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ACC Student Breaks Gender Barrier as First Female Maintenance Technician

Emily Adkins with Maintenance Manager Jeff Estes outside the RegO facility in Whitsett.

Emily Adkins with Maintenance Manager Jeff Estes outside the RegO facility in Whitsett.

Emily Adkins, an Alamance Community College student in the Industrial Technologies division, has recently become the first female Maintenance Technician at the RegO facility in Whitsett.

RegO is a global manufacturer of valves and regulators with four facilities in North Carolina that includes the Rock Creek campus in Whitsett.

Emily Adkins had previously earned an Associate of Arts from ACC in 2015. Currently she has one class remaining in order to earn her associate degree in Computer-Integrated Machining and expects to complete that in spring 2022. She has already begun pursuit of an associate’s degree in Industrial Systems (Maintenance) at ACC.

Emily’s pathway included employment at Target and later O’Reilly Distribution Center. In 2018, she began working at Vinatoru Enterprises, where she was introduced to CNC Machining. Consequently she enrolled in ACC classes to pursue the CNC Machining pathway, looking for a potential career move.

Managers from RegO’s Rock Creek facility first met Emily at Alamance Community College’s “Girls Take Over Tech” event on December 11, 2019. Tracy Ratchford and Dionne Baker from the Rock Creek site coordinated the company’s key female employees from production, material handling, and quality to recruit talent to join the RegO team.

Said Jeremiah Cornett, Rock Creek Facility Plant Manager: “All of the candidates were impressive, but there was one student who stood out—Emily Adkins. That night was capped off when she gave a speech in front of 300 people about machining. We moved as quickly as we could to get her onsite for a tour and interview about her interest in joining us. It turned out that Emily was just as impressed with us as we were with her.”

One week later, Emily received a job offer and officially joined the Rock Creek production team on February 3, 2020 as a Machine Operator.

Over the past year, Emily was drawn to the Maintenance Department as the career path she wanted to pursue within the company. Working with Maintenance Manager, Jeff Estes, she gained experience using operator precision machines in the company’s Hubble Cell. Emily spent one hour a night, at the end of each shift, performing these critical tasks, fueling her desire even more. Due to an opportunity that opened up at Rock Creek, the company moved Emily into the maintenance position in May 2021.

Said Jeremiah Cornett: “We are incredibly excited about adding Emily to our Maintenance Team as she is genuinely an extraordinary employee.”