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FALL 2017 • ISSUE 4



......................................................................... THE OFFICIAL NEWSLETTER OF THE CVTC ALUMNI ASSOCIATION

CVTC Grad Heads Operations at Fire Truck Manufacturer Jim Michal is a 1975 graduate in Machine Tool program

.............................................................................................................................. When Oshkosh merged with Pierce Manufacturing in Chippewa Valley Technical College FireMedic students are 1996, Michal worked to combine the manufacturing processes training on a new Pierce Manufacturing Co. fire truck, and a between the two companies, which ultimately led to increased CVTC alumnus played a role in the manufacturing. Jim Michal, responsibilities and his position today. In 2005, he led the team a 1975 graduate of CVTC’s Machine Tooling Technics program, that built a $20 million, 175,000is the vice president of operations at sq.-ft. addition, incorporating Lean Pierce in Appleton, Wis. “I was always a hands-on guy, taking all Manufacturing into the company. Michal downplays any role he Michal is a strong proponent had in actually assembling the the shop classes in high school.” of technical education. “We work truck. “Well, I’m responsible for the closely with the technical colleges,” team that manufactures the trucks,” he said. “We solicit the students to work here while in technical Michal said. “We have 1,900 hourly team members and one college. We guarantee them a full-time job when they get out – million square feet of manufacturing space across four plants.” but only if they graduate.” Michal, a Cadott, Wis., native, says the career that led him Michal says education and work ethic are essential for to be in charge of such an impressive operation started with a success, along with employee empowerment. He advises decision to pursue a technical trade and begin his education at CVTC. “I was always a hands-on guy, taking all the shop classes employees try different ideas and not be afraid of making in high school,” Michal said. “Then I took a tour of the technical mistakes, but learn from the experience. “And good people skills are critical” he says. “Life is totally about alliances. You are only college, and at that time they were placing students in the as strong as the team around you.” Machine Tool program at 100 percent.” Michal graduated prepared to start a career as a machinist. He landed at Oshkosh Corp., a manufacturer of specialty trucks and military equipment, thanks to a relative who worked there. He started as a machinist and moved up to a general machinist, learning how to operate all the equipment in the shop. “Being a farm boy didn’t hurt,” he said. “I had a strong work ethic.” Broadening his knowledge made him more valuable to the company, which encouraged him to go to Fox Valley Technical College to study Manufacturing Engineering. Michal was on top of the new computerized processes coming into the industry, and expanded his experience into fabrication and welding. By 1989, Michal was in a supervisory role overseeing 100 people in three shifts. He helped increase plant efficiency by combining machines into cells where multiple processes could be completed at one time. “I learned that at the technical college,” he said.

CVTC Alumni Newsletter, Fall 2017, Issue 4 • cvtc.edu/Alumni • 715-831-7299 • alumni@cvtc.edu

A Message from the Executive Director of Institutional Advancement Dear Alumni, Just as the leaves change color each fall, there are many exciting changes happening at CVTC. The new Library & Information Services program started this fall, and the first class of Culinary Management students will start classes in a new space at the Business Education Center next fall. In addition, the River Falls Campus will be remodeled and expanded next spring to accommodate program expansions and additions there. You can be a part of these exciting development efforts when you make a gift to CVTC Foundation, Inc. When you choose to give to CVTC Foundation, Inc., you make an impact on the lives of CVTC students and, ultimately, the entire CVTC community. As members of the CVTC Alumni Association, you know the impact CVTC has on the lives of students. For more information about how you can get involved with your alma mater, please call or email me at 715-833-6277 or acrowe3@cvtc.edu or contact Holly Bembenek at 715-831-7299 or hbembenek@cvtc.edu.


share your story > alumni@cvtc.edu > 715-831-7299

Aliesha R. Crowe

Executive Director Institutional Advancement Executive Director CVTC Foundation, Inc.

CVTC Program Opened Doors to Administrative Career Brandi Brzezinski was looking for a career as a medical assistant. She discovered that one year of education at Chippewa Valley Technical College opened tremendous opportunities for her. “Without CVTC, I don’t think I would have been able to grow and get to where I am today,” said Brzezinski, now the assistant manager - operations in surgical and digestive administration for Marshfield Clinic in Eau Claire. A 2008 Eau Claire North High School graduate, Brzezinski entered the one-year technical diploma Medical Assistant

“Without CVTC, I don’t think I would have been able to grow and get to where I am today.”

program and went to work for Marshfield Clinic. She made an impression. “It all started when my manager wanted me to be a team leader here at the Eau Claire center,” Brzezinski said. “I took that leap and was able to work with other departments here and take on more of an administrative-type role.” Working with her manager and Jerry Moldenhauer, a CVTC student success specialist, Brzezinski returned to CVTC to take additional classes in an Individualized Technical Studies program in hopes of finishing an associate of science degree. “CVTC allowed me to take the classes that I needed,” she said. Furthering her education led Brzezinski to apply for an assistant manager position at Marshfield Clinic. Now she helps solve problems and staffing issues on a daily basis and is responsible for scheduling more than 50 employees. “If someone needs something taken care of right away, I’m the one they call,” she said. Brzezinski recently returned to CVTC for another reason – staffing a Marshfield Clinic recruitment table at the Spring Career Fair, where she could tell students from firsthand experience how Marshfield Clinic provides career advancement opportunities for CVTC graduates. “And we love to hire CVTC graduates,” she said.

