Category Archives: Events

Developing a Leadership Mindset: Five Points

Ted Ferrara, ’77 Refrigeration, describes his personal leadership as a “work in process,” not a “work in progress.”

Photo of Ted Ferrara speaking at Dunwoody.

Ted Ferrara, ’77 Refrigeration, was the April 2016 Leadership Lecture speaker at Dunwoody.

“Some days progress, some days regress, but all days are part of a process,” Ferrara said. One of the owners of Standard Heating & Air Conditioning, a local, family-owned business, Ferrara shared his thoughts on leadership during the April 7 C. Charles Jackson Leadership Lecture Series at Dunwoody College of Technology.

The Dunwoody alum and immediate Past Chairperson of the Board of Trustees, Ferrara also holds a B.A. and B.S. in Applied Mathematics from Metropolitan State University and an MBA from Harvard University.

During his talk, Ferrara defined “Leadership that Matters,” as “Helping people get to a place they would not have otherwise been inclined to go,” and touched on five main points.

  1. Be a Good Follower.  Know what it is to be a good follower.  It is an active pursuit, not a passive one. Ask yourself, “Would I want me as a follower?” Good followers push back when they disagree and help ensure that their leaders are successful. Becoming a good follower helps future leaders develop understanding and empathy.
  2. Take Ownership. The organization you work for is an extension of yourself and taking ownership means going beyond the job description and taking responsibility to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks. At the same time, don’t take on everyone’s problems. Instead, empower others to become problem solvers.
  3. No Excuses. Leadership is difficult and risky personally, and things don’t always work out, but nobody buys excuses. Instead, ask yourself if you had a “do-over” knowing what you know now, would you have done anything different. By adopting a “no excuses” mentality you put your best efforts forward and unleash a lot of creative problem solving.
  4. Define Reality. Whether it’s an established and well-functioning enterprise or a total turn-around, a leader’s job is to first figure out where the organization is at and then help others understand that reality.
  5. Lead With Values. Define and communicate your core values. In an uncertain world, this is where you find certainty.  Shared values are the strongest reasons for people to follow you.

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Auto industry has the need, Dunwoody has the grads

Industry speaks at March open house

Photo of Auto Open House eventDunwoody Automotive invited representatives from Luther Automotive Group, Walser Automotive Group, and Alliance of Automotive Service Providers-Minnesota (AASP) to speak at the College’s open house event this month, which was held Tuesday, March 15.

Steve Reinarts, Automotive Dean, said the goal of the event was to help organizations find potential hires as well as provide students and their guests with a better understanding of what the automotive job market looks like right now.

And what does it look like?

According to Judell Anderson, Executive Director of AASP: “Desperate.”

All three organizations confirmed that automotive job opportunities are skyrocketing—and shops and dealerships across the nation are in need of technicians.

“When I left my office, we had 43 openings,” said Meg Miller, HR Recruiter for Luther Automotive Group. “The opportunities are endless.”

In fact, auto mechanics are in such demand, many automotive organizations are hiring recent graduates—and even current students—to work. And for organizations like Walser Automotive, Dunwoody College is one of the first places they look.

Why a Dunwoody student?

“For years, we have all gone out and simply tried to steal one another’s technicians,” said Walser Automotive Corporate Service Director Jeff Lamott. “But as a business model, it doesn’t make sense to put an ad in the paper and hope you can get someone from another store.

Photo of students talking at Auto Open House event“Maybe that’s a short term solution for now, but probably a better solution would be to hire people at an entry level—student graduates for an example—bring them in, provide them with mentorship, and then grow them into a technician from the ground up,” he said.

“And to do that, we immediately look for organizations that provide students like that, or we look around and ask where we have gotten people from before…and Dunwoody would be the answer to both of those.”

Luther Automotive also has a long history of hiring Dunwoody graduates.

“Several of our managers and technicians have come from Dunwoody,” Miller said. “We always look for a well-rounded individual–someone who has the skill but also has the drive to learn more.

“We definitely find that in a Dunwoody student.”

Industry reps to return May 24

A first-time event for the department, Reinarts couldn’t be more pleased with the end result.

“I think the most beneficial part of the event—for both prospective students and their parents/guardians and guests—was being able to talk directly with industry,” he said.

“When parents come to an open house, they’ll often ask ‘will my son or daughter be able to get a job, and if so how much will they be able to make?’ Those answers, coming from me or one of our other instructors, could be perceived as self-serving.

