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Photo by Dan Reiland, Eau Claire Leader



High School Academies: Students get a jump on college, careers


Anatomage Table: Learning anatomy the high-tech way


Mechanical Design: Students sweep national competition

Celebrating Our K-12 Partnerships






Q& A

with President Bruce Barker

How do the students in K-12 school districts benefit from partnerships with CVTC? Secondary school partnerships with CVTC enhance both current and future educational opportunities for students. Through grant-driven initiatives like the Mobile Manufacturing Lab and the Regional Manufacturing Pathways initiative with 3M, we are able to bring cutting edge technology and equipment into high schools that otherwise would not be able to afford them. This goes along with CVTC-provided extra training for the instructors, who can pass along what they’ve learned for years to come. CVTC offers ways for students to gain college credit in high school, through dual credit classes and high school academies. By earning college credits early, students can save hundreds or thousands of dollars of tuition, and have the potential to finish college earlier, keeping student debt lower. In the 201718 school year, for example, college credits earned through CVTC by high school students saved students in 43 high schools more than $1.4 million in tuition costs. High school students completing CVTC classes in certain skilled trades like Welding and Machine Tool have been able to go right into good jobs in the workforce. It also gives them the opportunity to start working while attending CVTC to complete more advanced training.

How does the community as a whole benefit? Better-educated young people always benefit a community in a variety of ways. CVTC has been encouraged by the school districts, parents, and the business community to strengthen relationships with their local schools, because they see how everyone benefits. The parents want their children to save money on their college education, which early college credit can do. It helps their children experience early success in college-level classes, and it can relieve some pressure on families trying to save for their children’s education. Business and industry have encouraged CVTC to establish early career pathways for young people, before they reach college age. Students who develop early interests in fields like manufacturing or healthcare will be more likely to pursue those interests toward a career. And they will also be ready to enter the workforce sooner. Having workers trained well enough to start work right out of high school benefits employers who have been having difficulty finding skilled workers. Does CVTC benefit as well? Strong K-12 partnerships are in CVTC’s best interests as well. Students have many options for post-secondary education, but if they have already earned credits from CVTC, and have come away with a positive outlook on the quality of education they can receive at the College, they will be more likely to



PRESIDENT Bruce Barker



GRAPHIC DESIGN Lauren Richards



enroll here as full-time students. But our partnerships are not about filling seats in our classrooms and driving up enrollment numbers. They are about strengthening our ability to achieve our mission. We are here to enhance the lives of students and the communities they live in, and to meet the workforce needs of the region. Maintaining strong K-12 partnerships is part of the way we work toward those goals. It’s definitely a win for everyone.

PHOTOGRAPHY Mark Gunderman COVER PHOTO Dan Reiland/Leader-Telegram CHIPPEWA VALLEY TECHNICAL COLLEGE 620 W. Clairemont Ave. Eau Claire, WI 54701-6162 715-833-6200 800-547-CVTC

CVTC does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age in employment, admissions, programs, or activities. General inquiries regarding the College’s non-discrimination policies may be directed to: Director of Human Resources • Chippewa Valley Technical College • 620 W. Clairemont Ave. • Eau Claire, WI 54701 • 715-852-1377 • WI Relay: 711

Accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association, Issue Date: Spring 2019. Published biannually. © 2019 Chippewa Valley Technical College. All rights reserved.



am elated to see this issue of the CVTC Magazine go to print. Perhaps it is because my second (and last) child is graduating from high school this spring and will be heading to college in the fall. Like the students featured in this edition, she has benefited from earning college credits while in high school. Many of us can recall a time when this was not an option, or when the options were quite limited. Today, earning an industry-recognized credential or even an entire associate degree while in high school is possible for some students! Take a moment to read the student stories, and you will see that the benefit is not just for the students, but their families, employers and the community. With your support, CVTC is able to develop innovative

Governor Honors CVTC Money Matters Program Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers has honored Chippewa Valley Technical College with the Financial Literacy Award for its Money Matters program that educates students on financial aid and personal finance issues. CVTC created the Money Matters program to deliver financial literacy in a fun, creative way. The program consists of monthly workshops, each with its own creative name. A workshop focusing on money habits and values was called Financially Fit, with a budgeting session called Budgeting the Benjamins, a debt and student loan repayment called Debt-anator, and a credit session called Credit is Your BFF. In each workshop, students learn valuable financial literacy information while playing games, eating free food, and winning prizes. Since April 2018, CVTC had over 1,258 students participate in Money Matters activities. Another part of the program is Money Smart Week, held April 22-26 this year to observe April as Financial Literacy Month.

