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focus Fox Valley Technical College

volume 7, issue 1 • spring 2014

your future


CAREERS Various design skills are what employers need now

Inside: Package and Label Printing grads finding success. Page 7 IT web design skills present career options. Page 9 Designing equipment at the speed of industry. Page 13

Interior Design Kitchen and Bath Design Grad Alyssa Meyer

make your financial

Future Bright!

Community First gave me the skills to be responsible and manage my money.” Josh Thulien, Member/Owner

You’re already dreaming of your future. Where will your education take you? Whatever career path you choose or when you choose to pursue it, one thing is certain... it comes with a variety of choices, including choices about your money. Whether you’re a new or returning student, everyday brings choices about how to save, spend and use credit wisely – choices that can shape your financial future.

On campus and in your community We help students of all ages get the right start – with savings and checking accounts, student loans, a mobile app, responsible credit cards, even car loans and home loans that make an education fit better into a family budget. As a member-owned financial cooperative, we believe strongly in helping you achieve your goals. From providing real-life financial experiences to students through elementary, middle and high school branches to working one-on-one with members through our network of 20 locations in NE Wisconsin – we’re ready to help you achieve your goals.

Let’s start creating your future. The future is yours. Together, we’ll help make your financial future bright.

Visit any of our 20 convenient locations FOX VALLEY TECHNICAL COLLEGE : Appleton Campus, Entrance 10

APPLETON 2626 S. Oneida St. 509 N. Richmond St. 2701 N. Ballard Rd. 455 S. Nicolet Rd. 1235 W. Spencer St. DARBOY W6089 Cty. Rd. KK GREENVILLE N1230 Cty. Rd. CB

NEENAH 125 E. Forest Ave. 2300 Industrial Dr. 1193 W. Winneconne Ave. OSHKOSH 2424 Westowne Ave. 1492 W. South Park Ave. DE PERE 1700 Lawrence Dr. HOWARD 2949 Riverview Dr.

WAUPACA 1006 Royalton St. NEW LONDON 603 W. Wolf River Ave. NICHOLS W5644 Cty. Rd. F MANITOWOC 1100 S. 30th St. TWO RIVERS 1819 Washington St.

(920) 830-7200 •

welcome! Fox Valley Tech is giving me confidence in my future. The hands-on experiences and practical knowledge from instructors who work in the landscape design industry are great ways to learn. I am inspired by their passion, and the program is flexible so I can spend time with my family and also work. Rachel Moline Horticulture/Landscape Specialist Program

contents Focus is published bi-annually for the communities of Fox Valley Technical College.

features 8 9 10 12



Building Careers FVTC gave this Marine the help he needed to succeed in commercial construction. Designing to Fill Demand Web designers have many career options, and IT student and musician Tom Thiel is tuning his new skills for many uses. Designing Homeowner Dreams Alyssa Meyer loves her career creating beautiful bathrooms and kitchens for homeowners. Designing a Future From military police operations in Iraq to designing parts for fire trucks, this Mechanical Design grad is well on his way to a successful future. Designing Efficiency Electro-Mechanical Technology grad Jacob Winkel is front and center when it comes to ensuring quality standards in industry.

what’s now 6

Crafting a Career With just one year of training, Pat Salm discovered that a bright future awaits graduates of FVTC’s Wood Manufacturing Technology program.

in every issue



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


Focus on Workplace Training Fox Valley Technical College and APICS celebrate 10 years as partners in supply chain training.


Focus on the Entrepreneur With the help of the Venture Center, an entrepreneur turned a good idea into an enterprise.


Focus on High-Demand Careers When one dream faded, a new door opened for Jonathan Patton, a graduate of FVTC’s Package & Label Printing program.


Focus on Alumni Q & A with Automated Manufacturing Systems (AMS) grad Ryan Guthrie.


Focus on the Foundation Scholarship recipient Cathy Reich designed her own degree and created a new career.


Focus on the Student Experience Hands-on, high-tech mapping by FVTC’s Natural Resources students is adding enjoyment to visitors of Wisconsin’s state parks.

Director of College Marketing Barb Dreger Executive Editor/Manager of Media Relations Chris Jossart Art Directors Amy Bjellos, Cara Jakubiec Contributing Editors Sue Anderson, Casey Britten Contributing Writers Joan Neumahr, Amy Vander Stoep Photography Gary Brilowski, Gary Gawinski, Patrick Kelly 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 and a member of the North Central Association, 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 52,000 people last year, more than any other technical college in Wisconsin.