“But by having industry there, we direct those questions to them and they’ll tell the parents and the students exactly how much they will be able to make and what the job market and career outlook looks like right now.

“That is why we wanted them there. So prospective students can get the story first-hand and hopefully consider choosing automotive as a future career,” he said.

Photo of guests talking at Auto Open House eventDue to the success of this month’s event, Dunwoody Automotive plans to host industry partners again at the College’s May open house, which takes place on Tuesday, May 24, from 3 to 7 p.m.

Prospective students can RSVP here.

If you are interested in speaking about your organization at the upcoming event, or becoming more involved with Dunwoody Automotive, please contact Reinarts at sreinarts@dunwoody.edu.

Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson speaks at Dunwoody’s Diversity Forum

Attorney General Lori Swanson speaks at Dunwoody's Diversity Forum in celebration of Women's History Month.

Attorney General Lori Swanson speaks at Dunwoody’s Diversity Forum in celebration of Women’s History Month.

Around 120 Dunwoody students, faculty and staff attended the latest Diversity Forum on March 15, joining Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson to celebrate Women’s History Month. Attorney General Swanson talked about what the Attorney General Office does and later took questions from the audience.

From left to right: Principal Instructor Karen Schmitt, Principal Instructor Leo Parvis, Attorney General Lori Swanson, Provost Jeff Ylinen, and Principal Instructor Jenny Saplis.

From left to right: Principal Instructor Karen Schmitt, Principal Instructor Leo Parvis, Attorney General Lori Swanson, Provost Jeff Ylinen, and Principal Instructor Jenny Saplis.

Swanson was elected to office in 2006 as Minnesota’s first female Attorney General and reelected in 2010 and 2014. During her time in office, Attorney General Swanson has been an advocate for Minnesota citizens in areas like consumer protection, predatory lending, health care, utility rate hikes, telecommunications, public safety and protecting senior citizens from financial fraud.

In addition to this month’s Forum, Dunwoody is recognizing Women’s History Month by hosting several women-focused events and celebrating STEAM women – women who work in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics.

The next Diversity Forum

Don’t miss the next Diversity Forum entitled Holocaust Commemoration featuring artist, writer, and genealogist Susan Weinberg and holocaust survivor Dora Zaidenweber at 12:30 p.m., on April 19, in the Holden Center. All are welcome and refreshments will be provided.

For more information or to RSVP, contact Dr. Leo Parvis at lparvis@dunwoody.edu. Dr. Parvis is a Principal Instructor and Diversity Programs & Education Coordinator at Dunwoody College of Technology.

Dunwoody College celebrates Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month, and Dunwoody is celebrating in some very exciting ways!

Starting tomorrow, the College has several women-focused events on campus, including:

The 76th Diversity Forum: Women’s History Month with guest speaker Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson.
March 15, 12:30 p.m. in the McNamara Center
Contact: lparvis@dunwoody.edu

A Kate’s Club Meeting for all Dunwoody women interested in attending  a supportive, networking event.
March 17, 2:45 p.m.
Contact: katesclub@dunwoody.edu

A Salary Negotiation Workshop for students in Dunwoody’s Women in Technical Careers (WITC) Scholarship program.
March 18, 4:30 p.m.
Contact: mwhitman@dunwoody.edu

Note: If you are not a WITC student and are looking for salary negotiation tips, please contact rborchardt@dunwody.edu.

The College has also launched a social media campaign to celebrate women in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) professions—occupations that have been historically dominated by men. The campaign features Dunwoody women employees, students, and alumni who are pursuing or already working in a STEAM career.

Several of the campaign’s participants include:

Melysia_Cha

Emily_Miner

Beverly_White

Nicole_Nusbaum
The College invites all women in STEAM careers to participate! To join the campaign, simply tweet or instagram your photo, career choice, and a sentence about what makes you, you.

Make sure to use the hashtag #STEAMwoman or use our social media handle @dunwoodycollege.

Happy Women’s History Month from Dunwoody!

Diversity Forums: a Dunwoody tradition

Since 2002, Dunwoody has hosted a monthly Diversity Forum inviting students, faculty and community members to discuss new topics surrounding diversity.

Kimberly Brown sings with her group of singers, Kimberly's Krew, at the February Diversity Forum celebrating Black History Month.