Representatives of CVTC accepted the Governor’s Financial Literacy Award at the State Capitol on March 21. From left are Laura Ericson, manager of Student Central and the Money Matters program; Pang Garcia, Student Central advisor; Margo Keys, vice president of Student Services, and Governor Tony and First Lady Kathy Evers.

solutions to our educational and workforce challenges. Together, we are a making a difference in the lives of students! With gratitude,

Aliesha R. Crowe, Ed.D. Executive Director CVTC Foundation, Inc. CVTC Alumni Association

Find out how you can support educational programs like Money Matters through CVTC Foundation, Inc.! // // //

“When students make wise decisions about managing their money, they reduce their financial stress,” said Margo Keys, vice president of student services at CVTC. “The Money Matters program at CVTC teaches students to save money and how to stretch their dollars. This helps their financial peace of mind.” CVTC Foundation, Inc., secured financial and in-kind gifts to support the program, with WESTconsin Credit Union as a main partner of the Money Matters program. Further partnerships to support Money Matters and other programs are available through CVTC Foundation, Inc. “Money Matters aligns with WESTconsin Credit Union’s mission of helping others achieve financial success,” said Erika Schorbahn, WESTconsin Credit Union’s Eau Claire and Altoona office vice president “We are passionate about how Money Matters helps empower students to make a strong financial foundation for themselves.” “It’s apparent to those of us who work with students daily that financial stress and a lack of understanding of how to pay for college are some of the main reasons our students fail to persist,” said Laura Ericson, manager of Student Central and the Money Matters program. “We want them to learn the fundamentals of money management.”



Zach Weber

Cailey Sorensen

With CVTC’s high school academies, high school students get a jump on college, careers


n 2015, Chippewa Valley Technical College provided a new option for high school students to earn college credits with the creation of its first high school academy. In academies, a group of classes on a particular career path, such

Welding Academy Launches Career for Shane Elson


hane Elson has never attended classes at a Chippewa Valley Technical College facility, but he has benefitted from a CVTC education. Through a CVTC Welding Academy while a student at Ellsworth High School, he earned nine CVTC credits and an industry-recognized certification. More importantly, he found a career. He’s now working as a professional welder for ConSepTech, a Menomonie company that installs sanitary piping for the food industry. Shane works at job sites all over the state. Shane noted that he did some welding in a high school shop class, but had little experience before enrolling in the



as information technology, welding or healthcare, are offered and students can earn industry-recognized certifications. Up to 14 CVTC credits earned are transferrable to other colleges. Now CVTC has multiple high school academies

academy. “My shop teacher asked me if I was interested in trying the academy, because he thought I was pretty good at welding,” Shane said. “I was thinking about going to a four-year college after high school, but I thought it didn’t hurt to give this a try.” Shane enrolled in the classes in the first semester of his senior year, and it went well. “Welding came easy to me,” he said. “I thought it was fun, and I was pretty good at it. I thought if I could find a good job, it would be a good career to be in.” He found that good job, starting at ConSepTech in July 2018. The work involved what is called TIG welding, for its use of tungsten inert gas, commonly

throughout the district. Academies have helped hundreds of students get a jump on their college education, or a start on their careers. Here are three success stories from students who have completed or are currently enrolled in academies.

used for stainless steel welding. “I was making pretty good money for right out of high school,” Shane said. Being young and single, the lifestyle involved in being a traveling welder is not particularly inconvenient for Shane. A ConSepTech crew travels to a job site and stays at a local motel for the several days it may take to complete a job, then returns home for two to four days off. Shane credits the CVTC Welding Academy with getting him started on a very promising career. “The academy showed me that I wanted to do something in welding,” he said. “If you get a good-paying job and enjoy what you’re doing, there’s no need to go to a four-year college.”

“The Healthcare Academy helped me find my passion and realize this is a career that fits me well.” -CAILEY SORENSEN, FALL CREEK HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR

IT Academy Helps Zach Weber Land Early Internship


ach Weber has been interested in technology from a young age. But playing around with computers is one thing, and learning how to program them and developing marketable skills is quite another. Thanks to the CVTC Information Technology Academy he enrolled in as a sophomore at Durand High School, Zach has taken that next step. At the age of 16, he’s working as an intern at Badger Communications, a distributor of telecommunications equipment in Durand. “There are a lot of possibilities in computers,” Zach said. “It’s a good skill to have and can be a good career.” Zach’s parents, Jen and Joe Weber, fed Zach’s interest by enrolling him in a

Heathcare Academy Ignites Cailey Sorensen’s Passion


rom an early age, Cailey Sorensen had interests in children and healthcare. But it took immersion in Chippewa Valley Technical College’s Healthcare Academy to ignite her passion and begin a path to a career. “My parents always observed that when someone like a sibling was hurt, I was the first to see if I could help,” said Cailey, who will graduate from Fall Creek High School in May. She didn’t have a lot of opportunity to explore her interest through academics until CVTC partnered with several area school districts to start the Healthcare Academy. Cailey jumped at the chance. She attended classes this past school