© 2014 Fox Valley Technical College. All rights reserved. Equal Opportunity Employer/Educator.

around FVTC Centered on Innovation

New KI Innovation Center mirrors the workplace in ways regular classrooms cannot.

Dr. Cris Gordon discusses how the KI Innovation Center at the Appleton campus is actively changing today’s learning environment. The center is the result of a partnership with KI in Green Bay, one of the leading furniture manufacturers worldwide.

What makes the KI Innovation Center distinct in terms of learning? The KI Innovation Center consists of four classrooms that are designed to foster interaction, collaboration, and a flexible learning experience. The classrooms offer unique writing surfaces and furniture designs, in addition to new technologies that inspire creativity in students and instructors alike. The spaces are a model for the use of accelerated learning techniques and the development of a positive learning environment.

How do the KI Center’s technologies prepare students for the workforce? Students, now more than ever, are entering a job market where technology is advanced and always changing. The KI Innovation Center houses multi-media technology and SMART Boards, and it helps build important skills like adapting to change, teamwork, and communication.

Dr. Cris Gordon

2 Fox Valley Technical College

What makes this learning environment special in the eyes of FVTC students? Collaboration and movement are commonplace in today’s workplace. Many studies also reveal that body movement and activity increase learning. Thanks to the KI Innovation Center, our students find ways to effectively express themselves, and in turn, these experiences build confidence and leadership skills. Our students learn by doing!

Dr. Cris Gordon, Social Sciences Instructor and Department Chair, FVTC Education: PhD in psychology Hometown: Sao Paulo, Brazil Number of Years at FVTC: 9 Area(s) of Expertise: psychology, sociology, non-traditional learning and assessment Come and see the new KI Innovation Center inside entrance 11, second floor.

News Briefs

The Automotive Lab in the newlyexpanded J. J. Keller Transportation Center

Turning Toward a Rewarding Career Expansion of the J. J. Keller Transportation Center is the latest referendum project to be completed. Careers in the diesel service, automotive, truck driving, and vehicle repair and refinishing fields just sped closer to reality thanks to the completion of Fox Valley Technical College’s expanded J. J. Keller Transportation Center. Training for these in-demand careers was at capacity, but the added space will help more students get into the programs faster. Here is a snapshot of the facility’s primary expansion areas, which includes about 20,500 square-feet of new space:


• Jeremy Hansen, new associate dean and director of the Public Safety Training Center, received Executive Fire Officer certification from the U.S. Fire Administration’s National Fire Academy, which is a branch of the Federal Emergency Management Administration, or FEMA. By completing the four-year program, Hansen earned the highest level of fire training certification available in the United States.

Jeremy Hansen

• The JobSeeker’s Network (JSN) program recently reached its 1,000th participant in less than four years. JSN is a free community offering that teaches a job search process as a skill. It has helped hundreds of area jobseekers land new careers. • A video highlighting the college’s Automotive training programs earned a top eight finish nationally out of a total of 168 entries from technical colleges, community colleges, and high schools as part of a competition published on behalf of Tomorrow’s Tech magazine. The result places FVTC in the top 95th percentile among the most reputable automotive training programs in the U.S. The video is housed on our YouTube channel. • For the 7th consecutive year, FVTC was voted the best Local College/ University by the Post-Crescent’s annual “Best of the Valley” people’s choice awards.

additional learning bays for automotive-related programs, with added classrooms


additional drive-thru learning bays for diesel-related programs, with added classrooms


additional inspection and safety bay for the Truck Driving program and workplace training, with an added classroom

Facility Expansion Update The public voted “YES” to FVTC’s April 2012 public referendum by a 2-1 margin to help the college advance several key facility projects to address regional workforce needs.

2014 Summer Camps at FVTC For middle & high school students who want hands-on learning experiences Jewelry Design & Fabrication

Learning Chinese is Fun July 21-25

July 14-18


Here is an update on the three remaining projects:

July 14-18

Learn Japanese through Manga & Anime Comics

Regional Center Expansion (Chilton):

Electric Guitar Building

Power of Manufacturing

Estimated completion - July of 2014

Student Success Center (Appleton campus): Estimated completion - August of 2014

Public Safety Training Center (Outagamie County Regional Airport): Estimated completion – January of 2015

• • • Learn more:

(Four session choices): July 14-18 July 21-25 August 4-8 August 11-15

July 21-25

(Two session choices): August 11-15, morning & afternoon sessions

• • • And more! Additional info & to register:

focus spring 2014



on workplace training

Training a Global Workforce Fox Valley Technical College and APICS celebrate 10 years as partners in supply chain training.

