Imagine pursuing a career that is futureproof—a career that sets your goals and dreams into motion with job stability, transferability and longevity. Vaughn College is one of the country’s premier colleges that specializes in engineering, technology, management and aviation, where graduates have a competitive edge to obtain jobs in the industry’s hottest markets.

This month, we caught up with Thomas Dekenipp ’18, a 32-year old Vaughn engineering graduate who not only landed his dream mechanical engineering job but is also embracing fatherhood and family more than ever before.

Life after Vaughn

We first spoke to Dekenipp two years ago when he was a junior at Vaughn and celebrating his first Father’s Day with his girlfriend, Jaime, and their daughter, Harper. Since then, Dekenipp has graduated from Vaughn with a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in mechanical engineering technology with a focus on aeronautical and computer-aided design. On top of that, he also landed his dream job at CPI Aerostructures, Inc. (CPI Aero), an aerospace and defense contractor headquartered in Edgewood, New York on Long Island.

As a proud and dedicated family man, Dekenipp was excited to share the news that he and Jaime welcomed their son, Milo, 14 months ago and just this past April bought their first home, which is located just minutes from his place of employment. “My life couldn’t be any more complete,” Dekenipp said humbly. “I’m blessed with how everything is falling into place.”


Thomas Dekenipp Family Photo

A futureproof career in mechanical engineering

Dekenipp is no stranger to discipline and hard work. Prior to applying to the engineering program at Vaughn in 2015, he worked six years as a helicopter mechanic in the United States Army 82nd Airborne Division, where he completed two tours in Afghanistan and worked an additional 18 months as a contractor. It was this combined passion for aeronautics and mechanics that led him to Vaughn and helped land his current position as a manufacturing engineer at CPI Aero.

“At CPI Aero, I’m involved with making parts for Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters using all the skills I learned at Vaughn,” Dekenipp explained. “The experience is truly amazing. I learn something new every day. It’s hard work but worth every minute.” Working as a manufacturing engineer has many responsibilities, which include maintaining the manufacturing and sustainability of the design and building processes, managing budgets and keeping up with client needs.

When asked about his futureproof career, Dekenipp answered, “Vaughn not only keeps their finger on the pulse of today’s technology trends but is committed to staying engaged with connections to ensure their students’ future success.”

Sage advice

As a seasoned military and family man, Dekenipp encourages others to follow their dreams and passions. After his military career, he said Vaughn gave him the opportunity to take his life to the next level.

“There’s not enough I can say about Vaughn, its faculty and the entire experience,” said Dekenipp. “Their excellent reputation, curriculum and guidance are a winning combination for any serious student.”

Dekenipp explained how Vaughn offers a laser-focused curriculum in specific fields of study. When asked if there was a specific skill that he gained from his education at Vaughn, Dekenipp replied: “The computer animated design courses fully prepared me for the job I have today.” He then went on to state: “I graduated with all the tools I needed for the job, along with the confidence and comfort factor to be successful. It was a seamless transition from the classroom to the job site.”

Before we wrapped up, Dekenipp spoke about his new home, family and the importance of traditions. “We bought our first dining room table for the new house,” he said proudly. “Growing up, my family always gathered around the table for meals,” he recalled. “We now have a table for family time. While my career and job outlook are futureproof and the catalyst for providing for my family, spending time with them is securing my futureproof formula for life.”

Learn more about earning a degree in engineering and technology.