Degrees of Success: the Story of Bob Tanchak

Bob Tanchak brings an impressive amount of credibility to the classroom every day. Tanchak is a Professor in the Mechanical Technology major who knows what it’s like to experience success in the industry and be a successful college student.

Tanchak is an Auburn native who earned a degree in electrical technology from his hometown Cayuga Community College and a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Polytechnic Institute. His job hunting led him to Chrysler’s New Process Gear plant in DeWitt where he was hired as a machine repair/machinist in Chrysler’s apprentice program. The program offered him the opportunity to continue his education. Tanchak would earn a Mechanical Technology degree from OCC and a master’s from Syracuse University. His co-workers would often ask him what he was going to do with so many degrees. His answer was always the same: “Hopefully for nothing.” His experience and his education would pay off when he started teaching classes at OCC in 2007. Five years later the New Process Gear plant would close.

Since coming to OCC Tanchak has helped revitalize the Mechanical Technology major by making standard course syllabi and helping build up the number of machines students can learn on in the Whitney Applied Technology Center. His career and educational journey along with his engaging personality have helped put students on a similar path to success. His students affectionately call him “Dad” because of his strict but caring nature. I was in school at MVCC, SUNY Postdam and RIT.  I returned to School at OCC to update my skills. I’ve never encountered a more caring person at any of the other schools I attended  Debbie Stevens says.

For Tanchak the rewarding part is helping students like Debbie succeed. “Community college really give a working person a chance to peck away at a degree,” Tanchak said. “Our program prepares you to achieve a good-paying job upon graduation.” Tanchak says larger companies like Inficon want to hire OCC students because they’ve had good experience with their students. Novelis has made students generous employment offers and General Electric has looked to first-year students in the program to enter into their paid internship program. It’s successes like these that make Tanchak proud of the work he does for the youth and the community.

Tanchak is the Coordinator for the Mechanical Technology program. Tanchak is an avid skier and Syracuse University Football and Basketball fan. He loves both his 6-month-old boxer and his guitar collection.

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