APICS, the global leader in supply chain and operations management training and education, relies on Fox Valley Technical College to provide online prep classes for its certification exams. The company offers industrystandard credentials, including Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) and Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) APICS supply chain training certifications. is adding efficiency to the To develop the online courses, speed of business. APICS Director of Professional Development, Bob Collins, has worked closely with Anne Haberkorn, FVTC’s dean of information technology and distance learning. “Fox Valley Technical College is the only partner we allow to offer online prep courses,” Collins says. “APICS exams are rigorous certifications required for employment or advancement.” The need for supply chain management stems from an increasingly large number of companies that are employing lean-related principles in order to thrive in a global economy. Supply chain The Fox Valley Tech management plays a large role advantage lets students in the process of moving a get online at any time to product or service from supplier to customer. do their work. Under Haberkorn’s leadership, FVTC began developing the Bob Collins, APICS first APICS online course in 2004 with prep courses for five CPIM modules. In 2008, FVTC launched the CSCP program. The option of taking courses online has helped APICS expand its market to those who cannot attend typical face-to-face classes. “The Fox Valley Tech advantage lets students get online at any time to do their work,” says Collins, “and instructors are available to answer questions through email or Skype. It’s the best of both worlds.” Today, FVTC instructors are helping more than 9,000 online students from around the globe in places like Australia, China, Ecuador, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Japan, Italy, Kuwait, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, England, Vietnam, and more.

• • • Learn more:

WHAT’S IN A NAME Some of the companies that rely on FVTC’s online APICS prep courses: • Boeing Company • Bridgestone/Firestone • Caterpillar • Coca-Cola • Department of the Army and Air Force • DuPont • ExxonMobil • Ford Motor Company • Fujitsu America • General Motors • General Mills • IBM • Jim Beam

• Johnson Controls • Johnson & Johnson • Kimberly-Clark Corporation • Kraft Foods • Mercury Marine • Motorola • Pepsi • Pfizer, Inc. • Rolex Corporation • Sara Lee Food & Beverage • Toyota • Walmart

Join us! 10 Year Celebration May 14, 5:30 p.m. FVTC’s Appleton Campus, Commons Jeff Wacker Professional Business Futurist Understand critical future trends and how they will affect your business. Identify required strategic change initiatives to keep your business competitive. • • • Learn more:

4 Fox Valley Technical College


on the entrepreneur

The Perfect Fix With the help of the Venture Center, an aspiring entrepreneur turned a good idea into a successful enterprise.

In 2009, iSupply was a small electronics accessories store in a Green Bay mall. “Business was not very good,” says 27-year-old Tom Mittelsteadt. “Then one day a customer asked if we repaired iPhonesTM. I said no, but when another customer later asked the same question, the light came on. We fixed the customer’s iPhone, and came up with an entirely new business model.” Mittelsteadt and his partner Sam Warpinski knew they had a good idea, but it needed professional direction and support. “We were accepted into the Venture Center’s new Business Model Design Workshop,” he says. “The training gave us the opportunity to literally map out and visualize our business plan.” A week later, Mittelsteadt began the eight-week E-seed ExpressTM program. “It was incredible. They brought in Entrepreneur Tom Mittelsteadt of iSupply speakers for every class, and each one was a professional in the areas we needed to learn more about,” he says. Going with a Winner “We received real-time feedback, plus great networking The Venture Center at Fox Valley Technical College recently connections thanks to the Venture Center.” earned noteworthy grant awards and recognition for its impact Today, iSupply has 15 employees in three Green Bay on small business development: locations and one in Appleton. In addition to offering sameday repair for Apple and Samsung mobile products, iSupply Winner of the 2014 National Association for Community provides expert service for PCs and MacsTM, XboxesTM, College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) Shared Vision for Small Business Competition, resulting in a PlayStationsTM, and WiiTM gaming systems. The company also established a business division to serve area businesses and non-profit organizations. award to develop iSupply has no plans to Marketing Made Lean, a four-part, 16-hour workshop series The training gave designed to help micro- and small-business owners in the region. stop growing. “Our big goal us the opportunity is to expand nationally,” says to literally map out Mittelsteadt. “We have also and visualize our been accepted into the New A grant from Sam’s Club North Fast Forward program, business plan. and the NACCE to help finance tuition for attendees of the where we can get additional Pro-Seed: Small Business Design, Plan, and GrowTM program. Tom Mittelsteadt mentoring help. Fox Valley Tech has done so much to help us succeed. We don’t know what we could ever do to pay it back.” grant from AT&T to advance A


• • • Learn more:



Pro-Seed and E-seed Express training in the greater Waupaca region.

focus spring 2014


W O N s ’ t a Wh

Pat Salm (far right) of Ideal Cabinetry

Fox Valley Tech grads are ready to take on everything from programming and designing to staining and installing.

