Bainbridge Manufacturing employee to represent all of Georgia as he puts his technical design skills to the test

Published 3:39 pm Friday, April 27, 2018

Bainbridge will be put in the national spotlight this summer, thanks to a Bainbridge Manufacturing employee’s passion for computer-aided design.

Santos Hernandez will represent the state of Georgia in June at SkillsUSA’s national level college competition.

SkillsUSA is an organization that helps kids in high school and college learn drafting, welding, automotive and other technical skills. Students all across the country who participate in their school’s SkillsUSA club have the opportunity to go to a state level competition, where they will draw and digitally render different objects given to them.

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“They give you all the dimensions of each part and then you have to recreate them onto the software you are using, and do the drawings for them,” Hernandez said. “You are graded by your accuracy of what you did and how well you did.”

Hernandez, 20, was the only student in his SkillsUSA club at SRTC interested in competing at the college state level. He attended the conference in Atlanta and was given three hours to design and draft against dozens of other students.

He left with the gold medal.

“The fact that he beat out many people here in the state shows you the talent we have and the talent we hire in Bainbridge,” said Abraham Levy, CEO at Bainbridge Manufacturing. “I’ve always said, we only want the best here, the best of the best. I am really proud of what he has accomplished at a very young age.”

In June, the opportunity gets even bigger in Louisville, Kentucky, where state winners from around the country will convene to test their technical drafting skills. Instead of three hours, Hernandez will be given eight. But the designs are much more complex, and certain instructions might change halfway through the design process.

That’s not only to test the designers’ patience and creativity, but it also simulates how orders for parts might change at a moment’s notice in a real manufacturing work setting.

Hernandez became interested in 3D drafting while taking a drafting class at Cairo High School. After that, he attended Southern Regional Technical College in Thomasville, where he will be graduating from in May with a 4.0 GPA and summa cum laude honors.

When he was hired at Bainbridge Manufacturing last year, Hernandez took on a double course load at SRTC to finish a semester early and get a head start on his career. Though he had basic CAD knowledge, he wasn’t fully trained to use the software used there. Within weeks, Hernandez taught himself to use the complex software using only a stack of instruction manuals as his guide.

“That’s why he’s a genius,” said Levy with a smile.

Soon, Hernandez will share what he’s learned with other Bainbridge Manufacturing employees. Levy plans to hire up to 15 designers, and Hernandez will be in charge of training them. The course will take closer to two months, more than double the amount of time Hernandez took to learn the software.

“It’ll be 40 hours a week, going through everything that he learned and applying it toward what we’re doing,” said Levy. “That’s how we’re going to build our drafting department here.”

Bainbridge Manufacturing is a plant that creates air conditioning parts for automobiles.