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Fall 2012



Campus Construction Project Work will begin in earnest on the biggest campus remodeling project in over 20 years beginning April 2013. Ridgewater’s project is funded for $13.851 million, and will include renovation and remodeling of several areas of the Willmar campus.

From the president


From the President One of the most common questions I get when I’m out in the communities we serve is “how are things at the college?” At the risk of answering what is meant as a rhetorical question, this issue of the magazine supports my typical response, which is great— extraordinary really. As you’ll read in this issue, the Aspen Institute named Ridgewater one of the top 120 community colleges in the country based on student outcomes. Our exceptional agriculture program has launched a “living laboratory” where students experience taking the farm land around the college from soil testing to planting through harvest to market. Our program has always stressed internship experiences for students and this takes that “hands-on” active learning approach to another level.

On the technology front our faculty are using iPads as another tool to strengthen the college’s E-learning “toolbox” and to support student learning in unique ways. In addition, faculty are exploring an innovative approach to teaching math (Quantway) that they hope will help students who struggle with math succeed. And finally, this spring the college will begin a massive renovation of the Willmar campus, adding important classroom and laboratory space for some of our key programs as well as creating a one-stop shop approach for student services. So how are things at the college? I hope you’ll agree with me when I say—extraordinary!

Dr. Douglas W. Allen President

Editor/Director of Communications and Marketing Sam Bowen

Ridgewater College is published for alumni and friends of Ridgewater College, and for members of our surrounding communities.

Editorial Assistance Johnson Group Advertising & Design

Please visit us on the web at for more information on our programs and educational offerings.

Design Johnson Group Advertising & Design

Mission Ridgewater provides quality educational opportunities for diverse student learners in an inclusive, supportive, and accessible environment.

Contributing Writers Janet Meier, Kris Decker Photography Direction Johnson Group Advertising & Design

Contributing Photographers Butkowski Digital Imaging Production Johnson Group Advertising & Design Advertising/Sponsorship Sales A variety of advertising and sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information contact Sam Bowen at 320-222-6090 or Office of the President Dr. Douglas W. Allen

© 2012 Ridgewater College. All Rights Reserved. This publication is available in alternative formats upon request. Ridgewater College is an equal opportunity educator and employer.

contents T A B L E O F C ONTENTS


10 Questions 5 On Ridgewater’s commitment to helping students succeed, with Megan Field, Student Success coordinator.

News & Notes 6 Ridgewater College Named as One of Top 120 in Country, Automotive Service Technology Program Receives $25,000, Ridgewater Instructor Honored, Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs Earns PhD, Ridgewater College Included in G.I. Jobs 2013 List of Military Friendly Schools.

More Staff Using iPads as a Learning Tool 9 Ridgewater College had a mix of both eager and wait-and-see users, but last spring, it launched an effort to provide iPads to dozens of interested faculty and administration to explore educational possibilities.

Quantway ™ Math Launched 10 Move over traditional math, there’s a new math coming to Ridgewater College students and it’s going to help answer the generations-old, popularly whined question: “Where will I ever use this?”

11 Customized Training & Continuing Education Willmar Fabrication, Staff Recognized for Motorcycle Training Efforts, and Firefighter Training in Minnesota.

Cover Story: 14

Campus Construction Project Work will begin in earnest on the biggest campus remodeling project in over 20 years beginning April 2013. Ridgewater’s project is funded for $13.851 million, and will include renovation and remodeling of several areas of the Willmar campus.

20 Making the Most of a Campus Visit Practical advice on how to make a college visit a successful one.

22 Alumni Spotlight Thanks to listening to his heart, Jake Remus has spent the last 13 years in an industry he loves after going through Ridgewater’s Audio Technology program. He is now a lead technician and field engineer for Audio Logic Systems of Eden Prairie and has successfully turned what he originally thought of as a hobby into a thriving career.

27 Program Spotlight: Agriculture Ridgewater Agriculture students benefit from real-world, hands-on experience by farming 61 acres of college-owned land.

Foundation News 28 New Scholarship Winners, Win $100 prize, Where Are They Now.


10 Questions


What is Access, Opportunity, and Success initiative funding?



n Ridgewater’s commitment to helping students succeed, with Megan Field, Student Success coordinator


Summer Academy is a one-credit career exploration course taught by our college counselors and targeted toward underrepresented incoming freshmen. It helps identify individual student skill sets and educational objectives.

Access, Opportunity, and Success (AOS) is a Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system initiative designed to specifically encourage prospective underrepresented students to access higher education and provide opportunities that most likely would not normally be available to them. The grant also focuses on the retention of these students through programs and events.

Service Learning offers Ridgewater instructors a chance to utilize handson service learning projects to enrich curriculum and enhance student engagement. Lunch Buddies is a mentor program where Ridgewater students can become a big buddy to an elementary student from an area school and mentor the youth during lunch periods throughout the academic year. At the end of the year, the little buddies visit their big buddy on the Ridgewater campus for a celebration luncheon.

Our objectives are to see an increase in this group’s enrollment consistent with the population of our surrounding communities and to see more success in the completion of a degree by our underrepresented students.


What types of recruitment efforts does the funding support for Ridgewater College?



Student Success is a program which assists students with their academic goals. Students must have a goal GPA of 2.5 or higher and commit to enriching their education with workshops and advising appointments throughout the semester. Eligible students may receive textbook and laptop loans.

That depends on the specific initiative but the main population served is underrepresented students, which includes: students of color, low income (Pell Grant eligible), first generation (parents did not attend any college) or students otherwise underrepresented according to MnSCU standards.


Learning Communities are developmental course cohorts in which we offer tuition waivers to underrepresented students who complete the course with a C+ grade or better and attend the weekly tutoring and additional academic workshops. An accelerated version of this is offered in the summer called Summer Bridge Learning Community.

What additional services can students receive from the program? Additional tutoring, network connections, opportunities to attend conferences and field trips, tuition waivers, book loans, laptop loans, workshops, and a sense of belonging and support.



How large is the program?

The AOS funds at Ridgewater College currently support approximately ten different programs and events specifically designed for the recruitment and retention of underrepresented students and prospective students. The Student Success Program alone serves approximately 120 students per semester.

How do you know AOS has made a difference for a student?

Who benefits from these services?

What types of retention initiatives does the funding support for Ridgewater?

There seems to be a small number of technical program students getting involved in the program. These programs and events are open to underrepresented students who are pursuing technical degrees as well as liberal arts or transfer degrees. As the program grows, however, staff members expect more technical program students will be getting involved.


Student Success Day consists of breakout sessions on varying topics, a keynote speaker, free lunch and prize drawing. It is open for all Ridgewater students who want to become wellrounded in education and in life.

We host events for prospective students that familiarize them with Ridgewater College, get them on campus, and provide information on how a college education can build a better future for them. Examples include Super Sunday, Morning on Campus, JumpStart Club and Summer Camp.

What group of students could benefit more but does not seek out the services?

I see students on a daily basis, so I hear the struggles they have at home, in school and with other aspects of their lives. I know it has made a difference when I see them referring other students to a program or event, literally walking other students into my office, or I have students emailing me from other universities still wanting to keep connected with Ridgewater. Success is evident in the GPA of program participants when compared to other students not enrolled in AOS programs, and it is certainly beginning to show at graduation when we see them walk across the stage.


