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focus Fox Valley Technical College

volume 5, issue 2 • fall 2012

your future

Banking on skill Like alumna Ashley Rahn discovered, banking and finance careers are in demand. Page 7

inside: > Dura-Fibre looks to

FVTC for improving its workforce. Page 4

> Marketable skills

needed by today’s employers. Page 6

> Hands-on careers

in lab science.

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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

6 What’s Now

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FVTC students graduate with employable skills that industries need.

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Banking on Skill The banking and financial services field is thriving, and Fox Valley Technical College graduates are finding careers in a ‘best kept secret’ industry. Scientifically Speaking Hands-on careers that specialize in a number of laboratory science fields await students with the right skills. Mechanically Inclined Mechanical designers use creativity to find solutions.

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Joan Neumahr, Amy Vander Stoep

in every issue

PHOTOGRAPHY Gary Brilowski, Gary Gawinski, Patrick Kelly

2 Around FVTC

A quick look at what’s making news at FVTC.

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features

ART DIRECTOR Amy Bjellos

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Focus on Workplace Training A local packaging firm finds results in employee development thanks to a customized workplace training plan from Fox Valley Technical College. Focus on the Entrepreneur When a business grows its staff from two to more than 60 employees in just six years, something is working.

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Focus on Alumni Q & A with Chief Keith Kiesow, a graduate of Fox Valley Technical College’s Fire Protection Technician program.

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Focus on the Foundation The FVTC Foundation is awarding scholarships in record numbers.

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Focus on the Student Experience Construction management students join Rebuilding Together Fox Valley to restore homes for people in need.

welcome

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 www.fvtc.edu jossart@fvtc.edu (email inquiries) Accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association, www.ncahlc.org. 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 served about 53,000 people last year, more than any other technical college in Wisconsin. Member of:

© 2012 Fox Valley Technical College. All rights reserved. Equal Opportunity Employer/Educator.

Fox Valley Technical College has sparked my enthusiasm for the Interior Design field, and has equipped me with the knowledge I need to start my career in Kitchen & Bath Design. I’ve learned real tricks of the trade that will be put to good use in my profession. “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” – William Butler Yeats Welcome to Fox Valley Technical College! Benjamin Franz, FVTC Student, Interior Design-Kitchen & Bath Design


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Facility Expansion Update

Since passing a $66.5 million public referendum on April 3, Fox Valley Technical College has taken several steps toward the development of key facility expansion projects. The referendum, which produced a 65.3% favorable vote, was needed in order to support and address increased demands from regional employers and specialized training initiatives. These needs include the construction of a Public Safety Training Center in collaboration with the Outagamie County Regional Airport, a Health Simulation Technology Center, and a Student Success Center on the Appleton campus. Expansion efforts include the J. J. Keller Transportation Center and Agriculture Center, also both located on the Appleton campus. Two other aspects of the referendum include meeting regional growth needs in both Chilton and Oshkosh. FVTC purchased its Chilton Regional Center as part of passing the vote, and voters authorized a land acquisition in Oshkosh. After several months of going through various regulatory phases related to zoning, planning, and environmental matters, FVTC is announcing the following tentative timeline concerning the anticipated construction and completion of the projects: Health Simulation & Technology Center: Construction began in October with completion expected in fall of 2013. Public Safety Training Center: Construction to begin in March of 2013 with completion expected in spring of 2015. Student Success Center: Construction to begin in March of 2013 with completion expected in fall of 2014.

Forensic science training at FVTC

Agriculture Center: Construction on the expansion of this center to begin in April of 2013 with completion expected in fall of 2013. J. J. Keller Transportation Center: Construction on the expansion of this center to begin in April of 2013 with completion expected in spring of 2014. Learn more: www.fvtc.edu/facilitiesplan

Must-See Additions to S.J. Spanbauer Center Fox Valley Technical College’s S.J. Spanbauer Center in Oshkosh recently completed an 8,000 square-foot expansion project to meet growing industry needs. The center has always been known for its eye-appealing training equipment from airplanes to construction models to wood manufacturing labs, but now the training site just became even more alluring. The expanded space houses two new high-tech flight simulators to enhance training for the Aeronautics-Pilot Training program, which is involved in a number of initiatives to help address a pilot shortage, a computer lab to accommodate growth in the Construction Management Technology program, a bigger commons area with computers for students, and additional lab space for both the Aircraft Electronics and Airframe and Powerplant Mechanics programs.

