Category Archives: Dunwoody in the News

Dunwoody places second at NAHB Residential Construction Management Competition

Photo of Dunwoody Construction Project Management team members at 2016 NAHB Residential Construction Management Competition.

Photo courtesy of NAHB Student Chapter’s Facebook page

Congratulations to Construction Management students AJ Flagg; Brett Broekema; Andrew Hoogenakker; Tyler LaBeaux; and Joe Myhre on their second place win at the 2016 National Association of Home Builder’s (NAHB) Residential Construction Management Competition (RCMC). Hoogenakker also received an “NAHB Outstanding Student” award at the event.

The annual competition—part of NAHB’s International Builders’ Show (IBS) —required students to solve real-life construction management problems and present their solutions to a panel of industry representatives.

Fifty-three teams from various universities, technical schools, community colleges and high schools across the nation participated in the competition, which was held in Las Vegas, NV, January 18-20.

Preparing for the competition

Construction Management Program Manager Heather Gay said preparation for the competition began at the start of the 2015 fall semester when the team received basic floor and elevation plans for a single-family residential home. The students’ task was to bring the plans to life through the creation of working construction drawings; labor and materials estimates; a project schedule; and a value engineering option (a detailed plan on ways to reduce construction costs during building).

The goal of the project was for the students to create a full and persuasive proposal on why homebuilders should choose their construction team for the build. The submission was due in late December 2015. Students then presented their proposal to a panel of residential construction experts in Las Vegas at the IBS.

 Students learn valuable, real-world skills

“The entire project really gave the students an overall snapshot of what their job is going to be like when they start their careers as project managers,” said Construction Project Management Instructor Jon Hassenfritz, who also served as the competition coach. “They got to see what all goes into creating the entire package for a client—from concept all the way to the building stages.”

Gay agreed with Jon: “It’s the best method for simulating a real-world experience. Students learn to work with teams, deal with conflicts, meet deadlines, and practice time management; they learn to balance all of those components to create a good end product.”

The College received second place in the Two-Year College category of the competition.

Dunwoody Construction Sciences students have been participating in the competition since 2005, and this is the highest award they have received since 2010.

Full results:

First place: Brigham Young University-Idaho (Rexburg, ID)

Second place: Dunwoody College of Technology (Minneapolis, MN)

Third place: State University of NY at Delhi (Delhi, NY)

Construction Management program receives $60,000 grant

Construction Management Program Manager Heather Gay and Instructor Jon Hassenfritz hold large $60,000 check at the NAHB 2016 Residential Construction Management Competition

Photo courtesy of NAHB Student Chapter’s Facebook page

Dunwoody College of Technology is thrilled to announce the Construction Management program has received a $60,000 grant from the National Housing Endowment Foundation’s Homebuilding Education Leadership Program (HELP).

The National Housing Endowment is a philanthropic arm of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), which aims to increase education and training opportunities for future leaders in the residential construction industry. HELP awards grants to leading colleges and universities in an effort to create or improve residential construction management programs.

“We applied for the grant because we did not have a strong residential construction focus in the classroom,” said Heather Gay, Construction Management Program Manager. “As a result, students weren’t going into the residential field. There was an interest, but we just didn’t have that knowledge in the classroom. This grant, and our program’s recent faculty hires, will change that.”

Specifically, the $60,000 donation will be used to:

  • Train faculty and students to be Certified Aging in Place Specialists (CAPS) and Certified Green Professionals (CGP).
  • Enhance relationships with industry through organized site visits, a lecture series, and various guest speakers/presentations.
  • Increase admissions outreach by targeting high school students in residential construction classes or skilled trades people looking to advance in their career.

Gay said that the outreach plans and any success stories will also be shared with other interested colleges. Gay as well as members of HELP hope that this form of open dialogue will encourage collaboration among all colleges with a residential construction program.

Learn more about Construction Management.