Crafting a Career With just one year of training, Pat Salm discovered that a bright future awaits graduates of FVTC’s Wood Manufacturing Technology program. Pat Salm believes there is a great future in what some see as an old-fashioned career. “Today, professional craftsmanship requires a strong high-tech skill base as well as an artistic dedication to quality,” says the 32-year-old co-owner of Ideal Cabinetry in Appleton. “As the older pros begin to retire, there is going to be a greater need for qualified people.” An Appleton native, Salm built his skills through Fox Valley Technical College’s one-year Wood Manufacturing Technology program. “The instructors do an excellent job of giving students a full range of skills,” he states. “The best cabinetmakers make the best designers. Fox Valley Tech grads are ready to take on everything from programming and designing to staining and installing.” The proud father of two daughters, Salm encourages women to consider careers in his field as well. “In my opinion, women have a better eye for detail than men do,” he says. “Most of them currently work in the design end of the business, but I encourage them to consider other aspects of the trade as well.” Salm and his co-owner wife Jenny, along with his cousin, Ben, work hard to make customers happy. “We can produce exactly what our customers want at a price that’s extremely competitive to what they’d receive at a corporate or chain store,” he says.

6 Fox Valley Technical College

Pat Salm,

Ideal Cabinetry

Ideal Cabinetry currently employs nine professionals, four of whom are FVTC grads. “We work as a team on both residential and commercial projects,” notes Salm. “We’ll do everything from original measurements right through to final installation. A lot of our business comes from word of mouth. Our customers appreciate working with people who care.” • • • Learn more:

Spotlight on

Woodworking Fox Valley Technical College’s Wood Manufacturing Technology program, housed at the S.J. Spanbauer Center in Oshkosh, was recently highlighted in the national publication, Wood Products (February 2014). To read the article:

94% 5 years

placement for graduates of FVTC’s Wood Manufacturing Technology program over the past

(FVTC’s Graduate Employment Research Reports, 2009-2013)


on high-demand careers

Putting Opportunity in Print When one dream faded, a new door opened for Jonathan Patton, a graduate of FVTC’s Package & Label Printing program. Jonathan Patton has never been afraid to follow his dreams. The 32-year-old recent graduate of Fox Valley Technical College’s Package & Label Printing program is a quality assurance specialist who oversees work on all presses at Hattiesburg Paper Company’s Green Bay operation. Soon, however, he will be moving to Mississippi to manage the company’s new plant, and this opportunity is due to not only his industry experience, but also his training at FVTC. Patton’s journey began in Picayune, Mississippi, and continued through many states. “In my younger years, I was serious about basketball. I went to school in Oklahoma and Louisiana and played a short stint for the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks,” he says. “I came up north to be with my brother and finish a bachelor’s degree in communications at UW-Green Bay.” Patton’s brother is Charles Woodson, a former Heisman Trophy winner and member of the Green Bay Packers, who won a Super Bowl championship with the team in 2011. While attending one of his brother’s games, Patton met a senior-level official at Hattiesburg Paper Company. That friendly encounter led him down a new career path. “I had always been interested in manufacturing,”

Jonathan Patton (right) of Hattiesburg Paper Company

he recalls. “He offered me a job in Green Bay, and I knew this was a great opportunity.” To increase his technical capabilities, Patton enrolled in the FVTC program. “It was a no-brainer,” he says. “Fox Valley Tech is known as the best school for printing in the country, and going there made me more valuable to my company.” Working while going to school was a major undertaking for the father of two young sons. However, he highly recommends the experience. “In just one year, you can gain the skills needed for a serious career in a highgrowth industry,” he says. “You’ll earn a good salary without taking on the debt you would get at a four-year college.” • • • Learn more and view video:

Fox Valley Tech is known as the best school for printing in the country, and going there made me more valuable to my company.

Jonathan Patton

From NBA to FVTC Only three out of every 10,000 high school seniors playing interscholastic basketball will eventually be drafted by a team in the National Basketball Association (NBA). According to Jonathan Patton, however, a bleak-looking statistic like this should not squelch any dreams. “When you have a passion, you have to go for it,” he states. “However, you also have to bring balance into your life. I knew basketball wasn’t going to last forever. When it was time to put the basketball down and get serious about a different career, I had another plan ready to go.” That alternate plan for Patton was Fox Valley Technical College’s Package & Label Printing program. “There is a bulletin board full of full-time, good-paying careers in this field posted in one of Fox Valley Tech’s classrooms,” says Patton. “The time is now to make the most of this opportunity.”


of FVTC’s Package & Label Printing grads landed careers within six months of graduation over the past two years.