3D Game Design tech camp at UWMadison in 2014. A year later, joining a friend in Pennsylvania, Zach enrolled in a similar camp at Villanova University. So, when the partnership between the Durand School District and CVTC for an IT Academy at his high school was announced, Zach took notice. “It definitely interested me,” he said. “It was recommended to me by the school and my parents that I take it.” Zach took Programming Fundamentals first, which he considers the hardest course, then took Web 1 – HTML & CSS. This summer he’ll take an online course in Database. “It’s been teaching me how to code,” Zach said. “I’ve always understood the logic of coding and the way computers interpret what you’re writing. But you have to type the exact right stuff to make it work. I learned enough in the

classes to get an internship, and it’s going very well.” Mostly, he programs webpages at Badger Communications. “I learn a little bit every day at my internship,” Zach said. “But I came in with some knowledge already. It would have been rough starting out if I didn’t know anything.” Others at Badger Communications do the web design work. Zach uses his new skills to make it reality by coding it into the computer. But he does get a chance to share some of his ideas with the creative team from time to time. “You start out as a coder and work your way up to creative roles,” Zach said. “I would like to direct creative projects in the future and use my interests in writing and music too.”

year at CVTC’s Chippewa Falls campus with other area high school students. “When I got into the Healthcare Academy and found what anatomy was all about, it helped me to find my passion and realize this was a career that fit me well,” Cailey said. “I am a compassionate person and want to help people.” Cailey now has a career pathway in mind. She will enroll at CVTC for the fall semester and take general education classes on her way to starting the Nursing-Associate Degree program. By planning her general education classes, she can be well on her way to a bachelor of science in nursing, which she would complete after finishing at CVTC. By earning her associate degree and passing the board exams first, she

would be able to work as a registered nurse while finishing the BSN degree. “Eventually, I’d like to work with kids, but I want to explore opportunities and have broader horizons,” Cailey said. And the Healthcare Academy is broadening her horizons. She enjoyed seeing a Mayo One helicopter ambulance up close and talking with the crew about what being a flight nurse was like. The class has toured a nursing home and a hospital. Cailey has thought about becoming a nurse practitioner – the PhD level of nursing – and perhaps pursuing pediatric nursing, but realizes there is much to learn before such decisions are made. “I am ready for the next step,” she said. “I’ve never found any experience so rewarding.”

Find out what academies // are in your high school! // 715-831-7259


A DEEPER LOOK Anatomage Table like a virtual reality dissection


plastic skeleton in the front of the room in Julia Brown’s Healthcare Academy classroom seems to gaze down at something that is quickly making it obsolete as a visualization aid. The students at the Chippewa Valley Technical College Chippewa Falls campus don’t give the skeleton a look as they cycle through life-size, highdefinition electronic images of various internal systems of a real human cadaver shown on a high-tech tabletop. The Anatomage Table arrived in early February, giving the students from Fall Creek, Bloomer, Cornell and Altoona high schools who are enrolled in the CVTC Healthcare Academy classes the most technically advanced way to study human anatomy available. It’s the same technology being used at advanced medical schools around the world. “It’s like a virtual reality dissection table,” said Brown, CVTC’s instructor for the academy. “We can look at the digestive system, the respiratory or cardiovascular system – any system in the body – and turn it around to look at it in different ways.” The system images can be viewed alone or overlapped with any or all other systems. Students can view individual organs and examine cross sections of tissue. The system has stored information from four real human cadavers, Brown



CVTC Healthcare Academy students examine an image on the Anatomage Table at the CVTC Chippewa Falls campus March 1. From left are Bryanna Bonander of Cornell, Lydia Culver of Bloomer and Taylor Anders of Fall Creek. said. It was made by scanning images of the bodies as a layer-by-layer dissection took place, giving a complete three-dimensional view of every system and organ. The $90,000 table was purchased with a grant to CVTC Foundation, Inc., from Rutledge Charities, Inc., in Chippewa Falls to support the expansion of high school academies. In the Healthcare Academy, the students earn 14 credits and Certified Nursing Assistant credentials. “The students can see what it would look like in a real human body,” Brown said. “They can also see how everyone is unique on the inside. People’s organs can be different sizes. We have a cadaver with a growth on a bone and

“You can dissect the body and look at the different parts in depth. Before we were using books and plastic models.” one with a broken sternum.” Cailey Sorensen, one of six Fall Creek High School students enrolled in the academy, said she has never seen an actual human cadaver. “This is as close

as you can get to a real cadaver,” she said. “It was a little overwhelming at first. This is more detailed than the plastic models. “I have always been interested in healthcare,” Sorensen added. “I want to help people in times of injury and illness.” “It’s surprising how much is in the Anatomage Table,” said Lydia Culver, a senior at Bloomer High School. “You can dissect the body and look at the different parts in depth. Before we were using books and plastic models. This is more real life and you can change it to what you want to look at.” Culver is planning to attend CVTC after graduation and make use of her Healthcare Academy credits. “I want to go into nursing, and this academy gives you the classes you need in the CVTC program.” Brown said showcasing the Anatomage Table for other students not enrolled in the academy is being explored. “We would like to showcase it for the community,” she said.