Dunwoody ranked #1 in Minnesota in Brookings Institution earnings data college scorecard

College rankings are often met with a mixture of eagerness, nervousness and disdain by U.S. higher education institutions. Depending on how the data is collected and evaluated, the ranking of colleges and universities can vary widely. What’s more, rankings often don’t account for institutional differences in mission and student population. And, of course, no matter how high or low, no ranking can accurately predict or describe the individual educational experiences of our students.

For a unique institution like Dunwoody — the only private, not-for-profit technical college in the Upper Midwest — traditional college rankings are especially a double-edged sword. They often reward institutional activity that the College simply isn’t going to engage in because of its specific educational philosophy and mission. Which is why a recent report by the Brooking Institution was a pleasant surprise. Titled Using earnings data to rank colleges: A value-added approach updated with College Scorecard data, the report focuses on earnings of graduates plus other indicators that are likely to lead to a high value-added education for students.

The report is based on the Obama administration’s College Scorecard database as well as other data sources and assigns colleges a score based on “Value-added to median student earnings 10 years after enrollment of 2001-02″ with the top score possible being 100.

Dunwoody College of Technology received a score of 94 out of 100 — the highest of any college or university in Minnesota.

The full methodology and list of rankings can be found on the Brookings Institution website.

In general, technical colleges scored well in this particular ranking, which is not a surprise considering that an applied education generally leads into a specific, often well-paying career path. But as report author Jonathan Rothwell notes, “there will always be serious imperfections to any effort to assess college quality. People are not randomly assigned to colleges and differ in important ways that will remain unobservable to any researcher.”

Those unobservable differences are exactly why we talk about our accomplished alumni so much and why we understand that Dunwoody’s rigorous, industry-focused, applied education is not for every student.

Since 1914, Dunwoody’s pioneering hands-on, applied education has provided students with the skills they need to have a rewarding career. It will continue to do so while it also works to improve in all areas of its mission to changes lives by building opportunities for graduates to have successful careers, to develop into leaders and entrepreneurs, and to engage in “the better performance of life’s duties.” (Quote is from the Last Will and Testament of William Hood Dunwoody)

The best way to understand Dunwoody is to visit our campus, meet our faculty and staff, and tour our classrooms, labs, shops and studios. Call us at 612-374-5800 to arrange a campus tour or RSVP for one of our monthly open houses.

Minnesota Multi Housing Association awards Construction Project Management student with MADACS Award

Construction Project Management student and WITC Scholarship recipient Marydithe Edgerton holding MADACS awardCongratulations to Construction Project Management student and WITC Scholarship recipient Marydithe Edgerton, who was recently awarded with a Multi housing Achievement in Design, Advertising and Community Support (MADACS) Award in Individual Maintenance.

The Award—given annually by the Minnesota Multi Housing Association (MHA)—recognizes an individual who independently manages the maintenance of an apartment building while also making significant contributions to the progression of the multi housing industry.

The MHA is a state-wide, non profit organization with over 2,000 members representing more than 250,000 housing units.

A better life

Earlier this year, Edgerton applied for Dunwoody’s Women in Technical Careers Scholarship, which provides financial, academic and personal support to women pursuing a non-traditional career.

Edgerton, who graduated high school in 2010, said it was a “no-brainer” to go back to school—the difficult part was figuring out how to balance five days of work and four nights of class each week.

But, “I knew I had to go to college to make a living,” she said.

So, a few months later, when Edgeton learned she was not only accepted into Dunwoody but had also received the scholarship, she knew it was time to go back.

Edgerton is now halfway through her first semester in the Construction Project Management program.

Despite now being a full-time student, Edgerton still helps manage The Lamoreaux apartment complex, an affordable housing building in Minneapolis. Her responsibilities range from replacing drywall, to fixing a leaky faucet, to helping set up cable TV. Edgerton also confirms that the apartment’s lights work, doors lock, and the carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are on—ensuring the building is a clean and safe place to live. 

