Category Archives: Events

Dunwoody’s Midwest Robotics League Team Takes 1st in Regionals, 5th in Nationals

Dunwoody College of Technology students and faculty are celebrating the recent victories of the College’s Midwest Robotics League Team. The Dunwoody team participated in both a regional competition in late April, and a national competition in May, bringing home a consecutive first and two fifth place prizes.

Group shot of Dunwoody's Midwest Robotics Team League

The 2015 team (pictured above) is advised by former Dunwoody student and league participant–now Instructor and League Executive Director–Alex Wong and coaches Beth Spicer; Al Jaedike (Engineering Drafting & Design Adjunct Instructor); and James Jorgenson (Workforce Training & Continuing Education Adjunct Instructor).

The team includes students Chris Spicer (Electrical Construction & Maintenance); Andy Haug (Electronics Engineering Technology); Ken Weis (Machine Tool Technology); Tony Laylon (Engineering Drafting & Design); Kyle Dumas; and 2007 Dunwoody graduate Mike Rhode (Engineering Drafting & Design).

This year’s regional competition was held at the Mall of America and featured twelve competing teams and hundreds of spectators. The national competition followed just a few weeks later in Cleveland, Ohio, where 64 teams participated.

Crowd at Mall of America watching robot battles

Midwest Robotics League’s regional competition at Mall of America

Both the regional and national competitions are held annually and are open to middle school, high school and collegiate teams. Each year, the competing teams are able to enter as many robots as they want under the condition that the robots have been designed and assembled by students. Teams can also use a robot for multiple years until the group decides to retire it or until that robot wins the regional or national competition two times.

This year, Dunwoody entered two robots into both competitions— “Wedgey” the wedge robot and “Reburn,” a robot that deploys a horizontal spinner.

Robot Wedgey

“Wedgey” the wedge robot

Both Wedgey and Reburn were designed and built by the Dunwoody team and have already competed and placed in several regional and national competitions.

“Wedgey has been running for about 3 years, competing in the 2013, 2014 and 2015 events,” said League Executive Director Alex Wong. “Reburn has also been running for about 3 years, but we have been running variations on this design since the start of the League.”

Robot Reburn


The League is open to all Dunwoody students, creating a unique opportunity for students in various programs to work together–each bringing  their own area of expertise to the process. And while the students enjoy the collaboration in designing and creating the robots, perhaps the most fun is had during the combat competitions.

The combat rules are similar for both regionals and nationals—the best robot wins.

“The robots are limited to 15 pounds each, and it is up to the students to design those robots,” said Alex. “A lot of them will have some sort of spinning weapon or use bigger motors so it can drive faster.”

Each robot is then entered into a randomly determined double elimination bracket where they participate in 3-minute rounds.

“The winner,” said Alex “is whichever robot can either “knock out”the other robot by disabling it, or pushes it onto a wall or other position where it can no longer drive. If both robots are still standing after the three-minute match, the winner is determined by whichever robot has the most points. The judges award points based on three categories: aggression—the moves you make when attacking the other robot; damage—the damage caused to the other robot; and control—how well the robot can maneuver.”

Action shot of robots combatting

In addition to combat points, the national judges also evaluate the team’s presentation skills. Prior to the competition, each team must also present their robot to the panel of judges by sharing drawings, describing the design process and explaining why they chose the materials they did.

Regional final award/trophyDunwoody’s students and robots performed well at both competitions ending their season with  several wins and awards. Wedgey scored the team a 1st place prize at the regional competition for the second time in its career. It also tied with Reburn for the fifth overall spot at the national competition. Wedgey was also named one of the “Best Engineered Robots” at the national competition.

The Dunwoody Midwest Robotics League will continue next Fall during the 2015-2016 academic year. Alex says the team has plans to retire Wedgey (as this was its second regional win) and is looking to redesign the current robots as well as build entirely new ones.

If you are interested in joining the Midwest Robotics League for 2015-2016 season, please contact Alex Wong at

From Hard Work to Teamwork: Architect Dale Mulfinger Delivers Leadership Lecture

Award-winning architect Dale Mulfinger, FAIA, talked about the value of teamwork during the recent Leadership Lecture event held at Dunwoody College of Technology.Mulfinger speaking

“You don’t need to hit a homerun,” Mulfinger said. “You just need to get on base and let your team do the rest.”

