Fox Valley Technical College | Focus Magazine | Fall 2018

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volume 11, issue 2 • Fall 2018

Fox Valley Technical College

Inside: Natural Resources grad leads expanding organization. Page 4 A Marine found his calling to teach. Page 10 Scholarships help student pursue nursing career. Page 16

your future

TALENT FVTC students among the best in nation

We’ll find a way to help you

SAVE MONEY “Community First found a way to combine our debt and saving us over $26,000. They helped us achieve a better quality of life.” Brittany & Graham Stewart, Member-Owners of Community First

Helping you save money is more than dollars and cents – it’s about finding ways to improve your life. If you are planning to buy a vehicle, home or make home improvements, let Community First help you save money from the start. If you have existing loans or high-rate credit cards with other financials, let us help find a way to save on those things, too. When you bank at Community First, you own Community First, so the profits come back to you. Stop in, call or visit our website to find ways we can help you save money.

Visit our full service branch on FVTC Appleton campus at Entrance 10 APPLETON

2626 S. Oneida St. 509 N. Richmond St. 2701 N. Ballard Rd. 455 S. Nicolet Rd. 1235 W. Spencer St. St. Elizabeth Hospital

Fox Valley Technical College, Appleton Campus



W6089 Cty. Rd. KK

N1230 Cty. Rd. CB

3282 Eaton Rd.

1700 Lawrence Dr.







600 W. Kimberly Ave.

2949 Riverview Dr.

1100 S. 30th St.

1819 Washington St.

MENASHA 201 Main St.


1575 Dresang Way 125 E. Forest Ave. 2300 Industrial Dr. 1193 W. Winneconne Ave.

NEW LONDON 603 W. Wolf River


W5644 Cty. Rd. F


(920) 830-7200 • toll-free (866) 273-2328 •


2424 Westowne Ave. 1492 W. South Park Ave.


1006 Royalton St.


features to Impress 8 Designed Kitchen & Bath grad exemplifies FVTC’s success at national competitions.




Called to Teach Born in a refugee camp, this Marine has travelled far to find his calling in early childhood education.


The Science of Success This Hilbert native found career success testing food for a prominent corporation.

in every issue FVTC 2 Around See what’s making news. 4

Focus on Growing Leaders An environmental director oversees an expanding organization thanks to FVTC.


Focus on Alumni The 21-year-old has emerged as an agriculture leader while caring for 7,200 farm animals.


Focus on the Student Experience This grad credits BizSquad for hands-on practice in career-building skills.

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Focus on Workplace Training The Galloway Company turns to Learning Innovations at FVTC for solutions.

Focus on the Entrepreneur Entrepreneur Jorge Reyes fell in love with technology while learning English.

Focus on the Foundation The FVTC Foundation made it possible for Kaleigh Cayce to pursue a rewarding career in nursing.

focus on social

In Your Words What are you most thankful for?

Focus is published bi-annually for the communities of Fox Valley Technical College. Director of College Marketing Barb Dreger Executive Editor/Manager of Media Relations Chris Jossart Art Director Cara Jakubiec Contributing Editors Casey Britten, Susan Lucius

On the Cover: Showcasing FVTC's first-place finishes at international and national student competitions.

Contributing Writers Joan Neumahr, Amy Vander Stoep Photographers Gary Brilowski, Gary Gawinski, Mike Roemer President Dr. Susan A. May

Fox Valley Technical College

1825 N. Bluemound Dr., P.O. Box 2277 Appleton, WI 54912-2277 1-800-735-3882 TTY (hearing impaired) 920-735-2569 (email inquiries) Accredited by The Higher Learning Commission since 1974. FVTC offers more than 200 associate degree, technical diploma and certificate programs, and instruction related to 15 apprenticeship trades, in addition to providing services to business and industry. The college serves about 45,000 people annually, more than any other technical college in Wisconsin. © 2018 Fox Valley Technical College. Fox Valley Technical College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age in employment, admissions or its programs or activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the College’s nondiscrimination policies: Rayon Brown, FVTC Appleton Campus, Office E120A, 920-735-4820.

around FVTC A First Culinary team the first from Wisconsin to win prominent national title. Students from the Culinary Arts program took home top honors at the American

