in between. 

But KCW had a problem, owner Keith Wilcox explains, “I had Solidworks [software program] just sitting there. It kept crashing the computer,” Wilcox said. But with Collins help, the problem was soon fixed and the software was controlling the plasma-cutting machine perfectly. Despite still being in high school, Collins certifications include an Associates, Professional and Expert Mechanical Design, Professional Sheet Metal, and he is currently pursuing his welding certification.

The successful use of the software made a huge change to say the least. For example, instead of cutting individual sides in making a metal box, with computer modeling in 3-D, folds are made instead, saving cutting costs, saving material, is faster and saves the customer money.

“There’s science behind it. It’s tested before you get it, it stressed analyzed, whatever your mind can come up with…before it cost the customer a lot” said Wilcox.

“Practice is the key and you have to have passion. This is not a chore for me, I make my own product I’d like to go into business someday, engineering and making products. That’s what they do here,” Collins said. 

Collins has interned for three month and is getting to be an expert in designing and fabrication thanks to the opportunity granted to him by KCW Fabtech.

“That is one tool under my belt, the plasma cutter.  I get to see the working environment, from an idea to working product,” Collins said.

KCW Fabtech projects offers Collins work on a variety of projects. The company is currently working on a custom ice cream truck, and there’s also a stage constructed for performances that can be rented out. 

“There’s also perks with the job,” Collins said. “It’s a desk job and every Friday there’s barbecue. It’s laid back (here), and I work 2 hours a day 4 days a week, and I’m paid well.”

Instructor Jad Jadeja, “I’m an enabler…learning in the classroom is one thing, applying that and learning through practical experience is another.”

Collins will be attending college and has a lot of tools to work with while pursuing Mechanical Design. 

 “You can learn a lot of stuff, what the customer wants, what the boss wants,” Collins said. Real world stuff.

Dripping Springs Century-News

P.O. Box 732
Dripping Springs, Texas 78620

Phone: (512) 858-4163
Fax: (512) 847-9054