New flight simulation technology at FVTC

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www.fvtc.edu Fox Valley Technical College

Programs located at FVTC’s S.J. Spanbauer Center: • Aeronautics-Pilot Training • Aircraft Electronics • Airframe & Powerplant Mechanics • Electro-Mechanical Technology • Construction Management Technology • Residential Building Construction • Wood Manufacturing Technology


News Briefs Manufacturing Careers are Alive and Well Leading regional manufacturers need skilled workers now. Oshkosh’s staple manufacturers understand the time is now to ignite interest in advanced manufacturing careers, while changing misperceptions that the industry is dead. Oshkosh Corporation, Jay Manufacturing, and Muza Metal Products collaborated with the Oshkosh Area School District and Fox Valley Technical College during National Manufacturing Day on October 5 to highlight local career opportunities. Nearly 60 students representing Oshkosh North and Oshkosh West High Schools received hands-on tours of FVTC’s Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center (AMTC), Jay Manufacturing, and Muza Metal Products as part of Manufacturing Day to discover what’s driving the need for welders and metal fabricators. High school students tour FVTC. The AMTC tour also included an overview of Oshkosh Corporation’s needs for welders within its supply chain. The skills gap is crippling the nation’s economy. Nationally, there are about seven million manufacturing jobs available, but they require a skill set mostly attainable only through a two-year college. Moreover, the Manufacturing Institute estimates manufacturers will need 10 million new skilled laborers by 2020, and surveys reveal that 52% of American employers are having trouble filling these jobs. Jay Manufacturing President Matt Jameson said Manufacturing Day represented only the start of the partners’ effort to build interest in skilled-labor careers. “We are excited to continue our efforts in reaching out to more people who can earn a good wage and work with innovative technology,” says Jameson. “What we’re doing together is even more promising in a region that is one of the leading manufacturing locations in the country.” The AMTC in Oshkosh is poised to train the next generation of skilled welders and metal fabricators due to its high-tech training resources, which are supported by another partnership FVTC has with Miller Electric Manufacturing Co., Appleton. In addition, the center recently added new equipment to its Metallurgy Lab thanks to a donation by Precision Thermal Processing, Inc. and Walker forge, Inc., Clintonville.

• The National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship, the nation’s leading organization focused on promoting entrepreneurship through community colleges, has announced the appointment of FVTC President Dr. Susan May to its Board of Directors. • Students from the Culinary Arts program earned gold medals during the annual Wisconsin Restaurant Association College Culinary Arts Competitions in Milwaukee. FVTC won first place in the hot food team category. The team consisted of students Jerry Tignall, Brian Shaw, Laura Johnson, Chris Vandeyacht, and Shanna Denning. Student Kristin Schnurer took home a gold medal in the individual cold food competition. Other students placed in the same category, including Scott Strand with a silver medal and Shanna Denning with a bronze medal. In the cake competition, students Kaytlin Snivey and Renita Dompier both earned gold medals with their baking performances. • Horticulture Technician students, under the leadership of instructor Jim Beard, helped develop a 9/11 Memorial for the Greenville Fire Department. Several students implemented the entire landscape architecture for the project, which features two steel columns that were recovered from the World Trade Center wreckage. • The Appleton campus Welding Club constructed a 40-foot handicapped accessible fishing dock for Pigeon Lake near Clintonville. Students from the same club also remodeled a railing system to improve safety for residents of COTS, Inc., a temporary homeless shelter located in Appleton. • FVTC and UW-Oshkosh teamed up with a new agreement that allows students in the college’s Aeronautics-Pilot Training, Aircraft Electronics, and Airframe and Powerplant Mechanics programs to transfer credits into a UW-Oshkosh baccalaureate degree with an aviation emphasis. • Various programs once again shined in the national spotlight during the annual SkillsUSA Conference in Kansas City. Students earning top 10 finishes at the 2012 competitions were Tim Wiese, 4th place in the Marine Service contest, Del Cherney, 4th place in the Power Equipment contest, Michal Ann Carley, 5th place in the Welding Sculpture contest, and Jim Schuler, 6th place in the Motorcycle Service contest.

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on workplace training All on the Same Page A local packaging firm finds results in employee development thanks to a customized workplace training plan from Fox Valley Technical College.

Employee input has been a central ingredient of growth for Menasha-based industrial packaging solutions company, Dura-Fibre. “Our plant employees are working with machines every day and have insights that those of us in management simply couldn’t have,” says Luke Benrud, Dura-Fibre’s director of operations. “We realized we needed them to regularly communicate their concerns and improvement ideas.” In the past, line workers at DuraFibre were hesitant to share their ideas and make changes. “We needed to develop a continuous improvement mindset so employees would work with us to help develop solutions,” states Benrud. To this end, he looked to the region’s experienced leader in workplace training solutions: Fox Valley Technical College’s Business and Industry Services.

What made Fox Valley Technical College stand out was that it understood our needs and developed a program that worked for us.