Regina Hueckman, Morgan VandenLangenberg, Grace Claussen, Gage Dawiedczyk and Kirk Reilly

Culinary Federation (ACF) National Convention and Show in New Orleans this past July. Lamb prepared three ways represented the winning entrée by students Regina Hueckman, Morgan VandenLangenberg, Grace Claussen, Gage Dawiedczyk and Kirk Reilly. The occasion marked the first time in the show’s 23-year history that a culinary team from Wisconsin qualified for the prestigious competition. Under the direction of instructors Richard Williams, RC Schroeder and Julia Steinhiser, FVTC made more history by becoming the first team from the state to win the event. The students earned the right to compete at the convention by winning the ACF Central Region title in June. Other teams that vied for the national accolade included Orange Coast College, Alamance Community College, the Culinary Institute of New York at Monroe College and the Joint Center of Excellence - U.S. Military. Each team was tasked with preparing a signature four-course menu. The convention overall included more than 1,500 chefs and food service professionals. Established in 1929, the ACF is the premiere professional chefs’ organization in North America with more than 17,500 members from over 150 chapters.

Take A Class A new online shopping experience is now available. Search for personal enrichment and career development classes by category, location, day of week, or time of day and even register online. Learn more at

2 Fox Valley Technical College

Read | Watch | Share See something you’d like to share? All of the articles in this magazine are available online, with additional links, photos and videos. Visit to easily share content on Facebook, Twitter and more.

News Briefs The latest Graduate Employment Research Report cites


of FVTC grads are employed within six months of

graduation, the highest rate in



The Report also reveals FVTC graduates are earning


a year after being in the workforce five years.

• Graduates from both the Nursing - RN Associate Degree and Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) programs ranked number one in the nation based on test results of the mandatory National Council Licensure Examination. The impressive outcomes were compared against results from more than 2,700 combined ADN and LPN two- and fouryear colleges and universities.

• Culinary Arts Instructor Jen McClure was named 2018 Baking Instructor of the Year by the Wisconsin Bakers Association in recognition of her outstanding contributions to baking and pastry arts education.

• The Public Safety Training Center (PSTC) received praise from two prominent dignitaries this past year. U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin paid a visit to the PSTC in February, while Education Secretary Betsy DeVos made a stop in July to discuss best practices in school safety.

• Appleton International Airport is constructing a state-of-theart Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) Complex. FVTC and its Public Safety Training Center will serve as the exclusive training partner in providing FAA-required live burn training involving various aircraft. In addition, the college is partnering with Pierce Manufacturing and Oshkosh Corporation to provide customized training for their domestic and international ARFF Striker vehicle customers.

• Chris Brown was named manager of the new FVTC Wautoma Regional Center, and Allan Mitchler manager of the college’s Chilton Regional Center. Brown previously served as associate manager of FVTC’s Chris Brown Allan Mitchler Oshkosh Riverside campus, while Mitchler comes to the college as a former vice president at Cardinal Stritch University.

Jen McClure

Growth Strategy New center in Wautoma to serve growing needs in the region. This fall the doors opened to the new Fox Valley Technical College Wautoma Regional Center, welcoming education and workplace training unique to greater Waushara County. For 40 years, FVTC has had a presence in Wautoma, most recently in the Cap Services building downtown. The new 12,000 square-foot facility located on the Wautoma High School campus provides an ideal boost to an already robust partnership in K-12 programming with the local school districts. New offerings include truck driving, industrial maintenance and nursing assistant, in addition to continued programming in adult basic education, agriculture, welding, business and personal enrichment. • • • Learn More:

focus fall 2018



on growing leaders

Taking Charge Naturally An environmental director oversees an expanding organization thanks to FVTC. Randy Tuma, a 1999 Natural Resources graduate from Fox Valley Technical College, has put his education to use by managing one of the region’s best-known conservation organizations—the Gordon Bubolz Nature Preserve. The nonprofit Appleton gem features 700 acres of diverse land, and it underwent a name change this past summer