The nomination process
The Lamoreaux Apartments. Photo credit to www.aeonmn.org/properites/lamoreaux

The Lamoreaux Apartments. Photo credit to www.aeonmn.org/properites/lamoreaux

Edgerton’s supervisors nominated her for the award this past spring, impressed by her consistent dedication to the building. Over the summer, MHA Judges visited the apartment complex where Edgerton showed them the building, explained her responsibilities, and participated in a formal Q&A. Edgerton discovered she won the award in late September.

“Winning this award means a lot to me,” Edgerton said. “Especially because I have only been in maintenance for about a year and a half.”

“Since then, I have put so much of myself into this building. Not only in the pride I take in it, but also on behalf of all the residents that live here. They know that I am here to help them. I don’t ignore them or discount their opinions. I work with them as much as I can because, after all, this is their home.”

Edgerton will graduate with an associate’s degree in Construction Project Management in Spring of 2017. She hopes to continue her career in affordable housing as a Project Manager—preferably at Aeon, the company she currently works for.

Learn more about Construction Project Management or Women in Technical Careers.

Auto Instructor Lonny Lunn Receives Instructor Recognition Award

Congratulations to Senior Automotive Instructor Lonny Lunn, a 2015 recipient of the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Industry Education Alliance Instructor Recognition Award!

Lonny holding award.

The ASEIEA award is used to recognize instructors who have gone above and beyond in helping their students and advancing their career in technical education.

To achieve this recognition, instructors must meet a number of criteria, including at least five years of teaching experience; documented attendance at instructor training events; a history of placing students in work-based learning assignments; and ASE Master Certification in the area in which they teach.

Lonny talking with student next to car.

“Receiving this award is a great honor,” said Lunn. “Being with the students is the best part of my job. I enjoy nothing more than that learning moment—that moment when I see something click with my students.”

Lunn has been with Dunwoody since 2002. He currently manages the Honda Professional Auto Career Training (PACT) program.

Sewing Program Featured on PBS Documentary Series Dropping Back In

Dunwoody College’s partnership with the Makers Coalition will again be featured on the PBS documentary series Dropping Back In.

ThSewing students at work.e five-episode series illustrates the enormous personal and societal costs to students who drop out of high school, and how successful training-based programs—such as those offered by Dunwoody—can help counter those losses.

Dunwoody’s Dean of Workforce Training & Continuing Education Debra Hanson (Kerrigan) as well as two sewing program graduates are featured in the fifth episode of the series “Building A Better Future.”

Two sewing students examining project.

“Building A Better Future” will air Sunday, Sept. 27, at 7:30 p.m. on Twin Cities Public Televison (tpt), with repeats on October 3 and 4. Pioneer Public Television (KWCM) will run the show on September 27 and 29.

If you can’t catch the documentary those evenings, the full show can also be found here:

Elftmann Student Success Center Receives 1st Place Website Excellence Award

WEA1-2015_NCLCA-LSCHEThe Elftmann Student Success Center (ESSC) received first place in the 2015 NCLCA/LSCHE Website Excellence Awards competition, which was announced earlier this month.

The Website Excellence Award is awarded annually to  a postsecondary learning support center that’s website exhibits accuracy, support and strong student engagement.

Elftmann Student Success Center staff left to right: Teresa Milligan, Ross Brower, Eeris Fritz

Elftmann Student Success Center staff left to right: Teresa Milligan, Ross Brower, Eeris Fritz

The competition–co-sponsored by the Learning Support Centers in Higher Education (LSCHE) and the National College Learning Center Association (NCLCA)– is open to all college and university learning center websites. This is Dunwoody’s second time entering and placing in the competition. The ESSC also received third place in 2012.

The Elftmann Student Success Center’s mission is to provide quality academic support and development to all Dunwoody students. Currently, the center includes support services such as tutoring, Guided Study Recitations, tip sheets, a technical video library, a Math Center, and a Writing Center.

“The changes in learning support within higher education have made it necessary for centers such as ours to get creative about how to support academics, and how to be responsive to changing student needs,” said Teresa Milligan, Senior Instructor and website manager. “Winning this award means we’ve made great strides toward providing that support.”

