Written By Zacch Estrada-Petersen
Despite athletics playing a large role in his life from a young age, 2008 UNC Charlotte graduate Lloyd LeBlanc knew he always wanted to be an engineer.
“When I was in middle school, I used to do engineering camps over the summer,” says LeBlanc. “Even though I was a track athlete and also played football during summer breaks, I always wanted to be an engineer. I just didn’t know what type of engineer until I got to college.”
For him, his freshman year was the deciding factor for which path he wanted to pursue.
“I didn’t know if I wanted to do Computer Engineering or Electrical Engineering,” he says. “So I took the basic courses for both, and quickly realized computer engineering wasn’t for me.”
So naturally, he went the electrical engineering route, and now works as a Field Service Technician for Biesse America, installing and maintaining Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines.
But the transition into his current role wasn’t an easy one, and it took him nearly a year out of college before he landed his first job in the field. To make ends meet in the interim, he worked as a maintenance man at an apartment complex near campus.
“If you don’t do internships during the summer while you’re in school, it’s kind of hard to get started in engineering,” says LeBlanc. “I was fortunate to be able to get one internship under my belt, so I didn’t have to wait as long. But if you don’t have any, you’ll be waiting for a while for a company to actually give you a chance.”
Prior to his current role, LeBlanc took on a number of short-term contract jobs in order to build up his resume and his experience in various aspects of his field. In one position, he served as a Liaison Engineer, acting as an intermediary between engineering design and production departments for a large vehicle manufacturer. In another role, he worked as a Plant Engineer for an ink manufacturing company, helping manage product development and updating outdated equipment.
Born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Lloyd considered Louisiana State University for college, but decided he didn’t want to be that close to home.
“I knew too many people where I’m from, and I wanted to go somewhere where I wouldn’t be distracted,” he says of his choice to attend UNC Charlotte.
But he didn’t come alone. He was joined at the University by his twin brother, Dwight, who graduated with a Physics degree, as well as their younger brother, Morris, who graduated in Computer Science. All three attended UNCC on track scholarships.
He thoroughly enjoyed his time at UNCC, and says that even though people could tell he wasn’t from the area, he still always felt welcomed.
For that reason, he has sound advice for young engineers following in his footsteps:
If you really want to be an engineer, look into what you want to do and what actual route you want to go into before you get into college. Even just in electrical engineering, you can do design work, schematics, drafting, or automation and controls like I do. If you decide later that you want to do a certain type of work, you have to go back and get all kinds of certifications and licenses. I didn’t know that while I was in college, and learned it after I got in my field and recruiters were calling me and asking ‘Do you have this?’ But if you know early enough, you can get all of those while you’re still in school, based on what you want to do when you graduate. And the professors will help you.
The My Brother’s Keeper Scholarship at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte is an endowment fund targeted to Black males majoring in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields at UNCC. The "What They See Is What They'll Be" blog series, adopted from the motto of 100 Black Men of America, is a bi-weekly blog series featuring personal stories of Black men from the UNCC community who are actively engaged in those fields. The goal of the series is to serve as a source of information and inspiration to others aspiring to follow similar career paths. To learn more, or to contribute to the endowment fund, visit www.unccmybrotherskeeper.org.