Randy Tuma

to become the Fox Cities Environmental Learning Campus. The new name coincides with a recent $5 million expansion project. The 39-year-old Random Lake native is excited about the additions and underscores the importance of a great staff. “Our staff currently consists of 14 individuals,” he says. “They include mission-critical staff like a program coordinator/naturalist, fundraisers and an event manager.” Tuma is a natural outdoorsman, so it was a great fit to attend FVTC. “Fox Valley Tech laid the foundation for my success in both environmental knowledge and people skills,” he says. “Technical skills are important but so are solid leadership capabilities.” After graduating from FVTC, Tuma worked at two nature preserves until joining Bubolz in 2008 as its property manager and naturalist. Two years later he became executive director. Under his leadership, the preserve’s offerings continue to expand. Traditional programs

Technical skills are important but so are solid leadership capabilities.

Randy Tuma, Fox Cities Environmental Learning Campus

like wilderness survival and a maple syrup immersion are now complemented by a host of new amenities. “The new campus gives us more ways to fund our mission by providing rental space for company meetings and family gatherings as well,” he adds. Tuma believes leaders are especially essential in the nonprofit sector. “Good leadership skills are vital in an industry with limited resources,” he says. “You need to know how to deal with people and encourage their involvement.” • • • Learn more:

44 Fox FoxValley ValleyTechnical TechnicalCollege College cites these seven soft skills that employers are seeking: Adaptability | Critical Observation Communication | Conflict Resolution Leadership | Problem Solving | Teamwork


on alumni

Q&A : 2017 Agribusiness Grad Isabella Haen The 21-year-old has emerged as an agriculture leader while caring for 7,200 farm animals.

What first brought you to FVTC? My older sister attended Fox Valley Tech in the Agribusiness program and always talked about how much she loved the staff and environment. While attending Luxemburg-Casco High School, our Ag teacher would bring us to the Tech for tours. I instantly liked the facility and all the technology.

What did you enjoy most at FVTC? The agriculture instructors make education manageable and enjoyable. They’re always there to answer questions. I also enjoyed the handson learning, working in fields and touring many farms, big and small, with all kinds of innovation. Isabella Haen

Why are your skills so valued in the workplace? I knew how to work with animals, but a college education furthered my knowledge of animal nutrition, vaccination protocols, proper measures to treat a sick animal and computer skills. One great resource at the college is a large cow model to practice calf birthing. Thanks to Fox Valley Tech, I understand what it takes to get the job done every day on the farm.

The agriculture instructors make education manageable and enjoyable.

Isabella Haen

Describe unique traits women bring to the industry. I work with a team of strong-willed and hard-working women at Kinnard Farms in Kewaunee County. We are inspired to adopt new ideas and change methods. Women pay attention to detail, which helps around the barn. Our passion is sharing the results we produce, like seeing a new calf enter the world in good health. • • • Learn more:

• • • View video:

Fairest of the Fairs

Each year, the Wisconsin Association of Fairs selects the prestigious Fairest of the Fairs. The winner spends time at county, district and state fairs promoting the importance of the agriculture industry. Isabella Haen is the 2018 Wisconsin Fairest of the Fairs from a pool of 36 candidates.

focus fall 2018



on social

What are you most thankful for?

We asked our campus community what they’re most thankful for. Here are some of our favorite responses!

Mary, Facebook Second chances. Ellizer, LinkedIn Being able to go to school and get the education I need to live the life I want to live.

Sarah, Instagram Grateful for the opportunities to meet some amazing students and colleagues at FVTC.

Garry, LinkedIn That my higher education journey began at FVTC.

Michelle, Facebook The support I’ve had during a challenging time in my life, so I can return to school and provide a better life for my two girls!

John, Facebook I’m grateful for all the wonderful staff who always helped me feel welcome.

Mayra, Facebook Grateful for being alive! Every day is a gift!

Something to share? We want to hear from you. Follow us and chime in on future Focus on Social questions. We just might include your comments in the next issue of Focus.



@FoxValleyTech Fox FoxValley ValleyTechnical TechnicalCollege College


Fox Valley Technical College


on the student experience

The experience served as a great relationship-building opportunity.

