CLARKSTON, GA – When 48-year-old Guillermo Pagotto of Atlanta and his family of four moved from Argentina to Georgia in May of 2022, it was a whirlwind. His wife was transferred with her company; they needed to find good schools, a home, and a way for Guillermo to continue his engineering and manufacturing knowledge in a new career.

Guillermo Pagotto came to the United States with 20 years’ experience in manufacturing and industrial engineering, an MBA in business, and operation management expertise. While he spoke English fairly well, Pagotto thought it’d be best if he honed his skills. In fall of 2022, Georgia Piedmont Technical College adult education’s English as a Second Language (ESL) program entered the picture.

“The topics were more about real life and daily routines,” Pagotto recalled. “I was able to relate to people with similar situations and was given the opportunity to polish everyday conversations.”

It was a conversation with adult education program instructional coordinator Mary Baxter that made Pagotto realize that while he had all the knowledge and skills to be successful in the manufacturing industry like he was in Argentina, he also needed the credentials. Starting in spring of 2023, Pagotto soon earned multiple certifications in GPTC’s manufacturing program. Instructor Richard Andrews saw the potential and skillset Pagotto could bring to others and now, Guillermo Pagotto is in front of the classroom, teaching courses like fundamentals of electricity, mechanical systems, and the Six Sigma White Belt.

Guillermo Pagotto teaching
Guillermo Pagotto teaching fundamentals of electricity.

Pagotto can relate to his students in a way other instructors may not be able to. Many of them are already employed in their chosen field but they need to sharpen their critical thinking skills or maybe learn how to apply and understand how and why things work the way they do. It’s safe to say Guillermo Pagotto’s career has come full circle.

Guillermo Pagotto
Guillermo Pagotto having some one-on-one time with a student.

“It’s a new beginning and I’m learning a lot,” Pagotto said. “It’s not the same to have the skills as it is to teach those skills and when to help others know when and how to use them. By gauging their interest and level of understanding, my students help me adapt how to best explain theories and procedures. I want to teach them how to think in a different way.”

“In all my careers, my focus was to develop people,” Pagotto said. “It’s the same idea here. When they understand, you are giving them opportunities to grow.”