Look into your options. 715-833-6300


Higher Ed Students will have the opportunity to graduate from high school with an associate degree.


ithin four years, some students at area high schools will be graduating with more than their high school diploma. They will also earn associate degrees in business management from CVTC. In January, CVTC and the Eau Claire Area School District announced a partnership to create Business Management Academies leading to associate degrees at both Memorial and North high schools. The move follows an identical program created in the River Falls School District in 2017, the first such program in the state. The associate degree opportunities are showing area school districts that are already familiar with academy offerings through CVTC just what is possible through growing relationships between CVTC and K-12 school districts. “Menomonie is interested in an associate degree academy now now, too. We’re just starting the conversation,” said Kristel Tavare, director of PK-12 initiatives at CVTC. Almost all area school districts have offered dual-credit classes in which students receive both high school credits and college credits registered on a CVTC transcript. In high school academies, a group of classes on a particular subject, such as information technology, welding or child care, are offered and students have the opportunity to earn industry-recognized certifications. The college credits are transferrable to colleges with which CVTC has agreements. The Business Management associate degree academies

Parents of 8th Grade students in the Eau Claire Area School District meet in January for a presentation of the associate degree academy.

take the concept a step further. Students who enter the program start taking academy classes in their freshman year and add more of the academy dual-credit classes over a four-year period. With planning, they can earn the 60 credits necessary for the associate degree by the time they graduate from high school. “We leverage the classes already offered in the district,” Tavare said. “If they offer a wide variety of dual-credit and advanced placement courses, we can get to that associate degree.” Achieving both a high school diploma and an associate degree in four years does involve work and commitment by the student, but the burden is not extraordinary, Tavare pointed out. “The program is built so that it fits into their regular school day, but it does require a commitment to three summer classes, one per summer for three years.” Completing the program provides tremendous benefits to students, who will have a lot of options after graduation. “They have the opportunity to go right into business and industry,” said Lynette Livingston, dean of business and academic initiatives at CVTC. “But many may want to pursue a four-year degree, which they could do in as little as two years of postsecondary education.”

Learn how you can earn a degree early.





igh school students throughout Chippewa Valley Technical College’s 11-county district are getting an early start on their college education by earning college credits through CVTC. Students taking CVTC college-level classes at their high school can earn credits from CVTC just as if they took the class at the college. “They get credit on their CVTC transcript right away. They don’t have to apply for it. That credit can transfer to a university too,” said CVTC Registrar Jessica Schwartz. A cluster of CVTC credit classes in a subject area, leading to an industry-recognized certification, is known as a high school academy (see the stories on pages 4-6). But most CVTC college credit classes are not part of academies. “It’s a great advantage to students to start college while they are still in high school,” said Lynette Livingston, dean of business and academic initiatives. “Part of the reason is the money you can save by taking the classes in high school.” Students also receive credit toward their high school graduation for these classes. Participation in the program, known as dual or transcripted credit, has been increasing. In the 2017-18 school year, there were 3,214 successful course enrollments in 43 high schools in CVTC’s district, resulting in 10,768 credits earned, for savings to students of $1,445,065. Additionally, high school students can earn college credits through the Start College Now program in which they can enroll in classes at a CVTC campus or online. In 2017-18, students at 34 high schools earned 1,054 college credits through the program.

Find the classes that interest you.



$133,200 grant from 3M to Chippewa Valley Technical College Foundation, Inc., in 2017 enables CVTC to partner with area school districts to build career pathways in manufacturing. CVTC partners with Altoona, Durand, Eau Claire Area and Menomonie high schools in the project, called “Building and Sustaining Regional Manufacturing Pathways.” The grant is designed to help develop the skills and knowledge



of high school teachers and students in automation and mechatronics – the technology combining electronics and mechanical engineering. “Great manufacturing jobs in the Chippewa Valley are going unfilled due to the lack of workers trained in the technology of modern manufacturing,” said Jeff Sullivan, CVTC dean of engineering and skilled trades. “With these partnerships, we are building both skills and interest in manufacturing at

the secondary school level to help fill those needs and get our young people started in lucrative careers early.” With the grant, CVTC purchased flexible manufacturing learning platforms in use in the high schools and also offers professional development workshops for teachers so they can make the best use of the equipment. CVTC partnered with automation technology manufacturer Festo for the project.