Mary Blavat

Business Endeavors This grad credits BizSquad for hands-on practice in career-building skills. Mary Blavat’s exemplary classwork earned her a spot on a recent BizSquad student team. “I was honored to be accepted into the program,” she states. “BizSquad gives students a chance to solve real business problems for area companies while learning how to work in a team.” Blavat is a 29-year-old Michigan native who now lives in Little Chute with her Fox Valley Tech-graduate husband and two young children. During BizSquad she worked on two different projects. “The first was building a website for a professional barn dismantling and demolition company,” she recalls. The second project was for B.A.B.E.S., Inc., a non-profit child abuse prevention and respite organization. “We developed two fundraising packets and learned how to deal

Mary Blavat

with change,” Blavat says. “The experience served as a great relationship-building opportunity.” Blavat primarily wrote and edited brochures while doing database work as well. “Regardless of what project we worked on, using effective communication skills was always important,” she says. “Understanding a client’s expectations is what it’s all about.” Getting a chance to work one-on-one with employers and learning how to adapt to the unexpected represent two big takeaways for Blavat from the BizSquad experience. “It’s rewarding work and a nice alternative to an internship,” she adds. Blavat graduated from FVTC in August with an associate degree in Human Resources and is now pursuing a bachelor’s degree.

BUSINESS IS BOOMING Since its inception in 2014, more than


BizSquad students have helped about


regional businesses and organizations. • • • Learn more:

focus fall 2018


Joan Watson


to Impress

88 Fox FoxValley ValleyTechnical TechnicalCollege College

Kitchen & Bath grad exemplifies FVTC’s success at national competitions.

Joan Watson, a 2018 graduate of both Fox Valley Technical College’s Kitchen & Bath and Interior Design programs, came in second at the prestigious National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) Student Design competition for her bathroom design. The 52-year-old Appleton resident received a $2,500 scholarship and a free trip to the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) next year in Las Vegas. With more than 100 schools participating, this was a major accomplishment for both Watson and FVTC. “Placing second at the competition was a satisfying way to showcase all of the skills I gained at Fox Valley Tech,” Watson says. “In the two-plus years it took to complete both programs, I learned everything from stateof-the-art software to furniture design.” For the competition held in Hackettstown, New Jersey, NBKA partnered with a local branch of Habitat for Humanity to design a bathroom for one of its homes. Contestants were given floor plans, some guidelines and a budget. “The budget covered flooring, lighting, cabinetry and fixtures,” says Watson. “We were judged on visual appeal, creativity and design.” Now a cabinet designer for Valley Cabinet in Neenah, Watson looks back on the event as a rewarding challenge. “The home used in the competition would occupy a family of four-to-six but with space for one bathroom,” she says. “My design solution for the bathroom was to separate the grooming/lavatory space from the bathing and toilet area with a wall and a pocket door so multiple people could use the bathroom with adequate privacy.” Watson credits FVTC for her success. “The courses teach students how to develop and present strong design concepts,” she says. “The classes were rigorous but having deadlines was helpful because that’s what you face in the real world.” • • • Learn more:

Placing second at the competition was a satisfying way to showcase all of the skills I gained at Fox Valley Tech. Joan Watson

Spotlight on Skill

A five-year glimpse of FVTC students in the national spotlight:

7 first-place finishes in: Agriculture

Business Management Culinary Arts Electronic Engineering Technology and

21 top-three finishes,

including other areas like business management, human resources, and sports and entertainment marketing

focus fall 2018


Thong Xiong and FVTC daycare child, Charlotte

Called to Teach Born in a refugee camp, this Marine has travelled far to find his calling in Lab Science Technician student Katherine Gutoski (left) works with instructor early Julie childhood education. Maurina-Brunker.

10 Fox Valley Technical College

While his father served as a colonel in the Vietnam War, Thong Xiong was born in a refugee camp in Thailand. His family moved to the United States in 1993 and after growing up in a couple of different cities, Xiong joined the U.S. Marine Corps.

In 2016, Xiong and his wife moved to Appleton.

