Sowing Seeds: Durham Tech student learns from ‘grounded and positive’ culture at Durham Tech

Tim Platz is no stranger to challenging work and does not shy away from having many things going on at one time. Even with major life curveballs, he stayed focused, worked hard, followed his heart and is now sowing seeds for a future in the church. 

“I worked at Goodyear as a teenager, had a son when I was 17, moved into landscaping because I needed extra money to support my family, went through a divorce at age 20 and have always looked for every opportunity to grow career-wise as well as personally. Durham Tech is now part of that journey, and the College has set me on a path toward the life I want,” Platz said. 

Platz worked for two different landscaping companies concurrently; one for 11 years and the other for eight. 

“Landscaping is grueling work. You start to really feel it. It’s hard on the body,” Platz said. “I decided to go to college.” 

Platz, 44, came to Durham Tech for automotive systems technology and will graduate in December 2024. 

“Nobody in my family has ever gone to college,” Platz said. “I really wanted to go and do this for my family, to break the cycle and show my son the importance of education.” 

Platz is enrolled at Durham Tech full time and working for Ford. He is in seminary school through Fullerton University’s online program, as well. His goal is to earn a master's degree in divinity. 

“My wife of 17 years, whom I met in church, and I are pastors at a Moore Harvest church based out of Chapel Hill. Our church sent us to the campus of North Carolina State where we currently minister to a small group that welcomes everyone,” Platz said. “After my divorce, I got saved and the Lord put me on a journey, one I never could have imagined and one I am grateful to be on with my wife and son.” 

Platz talks a lot about journeys and how people are always growing and responding correctly with guidance from a higher power. 

“I have had struggles. I don’t want others to read this and think any of it – the relationships, work, school – has been easy,” Platz said. “But all of it has been so worth it.” 

From his time at Durham Tech, Platz has learned automotive skills, but along that journey he continued to grow spiritually. Platz said the Automotive Program did not foster competitiveness among students, but rather taught mutual respect and pride in seeing others succeed. 

“Each of us worked hard to personally learn and succeed, and at the same time we genuinely enjoyed watching others grow and do well,” he said. “The learning environment and culture set by the instructors was so grounded and positive.”  

Platz said his time at Durham Tech has been about sowing seeds for himself, for his family and for others to come. On the personal side, 20024 saw Platz become a recipient of the Regis Scholarship made possible by Phill Trainor and his wife, Roberta Wood.  

"Phill and Roberta have taken a keen interest in the Regis Scholars since establishing the scholarship in 2021," said Liz McFarlane, Director of Development at Durham Tech. "They enjoy keeping up with the students' progress and are just as proud as any parent when students excel and reach their goals.  They will no doubt keep up with Tim."

“I am proud of what I have gotten from and given to Durham Tech,” Platz said. “My son is 27 years old and into making movies, and while he has not attended college, he knows it is an option at any age — an option that worked for me.”