Category Archives: Alumni & Friends

Siblings continue the family tradition of attending Dunwoody College

Nick and Angela FreelandNick Freeland, ’15 Mechanical Drafting & Engineering Systems, and Angela Freeland, ’20 Mechanical Engineering, saw firsthand the value of a Dunwoody education when their father James enrolled at the College following a 20-year career as automotive mechanic.

James Freeland had returned to school and earned his Mechanical Drafting & Engineering Systems Degree in 2013. He now designs parts in the medical field. His decision made an impact on his two oldest children, and it wasn’t long before they both decided to follow in their father’s footsteps.

Nick had spent a year attending the University of Minnesota Duluth and was about to enroll in classes for his second year when he decided that the hands-on, professional atmosphere at Dunwoody that his father described would actually be a better fit.

“I’m more math-based and I learn better with hands-on opportunities. Plus I wanted a career more on the engineering side,” Nick said. “My dad was going here, so I just decided to enroll [at Dunwoody].”

Father and son were at Dunwoody together for only one semester, since James was about to graduate, but having two generations in one family attending at the same time – and in the same program – is still a rarity.

Right away, Nick felt at home in the small-class environment with students who were serious about their education and focused on their career choice. He especially liked working with the Computer-aided Design (CAD) software, which felt more like a game than actual work.

During his first year at Dunwoody, Nick was hired for a paid internship at Johnstech, a manufacturer of high-performance precision test solutions in the semiconductor test market. The internship continued during his second year and then turned into a full-time job after graduating. Today, Nick is a CAD Designer, Level II and designs components for the company.

Angela was still in high school when both her dad and brother were attending Dunwoody. So when she learned about Dunwoody’s Youth Career Awareness Program (YCAP) at a college fair during her junior year, it seemed like a good fit.

The summer program allowed Angela a chance to explore all of the different career paths and programs offered at Dunwoody. She was drawn to the graphic design program.

Like her father and brother, Angela is also mathematically and mechanically-inclined. So after a semester she switched her program and is now a student in the four-year Mechanical Engineering program.

“I like the idea of being able to design and build something, and you can work in almost any field,” Angela said.

Nick wasn’t surprised by either his sister’s decision to attend Dunwoody, or the switch to Mechanical Engineering.

“I always knew she’d be my boss someday,” Nick said with a laugh.

Angela, who is a member of Dunwoody’s Student Government, is already enjoying the project-based learning and hands-on environment with instructors who have all worked professionally in the field.

“I like the project work and the instructors are great,” Angela said, adding that having a mix of older and younger students in the program has also been an advantage.

While it is still three years away, Angela is already thinking about her career after Dunwoody. She is interested in exploring mechanical engineering in the construction industry and would like to become a project manager someday.

The three Freelands aren’t the only relatives in the family to attend Dunwoody. On their mother’s side, the pair have two uncles who have attended the College — Carroll Gackstetter and Michael McMonigal.

“Dunwoody is a really good fit for a lot of people,” Nick said. “As a graduate, you have a lot of opportunities in technical industries.”

Angela agrees, adding that technically-trained workers will always be needed.

Q&A with a Dunwoody Electrical Construction & Maintenance Technology Alum

Dunwoody alumni are innovators, entrepreneurs, top technicians, and skilled workers.  Here is a quick Q&A with just one!

Brennan Schumacher, ’00 Electrical Construction & Maintenance Technology

Q. What are you doing now?

A. After running a small consulting firm for the past 12 years, I have started a Lighting Studio within a large MEP firm. It is great to have all of the resources and tools and focus on the design.

Q. Where is the weirdest place you have ever met a fellow alum?

A. This thing called World Wide Web.

Q. Has there been a moment in your career when you thought “My job is awesome!” and what was that moment?

A. I have had the opportunity to work several National Award Winning projects. My biggest moment came when walking my family through The Exploratorium in San Francisco, which was my most challenging and rewarding project.

Q. What would your former classmates be surprised to know about you now?

A. I have two children, and have been living in Colorado since graduation day, but I’m still a huge fan of the Green Bay Packers.

