Release Date: 
Friday, June 30, 2023

HawkStrong: Nathan Tipton enjoys the freedom to try new things as Service Center Supervisor at KLA Laboratories

Nathan Tipton pointing towards KLA Laboratories' technology.
HFC alumnus Nathan Tipton is a Service Center Supervisor at KLA Laboratories in Dearborn.

Information technology is in Nathan Tipton’s blood. So is HFC.

Tipton, a Service Center Supervisor at KLA Laboratories in Dearborn, is an alumnus of the HFC Cisco Networking Academy, just like his father, Darrell Tipton.

“I started building computers with my dad when I was 10. I built my own computer with custom parts for the first time when I was 14,” recalled Tipton, of Dearborn.

When he was a pre-teen, Tipton would attend classes at HFC with his father, which further piqued his interest in information technology.

“I sat in classes with my dad before I was a teen. He took me to class because it was a combination of being interested in the field and he couldn’t find a babysitter. My older siblings were too cool to babysit me at that point,” recalled Tipton, laughing.

Nathan Tipton talks about the HFC Cisco Networking Academy and his career at KLA Laboratories (90-second video)


Six degrees of separation – HFC edition

The youngest of three, Tipton is a graduate of Edsel Ford High School. He has completed the Cisco Computer Networking Academy (CCNA) Certificate of Achievement through HFC. He also has CompTIA A+ lifetime computer technician certification.

Not only did Tipton’s father attend HFC, so did his eldest sibling, Jason. Tipton pointed out that Jason also works at KLA and his immediate supervisor, KLA Director of Network Services John Sattler, is an HFC alumnus.

“Nathan started at KLA Laboratories as an intern on our Customer Engineering team,” said Sattler. “His talents were noticed right away. He always exceeded expectations when working with clients and employees, and that drive helped us obtain new customers and strengthen our Network Services group. With Nathan’s assistance, KLA rapidly developed a new support team, the KLA Service Center. The center continues to grow today and supports customer requirements, as well as the KLA staff. Nathan is now the Service Center Supervisor, where he effectively manages his team to their specific skill sets. This helps strengthen the team and inspires them to reach their full potential.”

In another bit of “six degrees of separation,” Tipton and his family have known Cisco Networking Academy lead instructor Todd Browning for more than 25 years.

After graduating from HFC, Tipton worked as a lab assistant in the Cisco Networking Academy for nearly one year, assisting students and instructors alike, including Browning.

“Todd is a great guy whom I owe an unfathomable amount of gratitude for being there for me throughout my career,” said Tipton. “I really enjoyed the personability of the instructors who were really great at making things fun when you were learning the material. Knowing Todd helped, but all the Cisco instructors are great to work with.”

KLA's Matt O'Bryan talks about why the relationship with HFC is special (90-second video)


“We want this to happen”

For two years, Tipton worked for a data center for web hosting before coming to KLA in 2015.

Tipton has been in his current position at KLA since 2017, where he supervises two employees. His duties include:

  • Maintaining the health of KLA’s network and customers networks
  • Managing the internal help desk
  • Project management for new customer technology installations
  • Supervising KLA’s monitoring and maintenance tools

“Working at KLA has allowed me the freedom to try new things,” explained Tipton. “When I was presented with the supervisory position initially six years ago, KLA said, ‘We want this to happen. We don’t know anyone else to be a good fit. We know you’re familiar with the technology. We’d like to give this a shot and see where it goes.’ And they did. I was given full freedom – carte blanche – to develop the KLA Service Center myself. I’m having a great career at KLA.”

A team player who solves complex issues

Without a doubt, Tipton owes his career to HFC.

“The College offers a lot of what makes Dearborn really great: It prides itself on diversity, inclusivity, and community. That was important not just only to my development educationally, but also my development as an adult,” said Tipton.

“Nathan was a very serious student and a pleasure to have in class,” recalled Browning. “He was always one of the first to class and he routinely took a leadership role in the Cisco Lab. Nathan demonstrated his networking troubleshooting skills by researching and solving complex issues that would arise with little or no assistance. He is most definitely a team player and will be an asset to any team he joins.”