>Further your education like Brandi! Learn more at cvtc.edu/IndividualizedTechnicalStudies

CVTC Alumni Newsletter, Fall 2017, Issue 4 • cvtc.edu/Alumni • 715-831-7299 • alumni@cvtc.edu

Culinary Management Program Coming in August Excitement is building at Chippewa Valley Technical College and throughout the area about the new CVTC Culinary Management program, which will begin in August 2018. “A central element of CVTC’s mission is to meet the workforce needs of the region, and with the creation of a culinary program, we will be responding to strong needs in

Kevin Brown, left, and Jonathan Fike will lead the new CVTC Culinary Management program that will begin in August 2018.

the culinary and hospitality industry,” said CVTC President Bruce Barker. “About nine percent of the local workforce is employed in the industry, and CVTC has had no program to serve that sector. Culinary will fill that need.” CVTC’s market research showed that there are about 220 culinary job openings a year in the area, with six percent growth anticipated.

“In our focus groups, the push was very strong from industry, which included the local restaurant association and the owners of quick service restaurants,” said Lynette Livingston, dean of business and academic initiatives at CVTC. Livingston added that there was also strong encouragement from area high schools, where family and consumer science teachers were hearing students express a lot of interest in careers in the industry. The program will have strong focus on management, as well as food preparation and presentation, Livingston said. The full two-year program will be 60 credits, leading to an associate degree in Culinary and Operations Management. The program includes a 30-credit, one-year embedded technical diploma in Professional Cooking and a 15-credit, one-semester embedded technical diploma in Food and Beverage Safety. Preparations for the start of the program are well underway. A $2.6 million renovation of a section of the Business Education Center will make room for the program and allow purchase of equipment. CVTC has hired two experienced executive chefs with extensive backgrounds in restaurant and food service management to lead the new program. Jonathan Fike and Kevin Brown are already working on curriculum and promotion of the program, which is accepting students for classes beginning in August 2018.

>Season your success to perfection! Learn more at cvtc.edu/Culinary

Expansion Planned at River Falls Campus Work will begin in the spring on a $1.5 million addition to CVTC’s River Falls Campus. The 7,200-sq.-ft. addition will mainly be on the north side, or front, of the building, with some construction taking place on the east side. “We will be adding a second science lab, classrooms, assessment areas and more common area space for students to gather and study,” said Tom Huffcutt, vice president of operations at CVTC. “We will also be adding some space for student services and faculty offices.” In recent years, CVTC has added both programs and student enrollments at the River Falls Campus. CVTC added the Information Technology-Software Developer program at the campus in 2015, and this past academic year, CVTC began offering its first manufacturing program – Automation Engineering Technology – at the River Falls Campus. A Residential Construction program was also re-started in 2015.

Further plans for CVTC involve a 4,700-sq.-ft. remodeling project at the campus, along the east side of the building. Support for the project will help create progress in the community as CVTC responds to the workforce needs of the region with additional program offerings at the campus. Several naming opportunities are available to support specific parts of the project.

>  Learn more about CVTC’s River Falls Campus at cvtc.edu/RiverFalls

CVTC Alumni Alumni Newsletter, Newsletter, Fall Fall 2017, 2017, Issue Issue 44 •• cvtc.edu/Alumni cvtc.edu/Alumni •• 715-831-7299 715-831-7299 •• alumni@cvtc.edu alumni@cvtc.edu CVTC

Alumni Continuing Education Opportunity

SAVE THE DATE! Business Education Center • Come to campus!

Generations in the Workplace

......................................................................... Generational differences have been at the forefront of workforce conversations for the past decade. Understanding the current and incoming generations that make up our workforce is essential to attracting and retaining your talent of the future. Examining and preparing the newer generations is critical to organizational health and sustainability. Identifying the similarities and differences of the generations and can help you learn how to best lead and develop the Millennials and Generation Z population. In this interactive workshop, instructor Dan Lytle will delve into the benefits and challenges of the future workforce and what you can do as a leader to ensure the future is a bright, profitable one.








APRIL 12, 2018 CVTC

Business & Industry Services




• Friday, December 15, 2017 • 8 –10 a.m. • FREE *includes light refreshments • Manufacturing Education Center Eau Claire

..................................... Learn how to identify generational similarities and differences, as well as how to attract and retain employees. > Email: businessindustry@cvtc.edu > Call: 715-874-4676


Association *CVTC Business & Industry Services in partnership with CVTC Alumni Association

November 28, 2017 ............................................


10/2017 • cvtc.edu/eeo


................................. 620 W. Clairemont Avenue Eau Claire, WI 54701 715-831-7299








#GivingTuesday is a global giving movement that has been established by individuals, families, organizations, businesses and communities in all 50 states and several countries around the world. This year, #GivingTuesday falls on November 28. #GivingTuesday harnesses the collective power of a unique blend of partners to transform how people think about, talk about, and participate in the giving season. It inspires people to take collective action to improve their communities, give back in better, smarter ways to the charities and causes they believe in, and help create a better world. #GivingTuesday demonstrates how every act of generosity counts, and that they mean even more when we give together. Stay tuned to the CVTC Alumni Association Facebook page to learn more about CVTC Foundation, Inc.’s #GivingTuesday Campaign.

To learn more about #GivingTuesday, please visit:

> Website: www.givingtuesday.org > Facebook: www.facebook.com/GivingTuesday > Twitter: twitter.com/GivingTues

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CVTC Alumni Newsletter Fall 2017  

CVTC Alumni Newsletter Fall 2017