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Paul Prochniak

Paul Prochniak says Gateway provided a solid foundation and a great first stepping stone to his current engineering career.

Paul is now a principal process engineer at an area company, a position and career he began at Gateway when he earned his Electronic Technician associate degree. He also went on to earn an Electrical Engineering Technology degree at Gateway and used the transfer agreement forged with the Milwaukee School of Engineering to transfer there and earn his four-year engineering degree, as well.

“Gateway prepared me for the career I entered, a great stepping stone for me,” says Paul. “It’s a great start, a firm foundation. It introduced me to the fundamentals, a great overall start to my career as well as providing me with solid training in the technical details.”

Paul says the hands-on training delivered at Gateway helped him launch – and succeed in – his career.

“The level of hands-on instruction was a big plus for me, in my mind,” says Paul. “I really believe people always learn more by actually doing. Regardless of the book knowledge you have, if you don’t do it – you’ll lose it.”

Strong instructors helped him greatly.

“Instructors were always very helpful, always willing to be available for that extra question or reinforcement whenever I needed them,” he says.

Paul says he always had an interest in electronics and initially applied at the college because of its strong reputation and flexible class scheduling.

After earning both Gateway degrees, he was laid off when the company he was working for changed owners in 2006, and decided to continue to earn his four-year degree at MSOE. That decision was helped by a transfer agreement between Gateway and MSOE allowing graduates from Gateway engineering programs to enter the four-year college at a junior level.

Paul has returned to Gateway to talk to students about engineering and the education they receive at the college. He has told them many of the concepts they learn in the classroom – such as breaking down a large project into smaller tasks, much like the analysis of a complex circuit – will apply in the career they enter.

“Another area is the report writing we had to do at Gateway – it’s the same foundation for the reports I do today,” says Paul.