McHenry County College manufacturing alumnus Broc Ungaro said he loves the manufacturing field so much that he quit his high-paying job as a tool room manager to become a full-time manufacturing instructor at his alma mater this fall.
Ungaro, who earned his Associate in Applied Science degree from MCC in 2011, brings almost 20 years of experience to the classroom to inspire students to pursue careers in manufacturing, where there is a shortage of skilled workers.
“I want to pass on my knowledge and get students enthused about manufacturing careers because there is a scarcity of workers with these types of skills,” he said, referring to blueprint reading, running manual mills and lathes and other manufacturing processes.
“The cool thing about manufacturing is working with steel or plastic and creating something useful. Plus, you get a little pride seeing parts that you’ve worked on end up on store shelves,” Ungaro said, referring to Nextel and Motorola cellphones; caps on medicine bottles and spray paint cans; and even pusher trackers, the plastic devices in stores that push toothbrushes and cosmetics forward on shelves.
“Manufacturing can be a career, not just a job,” he said. “Manufacturing facilities are not dark dungeons that you see in documentaries and in movies. They’re [clean] and very safe trades to be in.”
“I made two goals in life: to cut steel and to join the Army,” Ungaro said, adding that he has achieved both.
He first became interested in machine shop when he was a student at Woodstock High School in the early 1990s, and he worked part time as an apprentice for a local manufacturer before joining the Army in 1994.
Ungaro served in the Army until 1998. From there, he went to work at a different company, where he said he enjoyed working with molds, making parts and performing maintenance on the molds.
Ungaro said his new role as an instructor is rewarding.
“It’s great to see students engaged in their assignments and asking questions,” he said. “The other day they wanted to discuss tariffs and how they affect manufacturing.”
Not only does Ungaro prepare students to leave MCC with solid skills in machining and fabrication, but he also teaches soft business skills, such as punctuality, good attendance and communication, which will make them more marketable employee candidates, he said.
Ungaro resides in Wonder Lake with his wife and their three children.