Kimberly Brown sings with her group of singers, Kimberly’s Krew, at the February Diversity Forum celebrating Black History Month.

Throughout the years, Dunwoody has hosted more than 160 speakers including Minnesota Council on Foundations President Trista Harris, Former Minneapolis Mayor and Executive Director of Generation Next R.T. Rybak, and Minneapolis Deputy Police Chief of Staff Medaria Arradondo.

Most recently, Dunwoody featured Grammy Award Winner Kimberly Brown and KSTP TV 5 Broadcast Journalist Cleo Greene at the February Diversity Forum last Wednesday celebrating Black History Month. More than 100 students and faculty filled the College’s McNamara Center to listen to Brown sing along with her group, Kimberly’s Krew. Afterward, Greene spoke about her experience growing up and fulfilling her dreams of becoming a broadcast journalist. As Greene shared her background story, she urged students to think about what they are posting to social media and how it reflects their personal brand – and how they are being perceived. “We are the owner of who we are as a brand,” Greene said.

KSTP TV 5 Broadcast Journalist Cleo Greene speaks at February's Diversity Forum celebrating Black History Month.

KSTP TV 5 Broadcast Journalist Cleo Greene speaks at February’s Diversity Forum celebrating Black History Month.

Don’t miss the next Diversity Forum where Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson will speak about Women’s History Month and her experience being elected as the first female attorney general in Minnesota. The Forum will take place at 12:30 p.m., on March 15, in the College’s McNamara Center. All are welcome, and refreshments are provided.

For more information on Dunwoody’s Diversity Forums — or to RSVP to the next event — contact Dr. Leo Parvis at lparvis@dunwoody.edu. Dr. Parvis is the Diversity Programs & Education Coordinator at Dunwoody College of Technology.

Dunwoody’s Snowplow earns third place in 2016 Autonomous Snowplow Competition

Photo of Dunwoody snowplow at 2016 Autonomous Snowplow CompetitionDunwoody College’s Snow Devil 01102 Snowplow earned third place—and a $2,000 prize—at the 6th annual Institute of Navigation (ION) Autonomous Snowplow Competition held January 28-31 during the Saint Paul Winter Carnival. The team also won the $500 Professor Nattu Sportsmanship Award for the second year in a row.

Dunwoody’s 2016 team—coached by faculty members E.J. Daigle, John McShannock and Alex Wong— included Electronics Engineering Technology students Alan Stafford, Matt Herrick, and Andy Haug; and Automated Systems & Robotics students Ryan Dailey and Dustin Forcier.

Competition aligns with Dunwoody’s approach to education

Photo of Dunwoody snowplow at 2016 Autonomous Snowplow CompetitionAccording 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.”

This year, eleven teams from the top engineering universities in the Upper Midwest and Canada participated. Dunwoody’s Robotics & Manufacturing Department is one of just two teams that have been competing in the annual event since it first began in 2011. The College has since taken home several awards, including a third place prize in 2015.

“The competition provides great credit to the application-based engineering culture here at Dunwoody,” Daigle said. “Especially as we prepare to launch new engineering programs over the next 5 years.”

Photo of Dunwoody snowplow at 2016 Autonomous Snowplow CompetitionThe team’s knowledge and experience with the competition appeared to be evident to other teams as well. Daigle said that at one point during the competition, a team announced they were going to quit due to technical difficulties when another team suggested they, “find the Dunwoody guys–they can fix anything.”

Daigle said that the cooperative competition displayed by his team was one of the best parts of this year’s contest.

Final results:

1st place: University of Michigan “Yeti 6.0”

2nd place: Case Western Reserve University “Otto X”

3rd place: Dunwoody College of Technology “Snow Devil 01102

4th place: University of Michigan “Zenith 2.1”

5th place: Case Western Reserve University “Snow Joke”

6th place: North Dakota State University “Thundar 2.0”

7th place: University of St. Thomas “John Snow”

8th place: University of Minnesota “Ground Squirrel”

9th place: University of British Columbia “Snow Flake”

10th place: North Dakota State University “Snow Blight”

11th place: Bemidji State University “BeaverBot”

Kate’s Club on the rise

Karen Schmitt talks to women at a Kate's Club meeting.

Karen Schmitt talks to women at a Kate’s Club meeting.