hippewa Valley Technical College is bringing modern manufacturing equipment directly to area high schools. Since 2014, CVTC’s Mobile Manufacturing Lab has been bringing advanced manufacturing education to rural schools. Developed with a grant of nearly $800,000 from the National Science Foundation, the goals of the lab are to prepare and recruit students into manufacturing careers, provide students with increased opportunity to earn college credits while still in high school, and provide more trained workers for manufacturers. “Quite frankly, the trailer brings small schools like ours equipment and technology that we wouldn’t normally

be able to afford,” said Travis Engel, technical education instructor at OwenWithee High School. During the current school year, the lab has visited Greenwood, Menomonie, Durand-Arkansaw, and Owen-Withee high schools. In previous years since the 2014 inception, the lab has also visited Neillsville and Alma Center Lincoln high schools. The response from the communities where the trailer has visited has been overwhelming, according to Jeff Sullivan, dean of engineering and skilled trades. “Industries in those communities that hire manufacturing workers have shown a great interest in what is happening in those programs,” Sullivan said.

Find a future in manufacturing.



igh school-age and even younger students are frequent visitors to CVTC. From Career Tours held several times a semester, a robotics competition at the Manufacturing Show, to open house events at multiple campuses and hosting regional events like the Junior Achievement Challenge, CVTC welcomes young people from throughout the area. CVTC also hosts competitions involving high school students. Annually at the Energy Education Center, hundreds of high school students come to the Ag Skills competition, which includes dairy, floriculture and agronomy divisions. The dairy competition, for example, involves teams of students completing tasks at multiple stations, like evaluating feed

rations, determining a proper medicinal dosage for a cow, and identifying common animal science tools. The students also get a look at the agriculture program facilities at CVTC’s Energy Education Center, interact with CVTC students in ag programs, and visit the nearby Eau Claire Farm Show. “This is also a culminating activity for our agriculture-related, dual-credit classes with our high school partners,” said Adam Wehling, dean of CVTC’s agriculture, energy and transportation programs. “The students learn material in the classroom, apply it here, then go to the Eau Claire Farm Show and talk about job opportunities in the industry.” And this year for the first time, CVTC hosted a regional competition of Health Occupations Students of

America (HOSA). Students competed in categories like CPR/First Aid, Emergency Medical Technician, Life Support Skills, Medical Assisting and Nursing Assisting. While some of the events demonstrate hands-on skills, others involve testing, or are public speaking and demonstration events.



PROVEN PARTNERS Agriculture program supporters honored at Spring Gala


wo businesses important to the local agriculture sector have been named CVTC’s 2019 Proven Business Partners. Value Implement and Tractor Central were honored at the Alumni Association Spring Gala April 4. Value Implement opened Arcadia and Osseo stores in 1992 and later added Menomonie and Baldwin locations. “We provide equipment, machinery and support services to help you plant, grow and harvest crops, and care for the soil and yards of homeowners, businesses, communities and farms,” said store manager Scott Barnhart. Value Implement has partnered with CVTC for 10 years. “Through Value Implement, Case IH provided opportunities for educational organizations to obtain the most advanced agriculture equipment and technology, putting it in front of the future generation of producers

and employees of businesses like ours,” Barnhart said. Tractor Central is a 10-store organization with John Deere equipment as its major line of products, including both agriculture and turf care lines of machinery. The partnership with CVTC started in 2013. “We supply the equipment, do the training and anything that’s necessary to go along with it, with the goal being to expose the students to the newest technology,” said Kori Richter, integrated solutions manager. “We want them to know how to use it and how to optimize it so they can bring that back to whatever their endeavors are.” “Without these partnerships, our students would not have access to millions of dollars of equipment, technology and support,” said Mark Denk, agronomy instructor at CVTC.

RISING STAR Garney named Outstanding Recent Alumnus


hen they were younger, Erin Garney had a way of explaining to her children what she did as an information technology specialist at WIN Technology: “Mommy makes the internet.” In her position, Garney helped keep a data center of servers that handled a lot of internet traffic running. Now as a network systems shift manager, she also supervises a team of IT specialists. Some of those team members are fellow graduates of CVTC. Garney’s success at her position, her continued involvement with CVTC and her contributions to the community have earned her CVTC’s 2019 Distinguished Recent Alumnus Award. Garney enrolled in the IT-Network Specialist program and graduated in 2013. “I loved the two-year program,” she said. “We had all our own equipment



we could work with.” It wasn’t easy. Garney was pregnant during her time at CVTC. “The instructors really understood that life comes first and were flexible to work with me,” she said. Garney was hired at WIN before she finished her program. She started as a network management center technician, then earned promotions to network systems administrator and network systems shift manager at the WIN office on Eau Claire’s south side. Garney enjoys volunteering at the Community Table and with United Way. She is a member of Leadership Eau Claire and Apprenticeship USA, which is looking at expanding apprenticeships for students. And she stays connected to CVTC on the IT-Network Specialist Advisory Committee.