How do most students learn about AOS and opportunities available?

All students hear about the AOS and Student Success programs during new student orientation as well as through email, the college website, campus monitors, bulletin boards, and tables in gathering areas on campus.

How can one learn more about the AOS programs and events?

Anyone wanting more information about the AOS initiatives can call Megan Field at 320-222-5264, email or stop by. Willmar’s Student Success Office is in room A105 and Hutchinson’s is in room 105A. Both offices are located in the Student Services areas.



Ridgewater College Named as

One of Top 120 in Country Highlighting the critical importance of improving student success in America’s community colleges, the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program named Ridgewater College as one of the nation’s 120 top community colleges. The Aspen Institute identified the 120 community colleges - 10 percent of all institutions - using a quantitative formula that assesses performance and improvement in four areas: graduation rates, degrees awarded, student retention rates, and equity in student outcomes. The first inaugural Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence was awarded to the 70,000-student Valencia College (Orlando, Florida) in December 2011. It was the first broad national recognition of extraordinary accomplishments at individual community colleges. “The success of our nation’s community colleges is more important than ever before,” said Aspen Institute College Excellence Program Executive Director Josh Wyner. “At a time when a college degree is essential to entering the middle class, community colleges like Ridgewater College offer the most promising path to education and employment for literally millions of Americans.”

The Aspen Institute mission is twofold: to foster valuesbased leadership, encouraging individuals to reflect on the ideals and ideas that define a good society, and to provide a neutral and balanced venue for discussing and acting on critical issues. The Aspen Institute does this primarily in four ways: seminars, young-leader fellowships around the globe, policy programs, and public conferences and events. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has an international network of partners. For more information, visit

Ridgewater College Included in

G.I. Jobs 2013 List of Military Friendly Schools Victory Media, the premier media entity for military personnel transitioning into civilian life, has named Ridgewater College to the coveted Military Friendly Schools® list. The 2013 Military Friendly Schools list honors the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools in the country that are doing the most to embrace America’s military service members, veterans, and spouses as students and ensure their success on campus. Schools on the list range from state universities and private colleges to community colleges and trade schools. The common bond is their shared priority of recruiting students with military experience.

“Inclusion on the 2013 list of Military Friendly Schools shows Ridgewater’s commitment to providing a supportive environment for military students,” said Sean Collins, director for G.I. Jobs and vice president at Victory Media. “As interest in education grows, we’re thrilled to provide the military community with transparent, worldclass resources to assist in their search for schools,” said Sean. Complete survey methodology is available at methodology. “Pursuit of higher education is a common and important piece of the transition to civilian life for military personnel,” said Ridgewater President Dr. Douglas Allen. “We are proud to

have developed an environment that supports the educational success of our military veterans, and proud to have once again been named to G.I. Jobs magazine’s list of Military Friendly Schools.” The 2013 list of Military Friendly Schools was compiled through extensive research and a data-driven survey of more than 12,000 schools nationwide. The colleges, universities and trade schools on this year’s list prioritize the recruitment of students with military experience. These schools are making the grade by offering scholarships and discounts, veterans’ clubs, full-time staff, military credit, and other services to those who served.



Ridgewater Instructor Honored

as a Top Educator by MnSCU Shawn Mueske, a biology instructor at Ridgewater College, was honored recently with an Educator of the Year award from the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees. Four faculty members at MnSCU institutions were chosen for the honor. The Educator of the Year award is part of the MnSCU Board of Trustees Excellence in Teaching award program, which recognizes professional achievement and encourages the ongoing pursuit of excellence. This is the sixth year of the awards. Honorees were selected from among 37 faculty members named Outstanding Educators by their presidents and based on nominations by students, faculty peers and staff. Evaluation criteria included teaching strategies and materials; content expertise; service to students, the profession, the institution and the system; and assessment of student learning and performance.

Mueske was recognized for his range of teaching strategies and assignments, his approach to assessment, and his contributions to the college, the MnSCU system and the community. In the classroom he employs experiential learning, student projects, guest lectures, concept mapping and undergraduate research to help his students learn. He also uses a variety of instruments to obtain student reaction to his teaching and course activities. An active collaborator with faculty at other colleges, Mueske also was a leader in the development of the system’s “Science Express,” a mobile science lab that travels across the mid-Minnesota region to engage middle- and high-school students in active science labs and learning. Other winners of the MnSCU Educator of the Year award this year were Phyllis Ballata, instructor of English at Century College; Paul Carney, instructor of

Shawn Mueske and Dr. Allen Balay

English at Minnesota State Community and Technical College; and Rod Millbrandt, instructor of physics at Rochester Community and Technical College. Among the 37 Outstanding Educator honorees who were finalists for the award was Dr. Allen Balay, chairman of the Ridgewater College department of Veterinary Technology. Story provided by the West Central Tribune

Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs

Earns PhD

Betty Strehlow, Ridgewater College vice president of academic and student affairs, has earned a PhD in Leadership in Higher Education from Northcentral University in Prescott Valley, AZ.

projects. This includes leadership for accreditation efforts, strategic planning, and international partnerships.

The Leadership in Higher Education PhD program at Northcentral University provides knowledge in educational leadership, research, theory and practice as is relevant to institutions of higher education. Courses in the program focus on topics such as research, organizational governance, leadership, and finance.

Strehlow says she pursued this educational milestone through a “desire to grow as a leader and to contribute to the higher education community as a whole and to community colleges in particular.”

Strehlow began her career at Ridgewater College in 1984, when it was known as Willmar Community College. She was an instructor teaching in the disciplines of sociology, psychology and human services. She has also been the director of a 2+2 articulation program, director of institutional research, director of student services, and dean of institutional services. She was also responsible for helping lead the merger of three institutions into what is the present day Ridgewater College.

“My doctoral studies have honed my critical thinking skills and given me additional insight into ways to foster and advance the College’s mission and values,” states Strehlow. “In addition, it has kept the experience of being a student fresh in my mind and emphasized the importance of focusing on student learning outcomes within higher education.”

In her current role as vice president of academic and student affairs, Strehlow is the college’s chief academic officer, with responsibility for all functions and staff in academic affairs, student services, information technology, customized training and continuing education, institutional research, and college special

In addition to her PhD, Strehlow has earned an Associate in Arts degree in Liberal Arts from Willmar Community College (Ridgewater College), a Bachelor of Arts degree with majors in Psychology and Sociology from St. Cloud State University, and a Master of Science degree in Psychological and Human Services from St. Cloud State University.



Automotive Service Technology Program

Receives $25,000 for New Equipment Students in the Automotive Service Technology program at Ridgewater will be able to work on some advanced equipment, thanks to a state appropriation and matching funds from a generous business partner. The program was awarded $10,000 by the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System, part of a $457,000 appropriation passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Dayton this past May. The appropriation was specific to the “leveraged” acquisition of equipment for instructional programs that produce graduates with skills in high-demand occupations. To receive Legislative Leveraged Equipment Funds, MnSCU colleges and universities were required to secure matching cash or in-kind contributions from non-state sources such as local businesses, vendors or foundations.