(FVTC’s Graduate Employment Research Reports, 2012 & 2013)

focus focus spring spring2014 2014 77

s e i t i l i b i s s o P g n i n g i Des uildings, an design b c o h w e s o th areers await h more. Rewarding c ss, and muc e in s u b r fo websites

Building Careers FVTC gave this Marine the help he needed to succeed in commercial construction. At age 26, Jim Peterson has already come a long way in his career field. The recent graduate of Fox Valley Technical College’s Construction Management Technology program is a project engineer for Catalyst Construction, a residential and commercial builder in Milwaukee. “I do whatever it takes to make sure a job gets done right,” he says. “That includes everything from ordering materials and coordinating delivery to providing onsite supervision, in addition to reviewing and hiring subcontractors.” Peterson, who had joined the U.S. Marine Corps immediately after high school, slowly developed a clear career plan. “I grew up building projects with my dad in Little Chute,” he says. “I like hands-on work, but in the long run, I wanted to get into management.” A friend who studied construction management at FVTC recommended the program. “He was right,” says Peterson. “My teachers were terrific. Plus, many students were skilled tradesmen and women who offered practical insight into every topic.” Peterson also points out how those classes supported his professional

growth. “I would learn something on the job and then learn the details in class,” he says. “Other things, like finances, I learned first in class and then was able to apply those discoveries to my work.” In addition to classroom work, Peterson advanced his career through internships. After completing just two classes, he landed a paid internship position with a community developer and urban planner, working on the Eagle Flats development in Appleton. His second paid internship was as a commercial project coordinator with ProBuild, one of the nation’s largest suppliers of building materials. Peterson found his current position through a volunteer project for Rebuilding Together Fox Valley in Appleton. “I got to work with the senior project manager for Catalyst during that experience,” he says. “He ended up offering me a fulltime job.” Peterson frequently recommends FVTC to others. “I gained a lot in both the general education and construction classes,” he says. “At Fox Valley Technical College, you get what you need to succeed in the workforce.” • • • Learn more:


of graduates from FVTC’s Construction Management Technology program immediately enter the workforce in a supervisory position (FVTC’s Graduate Employment Research Reports, 2012 & 2013)


highest-paying job on the rise (U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Employment and Wages Data, May 2011, based on 17% projected growth from 2010 to 2020 for construction managers)

Jim Peterson of Catalyst Construction

8 Fox Valley Technical College

IT Web Development & Design student and musician Tom Thiel


Designed to Fill Demand


Web designers have many career options, and IT student and successful musician Tom Thiel is tuning his new skills for many uses.

FVTC students graduate from a total of six IT-related programs each year

Tom Thiel is more than the lead guitarist in the award-winning rock band Boxkar. The 45-year-old Appleton native also just completed the Information Technology (IT) Software Developer program at Fox Valley Technical College and is pursuing another degree in Web Development and Design. “I wanted to learn something that was practical and usable in the real world,” Thiel says. “There is an artistic element to both songwriting and web design, but they also both require real skills. The more you know, the more options you have with your creativity.” Thiel plans to continue with Boxkar while running his own business as a mobile application developer after graduating from the Web Development and Design program. “This would give me the freedom to keep performing while advancing professionally,” he says. Thiel also credits FVTC for helping him promote his band. “While at Fox Valley Tech, I learned how to interact with Facebook and Instagram while also incorporating Twitter feeds in the band’s website,” he says. “By using social media, we expanded our fan base during the Hard Rock Café competition, coming in first place in Chicago, third in the U.S., and fifth globally.” Like Thiel, many professionals are returning to college to upgrade their IT skills. A recent U.S. News and World Report article cited that IT professions in software development, computer systems analyst, and web development all rank in the top 10 as the best jobs nationwide for 2014. “When employers look to fill almost any position, a solid technical background helps a prospect stand out,” states Doug Waterman, associate dean of IT and distance learning at FVTC. “Many of our graduates also go on to combine new skills with their technical knowledge for a variety of career options.”


