Beck builds the tools that build other things

Luke Beck has been working with his hands for much of his life, and now he wants to turn that talent into a career.

The Graves County High School junior is in his second year in the machine tool program at the Mayfield-Graves County Area Technology Center, and is this week’s Associated General Contractors of Western Kentucky Technical Center Student of the Week.

Beck comes by his talents honestly, growing up amid his family’s business of remodeling homes. The 16-year-old has his own business, where he builds and sells farmhouse benches. He has been doing that for more than a year.

“I make custom benches for people,” he said. “Custom sizes, custom additions to them if they want — whatever they want.”

Beck said he chose to study machine tool after hearing more about the program.

“I was actually going to go into carpentry and electricity,” he said, “but my dad knew the (machine tool) teacher very well, and my brother had taken the class, and they recommended that I take machine tool.

“I enjoy being able to see what I made and touch what I made and be able to make something that’s useful.”

Beck said he builds tools to cut metal with different applications.

He said he was thinking about a career as a machinist or going into the electrical field. He took carpentry classes as a sophomore, and is taking welding and electricity classes this year.

Beck’s machine tool instructor, Chad Pickard, said the machine tool program introduces students to making items like centrifugal air compressor parts and steel mill supplies.

Pickard said although Beck is a second-year student in the technology center, he is working on some third-year-level projects.

“He’s that far ahead,” Pickard said. “He made a C-clamp, and he’s actually making a turner’s tube now. He’s done some manual lathe-threading.

“He is really, really good. He’s probably one of the best students I’ve ever had. He’s got good math skills and hand-eye coordination. He’s just a talented young guy.”

Beck is a member of the GCHS bass fishing team that won a Major League Fishing tournament. He has also come away with several awards in competing in the Tennessee Motocross Association series.

Beck is the son of Stephen and LaNan Beck of Mayfield.

A story featuring the AGC of Western Kentucky Technical Center Student of the Week will run in The Paducah Sun each Friday through April 1 with recipients chosen by instructors and administrators at the seven area technical centers that serve students in the state’s 13 westernmost counties.

In addition to the Mayfield-Graves County Area Technology Center, the 29 AGC of Western Kentucky Technical Center Students of the Week are chosen from the Ballard County Career and Technical Center, Caldwell Regional Career Center, Four Rivers Career Academy in Fulton County, Marshall County Technical Center, Murray-Calloway County Area Technology Center and Paducah Area Technical Center.

The Mayfield-Graves County Area Technology Center serves students from Graves County, Mayfield and Carlisle County high schools and the Northside Baptist Christian School. It is located at Mayfield High School.

Along with machine tool, the area technology center offers courses in business, carpentry, computer science, electricity, health sciences and welding.

At the area technical centers, students are learning skills in many career areas that will help them join the workforce upon graduation and help fill the need for skilled workers in western Kentucky.

Follow David B. Snow on Twitter, @SunWithSnow, or on Facebook at

Follow David B. Snow on Twitter, @SunWithSnow, or on Facebook at

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