A local business has provided matching funds that has enabled Ridgewater to purchase a 2011 Buick Lacrosse. This vehicle will provide students in the Automotive Service Technology program access to the type of automotive technology they will encounter upon entering the workforce. The opportunity to diagnose and troubleshoot the advanced computers and electronically controlled components found in today’s cars and trucks will help ensure Ridgewater graduates have the skills and knowledge necessary to excel as they begin their careers. “We are extremely grateful for the support of the legislature and our business partner for making this equipment donation possible,” said Ridgewater President Douglas Allen.

“This kind of collaboration where private and public partners leverage each other’s assets for the benefit of our programs and students means we can continue to provide a relevant education to our students. In turn, it means our graduates enter the workforce prepared to meet the needs of employers. This is truly a win-win proposition for the state, for the workforce needs of our business partners, and most importantly, for our students.” -Ridgewater President Douglas Allen




More Staff Using iPads

As a Tool to Enhance Student Learning As of September 2012, more than 84 million iPads have changed the way people use technology since the iPad’s first generation launching in April of 2012. Like consumers, some schools and colleges jumped on board immediately while others waited to see if the initial hype would satisfy or fall short. Ridgewater College had a mix of both eager and wait-and-see users, but last spring, it launched an effort to provide iPads to dozens of interested faculty and administration to explore educational possibilities. “The goal was to get them in people’s hands so they could discover how they might use the iPad as another tool to enhance student learning,” said Timothy Furr, Ridgewater chief information officer. More than 100 faculty are testing the waters. Law Enforcement instructor Mike Kutzke began using an iPad in the classroom this semester. His goal? Engage students. “I use technology as a tool,” he said. Currently it is a tool that helps him meet his students where they are. “Students use iPads, smart phones, and laptops. I have them use whatever they have.” He is an equal opportunity technology user and simply wants students to BYOD - Bring Your Own Device. “For example, I’m trying to get my students more involved with current events related to law enforcement,” he said. Kutzke uses an iPad application called Flipboard to do just that. “I use the iPad to help tell a story. They remember stories better than facts and figures. So the students and I are doing the same thing with whatever technology each has in class that day. It has allowed me flexibility to cover curriculum with day-to-day real life content.” Kutzke would rather have students learn material in ways that match their learning styles than have to go through more work than they need to using a method that’s frustrating for them. Maybe he has them look up a MN statute online. They search, they see, they discuss. “If students are more involved and engaged, they are going to have better retention down the road.” And isn’t that the goal? He finds the iPad more flexible and effective than a computer for his style of teaching because he likes to tap into the applications and he likes to walk around the room. He also uses the iPad for recording live course lectures which he then uses for his online students as well. Online students can then benefit from recorded live discussions as if they were there. “I am very excited to try new things,” confirmed John Benson, chemistry instructor. What attracted him to the possibilities of using an iPad in the classroom was the mobility it could give him to present from anywhere in the classroom rather than being locked down at a podium. He is experimenting (which is what you’d expect from a science teacher) with what will work best for him and his students. He has been a Smartboard user and a

PowerPoint user in ways that make his classes interactive. It took some experimenting with different writing applications on the iPad, but he did discover one that worked best for him when he wanted to write notes for students from the iPad. Benson knows he has a ways to go before he’s satisfied with how he uses an iPad in the classroom, but he admits, it has been good to learn more about the workings of cloud technology, the convenience of Dropbox, the ease of getting to messages, and the availability of various applications. Julie Reginek, one of Ridgewater’s staff iPad resources, explained that the online learning platform the college uses, called Desire2Learn, has been an asset. “Desire2Learn has made it easy for instructors to access their online course materials using iPads. For example, the ‘Assignment Grader’ is an app for streamlining and simplifying grading time with the convenience of having offline, mobile access to digital student submissions from the iPad.” Kutzke encourages colleagues to find balance in their use of technology. “It’s not a technology that’s going to fundamentally change education but a tool we can use creatively to enhance education. Just because an instructor has an iPad doesn’t mean he/she is going to be a great teacher or that their students are going to be great either. It’s simply a tool and a matter of how you use it,” Kutzke said. Kutzke and Reginek are pleased that so many faculty were willing to pilot iPad use. “I don’t care if your students are 3 or 30 years old - if you can engage that student, you’re going to have learning,” Kutzke said. Time will tell if faculty and students will be using iPads more at Ridgewater, but at least for now, it’s certain there is interest in creating possibilities.

1. Source:, October 6, 2012.




Quantway ™ Math Launched Move over traditional math, there’s a new math coming to Ridgewater College students and it’s going to help answer the generations-old, popularly whined question: “Where will I ever use this?” Quantway™ math, launched in three states in January of 2012 and supported by the well-respected national Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, is a new nationwide approach to teaching developmental math in colleges. There’s much less of the instructor-at-thewhiteboard writing math problem after math problem and hoping it sinks in for students. Instead, there will be more group-oriented activities and world problem situations to enhance math literacy, quantitative reasoning, and motivation to learn. Ridgewater’s Mel Taylor, Mike Sieve, and Paul Oswood are the math-loving faculty wanting to make a difference by trying something new. Last summer, they attended trainings in California and will join four other Minnesota institutions and numerous others across the country to try something new for greater student success. They will revamp their curriculum and launch the new method in fall of 2013. What’s even more exciting is that Ridgewater is the only community college in the country that is testing this program on two campuses as well as online. “I have been teaching developmental mathematics at Ridgewater since 1984,” Taylor said, “and this is the first time that I feel we may be on a better path.” Oswood and Sieve agree wholeheartedly. “We have too many students who don’t relate well to the material as presented at the board in a traditional lecture, where the teacher explains sample problems, and then the students try similar problems,” Osgood explained. “It is like trying to teach a student to play piano by watching their teacher play.” “About 70% of incoming community college students test into one or more developmental courses,” Taylor explained. The retention rate of these students has not been good at most colleges across the nation for quite some time, she said. “Something else has to be done and this is something else.” “The expectation is that students will immediately see that what they are learning to do can actually apply to their daily lives,” Sieve said. Although that is very common in science, technical, and engineering kinds of classes, that hasn’t been practice in many traditional math classes.

For example, students may compare health care choices based on several factors, compute taxes, or compare rental rates. Say you’re planning a Thanksgiving vacation from Ridgewater College to San Diego, California, with stops along the way, covering 2,100 miles. You need to choose between two rental cars that vary by rates as well as gas mileage. Determine the total cost of rental and driving for each car. At Ridgewater, Quantway will target students who test into developmental math and who want to complete these courses and a college-level math course in two semesters. Faculty will know whether they’ve been successful through student retention and completion rates, student surveys, and very likely, observation of more engaged students. “As students notice that they are understanding the material better, are able to solve problems on their own, and their test scores are rising, it will be worth the extra effort,” Osgood said. As an online math instructor, Taylor is already starting to have her students participate in weekly online chat sessions in groups. “They can get together and work as long as they want to at the same time and bounce ideas off each other.” She is extremely excited about being the only online instructor taking on the Quantway challenge. “In hindsight, it’s ridiculous that the math community hasn’t tried to apply our own math skills to this situation, since it is a math problem: Find a way to teach math that produces better results and engages our students,” Osgood added. What Ridgewater faculty also like about the Quantway program is that by participating in a national program backed by the Carnegie Foundation, they will report and receive nationwide reports of student performance statistics and faculty feedback. They will also participate in monthly web conferences to stay connected with other faculty and Quantway staff. “Quantway partners always want to be improving what they are doing and don’t suppose that they have the final product in programs – there is always room for improvement,” Taylor said. “They seem to be constantly refining questions in their modules and getting feedback whenever they can.”