• • • Learn more and view video:

K-12 school districts in the state work with FVTC’s IT programs through the Wisconsin eSchool Network


place finishes in the annual Association for Information Technology Professionals national competitions three of the last four years

IT professionals in software development, computer systems analyst, and web development all rank in the top 10 as the best jobs nationwide in 2014. U.S. News and World Report

focus focus spring spring2014 2014 99

Alyssa Meyer of Cabinet Creations

Thanks to Fox Valley Tech, I’m part of a process from start to finish in making homeowners’ dreams come true.

Alyssa Meyer

10 10 Fox FoxValley ValleyTechnical TechnicalCollege College

Designing Homeowner

Dreams Alyssa Meyer loves her career creating beautiful bathrooms and kitchens for homeowners.

Kewaunee native Alyssa Meyer is making dreams come true for the customers of Cabinet Creations, a family-owned manufacturer of fine wood custom cabinets, entertainment centers, mantels, and more. As a salesperson and designer for the Dyckesville, Wisconsin The and only National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) accredited training program in Wisconsin firm, the 22-year-old Meyer takes ideas and brings them to reality. “I work directly with customers, contractors, and builders,” she says. “My job is to go through floor plans and make recommendations for each room. I handle everything from design first-place finishes from students in FVTC’s Interior work to completing proposals and estimates.” Design program over the past two years at the annual Meyer, a graduate of Fox Valley Technical College’s Interior Wisconsin Technical College System Design Competitions Design - Kitchen & Bath Design program, credits her success to the in Madison skills she gained at FVTC. “We covered everything from how to use CAD software to the basics of plumbing,” she states. “I learned how to render 3D views­—making everything look more realistic new By 2016, there will be with color and texture. I also gained practical know-how, such as professional services positions in the United States, and the learning the plumbing requirements for different types of faucets kitchen & bath industry is one area of professional services that and bathtubs.” can’t be outsourced or automated (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) Meyer’s education at FVTC puts her in elite company. The college recently attained accreditation from the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA), the premiere association for kitchen and bath professionals. Nearly 50 years after its inception, the NKBA has more than 50,000 members. “We are the only accredited trainer for kitchen and bath designers in Wisconsin,” notes Kathy McDonald, interior design instructor at FVTC. “Essentially, that means our program has reached the highest level of training standards for kitchen and bath designers.” McDonald added that the demand for kitchen and bath designers is increasing due to an uptick in the economy and because more baby-boomers are looking to remodel. “It’s a very timely career to get into right now,” she says. “Our graduates can make quite a nice salary because their job often includes commissions on sales, customer service, and design work, similar to what Alyssa is doing.” That skill set is why Meyer enjoys her career. “No two days are ever alike,” she states. “Thanks to Fox Valley Tech, I’m part of a process from start to finish in making homeowners’ dreams come true.”

Certified Kitchen & Bath at FVTC



5 million

• • • Learn more and view video:

focus focus spring spring2014 2014 1111

DESIGNING a future

From military police operations in Iraq to designing parts for fire trucks, this Mechanical Design grad is well on his way to a successful future.


placement rate for graduates of FVTC’s Mechanical Design Technology program over the past three years (FVTC’s Graduate Employment Research Reports, 2011-2013)


average annual salary for graduates of FVTC’s Mechanical Design Technology program

(FVTC’s Graduate Employment Research Report, 2013)


full-time job postings for mechanical designers in northeast Wisconsin

(FVTC’s Graduate Employment Research Report, 2013)

Twenty-four-year-old David Zalusky joined the military while still in high school. After a stint conducting military police operations in Iraq, the Appleton native enrolled at Fox Valley Technical College on the GI Bill. Today, Zalusky maintains a full-time paid internship at Pierce Manufacturing while pursuing his bachelor’s degree. He also serves as a sergeant in the Wisconsin Army National Guard. Zalusky credits his ongoing success to the FVTC experience. “I originally wanted to work on cars, so I enrolled in the Automotive Technician program,” he says. “After a semester, however, I became intrigued by engineering and decided that instead of fixing problems, I wanted to engineer solutions to prevent Mechanical Design Technology problems. So, I switched to the Grad David Zalusky Mechanical Design program.” His studies at FVTC helped Zalusky land a paid internship with Pierce Manufacturing, a manufacturer of custom fire and rescue apparatus. When Zalusky decided to pursue a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, the company was so impressed with his work skills that it extended his internship two Today, I work with more years. “Fox Valley Tech gave me the skills I needed engineers to design custom to read blueprints and use 3D parts for fire trucks because software,” he says. “Today, I work of my FVTC experiences. with engineers to design custom parts for fire trucks because of Sgt. David Zalusky my FVTC experiences.” After earning his four-year degree in engineering mechanics and astronautics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Zalusky hopes to find a career in aviation.

