Ambitious Westmoreland graduate with ‘dream job’ in manufacturing returns as instructor


Date Published: October 12, 2017

Max Inks 2Max Inks studied at a major university before deciding to transfer to Westmoreland County Community College.

“Classes were taught in the form of algorithms instead of applications,” Inks said about his time at Penn State. “I’m a hands-on learner. I want to take the theory I learn and apply it to a real-life application or project.”

His decision paid off. Inks used his associate degrees in both Advanced Manufacturing and Robotics and Electronics Engineering Technology to obtain a job he loves.

“Many of the classes … are shared between degrees and the college encourages students to get dual degrees and certificate programs,” Inks said.

The Hempfield Township native, 27, now works as an electrical designer at The ExOne Company and as an adjunct instructor of a 3D Printing Basics class at Westmoreland.

Inks learned about ExOne through a tour facilitated by one of his instructors.

“My mind was blown on how 3D printing was just not about plastics and toy models, but how it was industrial and cutting edge,” Inks said.  “There were parts for consumers, like Batman logos, artistic parts like elaborate chess pieces, all the way to industrial parts like pumps and motor housings! At that point, I found my dream job.”

He graduated in December 2013. By April 2014, he was working at ExOne, a global leader in additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing.

“Being able to graduate with multiple two-year degrees in a market oversaturated with four-year degrees gives a huge advantage,” Inks said.  “Companies are pushing more for manufacturing instead of conceptual thinking.”

Inks is sharing his enthusiasm with the students in his 3D printing class, which he began teaching this month.

“This is an awesome opportunity to open the world of 3D printing to the community,” he said.

“It is amazing to see students get that ‘eureka!’ or ‘a-ha!’ when an old unattainable dream now becomes a possible reality.”

Advanced Manufacturing and Technology is Westmoreland’s Program of the Month for October. Learn more at westmoreland.edu/MfgRobotics.