Luke Benrud,

Dura-Fibre

FVTC trainers specialize in customizing plans to develop leadership talent—when and where it is convenient for the company. In Dura-Fibre’s case, it was all about customizing a training program that focused on communications. “What made Fox Valley Technical College stand out was that it understood our needs and developed a program that worked for us,” says Benrud. “The college’s

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Luke Benrud (left) of Dura-Fibre confers with FVTC Trainer Dean Murzello.

instructor was excellent, and the classes were scheduled at our convenience. We were able to work with all three of our shifts at once.” Dean Murzello, one of FVTC’s Management Development instructors, explains the key to a partnership’s success. “When we begin a new project, we start with an in-depth assessment of the company and its people,” he notes. “Once we understand the situation, we review relevant research and then recommend an approach that will deliver the most effective and fastest results.” For Dura-Fibre, FVTC’s training program began by providing employees with basic tools. In the first phase of the program, they learned how to lead a team together, share ideas, map out a process, and identify ways to pull all these elements together. The training included simulations and role playing. Employees engaged as both team leaders and team members using situations from Dura-Fibre. “Afterward we debriefed to learn how applying the new skills generates success,” says Murzello. “This is a key step in getting results.” The training has been so successful that Dura-Fibre has already met with FVTC to set up the next program. “Once our employees started to realize that their ideas were being heard, we

www.fvtc.edu Fox Valley Technical College

began getting more ideas, and that is huge,” Benrud emphasizes. “Improvement initiatives are now a regular part of our work world.”

Go with Experience Fox Valley Technical College’s Business and Industry Services department plays a significant role in the economic development of the region. Here’s why: • A leader in addressing the business growth, talent development, process and operations, safety and sustainability, and technology and trades needs to all industries • 22,614 employees trained in 2011 • 1,661 organizations served in 2011 • Industries impacted by customized training include business and professional services, construction, financial and insurance, health care, government, manufacturing, non-profit, small business and more

Learn more: www.fvtc.edu/bis

Now available! New Business & Industry Services Guide. View a copy: www.fvtc.edu/bisguide


focus

on the entrepreneur

Driving Business Success When a business grows its staff from two to more than 60 employees in just six years, something is working.

BrightStar owner Carol Brauer came to the Venture Center at Fox Valley Technical College right after she had launched her company six years ago. She wanted to grow her business, and grow it she did! With the help of the Venture Center, her home care services business has soared from two employees to more than 60. BrightStar provides professional staffing assistance to seniors and others with special needs who wish to continue living at home. “We provide nurses and certified nursing aides on a one to twenty-four hour basis,” explains Brauer. “Our passion is to keep seniors in their homes and help them live safely and with dignity. We work with individuals of all ages and also provide staffing at nursing homes and assisted living facilities.”

I can take what I learned back to my office staff and caregivers to strengthen our best practices.

Carol Brauer,

BrightStar

Prior to launching BrightStar, Brauer had been a successful hospitality professional for 30 years. “I was a regional vice president in charge of 27 hotels,” she recalls. “When I lost my job, however, I took it as an opportunity to transition into a totally new career that better fit my interests.” To help in her career change, Brauer attended a workshop offered by the Venture Center. “We first met Carol when she came to one of our free workshops,” says Amy Pietsch, director of the Venture Center. “She went on to take both our e-seedTM and Pro-SeedTM

BrightStar business owner Carol Brauer (right) enjoys time with her client, Peg.

training programs.” E-seed is a 13-week training experience that focuses on business start-up strategies, including idea feasibility, market analysis, business model design, business plan development, and financing, to name just a few. Pro-Seed explores business growth plans that are customized to meet the challenges small business owners face in managing their enterprises. Brauer says her experience with the Venture Center has made a measurable difference in her professional growth. “For example, by doing a time log, my Pro-Seed coach helped me see that I was doing things I could delegate to others,” she states. “The result was I could work on new growth opportunities.” Brauer still works with the Venture Center by participating in a variety of workshops. “It’s a great way to network with reliable and credible resources,” she says. “I can take what I learned back to my office staff and caregivers to strengthen our best practices. In our business, it’s all about providing consistent, quality care in an efficient, personal manner.” The Venture Center stays up-todate on its training services. “Our competitive advantage is our talent,” states Pietsch. “The faculty members

who run our programs are all experts and successful in their fields. It’s our job to help local businesses flourish.”

Going National with e-seedTM The Venture Center at Fox Valley Technical College has helped local entrepreneurs with its e-seed training program for many years. Now, after successfully completing a train-the-trainer pilot project for another technical college, e-seed is being offered to community colleges nationwide. The nationwide launch took place in October at the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship Conference in Chicago. Locally, here is a snapshot of e-seed’s economic impact in just six years: • More than 300 business launches, creating about 1,500 jobs • Industries include retail, wholesale, service, health care, food service, manufacturing, and even franchising, to name a few • Several program completers have received awards from regional chambers of commerce and industry associations for their accomplishments

Learn more: www.venturecenterwi.biz

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what’s NOW >> College of Choice FVTC students graduate with employable skills that industries need.