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customized training & continuing education



for professionals. by professionals.


Program At A Time

A New Era Dawns for

Firefighter Training in Minnesota MnSCU Fire Training Consortium Names Calvin as Fire Training Liaison Cities and towns across Minnesota now have access to a new standardized firefighter training curriculum as well as common pricing and assessment from the newly formed Fire Training Consortium of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system (MnSCU).

“I am proud to join the MnSCU Fire Training Consortium, one of the largest firefighter training providers in Minnesota,” Calvin said. “I am impressed with the quality of the staff and the breadth and depth of the training they provide. With the consortium, we can now become even better.”

“The MnSCU Fire Training Consortium is a group of 12 MnSCU colleges intent on bringing a standardized and consistently high-quality firefighter training program to chiefs and departments around the state,” said Kathy Schwantes, the first chair who was also the dean when the consortium was developed.

Standardization and a common vision are key, Calvin said. To illustrate his point, look at the Verso Paper fire in Sartell this summer. During that incident, more than 90 departments provided assistance. Standardized training allows the incident commander to know that firefighters on the scene will follow the same procedures, use proper techniques and have a common understanding of their roles. “Ultimately, a standard curriculum improves firefighter safety and performance for everyone,” Calvin noted.

“The newly developed common curriculum delivers foundational skills to help ensure that firefighters are skilled and effective, and can better protect their communities,” she said. Partnering organizations include the Minnesota Fire Chiefs Association, Minnesota Board of Fire Training and Education, Fire Departments Association, Minnesota Professional Fire Fighter (MPFF), the Minnesota Fire Marshal’s Office and others. The new MnSCU National Fire Protection Association 1001 base course includes 140 hours of instruction in such areas as Fire Fighter I, Fire Fighter II, and Hazardous Materials Operational level classes. Costs may be reimbursable by the Minnesota Board of Firefighter Training & Education (MBFTE). To facilitate communication between various fire organizations throughout the state, the consortium recently hired Marv Calvin as its fire training liaison. Calvin brings more than 30 years of experience in emergency services, most recently as the Willmar fire chief, to the job. “We are delighted to bring Marv Calvin on board as the consortium’s liaison,” Schwantes said. “A highly respected veteran of Minnesota’s fire service, Calvin helped bring firefighter licensing to Minnesota.” As the consortium’s key contact, he will assist with communications among member colleges, state fire services and various fire training organizations. He is active in local and state professional organizations, including the International Association of Fire Chiefs, Minnesota State Fire Chiefs Association and Minnesota State Fire Department Association. And he is involved with the MBFTE, where he was instrumental in establishing the current vision for the MBFTE.

As MnSCU’s Fire Training Consortium liaison, Calvin said he wants to make sure that fire departments across the state know they can reach out to him with questions and concerns. He wants every fire service to feel comfortable coming to the table, whether they are large or small. “We want to hear about all their needs and to meet them,” he said. Although the consortium and the liaison’s position are relatively new, Calvin has a long-term vision for the group. “As the state’s number one provider of high-quality standardized firefighter training, we will set the benchmark for firefighter training not only within the state, but nationally and internationally,” he said. MnSCU colleges in the consortium are: Alexandria Technical and Community College, Hennepin Technical College, Lake Superior College, Mesabi Range Community and Technical College, Minnesota West Community and Technical College, Northland Community and Technical College, Minnesota State Community and Technical College, Pine Technical College, Ridgewater College, Riverland Community College, South Central College, and St. Cloud Technical and Community College. Contact Marv Calvin to discuss training needs or to learn more about the services offered by the MnSCU Fire Training Consortium. Calvin can be reached via e-mail at

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Ridgewater College &

Willmar Fabrication

Forge Training Partnership Thanks to Minnesota Job Skills Partnership Grant

Thanks to a Minnesota Job Skills Partnership grant, Willmar Fabrication, LLC and Ridgewater College have begun a wide variety of new training programs that will continue over a span of 18 months. Just shy of $50,000, the grant helps cover training expenses at the Willmar manufacturer of agricultural equipment. Pat Lang, Ridgewater Customized Training coordinator, has partnered with Willmar Fabrication President Steve Claussen and Angela Koosman in the company’s HR department, to customize a training program to address workforce development needs that have arisen as the company’s business model has evolved. Training topics for management and employees will include lean process, quality management, materials management, engineering stress analysis, sales skills and presentation, leadership development, and time/project management. Ridgewater will also be delivering training on understanding financials and the principles of accounting and planning, and the essential skills of leadership in manufacturing. The training curriculum is being customized to meet the specific needs of Willmar Fabrication and their products and business model.

Willmar Fabrication, LLC designs and manufactures innovative fertilizer and chemical application equipment and seed handling products. They were originally founded in 2005 as a metal manufacturer that provided its customers with contract fabrication, welding, assembly and painting. In April of 2011, the facility at 2500 Airport Road was sold to a farm equipment manufacturer based out of Canada, and Willmar Fabrication relocated to a new facility on 19th Avenue in Willmar. The company’s main focus has transitioned from contract manufacturing to sales, marketing, product development, and manufacturing of its proprietary products, but it does maintain some contract work. The company’s newest product is the 915-hooded sprayer, which was introduced to the market in the fall of 2010. This sprayer has specifically been designed for spraying Round Up resistant weeds and is currently marketed to cotton farmers in the southern region of the United States. Willmar Fabrication also sells various other products throughout the United States and continues to expand its product line.

Staff Recognized

for Motorcycle Training Efforts For 10 years, Ridgewater College’s Bev Hartzburg has made it a commitment to make motorcycle riders as safe as possible by coordinating motorcycle training each year in Willmar and Hutchinson. Minnesota Motorcycle Training Director Bill Shaffer recently honored Hartzburg and Ridgewater for outstanding commitment. “Ridgewater is a pretty big training site,” Shaffer said. Hartzburg, a former cyclist herself, began organizing training when colleges took on the training from the MN Department of Transportation. Since then, Ridgewater has trained 3,830 riders through the program that continues to grow. It offers basic and experienced rider training from April to October.

“Bev has done an excellent job with the program and has been outstanding to work with,” Shaffer said. When asked what this honor meant to her, Hartzburg replied, “I’m very appreciative of the program,” she said. She wished there had been such a program back when she used to ride cycles. She said it’s especially rewarding when cyclists report to her that they were in a situation and because of their training with Ridgewater, they knew what to do and it likely saved their life. “We have such fantastic coaches here who do the training,” Hartzburg said. “This award belongs to those guys as well. They all have a passion for helping and training people.” There are about 15 different trainers. Hartzburg also extended kudos to administrative assistant Breanna Lohn. “We couldn’t do it without her,” Hartzburg said.

MN Motorcycle Training Director Bill Shaffer recognizes Bev Hartzburg (center) for her efforts in motorcycle training. Bev says she couldn’t do it without the many outstanding coaches and Breanna Lohn (right), administrative assistant for Ridgewater’s Customized Training.