Mulfinger also emphasized the values of hard work, excellence and building positive relationships when he shared how the principles of leadership expert and author John C. Maxwell relate to his work as the Founding Partner and Principal Emeritus of SALA Architects, Inc.

Mulfinger and Dunwoody President Richard WagnerThe author of five books, including “The Architecture of Edwin Lundie” and “The Cabin,” Mulfinger was the featured speaker for the June 4 C. Charles Jackson Leadership Lecture Series event.

The breakfast lecture series is held the first Thursday of every month and features key executives from the business community, who are invited to speak on a range of leadership topics. The next event will be held at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 6 and will feature Elizabeth Abraham, Owner and CEO of Top Tool Co. For more information, or to view past events, visit


Leadership Lecture Series Brings Fabcon CEO & President Michael LeJeune to Campus

CEO & President of Fabcon Companies Michael (Mike) LeJeune presented at the College’s latest Leadership Lecture Series event on May 7, 2015. The series—offered the first Thursday of every month—has brought several prominent speakers to campus to speak on a variety of leadership topics.

The premise LeJeune smilingof Mike’s presentation was the “Importance of Corporate Culture” and what leaders can do to create a successful one.

Mike began his presentation by sharing the progression of his professional life with the audience, highlighting some of the challenges he first began to experience during his early years with Fabcon. Mike explained that after years of trying to find the root of the problem, he realized it was something much bigger than he was expecting: it was the overall culture of the organization.

“The most important thing I can do as a CEO is create a corporate culture where everyone can succeed,” Mike said.

Crowd attending lecture

Mike’s decision to shift the corporate culture of Fabcon ultimately shaped a set of important guidelines he and his employees now follow–something they call “the Fabcon way”:

  1. Keep your integrity.
  2. Focus on what is right instead of what is wrong.
  3. Say thank you.
  4. Treat everyone with respect.
  5. Focus on the process, not the person.
  6. Really listen.
  7. Know it’s okay to make a mistake.
  8. Explain why you want someone to do something; share with them the big picture.
  9. Celebrate success.
  10. Have fun.

Mike explained that by following this simple but effective list of corporate ethics, Fabcon—and its employees—have emerged stronger and more successful than ever. He hopes his story and these tips encourage organizational leaders in a similar situation to do the same.

LeJeune smiling with event attendees

The Leadership Lecture Series continues with Dale Mulfinger, FAIA Principal Emeritus, SALA Architects, Inc. Thursday, June 4 at 7:30 a.m. RSVP to


CaringBridge founder Sona Mehring to keynote Dunwoody College Commencement

Photo of Sona Mehring, founder and CEO of CaringBridgeDunwoody College of Technology is delighted to announce that Sona Mehring, CEO and founder of CaringBridge, the leading website for rallying support during a health crisis, will be the keynote speaker at our Commencement on Thursday, May 14, at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

Throughout her successful career in computer programming, Sona always searched for a way to help others with her skills. Her expertise was such that she owned and operated her own computer consulting firm that came with it’s own rewards. However, in 1997 when close friends experienced a serious medical crisis, Sona was inspired to create a solution around how to communicate with family and loved ones during a critical time and CaringBridge was born.

Sona was the first to recognize that the Internet could be a powerful tool in helping people connect and rally support during difficult times. Seeing her friends struggle with communication, Sona created a website that allowed them to easily share updates with their support community. What started as an act of kindness for her friends soon became Sona’s passion, and eventually her new career.

CaringBridge logoPeople around the world are now able to share news, receive comfort and coordinate care by creating private, personal websites through CaringBridge. Since its creation, CaringBridge websites have been visited nearly 2 billion times. Sona’s business insight told her the success of CaringBridge could be lucrative, but she cared more about its benefit to others than to herself. Choosing mission over profit potential, Sona made the website a nonprofit in 2002. This ensured that CaringBridge remained free from outside financial pressures and focused on helping anyone, anywhere get the social support they need during their health journey.