Q. What is your favorite memory of Dunwoody?

A. I remember how involved the electrical industry was in our program. The program did a tremendous job preparing us for real world experience.

Generations of Success

For four generations, members of the Stone family have found rewarding and life-long careers thanks to their Dunwoody education.

Pictured below (from left to right): Billy Stone, ’55 Electrical Construction & Maintenance; Russell Stone, ’49 Sheet Metal; and William Stone, ’40 Painting & Papering.

“I honestly don’t think I’d be where I am today without my Dunwoody degree,” said Steve Stone, retired co-owner and Vice President of Electrical Service for Parsons, a leading electrical and technology provider in the country.

The connection with Dunwoody began with William Stone, a 1940 graduate of the Painting & Papering program. William’s talent as a painter extended beyond interior finishes. William was also a talented artist, whose paintings are on display in many sites around the Twin Cities, including Fort Snelling and the City of Bloomington.

His sons Russell and Billy Stone also chose to attend Dunwoody. Russell graduated from the Sheet Metal program in 1949 and spent his career working in the HVAC industry. Billy was a 1955 Electrical Construction & Maintenance graduate and enjoyed a life-long career as an electrician.

Steve Stone wasn’t sure what he wanted to do with his life after graduating from high school. Growing up he had watched his father Billy succeed in the electrical business and saw the pride he had taken in his work.

“My dad was very handy and he enjoyed his career – they all did,” Steve said about his family members. “I learned a lot from my dad.”

With than in mind, Steve decided he too would enroll at Dunwoody in the Electrical Construction & Maintenance program. He made the decision without input from his dad. “I think I actually surprised him,” Steve said about his father’s reaction when he told him the news.

When Steve graduated in 1977 he applied for the local apprenticeship program (JATC), hoping to become a Journeyman like his father. But electrical work was slow in the mid-1970s and Steve was told they would contact him when the demand for work increased.

Not content to sit and wait, Steve got out the yellow pages and started calling electrical contractors to see if they were hiring. He remembers getting to the middle of the alphabet before he got a call back. A company in St. Louis Park offered him a job.

It was a summer position and by August or September he got the call from the JATC for an interview. Three years later, after completing his apprenticeship, Steve passed the Journeyman’s test and on the same day the company he was working for made him a foreman.

That same company would soon be bought out by Parsons, and Steve as a service truck driver soon advanced general superintendent then project management. He was promoted to Vice President, and then, brought on as a co-owner/partner, Steve was overseeing the entire service and maintenance department for Parsons.

“Not by any stretch of the imagination did I ever think that would eventually happen,” Steve said about his career path at Parsons. Thinking back, Steve said it was the structure and the discipline he learned from his family and Dunwoody that made it possible.

Steve’s son Corey also made the choice to attend Dunwoody to kick off his professional life in 1999. There were multiple reasons why Corey made his decision to attend Dunwoody, but two stand out.

“I like that the classes and the College are structured and centered around preparing you for the real world,” Corey said. “I really felt motivated and supported every day since students at Dunwoody are here for a purpose and want to be here every day.”

Even during Corey’s Dunwoody career he was working at HTG Architects as a CAD Tech/3D Modeler. After graduating in 2002, Corey began working at Wilson & Associates, a small architectural firm in Minneapolis. There Corey got the chance to really interact with the construction world as he met with clients and conducted construction meetings with trade partners, including Parsons Electric.

Motivated by the desire to continuously improve himself, Corey got an opportunity in 2008 to further his 3D modeling career at Parsons by helping develop their Building Information Modeling (BIM)/ Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) group. And in 2011 Corey was promoted to BIM Manager, giving him the opportunity to further develop the Parsons’ BIM/VDC group.

Throughout Corey’s career at Parsons he was an influential part of the success on a number of Parsons’ largest projects. Most recently, Corey was the BIM/VDC Manager for Parsons Electric on the US Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings. “My wife Angela is a big Vikings fan, so to be able to show her progress photos throughout the construction and then bring her on a tour near the end was priceless for me,” Corey said.

