After 19 years being in front of the classroom, Tod Ingle was ready to trade places and be a student again. It all started when Ingle brought his nephew to OSU Institute of Technology for a campus tour, to see the Natural Gas Compression program and talk with Division Chair Roy Achemire.
“I remember Roy saying ‘We need 500 field inspectors and there’s none out there,’” Ingle said. “Nineteen years teaching, a master’s degree, and I’m not making any money. I liked teaching, but it had become more about paperwork than teaching. I didn’t have the love for it like I used to.”
So he resigned, moved to Okmulgee, remodeled his new home and joined his nephew in the Natural Gas Compression program last spring.
Since Ingle already had his general education credits, his time in the program is accelerated.
“I’ve loved it. It’s so different than what I’d been doing for 19 years,” he said. “I’m learning a ton in a very short time.”
Even though the program is rigorous, Ingle said he’s glad he made the switch.
“I have to keep telling myself I’m 43 not 20. It’s constantly fun and jokes and laughing, competing with each other on who does better,” he said, and it isn’t just the students. “The instructors over there are totally different. They each have their own personality.”
Even though Ingle’s previous day job had been teaching indoors inside a classroom, he’s no stranger to physical work. In fact, when he entered college the first time, he took an aptitude test and the results suggested a hands-on, outdoor career, but he went into the family business instead.
“My whole family were teachers,” he said, but he never stopped doing what came naturally. “I’ve always loved working with my hands. On the side I painted houses, titled floors, did wood working.”
Just like his fellow students, his favorite place to learn is in the shop area of the new Chesapeake Natural Gas Compression Training Center.
“When they say ‘We’re going to be out in the shop today’ everyone is like ‘Yes!’” Ingle said. “The facility is amazing. It’s kind of like being in a new school, the students do better and everyone is taking care of the equipment. Everything is brand new.”
Soon Ingle will start his internship, hopefully with a company close to home so he can stay near his family, and then he and his nephew should graduate in the summer of 2014.
“I’m glad I did it. I’m excited to explore what’s out there.”