By Rick Curl, The Daily Record (Dunn, NC)
Gary Beasley is doing his best to dispel the myth of those who can do and those who can't teach.
Mr. Beasley is, for lack of a better term for the layman, the laser and photonics instructor at Central Carolina Community College in Lillington and if you ever speak with him about it, you quickly learn it's not just a job, it's his passion.
He quickly puts to bed any thoughts of doing it for the money, instead he does it for the sheer enjoyment of making sure young people will take up the field.
"This is why I get up in the morning," Mr. Beasley said as he watched his current students learn from a former student. "I could be home, I could make more in retirement than what I get paid."
Mr. Beasley learned what he now expresses to the students who accept to take on the challenge of the program through 30 years of experience in the field.
His career included spending time in electronics, consumer electronics, computers and telecommunications. Mr. Beasley said he spent about 10 years in each of three companies he worked for during his tenure in the industry.
He progressed through the ranks, much like the men and women he now guides will do in their own careers.
He began as a technician after graduating from Fayetteville Tech, then went back to school, earning a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from N.C. State.
Working his way through the ranks he eventually ended up in upper management. He admits the money was lucrative as was the job satisfaction, something he now brings to CCCC.
"I enjoyed it," he said. "I tell my students every morning I got up I just looked forward to going to work."
Now he has taken the same approach to instructing students. Mr. Beasley's love for the industry has carried over to where he is now and he admits he's trying to pass it along to his students.
"It's a different call, I get a lot of enjoyment," Mr. Beasley said. "I loved the industry, I loved it. Engineering is problem solving and I love to problem solve."
Mr. Beasley says the industry was fun, but watching the students mature through the knowledge he passes along -- and see them enter the industry -- is just as satisfying.
"That was fun, but to teach students and see people interview them, and see these students get the job, it's fun," he said. "Having a student send me a text saying they've gotten hired, it's just fun."
Gary Beasley has been the instructor for the laser and photonics program at Central Carolina Community College in Lillington. He has headed the program for the last 18 years after spending 30 years working in the industry. Daily Record Photo/Rick Curl.