Motivated by a desire to keep learning new things and to continuously challenge himself, Corey is now taking on more Project Management rolls at Parsons Electric.

When he’s not at work, Corey, Angela and their daughter Jade have a nice home where they raise chickens and honey bees throughout the year. “It’s a pleasure coming home and watching your family enjoy being around these privileges, and it all started from a great foundation at Dunwoody,” Corey said.

Steve retired from Parsons in 2015, but the avid woodworker and handyman stays plenty busy with his building projects, golfing, fishing and landscaping. Not to mention traveling and bike riding with his wife Terry and enjoying his role as grandpa to two adorable little girls, Jade and Hayden. Their daughter Hollie is a fourth grade teacher for a local school district.

Despite his busy schedule, Steve still finds time to volunteer as a member of the Dunwoody Alumni Board of Managers.

“I like volunteering and interacting with the students,” Steve said. “And it’s definitely a source of pride that so many of my family have gone here.”

In Memoriam: President Emeritus Warren Phillips

Photo of Warren Phillips from 2014

President Emeritus Warren Phillips at Dunwoody’s Centennial Gala

Warren Phillips, who had a long and illustrious career at Dunwoody College of Technology and served as the College’s President from 1978 until 1989, died at his home in Athens, GA, on April 7, 2017. He was 90.

Phillips graduated from University of Wisconsin-Stout in 1950. He spent his early career involved in international education, including being part of a project team from Dunwoody that taught at and advised the Indonesian Technical Training Institute in Bandung, Indonesia. He also completed a study on the program for the Ford Foundation. By the end of the project, Dunwoody had administered more than $1.1 million in Ford Foundation Grants. He returned to Minnesota in 1960 and held several roles in Dunwoody’s International Services Division and other areas of the College.

In 1974, Phillips became Director of the Day School. He was named Executive Vice President of Dunwoody in 1977 and then became President just a year later.

A photo of Warren Phillips and his team during his tenure as president

Warren Phillips and his team during his tenure as president of Dunwoody

Throughout his long career at Dunwoody, Phillips instituted many of the events and programs that make the College what it is today. He started the 50-Year Club annual luncheon, which celebrates alumni who graduated half a century earlier; instituted the Alumni Achievement Award, Institutional Advancement Award, Partnership Award, and Alumni Entrepreneur Award; enhanced the Program Advisory Committees (which bring industry professionals on campus to advise faculty on curriculum and industry trends); and held the first alumni reunion in Arizona–all of which continue to this day. Phillips launched the Youth Career Awareness Program (YCAP), which helps high school students from disadvantaged backgrounds explore technical fields and prepare for college as well as provides scholarship support for those who enroll at Dunwoody. YCAP has assisted more than 1,300 students since it began in 1988.

Phillips presided over a key period of change at Dunwoody as it responded to the computer revolution and other technology changes. He supported efforts to increase the enrollment of women and students of color. He worked with the Board of Trustees to establish a formal approach to seek private funding to support Dunwoody’s nonprofit mission. He led the 75th Anniversary Campaign, which raised $7.8 million in philanthropic gifts. After retirement, Phillips continued to support the College, including its successful bid for regional accreditation and its ongoing fundraising efforts. His passion for hands-on education and his dedication to Dunwoody’s employees and students was a hallmark of his career.

A memorial service for Warren Phillips will be held on May 13 in Excelsior, Minn.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial gifts be made to:

Dunwoody College of Technology
Warren & Arlene Phillips Endowed Scholarship Fund
818 Dunwoody Boulevard
Minneapolis, MN 55403

Mock Interviews gear Dunwoody students up for life after college

Youth Career Awareness Program (YCAP) students learn many life skills during their monthly workshops. The latest month: how to interview for a job.

IMG_0989On Thursday, April 6, Dunwoody College of Technology Youth Career Awareness Program (YCAP) students brushed off their résumés and prepared for mock interview sessions with the City of Lakes Rotary Club.

The Rotary Club has been conducting mock interviews with YCAP students for several years.

