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#WhyIChoseEducation: ‘Regardless of Who is Educating Me or the Topic I’m Learning About, a Proper Education is Incredibly Powerful Long-term,’ Says Top Flight Computers Owner Chris Touchberry ‘13

When small business owners, videographers or PC gamers need custom computers to meet their specific needs, they often turn to Chris Touchberry ’13.

Touchberry is the owner and lead designer at Top Flight Computers, a custom PC business that specializes in high-end workstations, gaming computers, water cooling and network storage.  When Touchberry founded the company, he was excited to be able to put his technical skills to use, but he also knew relationship building would be the key to his company’s success.

“We believe fostering and strengthening authentic personal relationships with our customers is the most important part of our business,” Touchberry said.

That people-first philosophy, combined with technical knowhow, was instilled in Touchberry not in a computer science or engineering program, but in the technology, engineering, and design education program at the NC State College of Education.

“My affinity for software, tweaking and working with my hands, fit better with technology, engineering, and design education,” Touchberry said.

At NC State, Touchberry worked on robotics, electronics and rockets, all while developing his understanding of the design process and learning concepts like QA/QC, or quality assurance and control. He also developed close relationships with his professors and other students in the program.

“The NC State College of Education opened my eyes to all kinds of people and relationships and ended up being extremely helpful in my psychological growth long-term,” Touchberry said.

Not only that, but many of the friends Touchberry made at NC State owned gaming PCs, which eventually inspired him to build computers of his own and put him on the path to founding Top Flight Computers. Now, Touchberry does a little bit of everything, from working on custom builds and improving Top Flight’s supply chain to engaging with customers on social media, and he sees the value a background in education can have in a STEM-related field.

“Someone who is very detail-driven but lacks people skills would suffer in a sales role with us, compared to someone who really likes talking with people and is trainable on computer hardware,” Touchberry said. “It’s not always about the exact major you are, but rather what you learn from your experiences that can have the biggest impact.”

 How Education Has Shaped Me: 

Overall, education has helped me understand concepts better. Regardless of who is educating me or the topic I’m learning about, a proper education is incredibly powerful long-term.

What Others Should Know About the NC State College of Education: 

I felt the College of Education, especially my group within the technology, engineering, and design education program, was a very close-knit group. The College of Education as a whole felt very warm and welcoming.

The Last Thing I Experienced That Inspired Me:

I recently got married, which has inspired me to seek external help and education on stress management, as this will be key to my new roles as a husband and father.