In the late ‘70s, Wilson, an Ann Arbor native, attended WCC, where he became educated in the skilled trades and graduated with an associate degree in architectonics and digital electronics.
“I learned about lighting systems and electronics, and I actually got to touch some of the same tools and equipment I would use in the real world,” he said. “My professors gave me the confidence and the skills to further my career in the electrical industry. There’s a lot of value in community colleges.”
After working as an electrician for five years, Wilson decided to take his career to the next level and opened two companies in electrical and fiber optics in 1988. Soon after, the companies were merged into Wiltec Technologies.
Wiltec offers design, implementation and service for access control, surveillance, fire alarm, and audiovisual, as well as electrical solutions. The company has offices in Detroit and Ann Arbor and focuses on the education industry.
“Just a few years after starting the business, St. Joseph Hospital [in Ann Arbor] called. We were hired to complete a large-scale cabling project of the whole campus, which really helped to solidify our company,” Wilson said. “We’ve been going strong ever since.”
What’s the key to running a successful business?
“I hire smarter people than me,” Wilson said with a laugh. “Finding the right people can be a challenge, but I have an amazing staff.”
Wilson also holds a bachelor’s degree in business from Cleary University and an MBA from Colorado State University. He is currently working on developing a program that addresses the needs for technical skilled trades. But he would like to fulfill a lifelong dream of passing down some of his wisdom and knowledge in a classroom setting, so he’s mapping out a plan to start pursuing teaching and mentoring in the near future.
“I have a passion for education,” he said.
Wilson also has a passion for giving.
A longtime supporter of the college, Wilson is very much involved in raising scholarship money for WCC students. He served on the WCC Foundation’s scholarship committee during 2008-10 and the Mardi Gras fundraiser committee during 2009-15. His company, Wiltec, has been one of the sponsors for the WCC Foundation’s annual Golf Outing fundraiser for the past nine years.
“Over the years, Jack has expressed how grateful he is to WCC for opening his eyes to what he could do and giving him the confidence to do it,” said Rose Bailey, interim director of college advancement for the WCC Foundation. “Thankfully for the WCC Foundation, Jack’s gratitude did not stop with words.
“Jack has served on numerous WCC Foundation committees and continues to provide monetary support through event sponsorships and donations,” she continued. “The WCC Foundation is now truly the grateful one! Being able to share this partnership with Jack, as both a WCC alumnus and community business member, is a gift.”
This story originally appeared in the October/November 2016 issue of On The Record.