Whether you’re channel surfing or driving along a nearby freeway, advertisements for higher education are everywhere! The reality is our economy is crying for advanced skills, so earning a degree today simply isn’t good enough… you must FVTC alumna Val Wojcik is put the degree to work. enjoying her career as a “More than ever, it is critical for high school students and project engineer. their parents to be aware of the employment picture when considering a college or university,” says Chris Matheny, chief academic officer at Fox Valley Technical College. “Today, there are not enough individuals with the necessary qualifications to fill positions in this region based on the job postings we receive.” Parent-to-Parent: What Matheny noted that around 60% of the jobs in the region require specific Matters in Selecting a College post-secondary training. “Our close connections with area employers ensure As part of its annual Community Open House that Fox Valley Tech graduates have employable skills,” he adds. “We in October, FVTC engaged parents in a also work proactively to provide students with a variety of career readiness community dialogue on what matters to them workshops as part of their learning experience. These are the primary reasons when choosing a college or university. A why every year about 90% of our graduates land jobs.” parent panel and facilitators led a discussion Valarie Wojcik, a 2009 graduate of FVTC’s Industrial Welding Technician on what factors were considered in this program, first came to the Appleton campus as a senior in high school to decision-making process. participate in a mini-chopper build team project. She had no idea of what she wanted in a career. “Through this experience, I discovered that I really loved Here is a summary of considerations that welding,” she recalls. “This high school project opened my eyes to what I were shared by parents of high school wanted to do in life.” students, college students, and college Wojcik excelled in the associate graduates: All my credits transferred. degree program at FVTC and then • Where are the jobs? went on to earn a bachelor’s degree In fact, I had more hands- in Welding Engineering Technology • What skills are needed for those jobs? from Ferris State University on experience than my • Is there available data on salary in Michigan. “All my credits expectations for various careers? peers did who had started transferred,” she states. “In fact, I • Start planning for a career path earlier in had more hands-on experience than at a four-year school. high school. my peers did who had started at a • Which colleges provide transfer Even better, I had my Fox four-year school. Even better, I had opportunities for continuous education? my Fox Valley Tech loans paid off Valley Tech loans paid • Explore dual credit opportunities with before I entered the workforce.” off before I entered the colleges while in high school. Today, Wojcik works as a project • Examine student debt and affordability when engineer for Hirotec America in workforce. looking at colleges as part of a career path. Auburn Hills, Michigan, a company Val Wojcik that develops and installs assembly • Spread the word to middle school and high school guidance counselors about the value lines for the automotive industry. of associate degrees. “When I help install a new assembly line system, I usually surprise a lot of plant workers because I know how to weld,” she laughs. • What are the opportunities to get involved Through classroom study combined with hands-on applications and on campus or in the community? internships, FVTC’s students graduate with employable skills that industries need. “We play a vital role in economic development by providing skilled Learn more: talent for entry-level positions, in addition to training employees at many www.fvtc.edu/whyfvtc companies through continuous education,” says Matheny. “Either way, the www.fvtc.edu/collegepreview college works in concert with area industries to help close the skills gap that for info on the next parent panel is plaguing our economy.” on February 12, 2013.

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Banking on Skill

The banking and financial services field is thriving, and Fox Valley Technical College graduates are finding careers in a ‘best kept secret’ industry.

‘A hidden gem’ is what Kim Olson has heard when it comes to Fox Valley Technical College’s Banking and Financial Services program. Olson, associate dean of FVTC’s Business, Health, and Service division, accepts the statement as a bittersweet notion. “I’m not sure if I should smile or frown when I hear that,” Olson jokes. “What I do know is that so many people are looking for jobs in this economy, and we currently have 32 regional full-time jobs posted for qualified graduates in banking and finance and not enough students enrolled to fill them.” Ashley Rahn, a graduate of FVTC’s Banking & Financial Services program

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The Banking and Financial Services program prepares graduates for career opportunities that include managing loans, risk management, customer service, and asset protection, in addition to providing investment, retirement, tax, and estate planning services. “When interviewing new employees,” states Peter Prickett, president of First National Bank-Fox Valley, “we look for strong customer interaction skills as well as a solid education in accounting or finance.” “Our graduates are ready to help people actively manage their money and make the most of available resources,” says Olson. Through class work focused on real-world situations, students gain the skills needed to analyze and recommend financial products and services, and propose the best approach to their customers based on individual needs. “For example, students may be given case studies of bank or credit union customers who are applying for loans,” adds Olson. “They examine the records and recommend the best course of action. They use problemsolving strategies to prioritize and achieve the specific financial goals unique to each customer.” Olson stresses the importance of preparing graduates to be good financial stewards. “We’ve found the best way to teach our students is to help them see these financial concepts on a personal basis,” she states. “They immediately see how they’ll be impacting the lives of others. Helping a customer build and maintain a solid credit rating, for example, is important.” All students are required to do an internship at a local financial institution. It’s not unusual for a financial firm to offer interns a full-time position upon graduation. Ashley Rahn, a 2010 graduate of FVTC’s Banking and Financial Services program, knows the value of an internship very well. Rahn, 23, of Brillion, is currently a document management

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Ashley Rahn earned a promotion early in her career to start-up a new computer records system at First National Bank.