Considering a career in the education sector, Xiong decided to take a class in early childhood education at Fox Valley Technical College. “I never knew how much I’d enjoy working with kids,” he says. “Watching their eyes light up when learning something is amazing.” Xiong discovered that he could easily transfer to a four-year university after completing his FVTC degree, so he enrolled

Fox Valley Tech has helped me every step of the way. Thong Xiong

in FVTC’s Early Childhood Education (ECE) program. “Kids absorb so much, so quickly,” he states. “The industry needs men to help show kids that anything is possible.” In addition to being a full-time student and working three jobs, Xiong is president of the Student Government Association and Hmong Student Union Club, while also serving as a work study in the college’s Veterans Services department and representing FVTC as a student ambassador for the Wisconsin Technical College System. “In these leadership roles, I’ve learned how to deliver speeches, share my story and advocate for technical education.” “Fox Valley Tech has helped me every step of the way,” adds Xiong. “My advisor, Koua Thao, along with ECE Instructor Amy Werba, make the college a home away from home.” The 29-year-old plans to graduate from FVTC in May 2019 and then continue his education. “I want to teach kindergarten and eventually earn a master’s degree in counseling,” he says. “My work can help children achieve their goals.”

• • • Learn more:

Early Jump on Early Childhood

11 high schools from 9 area school districts offer dual credits toward FVTC’s ECE program.

• • • View video:

Thong Xiong with advisor, Koua Thao

focus fall 2018


The Science of Success Heather Beil knew in high school that she wanted to make a

Heather Beil

This Hilbert native found career success testing food for a prominent corporation.

Beil attributes her education at FVTC to helping land an

career out of working in a lab setting. Fox Valley Technical

internship at McCain Foods in Appleton, an experience that

College helped make that goal a reality.

aided her in earning a position as a quality and food safety

“I’ve always been intrigued by the sanitation side of

specialist at Sargento Foods in Hilbert. She graduated in

working with food,” says the 20-year-old. “Fox Valley Tech’s

May of 2018 with the offer to work at Sargento already in

Lab Science Technician program showed me the proper way

hand before walking the stage. “The college’s modern labs

to handle food and a lot more.”

and caring instructors helped me hit the ground running in the real world,” Beil adds.

12 Fox Valley Technical College

Sargento is a leading family-owned company with business divisions dealing in consumer products, along with food service and ingredients. Beil is responsible for monitoring sanitation activities, determining the status of products, conducting lab tests, inspecting finished goods and more for the company’s consumer products division. One of the things Beil likes about her career is that every day is different. “My job is very versatile,” she notes. “Some days I’m on the computer, and other times may require me to be on the production floor doing applications that ensure compliance.” Regardless of what she’s doing, according to Beil the best part of her career is working with great people. “This truly is a company that believes in family,” she says.

• • • Learn more:

The college’s modern labs and caring instructors helped me hit the ground running in the real world. Heather Beil

Lab Science at FVTC • Remodeled science building, doubling space to meet growing needs for the food, environmental and paper and packaging industries • New credit-transfer agreement with Lakeland University’s Food Safety & Quality program

100% graduate employment for Lab Science Technician grads

2018 FVTC Graduate Employment Research Report

focus fall 2018



on workplace training

Fortunately, we don’t need one (a training department); the college has great people who get the job done.

Kevin Beauchamp, Galloway Company

COO Kevin Beauchamp (right) with co-worker Shane Wasinger

Better. Faster. The Galloway Company turns to Learning Innovations at FVTC for solutions. When Galloway Company landed a major new customer, corporate leaders recognized they needed to grow quickly.

learning more in two weeks than I did in years.” The LI professionals at FVTC have become an important

“We had to dramatically increase our workforce,” says

part of the Galloway team. “I continue to be impressed by

Chief Operating Officer Kevin Beauchamp. “These new

what they offer,” Beauchamp says. “They came one day to

hires needed to be quickly trained on our procedures and

record an experienced machine operator and returned shortly


with a complete training video.”