Sona serves on the National Caregiver Council, a group of leaders in the industry that studies the issues and technology impacting caregivers and their families. Sona is an active member of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, Women Business Leaders of the U.S. Health Care Industry Foundation, and is on the board of Minne*, a nonprofit dedicated to advancing Minnesota’s technology community. She has also participated as a speaker and panelist at many healthcare and caregiver related events.

Sona is the author of Hope Conquers All: Inspiring Stories of Love and Healing from CaringBridge.

Sona has received numerous honors for her leadership and vision, including:

  • 2015: Star Tribune’s Annual “Ten to Watch” List
  • 2014: The Breast Cancer Education Association Award for Outstanding Support and Outreach to the Breast Cancer Community
  • 2014: 1 of 35 Women Leaders in Minnesota Healthcare by The Women’s Health Leadership TRUST
  • 2013: 41st on Minnesota Monthly’s List of 75 Most Influential People of the Twin Cities
  • 2011: One of Fast Company’s “Most Influential Women in Technology”
  • 2010: The Health Care Heroes Award from Twin Cities Business Magazine
  • 2009: 25 Women Industry Leaders in the Twin Cities by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal
  • Good Neighbor Award – CBS affiliate WCCO-TV
  • Alumni Excellence Award – University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
  • Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for outstanding service to the community

Kate’s Club members visit woman-owned Iron Maiden Metal Fabricating

Nine Dunwoody women visited the woman-owned blacksmithing and metalwork shop Iron Maiden Metal Fabricating located in Minneapolis.

Nine Dunwoody women visited the woman-owned blacksmithing and metalwork shop Iron Maiden Metal Fabricating located in Minneapolis.

Earlier this month, nine Dunwoody women visited the woman-owned blacksmithing and metalwork shop Iron Maiden Metal Fabricating located in Minneapolis.

According to “Iron Maiden Metal Fabricating is a one-woman custom metal fabricating company run by Heather Young. She’s worked in the metalwork business since 1995, first as an office assistant and then in the shop. Formally educated in Minneapolis and trained through the Guild of Metalsmiths in St. Paul, she takes on industrial, commercial, and residential fabrication.”

Young honed her welding skills through a Workforce Training & Continuing Education course at Dunwoody.

Young honed her welding skills through a Workforce Training & Continuing Education course at Dunwoody.

Young honed her welding skills through a Workforce Training & Continuing Education course at Dunwoody.

She talked about her welding career and experience as a mother and small business owner. She also demonstrated blacksmithing processes by creating a decorative hook.

Young demonstrated blacksmithing processes by creating a decorative hook.

Young demonstrated blacksmithing processes by creating a decorative hook.

The group of Dunwoody women left inspired by Young’s story of setting up a blacksmithing shop at an orphanage in South East Africa before starting a metal fabrication business out of her garage in Minnesota—in 2009 she moved the business into a rented warehouse space.

Current students from the College’s Welding Technology department who attended the field trip were offered occasional work at the Iron Maiden shop.

The group of Dunwoody women left inspired by Young’s story of setting up a blacksmithing shop at an orphanage in South East Africa before starting a metal fabrication business out of her garage in Minnesota—in 2009 she moved the business into a rented warehouse space.

The group of Dunwoody women left inspired by Young’s story of setting up a blacksmithing shop at an orphanage in South East Africa before starting a metal fabrication business out of her garage in Minnesota—in 2009 she moved the business into a rented warehouse space.

Young’s business plan: to not have a plan and adapt to the industry’s needs. So far, her plan has been as strong as iron.

For more information about Iron Maiden Metal Fabricating, visit

For information about upcoming Kate’s Club events, email

Ben Clymer shares message about personal leadership

On Thursday, April 2, Dunwoody College of Technology hosted its monthly C. Charles Jackson Leadership Lecture Series event.


Pictured left to right: Gib Syverson, ’74 Automotive Service Technology; Mark Falconer, ’68 Welding & Alumni Board of Managers Chair; Ben Clymer; and Paul Berman, ’82 Automotive Service Technology.

This month’s event featured former NHL player Ben Clymer, who shared a great message about taking ownership in your life through personal leadership.

