My name is Cris Atanacio, 55 years old and migrated in United States on Aug. 7, 2007. When I received my Green Card I started looking for a job, but unfortunately that year was a recession. I couldn’t find a full time job; it was so difficult to find one. I can only find part time job with a minimum salary. I keep telling myself this is not the American dream that I always dreamt of. I kept asking myself on how can I survive and accomplish my dream, a dream of having a decent job and a nice house that I may call home.
I kept on searching and never gave up on my dreams, at age 53 I decided to go back to school. I searched all schools around the Chicago area and find Universal Technical School and immediately I enrolled in Diesel and Industrial. Classes started a week after and it was an awesome first day of school. Learning about engines; assembling and disassembling of a car engine. It was eleven months of studying while working part time as a driver of Pace Bus. Six months before my graduation there were many recruiters that were coming to the school and introducing their companies. Material Handling Industry was new to me; I never thought that there is such an industry which are so wide and a big playing field for me as a graduate. Associated and Crown Lift Truck caught my attention, so I applied to both companies even though, I still have six months to go before graduation. Two months before graduation both companies invited me for a final interview, and I choose Associated. Eleven months after, I graduated from Universal Technical Institute with honors.
June 6, 2013 my first day of work. We have two weeks in the classroom and another two months of actual field training. After all the classes and training that I been through, immediately my rate increases and my knowledge becomes more competitive. After another six months and another training course, I was able to increase my rates again. Associated has given me a lot of confidence in the job and in life. I learned a lot of technical knowledge, customer service and met a lot of people around the industry. I do fork lift service from Addison to as far as south of Chicago and met all different kinds of people, from operators to managers. I feel happy and proud whenever I can help a customer to make all their equipment back to a running condition. I enjoy what I do in the company and with the management help and all my team helping each other, we can accomplish anything.
Working 5 days a week was enjoyable and during weekends I am able to be with my family friends and community. The knowledge that I learned since I work in the industry was very useful to the community. Volunteering in the community and helping friends in their technical needs was very humbling feeling to me.
After two years and six months I was making more money that I ever dream of since I migrate in the US. Most of all I was approved by a lender to purchase my first house. My family and was so excited that we may able to move in house that we may call home. It was a dream come true and a start of the American dream that every immigrant dreams of.
As a Field Service Technician of Associated I will continue to represent them wherever I am. Working hard to do what the customer expects from us and provide the best service to make the customer happy.
And to all students or out of school, young or old there is still a chance to make your own story; a story of your life, your career and your dream. There is one big playing field out there with equal opportunity, the Material Handling Industry.