A leader in the condensed milk and dairy-based products

Beauchamp recommends FVTC to other businesses.

industry, Galloway previously ran a new hire training

“When you have an organization of 125 people, it’s hard to

process that lasted six months. Each new employee gained

have a training department,” he adds. “Fortunately, we don’t

what the company calls “tribal knowledge” by observing and

need one; the college has great people who get the job done.”

learning from a more experienced worker. “We no longer had that kind of time,” Beauchamp says. “The Fox Valley

• • • Learn more:

Tech Learning Innovations (LI) team showed us better and faster ways of doing things.” Among other initiatives, the LI team created a Standard Operating Procedures task list, developed an aptitude test and implemented a two-week orientation for new employees. “They learn everything from the general science of the dairy business to the actual mechanics of our processing systems,” Beauchamp states. “I find new employees

LI @ FVTC Learning Innovations at FVTC provides high-tech workplace solutions for companies like Kimberly-Clark, Miller Electric Mfg. Co., Oshkosh Corporation, Pierce Manufacturing and the Wisconsin Court System, to name a few.

14 Fox Valley Technical College


on the entrepreneur

My instructors helped me overcome a language barrier while building strong IT skills.

Hooked on Technology

Jorge Reyes

Entrepreneur Jorge Reyes fell in love with technology while learning English. Originally from Toluca, Mexico, 38-year-old Jorge Reyes once planned for a career in his native land as an English translator. “I started at Fox Valley Tech by taking English Language Learning (ELL) classes,” he says. “At the same time, I enrolled in a computer class, discovered technology and ended up with my own business in downtown Appleton.” Reyes went on to earn both a Computer Support Specialist associate degree and a Help Desk Support Specialist technical diploma from FVTC in 2015. “It only took me three years to graduate with two information technology degrees while learning English at the same time,” he says. “During college, I enjoyed helping others with their computers, and after graduation it seemed natural to start my own business.” Today, Reyes is the proud owner of IT Evolution, a growing full-service computer company. He started out three years ago with one computer and today he has more than 200 systems for sale. Reyes also repairs and installs computers, printers and mobile devices, and recently he earned his Registered Refurbisher license through Microsoft. The small business owner attributes his success to FVTC. “My instructors helped me overcome a language barrier while building strong IT skills,” he states. “All I had to do was ask for help, and there it was.” Reyes is now expanding his business by working with industries to recycle their older computers. “I reuse the parts and build refurbished computers to help customers solve problems while staying within budget,” he adds.

• • • Learn more: Jorge Reyes

IT Careers Everywhere More than


IT job postings in the region per month and a median hourly wage of more than

$32 in careers representing FVTC’s IT programs Based on 2017 data from Emsi Labor Market Analytics

focus fall 2018



on the foundation

The Foundation’s scholarships have been a life saver.

Kaleigh Cayce

Kaleigh Cayce

Made Possible The FVTC Foundation made it possible for Kaleigh Cayce to pursue a rewarding career in nursing. Kaleigh Cayce always wanted to be a nurse. “I came to Fox Valley Tech because I heard about its great nursing program,” she says. “I love the hands-on classes, plus the affordable tuition and scholarships make this an awesome college, too.” In her first year at FVTC, Cayce received the Bob Bastian/Peabody Manor scholarship to cover the cost of books and classes in the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program. She then received an Appleton Rotary Foundation scholarship that will go toward her pursuit of a Nursing - RN Associate Degree. “I’ve always worked a variety of jobs, but I still struggle paycheck to paycheck,” states the 20-year-old graduate of Tri-County High School in Plainfield, Wisconsin. “The Foundation’s scholarships have been a life saver.” Cayce believes that the CNA program prepared her well for a home care job. “The clinical classes taught me how to interact with all types of patients and handle different

situations,” she says. “I’m now prepared to manage a wide range of situations working with children, such as bathing, feeding, dressing and more.” After she graduates from FVTC in 2020, Cayce plans to earn a bachelor's degree in nursing. “Eventually I think I would like to be a midwife,” she says. “I’ll always be thankful for the scholarships that helped make it all possible.” • • •Learn more:

The FVTC Foundation awarded over


scholarships, totaling

$680,000 in 2017-18.

16 Fox Valley Technical College

Need money for college? Paying for college is one of the biggest concerns for students and parents. One way Fox Valley Tech can help lighten the burden is through scholarships. 1000+ high school and current students were awarded scholarships last year.

Application dates for high school seniors: October 1, 2018-March 1, 2019 Apply today:

It’s free and easy to apply! Just complete one form and we’ll match you up with the scholarships you may be eligible for.

focus fall 2018





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