A CASE OF GROWING AND GIVING BACK Terry Giertz named CVTC’s 2019 Distinguished Alumnus


hough appreciative of being named CVTC’s Distinguished Alumnus Award winner for 2019, Terry Giertz is not one to pursue personal accolades. He just likes to get things done. Sitting inside the impressive 153,000-sq.-ft. Bill’s Distributing center in Menomonie, it’s hard not to recognize Giertz as a man who has accomplished a great deal. After all, he joined a business his father was about to give up when distributorships were failing all over the area. That first year they sold 70,000 cases. Now the distribution center built in 2008 to handle three million cases is in need of an expansion. “I decided to go to CVTC because of the Marketing program,” said Giertz, a 1971 graduate. “I looked at the curriculum, and it had what I needed.” His objective was to get involved with a young area entrepreneur named John Menard. Giertz was successful at Menard’s due in part to what he learned from CVTC instructors like Irv Roundsville. “He said quantify, do all your research, be prepared, but most importantly, listen. And don’t talk past the sale. Ask for it,” Giertz recalled. As his father was in the process of selling out his Budweiser distributorship in the late 1970s, Giertz’s brother encouraged him to join him in keeping it going. “He convinced me to buy land, put together a proposal for a new facility and finance it,” Giertz said. But he also had to present a marketing plan to Budweiser. He adapted one he wrote for his CVTC class. Those skills served him again when Coors expanded into Wisconsin and competition to become a distributor was intense. Everyone came in with marketing plans written by professional agencies. Giertz wrote his own and won. “They told me I was the only one ever to do his own marketing plan,” Giertz said. Ahead of the curve on the craft beer trend, Bill’s

Distributing introduced Samuel Adams to western Wisconsin. Giertz added Heineken and Corona to the portfolio. And Bill’s Distributing is the second-largest distributor of beers from New Glarus Brewing Company, makers of Spotted Cow. Bill’s Distributing does 90 percent of its business in a seven-county local area and handles a wide variety of products, with the Anheuser Busch products being the largest in volume. Along the way, Terry Giertz and Bill’s Distributing has done much for the communities in which they do business. They have supported at least two dozen community celebrations and are strong supporters of the local stock car racing and softball league scenes. Among the organizations that have benefitted are Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts, Dunn County Humane Society, “I looked at the CVTC Dunn County Historical Society Marketing curriculum, and several wildlife and it had what I needed.” organizations. Personally, Giertz has 40 years of service with Lions Club International and was awarded the prestigious Birch-Sturm Fellowship. He is a past vice president of the Wisconsin Beer Wholesalers Association. Bill’s Distributing has hired many graduates from CVTC’s Marketing, Truck Driving and Accounting programs. The company takes advantage of training opportunities through CVTC’s Business and Industry Services. Giertz also returns to share his experiences with CVTC students. Giertz noted that what made classes like Roundsville’s so valuable was how he brought real-world experience from his years with Allis-Chalmers into the classroom. “That’s why I speak with the classes, because I can bring that relevance at the same level, because I was president of a company for 30 years.”





Leaving a Legacy

Turn Your Annual Gift into a Forever Gift

iving to 100 is an accomplishment. So is driving into town every morning at age 95 to have breakfast with friends and mowing your own lawn with your Allis Chalmers lawn tractor when you are in your 90s. Hannah Rubusch did just that in addition to many other remarkable life achievements. She and her husband Willard operated Rubusch Sales and Service, the Allis Chalmers Tractor dealership in Boyceville. After Hannah’s brother Carl Hagen died in an automobile accident, she established a scholarship with CVTC Foundation, Inc., in his memory. In addition, she helped establish the WJR Endowment Scholarship. These two scholarships will support students for many years to come. When Hannah passed away in December 2018, the Foundation was the recipient of an unrestricted planned gift from her estate. To learn more about including CVTC Foundation, Inc., in your planned giving, contact the Foundation at 715-8336479 or

Annual gifts are a critical lifeline to CVTC. With them, we are able to award scholarships, support staff development, and improve campus infrastructure. If you are an annual donor, you know firsthand the satisfaction that comes from making a difference, and we deeply appreciate your generosity. But as you look to the future, you may wonder what will happen to the programs made possible through your gifts once you are gone. How can you make sure your generosity continues forever? One option is to make a gift in your will or trust to establish an endowment. Here’s an example of how that could work. Let’s say Jerry makes an annual donation of $1,000 and would like to continue his support after his lifetime. His estate planning attorney suggests that Jerry include a provision in his will to fund an endowment with a gift of $20,000. Once funded, we will use a portion of the endowment each year to fund the program of Jerry’s choice. The remainder is reinvested, which allows it to grow and support annual payouts indefinitely. This generous arrangement replaces Jerry’s $1,000 annual gift after his lifetime. As a result, CVTC receives the benefit of Jerry’s generosity forever.