specialist at First National Bank-Fox Valley in Neenah. “I did my internship here, and then the bank hired me full time as a customer service representative,” states Rahn. “I was immediately ready to apply everything I learned as a result of both my education and the internship.” Rahn did so well that she was soon promoted after she started. “The bank offered me this opportunity to help set up its new computer records system,” she said. “I have I was immediately ready always been interested in behind-the-scenes to apply everything I bank work, and this promotion was a great opportunity for me to learn more.” learned as a result of Rahn recalls the value of the coursework at FVTC as a significant pathway to her success. both my education and “The financial institutions and financial the internship. products and services courses really helped me understand what I am doing now,” she says. Ashley Rahn

www.fvtc.edu Fox Valley Technical College


“When I scan loans, I need to know {Through a promotion}, how to place them in a database. Without the knowledge I gained at the bank offered me this Fox Valley Tech, I would not know opportunity to help set what to do on my job.” While Rahn enjoyed working with up its new computer customers, she finds the challenges of her new position to be equally records system. rewarding. “I’m the first person to Ashley Rahn have this position here,” she explains. “I like working independently— creating my own work flow to effectively transfer all of our records over to the new system.” Opportunities for advancement are a big selling point of the program. Like Rahn, a typical first position for graduates may be a bank teller or customer service representative. Financial institutions are in need of multi-skilled professionals who can fill evolving needs in a variety of departments. The field is full of complex regulations, and financial professionals serve as liaisons for customers to better understand these intricacies. First National Bank-Fox Valley has a formal career enhancement program in which employees are encouraged to advance their careers. “We want our employees to increase their knowledge and skills for a better customer experience, as well as for their own career advancement,” states Prickett. FVTC’s Banking and Financial Services program attracts students of all ages and backgrounds. Nearly 40% of students enter the program directly out of high school. “When starting the program, many students are a bit unsure what specific career path they will follow in relation to the banking and finance industry,” notes Olson. “Once into the program, they begin to see many different opportunities that are available and work to reach their own individual goals relative to the industry. Some, for example, take a double major with accounting or business management.” Staff members of the program work closely with an advisory board to ensure that graduates are prepared for success. Advisory board members represent both large and smaller financial institutions. They constantly look at what skills are needed and what competencies will be required in the future of banking and financial services.

Number Crunching Success Here is a glimpse of some current key indicators for the regional banking and financial services field: • 100% graduate placement five years running (20082012, total of 47 graduates) • Average annual starting salary for 2011 program graduates: Nearly $28,000; More than $38,000 for alumni five years after graduation in the same field • 32 regional full-time job postings as of September, 2012 • A top 5 in-demand career nationwide in 2012, according to CareerCast

Learn more: www.fvtc.edu/banking

View video: www.fvtc.edu/focus/banking

Fun Financial Facts 1. Why is a dollar called a buck? There are several theories, but most think buck is short for buckskin—a common medium of exchange in trading within the Native American culture. 2. When was paper money first printed in the U.S.? The U.S. Department of the Treasury first issued paper currency in 1862 to make up for the shortage of coins.

3. What denominations of bills were first printed? The first paper notes were printed in denominations of 1 cent, 5 cents, 25 cents, and 50 cents. 4. What is a bear market?  An extended period of general price declines in the securities market. 5. What is a bull market?  An extended period of general price increases in the securities market.

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Scientifically

Speaking

Hands-on careers that specialize in a number of laboratory science fields await students with the right skills.

Katherine Gutoski went from uncertainty to clarity regarding the college experience. “When I was at a four-year school, I was unsure of what I wanted,” she says. “The nice thing about Fox Valley Tech is that it gave me a clear sense of direction.” Gutoski, 29, of Menasha, is a second-year student in Fox Valley Technical College’s Laboratory Science Technician program. She came to the college with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, but wishes she had gone into science earlier. “I was attracted to Fox Valley Tech’s hands-on labs to study science,” explains Gutoski. “Unlike a four-year school, this college is pretty focused on what students need to do to find their passion in the workplace.” Launched in 2010, FVTC’s Laboratory Science Technician program is very distinct. “Our program is unusual in that it integrates environmental, industrial, food, paper, and water

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Lab Science Technician student Katherine Gutoski (left) works with instructor Julie Maurina-Brunker.

elements,” says instructor and department chair Julie Maurina-Brunker. “Students gain a broad range of skills required to work in many different types of industrial labs.” Like all educational offerings at FVTC, the Laboratory Science Technician program was designed to meet the needs of area employers. Working with an active advisory committee, Maurina-Brunker developed effective hands-on curriculum to complement a strong internship experience.

www.fvtc.edu Fox Valley Technical College


Career Diversity

When I was at a four-year school, I was unsure of what I wanted. The nice thing about Fox Valley Tech is that it gave me a clear sense of direction.

