Thankful. Grateful. Humbled. Honored.

By John Willis, MIAT College of Technology Houston Campus President

With Thanksgiving Day fast-approaching, now is the perfect time to express how thankful, grateful, humbled and honored I am to have the privilege of serving as president of the MIAT College of Technology Houston campus.  I  am honored to have been chosen to lead a career college that is responsible for serving almost 500 day and night students who upon graduation will have a positive impact on many generations of family members.

I appreciate that 50 special guests braved the cold and rainy

weather – which was made even more challenging because of heavy traffic conditions —  to join me and MIAT’s board of directors, faculty, staff and students recently for a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony and tour of our newly expanded facilities. Fortunately, our MIAT team was well-equipped to keep our guests save and dry with the help of a  greeters holding oversized golf umbrellas and a  chauffeured shuttle bus that transported them from overflow parking to our front door.

Our guests included employers and members of our Houston campus Program Advisory Committee; graduates of MIAT; Houston Independent School District representatives and high school guidance counselors; staff members of elected officials; business and economic development leaders; industry association leaders; and family members and close friends of MIAT’s faculty and staff.

Members of the MIAT board of directors who traveled from other states for our event included Victor Mauri, Gail Myers, Jennifer Paugh and Peter Kostiuk.

Betty Russo, East Texas Region Representative for the Office of Texas Governor Greg Abbott, presented a letter from the governor commending MIAT for training skilled workers and expanding the Houston campus to accommodate this important need. Titus Hubbard, our director of education at the Houston campus, presented a letter of commendation from Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. I read a letter from U.S. Ted Cruz that also recognized MIAT Houston for our growth and contributions.

MIAT alumni Johnny Cooks and Zach Whittington offered brief remarks about their positive experience attending MIAT in Canton and Houston, respectively, as well as helpful insights into their current job responsibilities and future goals.  I am extremely proud of these young men who are truly an inspiration to me and many others. Both are committed to advancing their career in the aviation industry.

Johnny is a graduate of our Michigan campus who now resides in Houston. He is an FAA-certified Airframe and Powerplant mechanic who works at United Airlines’ Bush Intercontinental Airport as Aircraft Maintenance Supervisor. He attended MIAT College of Technology in Canton, Michigan, in the Detroit metro area from 1998 to 2000 and acquired an Associates of Applied Sciences Degree. Before joining United Airlines five years ago, Johnny worked as an aviation mechanic for ExpressJet.

Zach is a February 2018  graduate of our Houston campus who is a shining example of perseverance and success. Zach was a Sikorsky helicopter mechanic during his U.S. Marine Corps service from 2009 to 2013. Sikorsky helicopters are the type that have been used to transport the President of the United States since 1957. Like Johnny, Zach is an FAA-certified Airframe and Powerplant mechanic. He enrolled in the aviation maintenance program at MIAT’s Houston campus in March 2017 and completed his Associates of Applied Sciences Degree in 2018. He has been working at Harco Aviation based at Ellington Airport since October 2018.

Following our brief ceremony, our guests toured our facility and learned more about our programs.  Please visit for details.

I invite you to read the remarks below that I shared at our celebration. If you are interested in scheduling a tour of our Houston campus, please contact our Director of Admissions, Chad Rogers, and we will be happy to host you. As always, I welcome your feedback and value your support. I can be reached by email at

I wish you and your loved ones a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving celebration. Our campus will be closed Thursday, Nov 28, and will reopen Monday, Dec. 2.

Excerpt from Remarks by John Willis at Houston Campus Expansion Celebration on Nov. 14, 2019

Good morning distinguished guests, faculty and staff and welcome to our Houston Campus Expansion Celebration for MIAT College of Technology.  As campus president I am humbled and honored that you have chosen to attend this event today. As we begin our brief program, I would like to recognize MIAT’s board members who are in attendance today:

Mr. Victor Mauri and Md. Gail Myers, our Canton Campus President Ms. Jennifer Paugh and our Vice President of Strategic operations and Finance Mr. Peter Kostiuk.

Today marks a significant milestone for our campus.  In July of 2015, enrollment at the Houston campus was roughly 48 students. Our facility encompassed 32,000 square feet.  In the last 48 months, we have expanded twice and  our enrollment has grown to just under 500 students – yes, that is a growth rate of about 10 times in just four years  Today, we conclude our most recent  expansion with the acquisition of an additional 16,000 square feet,  which brings our total  campus space to  56,400 square feet.

Over the last several weeks and months and again many times this morning, I have been congratulated on our expansion.  However, I am the first to admit that the real congratulations go to the faculty and staff here at our college.  They deserve the credit through their dedication to student success and their flexibility as we have navigated rapid growth and changes over the last few years.

MIAT College of Technology began its journey in Michigan in 1969.  We have built a reputation  for providing a quality technical education that equips graduates for a lifelong career in the skilled trade industries.  In the state of Michigan, MIAT is considered a leader in the skilled trades education sector.  In Texas, we are in the beginning stages of cementing our position as a leading technical education provider.  As I tell my staff, our goal is  more than just education and training.  As educators, it is critical that we know that what we do is “Generational.” Much like the ripples of a pebble in a pond, it is almost impossible to see how extensive our long-term impact will be on our graduates and their family members.

Our student population is a mix of recent high school  graduates, single parents, first generation college students, career changers and of course U.S. Military veterans who are ready write the next chapter in their life.

While the decisions we make and the education that we at MIAT provide impact students of all ages and at all stages of their life and career, we also know that

the programs and the experiences that we provide them today will have a positive, long-term impact on them, their children, and their children’s children for decades to come regarding their career and educational pursuits. That is what I mean by generational.

Because of our  expanded Houston campus, we have an opportunity to make an even greater impact on both  current residents and future residents of the greater Houston metro area and the entire Gulf Coast Region.

We are taking important steps to be the best career college choice for many generations.

I would like to share a few key facts that I hope you will find interesting:



  • MIAT’s Houston and Canton Michigan campuses are both “veteran-friendly” career colleges. U.S. military veterans who quality for Post 9/11 GI Bill® benefits can attend our school and secure a housing stipend at little or no cost to them provided they are enrolled full-time in one of our programs.
  • Our Houston Campus provides a full-time aviation at no cost to the students at Sterling Aviation High School.
  • We have secured a Student Exchange Visitors Program certification through the Department of Homeland Security. This is an extensive process, and we are honored to have achieved this important qualification.
  • Our faculty, staff, and students are actively engaged in community service programs – such as Hurricane Harvey relief efforts,  Girls in Aviation Day events hosted by Women in Aviation International, the Real Men Wear Pink campaign supporting the American Cancer Society’s breast cancers fundraising efforts, No Shave November and the Blue Cure organization to raise awareness of prostate cancer, and the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo scholarship program – to name a few!