European Tour

19 ST U D Y A B RO AD 9

Experience Europe with visits to cultural, historical, and Holocaust sites. Berlin, Warsaw, Krakow, Prague

creating opportunities. changing lives.

Open to anyone, students or community members. Visit for more information.

Approximate cost: $3,200

Tour Dates in March 2013 to coordinate with Ridgewater’s Spring Break, March 11-15*

* Contact Ridgewater College for final dates

Price includes airfare, all hotels, breakfast daily, some dinners, program fees, tour guides, admission to museums and other attractions.

Contact: Ruth Fairchild 320-222-7520

Kathy Steffen 320-234-8554



Construction Project Phase II

cover story


Things will be looking a lot different around the Willmar campus beginning around April 2013. That’s when work will begin in earnest on the biggest campus remodeling project in over 20 years. Approved by the legislature and signed by Governor Dayton last July, planning for Phase II of Ridgewater’s Technical Instruction Addition and Renovation project is well underway, and construction is slated to begin in the spring.

cover story


Project Background The project was included in the $496 million bonding bill that was signed in the last legislative session. Ridgewater’s project is funded for $13.851 million, and will include renovation and remodeling of several areas of the Willmar campus. The impacts of the project are impressive: • Reduces deferred maintenance backlog by $4.5 million. • Remodeled space should reduce energy consumption by 5-10% over current usage and will save approximately $15,000 annually in electrical, natural gas, and water/sewer costs. • Demolishes an 8,500 sq. ft. building that is poorly constructed and energy inefficient. • Remodels 27,000 sq. ft. for the Agriculture and Veterinary Technology programs, which comprise over 20% of all technical program students on the Willmar campus. • Remodels 50,000 GSF of outdated and inefficient space to improve student services and community outreach. • Overall reduction in campus size of 2.5%, or 12,200 GSF.

You may have noted that this project has “Phase II” in the title. It is actually the second (and much larger) portion of the overall campus remodel project. The first phase was approved in the 2008 legislative session and has been completed. That portion of the overall campus remodel included the demolition of several 1950s era buildings that were outdated and inefficient, and the addition of a facility that houses Customized Training and Continuing Education, the Insurance Claim Representative program, and the Electrician and Carpentry programs.

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Building A Renovations and Impacts Both levels of Building A – commonly known as the Student Services Building – will undergo a complete renovation. When finished, students will benefit from a redesigned layout that unifies the location of student services offices and departments, making for an efficient and effective “onestop shop”. Services that will be housed in this new area include Records/Registration, Admissions, Financial Aid, the Business Office, Counseling, and Disability Services. The Test Center will also be located here, along with facilities for TRIO Student Support Services. The project also relocates the Bookstore and Foundation offices from the Administration building to the first floor of the Student Services building, which will be much more convenient for students as the current location isn’t a high traffic location.

A First Floor Plan

The second floor of Building A will undoubtedly be a popular destination for Ridgewater students. The area will feature an updated and modern dining facility, and a completely redesigned student life area where students can study, socialize and relax. There will also be classrooms and computer labs added for additional academic pursuits. Perhaps the most notable change to Building A, at least from the outside, will be the addition of a new front vestibule made of glass. The addition will make for a clearer “front door” to the campus, and create a visual trademark of sorts for the campus.

A Second Floor Plan

Cover Story


Building B/C Renovations and Program Impact The Agriculture and Veterinary Technology programs are two of the largest technical programs on the Willmar campus. Together, they account for nearly a quarter of the technical students on campus! With the completion of this project, those students will be learning in new and advanced facilities. Building C, which has traditionally housed both programs, will undergo significant remodeling. The changes will include a new dairy lab and classroom, computer labs, a grain grading lab for Ag students, and several new and updated classrooms that will make for a fantastic learning environment.



In addition to utilizing many of the remodeled spaces in Building C, the Vet Tech program will be expanding into some newly remodeled space in Building B, as well. That building will house a new anatomy lab, clinical pathology lab, and a laboratory technician facility, in addition to a dedicated, stateof-the-art classroom.

Cover Story


Building H Demolition, Remodel and Impact Building H, also known as the Administration Building, will be shrinking as well as undergoing some major remodeling. An 8,500 square foot portion of the building that is poorly constructed and very inefficient will be demolished.

The remainder of the building will be remodeled to house college administration, the Human Resources department, and marketing functions, as well as updated conference facilities. The remodeling will result in the move of the college Bookstore, Ridgewater College Foundation, and some classroom space to other areas of campus that will provide for better student access.


Schedule Construction Documents

October 29, 2012 -February 1, 2013

Building A - Both Floors

April 15, 2013 -February 7, 2014

Owner Review Period

February 4 -February 22, 2013

Building B - Vet Tech

April 15 -July 19, 2013

Address Owner Comments, Complete CDs

February 22 -February 28, 2013

Building C - Agriculture

April 15 -July 19, 2013


February 28 -March 21, 2013

Building B/C - Owner Move-in

July 22 -August 2, 2013

Pre-Bid Walk-Thru (Spring Break)

March 12, 2013

Building A - Bookstore Relocation

February 10 -February 28, 2014

Bid Opening

March 21, 2013

Building H - Administration

February 17 -June 20, 2014

Contract Processing/ Mobilization

March 22 -April 12, 2013

Building Demolition

March 31 -May 2, 2014


April 15, 2013 -June 20, 2014

Final Landscaping

May 5 -May 30, 2014

Project Closeout

June 23 -September 26, 2014

Practical Advice:

Making the Most of a Campus Visit

Deciding what college to attend is often the most important decision a person will make, and can affect their entire adult life. It can determine potential majors, professional connections, lifelong friends, and perspective on education, careers and life.



21 The Internet has made it very easy and convenient for students and families to research college options, but many will agree that making a college visit is the best way to truly determine whether what looks good on a website is truly the best fit for a student. So how does one make a college visit a SUCCESSFUL one? “Always plan ahead,” says Jill Warren, Ridgewater College admissions representative on the Hutchinson campus. “Start thinking about college before you are a senior.” That gives you time to research the possibilities, visit with college representatives who visit your high school, visit with your high school counselor, and narrow down which colleges you eventually want to visit. Many colleges have certain days or times they prefer you to visit, and many offer special group days for potential students to visit. Ridgewater has on-campus visit days each semester called Discover Ridgewater. These are organized days where students and often their parents come to campus to see program areas, visit with faculty, learn about financial aid and admissions, and get a feel for the college environment. Knowing dates early and knowing which colleges are candidates for visits helps teens schedule visits around high school days off and activities if necessary. If a potential student prefers to have a more informal experience, most colleges make personal appointments for tours if you call their admissions office about two weeks prior to your anticipated visit day. When you call, share what you hope to get out of the visit and any specific interests. That allows admissions staff to make arrangements with specific faculty or coaches or activity advisors. “I don’t ever expect that students know a lot about going to college,” Admissions Representative Jenna Hanson says. “We know it’s often their first experience at a college when visiting and everything is new to them.” Hanson always wants students to know that there is no stupid question and that it wasn’t so long ago that she also was in their shoes searching for direction. “There’s so much information to absorb,” Hanson explains. It’s one of the reasons she and Warren recommend that students try not to schedule two college visits in the same day. They’ve seen students rush through tours, not ask all their questions or not be mentally devoted to the experience because they are anticipating the next visit or ruminating on the prior visit. Overloading the day with college visits can cause students to miss information or connections with faculty at each individual campus.