Katherine Gutoski

Laboratory science careers are wide open when it comes to working in a variety of specialized fields, such as: Biotechnology Laboratory Technician Chemical Technician Dairy Laboratory Technician Environmental Laboratory Technician Food Laboratory Technician Food Science Technician Industrial Laboratory Technician Laboratory Quality Assurance Technician Municipal Wastewater Plant Operator Paper Testing Technician Research and Development Technician Quality Assurance Manager Water and Wastewater Laboratory Technician

Learn more: www.fvtc.edu/labscience

Gutoski is currently interning at Badger Laboratories & Engineering, an environmental lab in nearby Neenah. Her role there is to help test samples from sludge and wastewater to ensure that all chemical levels are within legal limits. “I felt prepared when I came to work here,” she recalls. “No one expects you to know everything, but I certainly had a solid understanding of how to run specific equipment and perform laboratory tests.” Like Gutoski, many FVTC Lab Tech students have already gone to school in another field. “While some of our students are recent high school graduates, many have a two- or four-year degree but have joined our program to gain career training,” says Maurina-Brunker. “Others are being sent by employers to gain new skills. One student returned to school because she could not get promoted. She finished last spring and was promoted to quality assurance manager right after graduation.” As the lab tech program continues to grow, it will also change to meet new needs. “We have a lot of online and hybrid classes designed for working adults,” states Maurina-Brunker. “We’re also considering adding shorter certificate offerings in specific areas such as food, paper, or environmental science. For those who wish to continue their education, we’re developing agreements that will help our graduates transfer credits.” Just this year, national food legislation was passed that will mandate more View testing on imported ingredients before they can be used in production. “This

will increase local and national needs for skilled lab techs,” Maurina-Brunker explains. For Katherine Gutoski, the program has helped define her career path. “I’ve recommended this program to other people who enjoy science, chemistry, and microbiology,” she states. “It’s a great experience.” “I definitely see myself continuing to work in a lab,” says Gutoski.

video: www.fvtc.edu/focus/labscience

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Mechanically Mechanical designers use creativity to find solutions. Sporting goods, electronics, automotive equipment, kitchen appliances, and lawn mowers just scratch the surface of products that we encounter every day. Diverse in their composition and consumer markets, all of these products share one commonality: At some point in the manufacturing process, they were all made with the skill of a mechanical designer. “Mechanical designers play a vital role in the production of almost everything manufactured today,” states Jeff Laurich, an instructor in Fox Valley Technical College’s Mechanical Design Technology program. “If it’s manufactured, a mechanical designer probably played a role in the process. Look at a smart phone, for example. Mechanical designers don’t do the electronics work on the phone, but they work with electrical engineers to design the cover that fits on the back to hold the battery.”

Mechanical Design Technology student Jacob Woelfel displays prototypes made during class.

I wanted smaller classes, better teachers, and handson learning ­— all of which I get at Fox Valley Tech at a much lower price. I wish I had gone here first.

Jacob Woelfel

The main role of a mechanical designer is to find the best way to make a product or a part work effectively or fit precisely into a given application. This process leaves a lot of room for innovation. “The idea of finding the best solution to a problem makes this career fascinating,” states second-year student Jacob Woelfel of Menasha. “My instructors encourage creativity, and they want you to look at things from different viewpoints and figure out different solutions.” In the Design of Tooling class, for example, students are assigned a

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www.fvtc.edu Fox Valley Technical College


Woelfel explores SolidWorks technology with instructor Jeff Laurich.

problem to solve as part of a project. “You have a great deal of independence,” says the 22 year-old Woelfel. “If your first idea doesn’t work, you keep at it until you come up with something that does. You learn from being hands-on and from your mistakes. Your instructor and classmates are always there to work with you too.” Students work with the latest technology, including various solid modeling software and 3D printing. The final class project requires student teams to design a product. “They create the 3D design, determine the parts, calculate the cost, figure out how to manufacture it, and then present their idea to the class,” says Laurich. “They can actually build the product with rapid prototyping technology, utilizing a 3D printer that melts plastic into an actual three-dimensional part or product.” Woelfel has also used his capabilities on the 3D rapid prototyping equipment to solve problems in his own area of interest. “I’m into model trains, and it’s almost impossible to replace accessories for some of the classic Lionel Train sets,” he explains. “So, I simply drew them up and made them to scale. I’m always coming up with new things I want to do.” Both Woelfel and Laurich agree that the coolest thing about mechanical design is coming up with a solution and then seeing it produced. “It’s great when you walk into a store and see your ideas as part of a product,” recalls Laurich. The broad need for mechanical design skills makes it an active field with increasing demand and outstanding career potential. “Virtually all of our graduates land jobs and remain in the industry,” says Laurich. In addition, according to FVTC’s latest Graduate Employment Research Report, the average salary for 2011 mechanical design graduates was nearly $38,000 a year. That salary jumps to an average of more than $48,000 for graduates after five years. The FVTC Mechanical Design Technology program has daytime, weekend, and evening courses to meet the needs of students. “I went to a four-year school first, and I really wasn’t happy there,” notes Woelfel. “I wanted smaller classes, better teachers, and hands-on learning – all of which I get at Fox Valley Tech at a much lower price. I wish I had gone here first.” To attract more interest in mechanical design, a new class is in the works. “Mechanical design instructor Craig Black, Fab Lab Manager Steve Gallagher, and I are working together to set up electric guitar building classes,” Laurich says. “It is the result of a partnership with Purdue University. We will utilize the Fab Lab’s resources to teach STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) skills by constructing solid body electric guitars.”

