King Creates Bridge Between Industry and Classroom

Viking Spotlight 2020 04 08 king creates bridge between industry and classroom

After 22 years of working in the industry, Industrial Systems Technology instructor, Durwood King, decided to trade in his years in the work place for the classroom. In 2011, King began teaching courses in the Workforce Development and Continuing Education Division at Sampson Community College. Now, he teaches in the degree program as well, sharing the knowledge he accumulated over 20 years with the next generation. 

Students in the Industrial Systems Technology program take courses related to maintenance, electrical, hydraulics, print reading, welding, and more. King says the goal is to have students who graduate and enter the workforce as “multicraft” employees. Now, King says, “Maintenance mangers are knocking on my door looking for guys to hire. So far, they’ve been satisfied.” 

An avid musician, King’s interest began with electronics when he wanted to better understand musical equipment. Years later, he started in the Electronics Engineering program offered at Sampson Community College and graduated in 1986. From there, King continued and spent 22 years in the industry doing mostly electrical maintenance work. He also designed circuitry, wrote programs, and worked as an electrical programmer and designer. 

King stands with a set-up he has prepared for his online class, a new territory for him since the College’s transition to fully online coursework last month. (Cheyenne McNeill).

When the recession of 2008 took its toll on that company, King eventually found his way to Sampson Community College as a part-time instructor in the Workforce Development and Continuing Education division in 2011. His success at the college took off and he became a “traveling instructor”—teaching courses at Sandhills Community College and Fayetteville Technical Community College, too. In 2014, King made another transition and began teaching full-time at SCC. 

Since he began teaching, King has enjoyed every moment. He remarked, “I get to help a lot of young guys, and older guys too, so it’s a good spot for me to be in. I can pass along what it took me years to learn, and I’m a good connection between the school and the plants. I help do job placement.”

In his nine years at Sampson Community College, there have been several moments when students realize they have found what King calls their purpose. “Their faces light up, and you can tell it’s one of those moments where they’ve really found what they want to do. That’s a good feeling to know,” he remembered.

King recalled stories of several special students over the years who had those moments of realization. He says their instinct drew them to the Industrial Systems program, but their natural talent and abilities kept them there. Close relationships and special moments have made the moments as an instructor all the more worthwhile.

King’s gospel album, recorded in his home studio, features songs written and recorded by his mother as well. (Cheyenne McNeill)

When the instruction is over, King spends his spare time writing and playing original gospel music. Whether it’s jam sessions with friends on Friday nights, or visiting in nursing homes and playing, King simply enjoys playing music. He even recorded and wrote his own gospel album in his home studio. His love for music started his career over 30 years ago, and that love continues even today. 

“I count it a privilege and a blessing to be an instructor at this College. It’s a joy to see guys come through and learn and get jobs and to get good reports from maintenance managers about the graduates,” King concluded. 

Anyone interested in the Industrial Systems Technology at Sampson Community College can contact Durwood King at, or division chair, Barney Grady, at

About Sampson Community College: Sampson Community College is a member of the North Carolina Community College System, located in Clinton, NC in Sampson County. The college offers many programs to include two-year degrees, college transfer, continuing education and workforce development options and early college education.