When Pheng Peter Xiong graduated from Stanly Community College’s (SCC) Electronics
Engineering Technology (EET) program in 2003, he did not realize he would be “paying it forward” in 2017.
“Chuck Safrit, my EET instructor, helped me tremendously when I was taking EET classes,” Peter recalls. “I
remember he told me in class one day, “Memorizing things means you will eventually forget them.
Understand it and you can look at it from different points of view.”
Peter admits that studying for his degree at SCC was a long time ago when he was very young, but more
importantly he remembers the instructors being very professional and helpful, a skill he would later develop
for himself to help shape individuals for their future careers. “I specifically remember Mr. Safrit because he
was super happy all the time. He taught with the mindset of getting people ready to go to work. I liked
that,” Peter explained.
Today, Peter finds himself paying it forward at Greiner Bio-One, a medical device manufacturer in Union
County. As the Apprenticeship Coordinator at Greiner Bio-One, Peter develops and trains individuals to
become technicians. He also coordinates with local educators to develop programs for apprenticeships,
shaping and molding the technicians of the future. “I enjoy what I do very much. Playing a role in
someone’s growth is gratifying. Being able to see where someone starts in this field and then see how far
they go is very rewarding,” he added.
Peter says that he wished he had paid more attention in class. “I was young and my vision was short
sighted,” he explained. “I think the biggest difference in school and work is at school, instructors tell you
what you need to do. At work, you do not always get that. At school, you get a grade to gauge your
progress. At work, you do not always get that. At school, a “C” grade is passing. In the medical field,
mistakes can mean you have put the person’s life at risk.”
Peter encourages individuals to do their best when studying in the Electronics Engineering field. “Give it your
best, and give it your best all the time. Leave no room for regret later. The education from SCC helped me
understand that learning never ends. My life experiences have helped me learn that helping others can only
make you stronger.”