Learn more: www.fvtc.edu/mechanicaldesign

100% Job Placement All 20 graduates of FVTC’s Mechanical Design Technology program from the class of 2011 landed jobs. These professionals are not only designing products and parts, but they also play a role in designing the equipment used to manufacture them. In the workplace, they hold such titles as: • Mechanical engineer or designer • Product engineer or designer • Manufacturing engineer • CAD operator • CAD drafter or detailer • CAD design specialist • Drafter or detailer

View video: www.fvtc.edu/focus/mechanicaldesign

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Q & A with Chief Keith Kiesow A graduate of Fox Valley Technical College’s Fire Protection Technician program, Keith Kiesow is chief of the Town of Menasha Fire Department, an adjunct instructor at FVTC, and a member of the Fire Protection Technician program’s advisory committee. Chief Kiesow was also named recipient of FVTC’s 2012 Alumni of the Year award.

How did your career get started? I began as a volunteer on-call firefighter in 1980. Once I started taking the required classes at FVTC, I realized that this was something I enjoyed doing. As I progressed, I attended the National Fire Academy and then decided to earn my associate degree at Fox Valley Tech. At that time, I was also working at Wisconsin Tissue Mill as a certified Journeyman electrical instrument technician. I came to FVTC for that part of my career as well.

Why did you decide to change careers and become a firefighter? I was a captain and a training officer at the fire department when I received an offer for the chief’s position. Changing careers seemed like a natural next step in my life. I’ve always liked helping people. As firefighters, we help people on possibly the worst days of their lives.

How has this industry changed? I have been fighting fires for 32 years and have seen tremendous changes in technology. There is more electronicrelated equipment now so you need extra training. When I started, the basic class requirement to become a firefighter was 30 hours. Today it is 120 hours, along with written exams and practical hands-on tests. The

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Keith Kiesow, Town of Menasha Fire Chief and FVTC’s 2012 Alumni of the Year recipient

The college gave me the education to succeed as a firefighter, as a captain, as a training officer, and now as a fire chief.

adjunct teaching I do is in the apparatus area, helping students learn how to best drive and operate fire engines and ladder trucks. Today, firefighters simply need more education to do their job effectively. Public expectations have changed. If there is a problem and it’s not a police matter, the fire department is called. We assume a lot of different roles in this career.

How did FVTC help prepare you? Fox Valley Technical College continues to have one of the best fire protection programs in the state. The college gave me the education to succeed as a firefighter, as a captain, as a training officer, and now as a fire chief.

www.fvtc.edu Fox Valley Technical College

Keith Kiesow

What do you enjoy most about your role as a fire chief? We’re a small department, so I’m on call 24 hours a day. However, the positive side of that is I get to be directly involved and do things that I enjoy, like driving a fire truck and working with people. Basically, I like working with people and helping others whether it’s teaching fire department personnel or keeping citizens in our community safe. It’s a good feeling to know that you’re making a difference in someone’s life.

Learn more: www.fvtc.edu/fireprotection


focus

on the Foundation

Funding Futures Students benefit from record number of scholarships. Julia Garvey was shocked when she noticed what was going on around her during the first week of class. “We were assigned the task of looking up an article and writing a summary about it,” says Garvey, who had returned to college after several years. “I took out a notebook and pen, but then I noticed right away that the students around me were rapidly producing work,” Garvey states. “I did not know how to turn on my computer, login, use a flash drive, create a document, save it, and email it to myself. I almost cried.” Like Garvey, these emotions are real for non-traditional students returning to college. A year later, Garvey is feeling more confident about her career path. “I now see how my skills will translate into a work setting,” she says. “I can now also produce work as quickly as the others!” Garvey laughs. “It took some time to get adjusted, but the college has many resources that contributed to my success as a student.”

Financing college while working part-time and raising two teenage daughters was almost impossible. Receiving the scholarship helped alleviate my financial worries.

Julia Garvey Garvey’s opportunity all started with the Fox Valley Technical College Foundation, Inc. Garvey earned an FVTC Foundation scholarship sponsored by the Appleton Northside Business Association to jumpstart her future. “Financing college while working part-time and raising two teenage daughters was almost impossible,” she recalls. “Receiving the scholarship helped alleviate my financial worries.”

FVTC scholarship recipients Julia Garvey and Arron Hoch

Garvey is now pursuing an Individualized Technical Studies associate degree to meet a specific career goal of working in the non-profit sector. “I felt that I needed more business math and computer skills, in addition to knowledge of social media,” she says. “It’s really great to be able to build your own degree.” Arron Hoch received the Gary Kilgas Legacy Award for third semester marketing students. “I was already a student here when my friends suggested that we find out about scholarships,” he

says. “You need to keep a 3.25 grade point average for the Legacy Award, and since I qualified, I thought why not apply?” Hoch has a special interest in Internet marketing, and he is working toward a future that includes owning his own business. “Without financial help, it would be impossible for me to complete a degree,” he states. “Later in life, I plan to donate funds for a Legacy Award in my name.”