“I don’t think it goes as well as they thought it would when they originally planned it out,” Warren adds. They sometimes end up distracted with too much information and excitement in one day. Another tip Warren and Hanson suggest is to make a conscious decision about who will attend the visit with you. Parents often attend, but sometimes friends and significant others want to partake in the experience. Sometimes that’s good, and sometimes it can negatively influence the potential student. “Sometimes you can bring too many people to a visit,” according to Warren. “Your college decision is ultimately your choice.” If you do bring additional guests, it can be helpful to have a conversation with them before the visit so they know your expectations of their role and the reasons you have for visiting. If you bring friends with who are also truly interested in the college, it is sometimes a good idea to actually schedule separate tours if you are interested in different majors to be sure you each have the best possible experience with the most pertinent information for making your decision, Warren suggests. Asking questions is key to a successful college visit. If you know you want to start at a school like Ridgewater and then transfer to a four-year public or private school, ask your tour guide or admissions staff about other people’s experiences with that. Ridgewater’s representatives can share how smoothly that process can go – some based on their own experiences – and help you make those dreams a reality. “Sometimes it’s simply a no-brainer for students to start at Ridgewater with its small class sizes and more affordable tuition and then transfer,” says Hanson. The sooner you know where you might want to transfer to, the smoother it can go. Once the college visit is over, it’s time to check out the community, recommends Hanson. “It could be the place you live for 2-4 years so be sure to check out the area.” “Even if you think you know where you want to go to college, visit another college so you have something to compare it to,” advises Hanson. “No two schools are identical – not even Ridgewater’s two campuses are identical.” To schedule a college visit at Ridgewater, call 800-722-1151 so staff can cater a visit to meet your needs and interests for this incredibly important decision.

Tips for Parents • Encourage your teen to begin thinking about colleges and researching them online their sophomore and junior years so you can schedule visits their junior year and early senior year to lessen stress and maximize opportunities such as scholarships, special visit days, and possible connections with activity advisors or coaches. • Help your teen make a list of what’s important in a college decision: size, location, major, activities. • Encourage your teen to visit a variety of schools, i.e. big, small, public, private, rural, metro, etc.

• Allow students to speak for themselves – you may be surprised how much you learn from them about things you maybe haven’t had time to talk about yet. • Let students ask their questions first so the admissions rep can connect with your child first to best address what’s on his/her mind. Chances are that many of the questions you have may be answered before you ask them. • Be encouraging, but not forceful. • Don’t assume your alma mater is the right fit for your teen. Again, visiting a variety of campuses can help your teen determine what feels right.


into Success Thanks to listening to his heart, Jake Remus has spent the last 13 years in an industry he loves after going through Ridgewater’s Audio Technology program.



Top Jake demonstrates the complexity of audio control equipment.

Right Jake installing the video replay control room systems at Target Field in Minneapolis.

Test, Test, Test – 1, 2, 3. Imagine going to a Twins baseball game these days without the jumbotron instant replays, game highlights, “Circle Me, Bert”, or digital celebration graphics. They’ve become integral parts of the audio-visual experience sports fans have come to expect whether they are in the stands or watching on television. Audience experiences today are better than ever, thanks to Ridgewater Audio Technology graduates like Jake Remus who has worked with colleagues to install video replay control

room systems for Major League Baseball’s Fenway Park in Boston, Marlin’s Park in Miami, and Target Field in Minneapolis. He’s also made audio experiences positive for audiences in churches, restaurants, hotels, and other venues. Thanks to listening to his heart, Jake has spent the last 13 years in an industry he loves after graduating from Ridgewater in 1999. He currently is a lead technician and field engineer for Audio Logic Systems of Eden Prairie.


24 But Jake saw it as a hobby then, not a potential career. He simply didn’t know where to go to college or what to study. “I remember talking to my parents saying that I wanted to do something I enjoy,” Jake said. Still, the seemingly obvious clues didn’t sink in. He had a friend who was planning to attend a metropolitan art school, so Jake decided he’d do that also and study computer graphics. He applied, was accepted and then waited for high school graduation. He almost followed through with those plans, but something just didn’t feel right. As if it was destiny - through friends of his parents and a college mailing - Jake heard about the Audio Technology program in Hutchinson.

Finding Ridgewater

“I was hooked when I saw all the equipment!” Jake said. “I’m a musician so I’ve always been interested in sound, audio and mics.” Ridgewater was a perfect fit for Jake, he said. “I wanted to be there all the time. If I wasn’t working to pay rent, I was at the college doing my studies and projects. Jim Jordahl and Dave lgl were just great instructors. Never did I have that feeling where I was a burden - I hear that from other people in the program also… I just loved being surrounded by people who shared my interests so I had all the right resources to get through.”

“I was hooked when I saw all the equipment! I’m a musician so I’ve always been interested in sound, audio and mics.”

Searching for Direction

“In high school, I didn’t really have a good idea of what I wanted to do,” said the 1996 graduate of Princeton High School. He spent several years in his high school jazz band, pep band, marching band, and drum line – music was his passion. Jake even participated in a garage band with his friends. “It was all I did!” Jake said of music. Naturally, with that much performing, Jake acquired valuable hands-on experience with audio equipment like sound systems, microphones, and recording equipment. Often times during his junior and senior years, he’d volunteer to help set up before performances in his school’s new performing arts center. “I did it because I wanted to.”

The community was a good fit for Jake as well, he said. “Hutchinson was a great town for me. I felt like I was somebody instead of one of a thousand.” He liked that he knew people when he went to the grocery store or while working at McCormick’s Family Restaurant. “As a college student, I knew so many people. For a small town boy, that was a good feeling.”

The Audio Technology Industry

For his three-month internship and then his first job out of college, Jake worked for Sterling Tech Systems of Plymouth, now known as Black Box Network Services. He installed and pulled cabling in office and medical buildings and helped with termination of voice and data connections. It didn’t involve music, but it did involve communications. “It gave me another perspective in the working world.” Jake went on to earn his CTS certification and Power Limited Technician licensure - both now requirements in the industry - and built his confidence in the industry with both knowledge and experience.

Top Jake stands before Target Field after completing the installation of the video replay control.

