Armand Savoie has been named as Mount Wachusett Community College’s Alumnus of the Year in recognition of an accomplished engineering career that was grounded in an education at the college.
“Savoie is a fantastic example of the grit and determination that so many of our students exhibit as they use their education from MWCC to launch careers. The Mount is lucky to count Armand as an alumnus. His story shows how a strong community college education can form the foundation for a strong career,” said MWCC President James Vander Hooven.
Savoie is an engineer, now retired, whose career took him all over the globe. His mechanical engineering degree Associate’s degree from Mount Wachusett Community College that he received in 1979 is his highest formal degree. He put that degree to good use as he innovated and created for Collier Keyworth Co. and then MacNeill Engineering; eventually securing 54 patents over the course of his career.
The Gardner native began his educational journey after coming back from the military. First on his list was his high school diploma as he had dropped out before joining the service. After two years at a night course program at Fitchburg High School, he had his diploma in hand. Soon after, he began a four-year apprenticeship training program sponsored by his employer Collier Keyworth. But that wasn’t enough for Savoie, who was encouraged to get his engineering degree by his teachers, employers and wife.
Like many of MWCC’s current students, Savoie worked full-time while taking classes at night and attempting to find time to be with his young family. It would take Savoie 11 years of night courses, beginning with his high school classes, until he had his Associate’s degree. But after that, the professional world opened up to him.
“It launched my career. Even before I graduated… they promoted me into tool design. It was a good transition from building them to designing them,” said Savoie. “I transitioned from that to product design and most of my career was in product development.”
He soon was named Corporate Director of Technical Services and tackled projects for companies that included Adidas and Nike. During his career, he would secure 54 patents related to his work for athletic footwear. The company specialized in cleats, designing the spikes that were screwed into the bottom of the shoe along with the shoe’s structure to ensure a competitive design. Over the course of his career, the technology transformed to plastic molded cleats, but he kept his design work relevant by continuing to educate himself, although the highest degree he would hold is his Associate’s degree from MWCC.
His career took him around the world visiting the factories producing his designs. From China to Germany, he got to see many corners of the world, but he was always rooted in Gardner.
In his retirement, woodworking and stained glass have taken the place of Computer Aided Design and CNC machines, but he remains a staunch supporter of the school that helped build his career.
“When people asked me where I went to school I never shied away. I’m proud of this school,” said Savoie. “I’ve told my grandchildren: keep your eye on The Mount.”