Giving and Growing Last year, the Fox Valley Technical College Foundation raised more than $2 million – an unprecedented accomplishment in one year in the organization’s 36-year history. The Foundation’s generous donors include individuals, foundations, service organizations, and local, state, and national businesses. Scholarships are also provided by FVTC Trustees, Foundation board members, retirees, faculty, and staff. Last year’s Staff and

Leadership Giving Campaign generated more than $150,000. In addition, two golf outings sponsored by the Foundation this past summer netted more than $100,000 to support scholarships for FVTC students. Want to join us in making a difference? Learn more:

www.fvtc.edu/foundation

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No Place Like Home Construction management students join Rebuilding Together Fox Valley to restore homes for people in need. For John, a Kaukauna homeowner, the weather outside also determined the weather inside his home. When it rained, for instance, he couldn’t seek shelter from the dampness inside like most people. Rather, he had to wear rain gear inside his home to get from one room to another. Earlier in the year, his home was damaged by a tornado. He had no insurance due to job loss and was suffering from a disability caused by severe rheumatoid arthritis. Consequently, John was unable to address the multiple water leaks that were damaging his home.

craftsmen and volunteers. To fulfill the organization’s growing demands, two years ago it formed a partnership with students from the Construction Management Technology (CMT) program at Fox Valley Technical College. As part of their final class experience, students are each assigned to an RTFV project. They work as project managers and are required to develop a budget, materials list, work schedule, and labor needed to complete the job. “It was hard for us to find people who can take on such a big role,” says Dugan. “These students from Fox Valley Tech are a miracle for us.” Rich Cass, instructor in FVTC’s Construction Management Technology program, makes sure that students

are well prepared for their projects. “Our students receive their individual assignments in January and the work is completed by May,” states Cass. “Students are assigned to projects based on their experience and capabilities.” Chris Deiss, a current student in the program, was put in charge of one of this year’s largest projects for RTFV—John’s home. “I had 20 years of experience in construction before an on-the-job injury brought me to Fox Valley Technical College to change my career focus, even within the same industry,” he explains. “When I went out to look at John’s house in February, it had snowed and was actually raining inside his home. Drywall had fallen off ceilings, and there was mold and algae

These students from Fox Valley Tech are a miracle for us.

Kate Dugan,

Rebuilding Together Fox Valley

“I was incredibly grateful to learn about an organization that could offer some help,” says John, whose mobility is comprised by the arthritis. That organization is Rebuilding Together Fox Valley (RTFV), a non-profit agency that provides critical home repairs, modifications, and improvements to low-income homeowners. “We rebuild homes at no cost to those in need,” states RTFV Executive Director Kate Dugan. “The work of our sponsors and volunteers makes a huge impact on our community through fostering independent living skills.” Annually, RTFV completes around 100 area improvement projects, and that number is growing. Each project is sponsored by a local company or organization. They are completed in a single day and require an enormous effort from a variety of skilled

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Kate Dugan, executive director of Rebuilding Together Fox Valley, with (left to right) instructor Rich Cass and student Chris Deiss of FVTC’s Construction Management Technology program

www.fvtc.edu Fox Valley Technical College


growing inside the windows.� The project utilized all of Deiss’ organizational, scheduling, management, and communication skills. “One of the most important things I’ve learned in the program is how to delegate work, and that certainly came into play here,� he states. “We put on a new roof, new windows, new insulation, new wiring, and did some plumbing work as well. We also put up new walls inside and repainted the exterior.� In addition to his RTFV work, Deiss engaged in an internship managing an 8,000 square-foot expansion and renovation of FVTC’s S.J. Spanbauer Center in Oshkosh. “I’ve always been on the contractor side of this line of work,� Deiss states. “This gave me great experience to look at things from the other side of the field. I gained a new perspective and learned a lot.� Cass said the contractors knew they were working with someone who knew what he was doing. “In the end, Chris made things happen more smoothly and saved the project money,� summarizes Cass. Deiss is pursuing a double major at FVTC with his other degree in Safety Engineering Technology. “I’m also thinking about earning a bachelor’s degree,� adds Deiss. “Helping others and getting to apply what I’m learning has made me enjoy going to school this time around.� Working as project managers for RTFV, the students utilize skills that they gain in all aspects of the CMT program. “It not only brings out the applicable knowledge they’ve gained in the materials and methods classes, but also the soft people skills we emphasize in every course,� states Cass. “The whole experience helps students practice their communication skills. They learn how to present their ideas in a leadership setting.�

Construction Management Technology student Chris Deiss (left) reviews site plans with another student at FVTC’s S.J. Spanbauer Center in Oshkosh.

Visit us at College Preview Night

4UESDAY &EBRUARYs PM FVTC Appleton Campus, 1825 N. Bluemound Drive

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www.fvtc.edu/collegepreview 1-800-735-FVTC (3882)

Learn more: www.fvtc.edu/constructionmgmt

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NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION U.S. POSTAGE PAID FVTC

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Accredited & Affordable Fox Valley Technical College offers a solid return on your investment:

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