• • • Learn more:

12 Fox Valley Technical College


I was hired before I even graduated.

Jacob Winkel


Electro-Mechanical Technology grad Jacob Winkel is front and center when it comes to ensuring quality standards in industry. At 22, Jacob Winkel is already using the skills he gained as a student at Fox Valley Technical College in his new career as an engineering lab technician for Ripon-based Alliance Laundry Systems. “We’re a worldwide industry leader in high-quality laundry products such as washers and dryers,” he says. “I work with engineers to test new parts and products.” While attending FVTC, the Elkhart Lake native learned how to read schematics, wire and test electrical and electronic circuits, design and program electronic and computer controls, and calibrate instruments. As president of the student-run Electronics Club, he also gained strong leadership and teamwork skills. Winkel’s position requires him to make sure parts like lint screens, belt drives, and dryer doors meet industry standards. “I test for efficiency and power consumption,” he explains. “For example, I designed a piece of equipment to test the force required to open a new dryer door. With a new lint trap, my job was to test and measure air flow to see if there was any blockage.” Winkel first heard about his job at a career fair sponsored by FVTC. “Alliance Laundry was one of the companies represented at the event,” he says. “I was hired before I even graduated. In fact, the company let me work part time until I finished the program, and then I was hired full time.” • • • Learn more:


grad placement over the past 5 years in Fox Valley Technical College’s Electro-Mechanical Technology program

(FVTC’s Graduate Employment Research Reports, 2009-2013)


Nearly full-time job postings in the region for electromechanical professionals (TechConnect Wisconsin data from 2013 FVTC Graduate Employment Research Report)

Jacob Winkel of Alliance Laundry Systems

focus spring 2014



on alumni

Q & A with Automated Manufacturing Systems (AMS) Grad Ryan Guthrie The 29-year-old executive vice president of TM Robotics (Americas) Inc. in Elk Grove Village, Illinois got his start at FVTC and has traveled the world to bring automation to several industries.

What first brought you to Fox Valley Technical College? I was first introduced to Fox Valley Tech through a campus Discovery Day event that I attended with other students from my high school. At the end of a tour, our group went by the AMS Lab, and I haven’t looked back since!

Ryan Guthrie of TM Robotics (Americas) Inc.

96% placement for graduates of FVTC’s Automated

Manufacturing Systems program over the past three years

(FVTC’s Graduate Employment Research Reports, 2011, 2012, and 2013)

$45,800 approximate average annual salary for

graduates of FVTC’s Automated Manufacturing Systems program

How did FVTC help you? Fox Valley Tech was an integral part of my success. I have learned that its AMS program is really a unique offering, not only in the U.S., but globally as well. I have yet to meet another technician anywhere in the world who was trained with such a variety of industrial disciplines while earning his or her degree. Fox Valley Tech has made it easier for me to adapt to the ever-changing global market as trends come and go and new technologies come into play.

What do you enjoy most about your career? Every day is a new challenge. One day I might be quoting a new high-speed robot for an application in the food industry, and the next day I could be troubleshooting a machine that is part of a multi-million dollar assembly line for the auto industry. Another day could find me visiting a customer with an application in the bio-medical/pharmaceutical industry.

(FVTC’s Graduate Employment Research Report, 2013)

And of course, I love the travel! I can’t think of a better way to see the world, meet new people, and get exposure to so many different cultures.

What advice can you give others about selecting a college today? Students and parents should look for programs that encourage hands-on learning and training, in addition to having close ties to local industry. These days, it seems everyone is looking for new employees with experience. With Fox Valley Tech, for example, you can graduate and enter the workforce with real job experience under your belt. That is a win/win! • • • Learn more:

Local Grad’s Global Journey 2005 Graduated with an associate degree from FVTC’s Automated Manufacturing Systems program.






Resided and worked in Germany as part of the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Program.

Hired by TM Robotics (Europe) Ltd. as a technical and application support technician in England.

Promoted to technical manager, overseeing all technical and application support for the company in Europe, Africa, India, the Middle East, and Russia.