Electrical Construction & Maintenance Senior Instructor Karen Schmitt began working in a non-traditional career in 1978 and has since been looking for ways to help other women in technical fields. With this in mind, Schmitt started Kate’s Club to give female students a space to find mentorship and network with other women in non-traditional careers.

“What good is it if I don’t share my experience with someone and bring some awareness to how hard women have worked to get to this point?” Schmitt said, noting how difficult it was for her as a woman working on various construction sites.

Kate’s Club on the rise

Since the beginning, women at Dunwoody have been drawn to Kate’s Club for its supportive and empowering atmosphere. For this reason, membership has grown and Karen has passed the Club leadership onto the students.

“I enjoy being able to network with other women and collaborate with them,” said Construction Management student Melysia Cha. “We have such great faculty mentors with valuable stories and experiences to share.”

Cha serves as the Secretary of Kate’s Club and has high hopes for its future. Her goal for this semester is to find more members from both day and night classes and to host more meetings and events for women on campus to get involved in.

Leadership also includes President Kayle Moss, who recently graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Applied Management & Leadership, and Vice President Megan Swanson, a Graphic Design & Packaging student.

To kick off the semester, the Club will be hosting a “Souperbowl” Chili Cook-Off to raise funds for future events.

The 2nd Annual “Souperbowl” Chili Cook-Off

The 2nd Annual “Souperbowl” Chili Cook-Off fundraiser takes place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 28, in the McNamara Center.

Karen Schmitt and members of Kate's Club

Karen Schmitt and members of Kate’s Club

Proceeds from this cook-off will benefit Kate’s Club by funding events like last year’s trip to Iron Maiden Metal Fabrication, a woman-owned blacksmithing and metalwork shop in Minneapolis. Trips like these allow the women of Dunwoody to network with other women in technical careers and learn about opportunities available to them.

To learn more about events and opportunities at Kate’s Club, email Karen Schmitt at katesclub@dunwoody.edu

Automotive Dean’s service celebrated at annual potluck, department continues Toys for Tots donation

Dunwoody Automotive students loading up their lunch plates at the annual holiday potluck event in the Warren buildingFor the past two decades or so, Dunwoody’s Automotive Department has celebrated the holiday season in a memorable way. The Warren Building is festively decorated; long banquet tables are packed with crock-pot treats; Toys for Tots donations are collected; and students celebrate the end of their final exams and presentations.

This year, however, the annual holiday potluck was even more special than usual as students, staff and faculty bid farewell to Automotive Dean Jon Kukachka who is set to retire January 15.

Kukachka leaves Dunwoody with fond memories

Dunwoody Automotive students loading up their lunch plates at the annual holiday potluck event in the Warren building

“The holiday potlucks are definitely something that Automotive graduates remember about their time here,” Kukachka said. “I am going to miss events like these. The students have always been very special to me.”

Kukachka–who has provided the College with over 30 years of service–has been the program’s dean since 2010.

Retiring Dunwoody Automotive Dean Jon Kukachka speaking to Automotive students at the annual holiday potluck event “I have tried to be the kind of dean that students would not be afraid to talk to,” he said. “I wanted students to know that they could come to me about anything—good or bad—whatever was on their mind,” he said.

Faculty applaud student’s Toys for Tots donation

While the farewell was bittersweet, Kukachka was pleased to learn that the Automotive department did well in another  Toys for Tots fundraiser.

“The department has been donating to Toys for Tots ever since Dunwoody got involved with the program in the late ‘80s or early ‘90s,” Kukachka said. “It has become a tradition that the Auto Department does well so every year we try to instill that drive into our students.”

This year a friendly competition was implemented throughout the College with a first place prize of $150 awarded to the department who raised the most dollars and/or collected the most toys.

During the potluck, Automotive donations were totaled, revealing a grand total of about $2,000 in cash and toys—more than any other department.

Dunwoody Automotive students standing next to toys being donated to Toys for Tots

Program faculty decided to continue the season of giving by also donating their $150 winnings to the toy drive.

Kukachka says that this is the most the Automotive department has ever raised, making it a department—and quite possibly a Dunwoody—record.

Dunwoody College wishes Kukachka all the best

“This year’s potluck was very special to me,” Kukachka said.

“I will miss the people—both students and coworkers. I came here in 1980 wondering if I had made the right decision to change occupations. I know now that yes, I made the right decision to work at Dunwoody.”

On behalf of Dunwoody’s students, faculty and staff, the College wishes Kukachka all the best on his retirement.