After earning degree locally, electro-mechanical grad spreads his wings

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Sam Noll i the Electro-Mechanical Lab

Sam Noll

2023 Electro-Mechanical Technology grad

Sam Noll started his college journey at a four-year university in fall 2019, envisioning a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.  

Then, in March 2020, the pandemic caused Noll to change course. Like most students living on college campuses at that time, Noll had to pack up, go home, and finish the semester online.  

That’s when he started thinking: Is a four-year university really the right fit for me right now? Is the expense worth it? 

He put college on hold and focused on working until a family friend encouraged him to consider NWTC’s Electro-Mechanical Technology associate degree. After checking out the two-year program, he enrolled and started classes in summer 2021. 

“The program was perfect,” Noll said. “It was nearby, and I enjoyed all the classes. I’m in my field now, doing what I like to do.” 

Two-year degree leads to rewarding career and new adventures  

Noll graduated from the Electro-Mechanical Technology program in May 2023. He is currently a field service technician for the De Pere-based division of Durr Group, a global mechanical and plant engineering firm. 

In his role for the company’s Clean Technologies Systems Division, Noll travels regionally and across the country, maintaining and repairing thermal oxidizers – air pollution control equipment that destroys harmful chemicals from manufacturing processes.  

During any downtime in his work travels, Noll is out making the most of his visits. Since he started with Durr in 2023, he has seen the Smokies and Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and many museums, including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. 

When he thinks about his future now, Noll still has a bachelor’s degree in mind – but not just yet. He is too busy enjoying his job while traveling throughout the U.S.  

Ceiling at the Capitol
Golden Gate Bridge

During downtime in his work travels, Sam Noll has visited several sites including San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge and Pennsylvania’s state capitol, widely considered to be one of the most beautiful capitol buildings in the U.S. for its marble, gold, exotic woods, murals, and stained glass windows. 


“I really love Sam’s story,” said Jill Thiede, NWTC Trades and Technologies associate dean – who also happens to be the family friend who encouraged Noll to try NWTC.  

“I believe there are a lot more folks out there who started at a four-year and, for many reasons, it didn’t work out,” Thiede said. “Helping those folks find us is awesome! There are so many rewarding careers with two-year associate degrees that are readily available.”   

Learn more about the Electro-Mechanical Technology program.  

Hear more of Noll’s story and see NWTC’s Electro-Mechanical Technology Lab:  

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