Laurel Ridge business graduate returned to study trades, now has a plumbing business ‣ Laurel Ridge Community College
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Laurel Ridge business graduate returned to study trades, now has a plumbing business

photo of Aidan Gould
Aidan Gould enjoyed the hands-on training he received at Laurel Ridge.

Aidan Gould can’t seem to get enough of what Laurel Ridge Community College has to offer. He has completed an associate degree and studied two trades at the college.After graduating from high school in 2014, Gould, who was homeschooled and grew up in Hume, wasn’t sure what he wanted to do.“But, I knew I wanted to own some kind of business or businesses,” he said.That led to Gould enrolling at Laurel Ridge with the vague idea of working in a fitness-related career. However, after graduating with his associate degree in business in 2016, Gould turned around and came back to Laurel Ridge, this time to study a trade.“There was a plumber who had been plumbing in Fauquier County for about 30-plus years,” said Gould.That plumber, Terry Golightly, inspired him to enroll in Laurel Ridge Workforce Solutions’ plumbing program, where he completed all four levels. Gould was able to use FastForward funding to pay for the programming. Students who qualify for FastForward pay just one-third or less of program costs.“I was very impressed with the plumbing program,” Gould said. “They did a very good job of teaching us the trade in a very hands-on way. I just had a great experience with the teachers. And, I am also very grateful to Mr. Golightly for whom I apprenticed.”After completing the training, he took his journeyman’s exam and passed. But, even though he had completed his plumbing training, Gould wasn’t done with Workforce Solutions. He returned and did three of the four levels of electrical training.“It was very good, too,” he said of the program. “I learned so much about the trade.”Now a master plumber, Gould and two partners started Top Tier Trades in 2021.“We’re currently only doing plumbing, but we’re in the works of potentially expanding to different trades now,” he said.Gould said his business degree has certainly come in handy as he runs his own trades business. And, he is open to taking more classes at Laurel Ridge – he plans to finish his fourth level of electrical programming. He maintains other connections with the college, too.“We pay for our employees to get licensed through Laurel Ridge,” said Gould. “We are so busy, we’re looking for certified plumbers. We’re growing faster than we can train people.”In addition to FastForward funding, G3 funding – which covers all remaining tuition costs once scholarships and financial aid have been applied – can be used to pay for trades programs. Learn more at To explore trades programming at the college, visit

Laurel Ridge Community College was known as Lord Fairfax Community College until June 2022. For consistency purposes, the college will be referenced as Laurel Ridge going forward.