Degree: Graduated with an Associate of Applied Science in Computer-Aided Drafting and Design with a specialization in Architectural Drafting and Design Technology. Earned a bachelor’s in civil engineering technology from Old Dominion University in 1994. Lauster is the first in his generation to earn a bachelor’s degree.
Employer: Project executive for W.M. Jordan Company, a leading construction company and general contractor/construction manager serving Virginia and North Carolina.
Why TCC? “I didn’t have it together. I went to TCC and really found myself. I already knew what career field I wanted to be in, but hadn’t worked out all the kinks. I had always loved mechanical drawing since I took my first drafting class in middle school. I wanted to design. I wanted to build.”
At TCC: “I enjoyed the TCC atmosphere because I found the instructors were personable. They gave you their time. They would meet you before or after class. It was a good experience overall. It prepared me well for going on to Old Dominion and my career. A lot of who I am I found at Tidewater Community College.”
Professional: “While I was going to school, I worked full time as a draftsman. I started my own construction business in college, and we designed houses and built small additions. While working as a civil engineer with a local firm for three years, I got assigned to be a field construction coordinator. I realized I needed to be in construction. I came to W.M. Jordan Company in 1997 and have been here ever since. It’s been fabulous.
“My first project was the Virginia Beach Sportsplex. I was the project manager for the Ferguson Center for the Arts, the student union at Christopher Newport University and for the Trible Library renovation. We’ve just been awarded the next phase of that project. Currently, I’m working on the historic restoration of the Cavalier Hotel in Virginia Beach.”
Giving back to TCC: Lauster is a former CADD instructor at the college and has hired several TCC alumni. He sits on an industrial advisory board for CADD curriculum.
Advice for potential CADD students: “TCC is a place where someone can go to get a quality education. It can prepare you to go directly to work, but if that is not your goal, you can use it as a steppingstone to get your bachelor’s degree. It gives you, I feel, an edge on students who go away to school because you’re really being taught by a core group of educators that give you your baseline foundation. In CADD, they bring working professionals in to teach first- and second-year classes to prepare you to get your four-year degree. It’s a win-win. It’s an opportunity to go to school that’s less expensive. It’s a place to find yourself.”