Give in Their Name You can use an endowment gift to honor someone important to you who appreciates the work we do. Consider designating your endowment in his or her name as a way to celebrate the connection to CVTC. // // // The information in this publication is not intended as legal or tax advice. For such advice, please consult an attorney or tax advisor. Figures cited in examples are for illustrative purposes only. References to tax rates include federal taxes only and are subject to change. State law may further impact your individual results.

TAKING THE SECOND FLOOR TO THE NEXT LEVEL Business programs, student clubs areas will have modern look


he CVTC business programs classroms will be getting a major makeover this summer, making the physical spaces as modern as the program curriculum. CVTC strives to ensure all of its programs are providing students with the skills they need in today’s workplace, while being forward-looking at the trends for the future. While the business programs have remained up to date, the classroom facilities on the second floor of the Business Education Center have not been updated since the 1980s. Since then, many changes in instructional programming have taken place. CVTC will upgrade the space with a $2.4 million project that will begin as soon as spring semester classes end, with completion in time for the fall semester. The project will improve program areas and include space for student engagement activities. “The new business center will mirror a contemporary office setting, and the comfort of this space will help students transition from the campus to internship to employment,” said Lynette Livingston, dean of business and academic initiatives. A centerpiece of the remodeled area will be the student engagement center, a large open common area visible from the hallway through a glass partition for student networking and group meetings. The space will include a variety of semiprivate areas and small-and-large group seating. Tables and chairs will be mobile and easily configured to group needs.

The renovation will create collaboration rooms for group interaction focused on project development. Learning spaces will be designed in various sizes to accommodate new program delivery types, such as MyChoice, which offers the option of online or face-to-face delivery. The technology-rich area will include a state-of-the-art digital media lab. An open technology lab will be an inviting space for students to plug in, engage in group assignments, and access the software needed for their course work. The student club collaboration zone will offer a welcoming space for multiple purposes. Student club members can use the space for meetings and activities. Clubs can create and store materials or gather together to brainstorm ideas for their community service projects. “The Business Management students can host a strategic planning meeting in the board room or a Digital Marketing student can create images in the digital media lab, while an Accounting student works with a client in the tax accounting project room,” Livingston said. “This multi-function business center will provide a realistic, dynamic office experience for students as they progress through their course work.” The project will also involve construction of staff office space, creation of three new classrooms, and improvements to corridors and restrooms.

Get Involved! Interested in making a difference? Support the space makeover project with your gift. Naming opportunities are available // //



NEW PROGRAMS! Supply Chain Management Offers Great Opportunities

New Gas Utility Program Excites Industry

Health Navigators Cut Through the Complexity of Healthcare

Every industry relies on supplies and the processes that bring materials to the places where they are needed, when they are needed. Companies value people with the organizational and problem-solving skills that keep the supply chain running smoothly, without interruption. CVTC’s new Supply Chain Management program is designed to help people develop the skills they need to succeed in a high-demand field. Students will gain an understanding of the principles of transportation, inventory control, materials operations, management and logistics that are at the heart of supply chain operations. The two-year associate degree program begins in August and is offered fully online. Graduates can find a career as a materials planner, production planner, inventory specialist, buyer or logistics coordinator. “Supply chain management has become so important because of the cost of transportation,” said Jim Bauer, general manager of the Eau Claire distribution center for Menard, Inc. “It’s become a growing focus within companies, so we don’t just have a shortage of talent now, we have a shortage going forward. I could probably employ another 12 to 15 people.” A career in the supply chain management field allows graduates to find career success while pursuing personal interests. Industries from manufacturing, healthcare, education and technology to agriculture, transportation and retail rely on supply chain professionals, making it easy for people to work in an industry that matches their passion.