Then Jake was hired by TES Inc., also known as Technical Entertainment Services of Maplewood. For about three years, Jake worked for this company of five employees. “That’s where I learned the most out in the field,” he said. “I was the lead technician installing sound systems from start to finish.” As the lead for two other technicians, Jake worked closely with his boss who trained and mentored him. The team installed audio equipment in many churches, hotels, and restaurants, and performed service work as well. While at TES, one of the jobs he worked on was as a subcontractor for an Edina company called Alpha Video and Audio. TES was in the process of merging with another Twin Cities company, so Jake reached out to Alpha to see if they might be hiring. Fortunately, they knew Jake’s excellent work and found a position for him as lead technician working with other installers of audio and video systems. After four and a half years of working on location, Jake took a promotion to project manager. It meant more projects at one time, less time at job sites, and more

“That’s where I learned the most out in the field. I was the lead technician installing sound systems from start to finish,” Jake said about working at TES Inc. of Maplewood.

responsibility. Timing was good for Jake to spend more time in one location, he said, because it was around then that he married and started a family. “I could be home almost every day to see my (wife and two daughters).” “My role at Alpha as the project manager was to oversee the projects from start to finish,” he explained. His team included about a dozen people in the field as well as staff in the office. Sometimes that included work with other Ridgewater alumni, including service technician Sam Van Moer, programmer/audio-visual engineer Matt Rasmussen, installation technician Aaron Munson, and installation technician Greg Kennard, who will graduate from Ridgewater this spring. “I managed the installation schedule and worked directly with my team of sales, engineering and technical resources to get jobs done in the contracted timeline. I also worked with other building trades such as general construction, electricians and mechanical contractors to ensure facilities are ready for our systems to be installed.”

That’s a big job when you’re talking about some big projects like major league baseball stadiums that seat 37,000-40,000 fans. It was work at Alpha that gave Jake the team experience of completing complex video replay control room installation so audiences can enjoy the replay and slow motion video and graphics that appear on the jumbo scoreboards. During those three- to four-month projects, the first month was spent planning and building the systems in the local shop, Jake explained. “These systems usually entail 10-15 full-size equipment racks full of audio/visual equipment, thousands of feet of cable and HD (High Definition) camera systems.” Then it was time to move the pre-built system to the jobsite by a semi-truck and begin on-site integration. “The on-site integration involves not only installing our equipment, but also working with other contractors to connect all signal types together - audio from the sound guy’s system, control from the scoreboard operator’s system, and cabling throughout the


26 stadium, which was generally handled by the broadcast cabling contractor,” Jake said. The Alpha system included multiple camera systems that were operated in the field and several robotic camera systems that were remotely operated from the video replay control room. Several computers ran the graphics and slow-motion replay elements of the production system and several pieces of equipment routed and distributed the signals to wherever they needed to go - the network truck dock, the jumbotron scoreboard, or the in-house broadcast booths.


! u o Y s elcome

It’s all part of the audio-visual experience that fans, TV viewers, and network stations have come to expect from sports entertainment. For nearly six years, Jake held that project manager position, but he felt recently that he was ready for a change. “An opportunity came up recently that I just couldn’t pass up – it was an opportunity to get back in the field,” Jake said. That’s why this fall he took a lead technician/field engineer position with Audio Logic Systems. “It will focus more on what I truly enjoy – more the audio systems rather than video.” Work will focus on audio projects at churches, event venues, and auditoriums as well as some live productions. When Jake isn’t working or with family or friends, he enjoys giving back to his alma mater when he can and stays in touch by serving on the Audio Technology Advisory Board at Ridgewater College’s Hutchinson campus. He’s excited about the recent improvements in the program whereby curriculum will better align with employer needs in today’s ever-changing industry. “On top of audio and video systems, having knowledge of building construction, electrical, and HVAC systems is a must when working with other trades,” Jake said. “It helps a person understand the process of putting some systems together.” “If students are interested in audio, video, and communications systems, those types of technicians are high in demand,” Jake said. “Audio Technology is definitely a great program.”

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Program Spotlight:


In spring 2012, Ridgewater administration gave faculty in the Agriculture department the thumbs-up to proceed with a plan to farm 61 acres of college-owned land adjacent to the Willmar campus. The intent of the Ag instructors was to provide real-world, hands-on experience with all aspects of crop farming to students enrolled in the various agriculture programs. Because the idea wasn’t able to be fully implemented until late in spring, students weren’t able to be overly active in the planting processes. However, students in the Planters and Spring Tillage class were able to do some spring tillage with equipment donated for use by Arnold’s Equipment of Willmar. Students in summer Crop Scouting lab were also able to scout the fields and make weed control recommendations for the corn and soybeans that had been planted. Early this fall, students in the Forage Harvesting and Equipment class were able to bale some forage off of the oats ground. Students in Fall Tillage and Combines class were able to actually operate the combine while harvesting. Haug Implement helped combine the soybeans, and they also demonstrated John Deere’s “machine synch” technology at the same time. This advanced technology enables the combine to actually take over the driving control. All things considered, Ridgewater’s Living Laboratory’s first fall harvest went smoothly, mainly because there were no rain events to slow progress. That same dry weather did cause some challenges to crop growth and health over the course of the summer, however.

Overall, the first year of the Living Laboratory initiative has been a huge success. Local businesses have provided tremendous support, including donations of input products and equipment that have been instrumental in getting the project going. Ridgewater Agriculture students have ultimately benefited from the additional hands-on experiences and the “teachable moments” offered by actually participating in the processes involved in raising a crop. The program will continue to grow and evolve next year, beginning with some new trials that students have decided on. Instructors will also be examining ways to build the opportunities the Living Laboratory provides into the curriculum of more and more classes, ultimately touching as many students as possible, helping them become the agriculture industry leaders of tomorrow.

Foundation news

Foundation News Thanks

to the following donors for setting up new scholarships for our students!

Midwest Industrial Tool Grinding, Inc (MITGI) One $500 scholarship for a student enrolled in the Machine Tool or Computer-Aided Drafting & Design programs; this scholarship is renewable for up to 4 semesters. Available to 2 students per year.

Haug Implement

Loffler Companies

One $1000 scholarship for a student enrolled in the GPS/ GIS Ag Technology program; this scholarship is renewable for up to 4 semesters and provides the student with a hands-on internship experience at Haug Implement.

One $500 scholarship for a student enrolled part-or full-time in a business-related program.

For more information on the process for establishing a scholarship, refer to our Guidelines for Establishing Scholarships at or contact Kelly in the Foundation Office.

Update your Alumni Profile

Win a $100 Prize! Whether you attended or graduated from Ridgewater College or any of its predecessor colleges including Willmar Community College, Willmar State Junior College, Willmar Technical College/Institute, Hutchinson Area Vo-Tech, to name a few - we consider you alumni! Please take this opportunity to tell us about yourself so that we can keep you informed of happenings at your alma mater. Update your profile prior to January 1, 2013, to be eligible for the $100 prize drawing.

Congratulations to our past $100 prize winners! Anita Bjur, Accounting, Class of ’98, employed as an Internal Accountant at CDS in Willmar.

Greg Luhman, Associate of Arts ’84, currently employed as Fire Captain for City of Sheridan, WY.

Foundation news


Where Are They Now? What are Your Best Ridgewater Memories? We love hearing from and keeping in touch with our many graduates. And as we do, we want to share with you their whereabouts and accomplishments. All information posted below was given by permission by each alumnus in response to our annual Vita Survey which was sent to them. If you have not yet updated your alumni profile at, visit today and you may be entered for a chance to win $100. See page 28 to see past $100 winners.

2012 Brittany Keesling (Multimedia Design)

1994 Jessica Fisher (Medical Assistant)

I completed my Computer Art and Publishing diploma in May 2012. In that first year, I did work-study for the Wrestling team and then for the Marketing & Sales Management Office. Currently, I’m continuing my schooling at Ridgewater-Hutch Campus for Multimedia Design; I will have my AAS Degree after Fall 2012 and then hope to find a job. My favorite memories at Ridgewater College include hanging out, going to events with the Multicultural Club and the Check & Connect Group. I made great friends and really loved my work-study jobs (Thank you Tom Beyer and Vicki Melbye!)