Currently executive vice president for TM Robotics (Americas) Inc. in the U.S., promoting and servicing Toshiba Machine’s industrial robots throughout North and South America, while still providing technical support in Europe, Africa, India, the Middle East, and Russia, and the Americas. Fox Valley Technical College


on the foundation

Re-designing Herself Scholarship recipient Cathy Reich followed her passion, designed her own degree, and created a new career. Cathy Reich has always loved gardening. So when she found herself downsized from an office job at a large corporation, she chose to turn a setback into a step forward. “I wanted to combine my passion for gardening with helping people create something new,” says the 39-year-old Neenah native. “I saw a Cathy Reich of Beauty By The Yard need in the marketplace for a more personalized approach to landscape gardening.” As a two-time scholarship recipient with the Fox Valley Technical College Foundation, Reich is grateful for the support in building her new career. “The scholarships were a huge help for me,” she says. “As a single person on a very limited income, it would have been very hard for me to have paid for my degree.” Reich’s company, Beauty By The Yard, LLC, recently celebrated its second anniversary. She credits her success to both the academic and financial support she received from FVTC. “I wanted to focus on growing and caring for plants as well as diagnosing problems,” she says. “However, I wasn’t interested in the construction and building aspects within the existing programs, so I designed my own associate degree, Sustainable Horticulture and Agriculture Specialist, to The college makes provide me with what I needed sure its graduates to succeed.” As a student, Reich worked know what they’re in the campus greenhouse doing. growing plants and exploring Cathy Reich different treatments. In addition, she gained real-world practical experience in skills such as tree trimming. “Fox Valley Tech has all types of state-of-the-art equipment,” she says. “The college makes sure its graduates know what they’re doing.” Today, Reich’s company provides customized garden solutions to a rapidly expanding customer base. It offers an array of individually tailored services, including planting, weeding, trimming, general maintenance, and design implementation.

every donation and every dollar counts; everyONEhelpsONE

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A Foundation for Giving Based on the college’s strong enrollments, the Fox Valley Technical College Foundation needs your help. Please join us in helping students!


students are eligible to receive an FVTC scholarship


will award one scholarship annually


will award one scholarship each semester


will establish an endowed scholarship fund, and that can be done in 5 years


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Natural Resources Technician grad Emily Mitchell with instructor Bruce Cecka


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This project also gives students something impressive to add to their resumé, while adding a vital service to our state parks.

Bruce Cecka,

Natural Resources Instructor

Mapping a Great Career Hands-on, high-tech mapping by FVTC’s Natural Resources students benefits visitors of Wisconsin’s state parks. It all started when Bruce Cecka, instructor in Fox Valley Technical College’s Natural Resources Technician program, agreed to map nearby High Cliff State Park in 1999. “State funds simply no longer cover such things,” states Cecka. “This project also gives students something impressive to add to their resumé, while providing a vital service to our state parks.” Equipped with GPS units, Cecka and his students visited High Cliff to gather the necessary mapping data. “Back on campus, we input the data using the latest software to put together the maps,” he says. “It was so successful that we were soon contacted by other state parks.”

Today, park mapping has become a regular project for students in the program. To date, they have mapped 22 Wisconsin state parks. In addition, Cecka turns over all the electronic data and paper maps to the respective parks and to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) GIS office in Madison upon completion of each project. Recent FVTC graduate Emily Bley helped map Peninsula State Park in Door County. “The project helped me really get to know the details of the park,” says the 22-year-old Egg Harbor native. “That experience was invaluable because I now work there, providing directions and helping visitors.”

Emily Mitchell, a 23-year-old Waupaca native, was part of a team that mapped two state parks, Pattison and Amnicon Falls, both in northwest Wisconsin. “Mapping was a great beginning to my career,” she says. “It led me to work with DNR personnel in other areas. I now work at the Wild Rose Fish Hatchery, doing a little bit of everything.” “The mapping effort takes a huge amount of work and the payoff impacts everyone who spends time at a state park,” says Cecka. “Our students not only get in-depth classroom studies, but they also gain real DNR experience.” • • • Learn more:

All in the Detail The mapping of state parks by students in Fox Valley Technical College’s Natural Resources Technician program gives visitors of these treasured getaways a closer look at the identification of rest areas, designated hunting zones, trails, plants, waterways, notable topography, and much more.

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is the approximate cost to map 22 Wisconsin state parks. FVTC students saved hundreds of thousands of tax dollars while engaging in a great learning experience.

We saved you a seat! There’s still time to apply for fall.

You’ve heard the buzz. There are great jobs out there, and not enough people with the right skills. Get the training you need for an exciting career!

focus spring 2014





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


The most efficient and affordable option for higher education in the Fox Valley.



FVTC instructors have real-world work experience.

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High graduate employment rates average about 90%.

Learn on the latest technology so you’ll be job ready.

Accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association since 1970.

Learn more:

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Fox Valley Technical College Focus Magazine Spring 2014