Responding to a strong need expressed by area energy companies, Chippewa Valley Technical College will offer a new Gas Utility Construction & Service program beginning in June. The 10-month, 35-credit program leads to a technical diploma and employment opportunities with contractors installing gas lines or utility companies maintaining systems that service homes and businesses. “This is a very high-demand, highwage field, and there is a tremendous amount of job security in the industry. Natural gas is the primary heating fuel in the area,” said Adam Wehling, dean of agriculture, energy and transportation. With about two-thirds of Wisconsin homes heated by natural gas, including new construction, the need for workers in the area continues to grow. “After 29 years working in the gas industry, I’ve seen how the industry is struggling to find workers,” said RC Jensen, instructor for the program. “Graduates will be able to find work.” “The program is a partnership between the electric power and gas utility industries,” said Wehling, who added there will be some overlap between Gas Utility and the existing Electrical Power Distribution program.

Today’s health systems are complex and changing rapidly. Patients and families dealing with medical issues have enough stress without having to fight their way through the system. Enter health navigators, professionals with expertise and experience to help people navigate the healthcare and health insurance systems. CVTC’s new Health Navigator program is a two-year associate degree program beginning in

Link to a lucrative career.



RC Jensen, Gas Utility instructor

Hook up to a great future

“Having someone who can help patients find the resources will answer the needs of both the provider and the patient.” Fall 2019 offered as MyChoice, with online and face-to-face options. The program is ideal for people who are interested in working in the healthcare field but not in a direct patient care role. Current healthcare workers can find opportunities for advancement. Health navigators evaluate client needs and potential barriers, provide information and refer patients to resources, communicate with the healthcare team, and promote individual and community health. “The healthcare providers are excited about hiring the graduates,” said Shelly Olson, dean of health and emergency services. “And this isn’t just about dealing with the paperwork of the system. Hospitals want to help patients from being readmitted. Having someone who can help patients find the resources will answer the needs of both the provider and the patient.”

Find the path to your future.

MECHANICAL DESIGN VICTORY CVTC teams sweep top spots in national competition


hippewa Valley Technical College students have swept the top two spots in a nationwide design competition focused on the use of digital tools in industry. One group’s design of what it called a Kara Learning Robot, which demonstrates how robotic mechanisms learn from each other, placed first in the American Technical Education Association 3D Futures Competition. A second group’s design of a robotic arm and gripper placed second. Both groups of students are enrolled in the Mechanical Design program at CVTC’s River Falls campus. “The groups worked on two different program projects,” said instructor Mahmood Lahroodi. “They were learning mechanical design concepts through project-based learning and had a chance to enter competition at the same time.” The team of first-year Mechanical Design students on the Kara Learning Robot team included Rick Hever of Hager City, Jon Knapp of River Falls and Franklin Lozano of Baldwin. The second-year students on the mechanical arm and gripper team included Alex Husfloen of Ellsworth and Eric Wolle of Baldwin. Andrew Boster was a member of both teams, creating the three-minute videos that constituted the actual entries in the competition. The teams won prizes of $1,500 for first place and $1,000 for second place. “One tool that hasn’t seen much use yet in technical colleges and universities is machine learning,” Boster said in introducing the winning video. “Machine learning has had great success in the field of image and language processing. Our goal is to apply the same ideas to problems of force and motion in mechanical systems.” The students designed Kara to turn a simple crank in a variety of rhythms, with a second unit learning the patterns from the first. They then added more units to form what they called a “Kara Swarm.” “One thing of importance to machine learning is the ability to share information just as we human beings do,” Knapp said. “The Internet of Things (IoT) is a rapidly rising concept of machine communication – the idea that your smart devices are all connected and can share information. With Kara we applied the concepts of IoT technology.” The robotic arm and gripper project came from a request by CVTC’s Automation Engineering Technology program, which uses an automated system designed to move small plastic bottles. The gripper they were using wasn’t

consistent in holding the bottles. Husfloen was working on that problem before the competition was announced, while Wolle was working on a mechanical arm. They combined the projects into one. “Our task was to create a gripper that has the ability to pick up multiple objects of various sizes, shapes, textures and hardness,” Husfloen said. “I wanted something where the fingers could be changed out depending on what you wanted to pick up.” “Our manipulator arm is built to be both compact and modular,” Wolle said. “It gives us the ability to have multiple configurations and have an appealing look. The arm houses a small DC motor, which creates side-to-side movement.” The competition was sponsored by Dassault Systemes, a French 3D design and engineering software company. Judging was by a panel of industry experts.

CVTC Mechanical Design students Alex Husfloen, left, and Eric Wolle show the claw mechanism that earned them second place in the ATEA national design competition. Wolle is holding part of what would be a mechanical arm and showing how a small electric motor fits inside.

Kara team photo: CVTC Mechanical Design students, from left, Rick Hever, Jon Knapp and Franklin Lozano hold parts of what they call a Kara Learning Robot Swarm that earned them first place in the ATEA national design competition.



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Profile for CVTC

CVTC Magazine Spring 2019  

CVTC Magazine Spring 2019  

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