I have worked at the Trimont Health Care Center since I graduated from Ridgewater. I worked as the unit secretary/ health information tech and moved up through the ranks to Accounts Receivable clerk. I continued my education and graduated in July 2007 with a BSN degree (Registered Nurse). I then worked as the MDS Coordinator and then as the staff Education Coordinator. I am currently serving as the Director of Nursing Services. My husband and I raise approximately 2000 head of feeder cattle and farm approximately 1000 acres of corn and soybeans. I remember watching OJ’s trial during meals and breaks in the commons area!

2010 Ross Christensen (Agri-Business) Since college, I worked for Harvest Land Cooperative in Springfield, MN for one growing season as a commercial applicator, then I took on the job of running a road grader for Eden Township/Brown County with my Dad and my brother. I farm with my dad and my brother, raising corn, beans, and cattle.

2002 Heather (Fouks) Owens (Veterinary Technology) I’ve worked at two veterinary clinics since graduating: I was a CVT at a vet clinic in Mondovi, WI and then a vet tech instructor at Globe University in Eau Claire, WI. I currently work as a Plasma Tech at Biolife Plasma and am enjoying this job a lot. Having had an opportunity to experience the Globe class structure, I realize that Ridgewater’s structure and people were really great and I refer people to Ridgewater every chance I get.

2001 Lyndsay Berglund (Farm Operation & Management) Right after college, I worked jobs that didn’t involve my program of study but 5 years ago, I moved back home to the family farm. My family’s dairy farm is all natural and we sell raw milk right out of the milkhouse. We’re the only farm within a 200 mile radius! Raw (all natural) milk is a big health movement right now. I currently work as my dad’s relief milker and help with animal care while also working as a nanny. I love farming and hope my life will always involve cows!

1990 Kristen Schwab (Audio Technology) I left Hutchinson in 1990 and attended Music Tech of Minneapolis with a Major in Keyboards/Vocals, graduating in ‘91 with an Associates Degree. I began working in Advertising at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis in 1990 and worked there for 15 years. While at the Star Tribune, I worked with many well known bands from the Twin Cities area such as Slave Raider, Regime, Touched, and the Jeff Loven Band. I played and sang with some not-so-well-known acts and did roadie and promotion for the popular ones. Then the whole Seattle/ Kurt Cobain music scene took care of the “hair bands.” However, with the networking I did previously, I met some of the most enjoyable characters in Rock and Roll such as David Lee Roth, Dream Theater, Little River Band, C.C. DeVille, Kip Winger, James Young of Styx, Dee Snyder, Kevin Cronin of REO Speedwagon, Aldo Nova, & one of my all time favorites, Mickey Thomas of Starship - he’s a wonderful guy & a great friend. I miss the great music I got to see and hear, but my memories are strong. I moved back home to SW Minnesota when my dad passed away to help my Mom take care of our small farm. While back there I worked at a company doing payroll/benefits clerking, then retail sales at another company, then I became a union laborer building windtowers for M.A. Mortenson and helped to build 100 towers near Brookings, SD. I loved the work, but the next year showed no sign of another wind job so I was not rehired. I met my significant other, Mitch in January 2008 and we moved to


“I’m very grateful for the education I received at Ridgewater; the instructors were first-class and prepared me very well for the world after graduation.” -Sharon Anderson, Ridgewater Alumna

NW Minnesota in 2009 where I have been the Mayor of the City of Tenney, MN (population 5 - yeah, FIVE!) until the end of 2011 when we will be dissolving the City and turning it over to the local township to govern. I have many memories of the best days in my life while in college in Hutch! I jammed with a basement band made up of 3 of my classmates from Audio Tech. Those were the best times I’ve ever had - and I really miss the great people I started my adult life with a lot.

1985 Rita Tiffany (Nursing) I held a variety of jobs in the nursing field after graduation. I spent 13 years working with emotionally and mentally handicapped adolescents at WRTC. That was a fun job, with something new every day. The most challenging job I had was as an organ donation coordinator and procurer. That kind of job teaches you more than any textbook ever could. I have since retired and am enjoying my children, grandchildren and gardening.

1983 Sharon Anderson (Nursing) I have worked in a variety of nursing jobs in hospitals and nursing homes, but I have been out of direct patient care for 19 years. I currently live in Minneapolis and work at Medica Insurance doing research into new medical technologies. I am also a certified medical coder. I have great memories of my nursing class of 1983. We were in the accelerated program for LPN to RN, which was extremely intense and as a result we were all very close. I’m very grateful for the education I received at Ridgewater; the instructors were first-class and prepared me very well for the world after graduation.

1981 Craig Christians (Pre-Engineering) After WCC, I earned a BS in Civil Engineering at SDSU, and then went on to get an MS in Municipal Engineering @ ISU. I’ve been the manager of the City of Omaha’s Sewer Maintenance Division for 24 Years. I’m also the head Cross Country and Track coach at Bellevue West High School.

1973 Robert Sportel (Accounting) After college, I worked at Control Data in Bloomington, MN (Lease Accounting) from 1973 - 1974; then as Office Manager at Prinsburg Farmers Co-op from 1974 - 1980. Since 1981, I’ve been the Agronomy Manager at Prinsburg Farmers Co-op.

1970 Hazel Sitz (General Secretarial) Ours was the last class that graduated from the school when it was located in the Merrill Building. I was employed in secretarial work after completing my courses at HAVTI. I continued my education and graduated from Metropolitan State University in 1975 with BA degree. I was employed by the City of Hutchinson from 1975-1996 as Human Resources Coordinator. I retired in 1996 and am now a volunteer for several organizations.

1968 Cindy Forbes (Administrative Assistant) I moved to San Diego, CA, in 1969 after working at the U of M for one year. I worked in the field of graduate education primarily: California School of Professional Psychology, University for Humanistic Studies, and the California Teachers Association. I thoroughly enjoyed my year at WAVTI... the students, faculty and staff were great. The training I received there was excellent. Socially, it was a great time and I enjoyed meeting people from throughout the state who came to school there.

1967 Lynn McEwen (Drafting and Design Technology) After graduation, I worked for IBM as a draftsman for 8 years, then as a systems programmer for the remaining 24 years, until I retired in 1999. I then found the job of a lifetime as a senior application programmer with Gemini, Inc. where I have worked part-time for the past 12 years. I remember the Air Force huts that we used to have class in, the football games we had at noon and between classes. I will never forget the 2 years I worked in the Clark Station and and all of the friends I made. I have to thank the instructors -- Pat Fahey and George LaPatka -- for all they taught me during those two years and how grateful I am that they prepared me so well for life outside of school!


For great careers and intern opportunities, think Rice. Learn about careers, nurse residency programs, and healthcare internships at

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Thank You for making a difference in our college and community with your investment in the Ridgewater College Foundation.

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GRHS0494 (9/12)

Ridgewater College Magazine Fall 2012  

Fall 2012 issue of Ridgewater Magazine

Ridgewater College Magazine Fall 2012  

Fall 2012 issue of Ridgewater Magazine