Clymer2W[1]Clymer, a hockey reporter and analyst for Channel 45 and Fox Sports North and a Financial Advisor with Merrill Lynch, has earned a national reputation as an NHL defenseman, a broadcaster and a businessman.

The next C. Charles Jackson Leadership Lecture Series will feature Michael LeJeune, President and CEO of Fabcon Companies.

The event will be held at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 7 at Dunwoody. The cost to attend is $20 and you can register in advance by e-mailing or by calling 612-381-3064.

Design & Graphics Technology students showcase work at annual Internship Expo

Eighteen Design & Graphics Technology students gathered on Thursday, Feb. 19, to display two year’s worth of work at the 2015 Design & Graphics Technology Internship Showcase event.


The showcase is an opportunity for the May graduates to present their portfolios and to meet with prospective employers and internship advisors.

The 2015 event was open to the public and was held in conjunction with the Printing Industry of the Midwest’s Print Showcase and the International Corrugated Packaging Foundation’s (ICPF) “Best of the Best” Student Design Competition.

All three campus events had fantastic turnouts bringing in IMG_5735-smallDunwoody faculty, students, family members and local business professionals. Graphic design and printing companies such as Imagine! Print Solutions; Bluedoor Publishing; Liberty Carton; and even SMC Packaging Group out of Missouri, sent representatives.

Dunwoody faculty members and showcase coordinators– Timmreck, Manager of Design & Graphics Technology; Pete Rivard, Principal Instructor of Pre-Media Technologies; and Thomas Herold, Senior Instructor of Graphic Design—were also extremely pleased with this year’s event.

“I found this year’s event to be successful on two levels,” said Timmreck. “The first level of success was that our students got the experience of interviewing and talking with industry professionals… You could tell that by the end of the day the students felt much more confident in themselves and much more comfortable displaying and discussing their work.

IMG_5631-smallThe second level of success was seeing the attending companies really connecting with the students.”

Rivard echoed Timmreck stating that several of his students have already received internship and job offers because of this event, and “to see those offers on the table within days of the showcase is very impressive.”

The Design & Graphics Technology department will continue the Internship Showcase event in 2016.

For additional photos from the 2015 showcase and the “Best of the Best” Student Design Competition, visit our Facebook page.

Dunwoody’s Design & Graphics Technology department offers two-year degrees in Graphic Design and Pre-Media Technologies.

Automotive body paint booth upgrade complete

Automotive Collision Repair & Refinishing recently celebrated the completion of major upgrades to the program’s paint booth. The booth upgrade means students and faculty can use waterborne paint, an environmentally friendly paint that is gaining traction in body shops across the U.S. and internationally.

The booth upgrade was made possible by a matching grant from the Minneapolis Green Business Matching Grant Program and sponsors PPG Industries, ABRA Autobody and Glass, Luther Collision and Glass, and Master Collision Group.


Dunwoody faculty, first and second year Auto students, and industry friends celebrating the upgrade

Waterborne paint, which uses much less solvent than previous paint, provides multiple environmental and economic benefits including lower anthropogenic VOC emissions and reduced job and material costs.


Lynn Engmark of PPG Industries discusses waterborne paint.

The program celebrated the installation by hosting a “Waterborne 101” presentation, including a brief history of collision instruction at Dunwoody by Bruce Graffunder; a presentation on waterborne paint by Lynn Engmark of PPG Industries;  and some observations on using waterborne paint from Pete Latuff of Latuff Brothers Auto Body.

With so many advantages for both the shop and the customer, “there’s absolutely no reason to not shoot waterborne [paint],” Latuff said when describing his shop’s successful shift away from solvent based paints towards water based paints.

Graffunder explained that this new piece of equipment will also change the Automotive program’s curriculum. As auto body shops across the country transition towards waterborne-based paint practices, Dunwoody Automotive students can expect the same. Graffunder now expects close to 75% of painting time will be devoted to using and learning waterborne based painting techniques. This change in curriculum will better train and prepare Dunwoody students as they progress towards a career in automotive collision repair.


Lynn Engmark showing how to properly apply waterborne based paint to a car panel.

The afternoon presentation concluded with refreshments and a demonstration from Lynn Engmark on how to properly apply waterborne-based paint to a car panel.