Students studying in the Elftmann Student Success Center

Elftmann Student Success Center

Websites qualified for the NCLCA/LSCHE Website Excellence Award must meet nearly 30 different set criteria, including an up-to-date announcements section; working alt labels on all graphics; a detailed history of the center; and recent photos of both students and faculty active in the center. All website content must meet the standards of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS).

“In the higher education landscape, this award has really allowed Dunwoody—a non-profit, private, technical college—to act as an exemplar and represent a sector of higher education that is often overlooked. This award has given us a chance to be recognized and promote positive changes,” said Milligan.

Milligan will accept the NCLCA/LSCHE Website Excellence Award on the center’s behalf October 6, at the NCLCA Conference in Milwaukee, WI.

Learn more about the support services the Elftmann Student Success Center provides.

Snow Devil 1012 team earns third place in Autonomous Snowplow Competition

The team, lead by faculty advisors E.J. Daigle and John McShannock, was made up of Automated Systems & Robotics students James Adams, Tim Easter, Jim Herman and Evan Prokop; Electronics & Engineering Technology students Andy Haug and Donald Kries; and Engineering Drafting & Design student Tony Laylon.

The team, lead by faculty advisors E.J. Daigle and John McShannock, was made up of Automated Systems & Robotics students James Adams, Tim Easter, Jim Herman and Evan Prokop; Electronics & Engineering Technology students Andy Haug and Donald Kries; and Engineering Drafting & Design student Tony Laylon.

The Snow Devil 1012 plow team earned third place and the Golden Smile Sportsmanship Award last weekend at the Fifth Annual Institute of Navigation (ION) Autonomous Snowplow Competition.  The event is part of the St. Paul Winter Carnival and took place in Rice Park.

The team, lead by faculty advisors E.J. Daigle and John McShannock, was made up of Automated Systems & Robotics students James Adams, Tim Easter, Jim Herman and Evan Prokop; Electronics & Engineering Technology students Andy Haug and Donald Kries; and Engineering Drafting & Design student Tony Laylon.

The Snow Devil 1012 used a magnetic navigation system to track a 0-3VDC electronic signal. Course correction calculations were done in an Allen Bradley MicroLogix PLC.

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The University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Zenith and Yeti plows earned first and second place. Dunwoody’s Snow Devil 1012 earned third place, followed by the University of Calgary’s Fighting Mongooses, North Dakota State University’s Thundar, Case Western Reserve University’s Von Snowmower, University of Minnesota’s Ground Squirrel, and North Dakota State University’s Snowmenator.

Faculty Advisor and Dean of Robotics & Manufacturing E.J. Daigle said the Snow Devil 1012’s simplistic design and marketability set it apart from the competition.

“Most of the robots had over $10,000 in just sensors. Our total robot cost was $3,000 and could be implemented today by embedding magnetic sensors into a sidewalk or driveway,” he said.

For earning third place, the Snow Devil team won $2,000. Part of the prize money was used to build this year’s robot, some was used for a celebration dinner for the team and the rest will be used to kick start next year’s team.

The team also won the Golden Smile Sportsmanship Award and $500.  Daigle said the team did a lot to deserve the sportsmanship award. The Dunwoody Snow Devils: helped every team with tools, wire and parts to make repairs; cheered the loudest for every team as they competed; organized and participated in the parade with two other teams; initiated crowd participation through an audible checklist and 1-800-SNO-PLOW; and helped tear down the competition field after the event.

WCCO Channel 4 News’ Rachel Slavik interviewed Daigle for the story “Autonomous Snowplow Competition Wows Winter Carnival.”

ION Autonomous Snowplow Competition

According to the ION Autonomous Snowplow Competition website: “The purpose of this competition is to challenge university and college students, as well as the general public, to design, build, and operate a fully autonomous snowplow to remove snow from a designated path. The objectives of this competition include encouraging students and individuals to utilize the state of the art in navigation and control technologies to rapidly, accurately, and safely clear a path of snow.”