“This is one of the Rotary Club’s projects that they really take great pride in,” said Associate Director of Special Initiatives, YCAP Peggy Quam. “It’s their way to give back and stay connected to YCAP.”

YCAP students find mock interviews a valuable learning experience

IMG_1036The mock interviews took place in the College’s Decker Auditorium where each student was paired up with a Rotary Club member for 25 minutes. During that time, students conducted an informational interview and then collected feedback from their partner on their skills. Students interviewed with three different professionals throughout the evening.

“It was a really good learning experience for us,” YCAP student Donald Posterick said. “It was good for getting used to how to act in an interview and strengthening the skills I need to talk to people.”

IMG_0979YCAP Student Erik Ernst had only done a few interviews in the past, and those interviewers hadn’t offered any feedback. “So it was interesting to hear what I had done well and what I needed to work on in the future,” Ernst said.

Preparing for a mock interview

To prepare, students were asked to refine their résumé with Associate Director of Career Services Rob Borchardt.

Borchardt works one-on-one with students every day to make sure they feel confident for their upcoming interviews and their résumés are attractive to employers.

IMG_0982“A well-written résumé is the key to a job interview, so it’s vital that students are able to communicate their skills, experience, and strengths,” Borchardt said. “Dunwoody students are top candidates and a great resume provides a major leg up in any of our students’ job searches.”

About YCAP

Since 1988, Dunwoody College’s YCAP has helped more than 1,300 students gain access to a college education.

YCAP’s mission is to enhance the career opportunities of underrepresented youth by empowering them to graduate from high school and earn a degree from Dunwoody.

YCAP students complete a six-week paid summer internship filled with career exploration, field trips, and college-readiness courses. After the camp, students are eligible for a $20,000 scholarship to attend Dunwoody.

Learn more at dunwoody.edu/ycap.

Student Spotlight: Aaron McCauley-Aburto

Student Spotlight
Aaron McCauley-Aburto, Bachelor of Architecture
Expected Graduation: May 2019

Aaron McCauley-Aburto is a military veteran and part of the first group of students who are enrolled in the Bachelor of Architecture program here at Dunwoody.

“There is a huge sense of ownership in the program,” McCauley-Aburto said. “Not only do we get to be founders in a new architecture program, but we get to have ownership in a new architectural style of learning, where we place emphasis on technical abilities and learning our tools first and then we transition into theory. I respond really well to that.”

Q&A with a Dunwoody Construction Project Supervision Alum

Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 11.02.38 AMDunwoody alumni are innovators, entrepreneurs, top technicians, and skilled workers.  Here is a quick Q&A with just one!

Sarah Pendergast, ’13 Construction Project Supervision, ’12 Interior Design

Construction Coordinator, Northern Tool & Equipment

Q. Where is the weirdest place you have ever met a fellow alum?

A. I was on a blind date with one. We started talking about our education history and I found out he graduated the year before I started at Dunwoody. Ha, small world.

Q. Has there been a moment in your career when you thought “My job is awesome!” and what was that moment?

A. Yes, when I was on the company’s private jet for a quick three-day trip to visit a few of our stores in Florida.

Q. What would your classmates be surprised to know about you now?

A. That I was a Project Manager and built a church in Maple Grove so soon after graduation.

Q. What is your favorite memory of Dunwoody?

A. So many good memories to choose from. My favorite is when I was able to join the 50th Alumni Reunion with my father in 2013. He was in the graduating class of 1963.

Changing Lives Through Scholarships: Paige Fischer

Scholarship Spotlight
Paige Fischer, Industrial Engineering Technology
Expected Graduation: May 2019
Women In Technical Careers (WITC) Scholarship, Graco Scholarship

Industrial Engineering Technology student Paige Fischer always knew she wanted a hands-on career. Now in her second year at Dunwoody she is looking forward to a career as a manufacturing engineer in the medical device industry after she graduates.

“I’m excited to be a manufacturing engineer with a machinist background. My dream job is a medical manufacturing engineer,” Fischer said. “The motivation is being able to be a woman who makes differences.”