Category Archives: Industry Partners

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.”

The Self-Starter: An Alum Profile

Meet Vern Discher, ’48 Engineering Drafting & Design Technology

Discher_Vernon1Visit Vern and Shirley Discher’s Prior Lake home and you’ll see Dunwoody pride. A Dunwoody pennant hangs over the door in the den. Certificates acknowledging Vern’s membership in the Dunwoody 50-Year-Club and the Legacy Association are displayed on the wall, next to scores of family pictures and a map showing the couple’s travels around the world and to all 50 states.

“Shirley and I have been truly blessed in our journey through life,” says Vern. “This isn’t a ‘me’ story; it’s a ‘we’ story.”

The couple met on a double date in Minneapolis when they were still in high school. Vern was hooked instantly, but marriage had to wait until after he completed his military service in Germany and graduated from Dunwoody.

Once he had settled into work at West Bend Aluminum Company (a job the College arranged for him), he and Shirley launched their life together.

In the following years, Vern moved through a series of positions that built his knowledge of extruded aluminum manufacturing and sales.

“I was always looking for better jobs with higher pay, so I moved around from company to company in those early years,” he explains, admitting that there were a few times when he tried some “wild scheme to be my own boss” that didn’t work out. “I think I just had a built-in desire to be independent,” he explains.

In 1975, he was named general manager of Northland Marine, a division of Northland Aluminum Products that manufactured marine windshields and portholes.

The company was struggling, and Vern and CEO/owner Dave Dalquist turned it around by moving into extruded aluminum fabricating, an industry Vern knew very well.

With a new name of Northland Fabricators and a new product line, sales took off. In 1979, when Northland Aluminum was ready to sell the division, Vern and plant manager Larry Holen, bought the company, renaming it Norfab.

“A lot of the success of Norfab was my ability to hire the right people,” explains Vern. He focused on sales, and let other people do their jobs.

Shirley was often at his side at trade shows, business dinners and calls on key customers. “She did an excellent job,” says Vern. “She loved people and people loved her. We’d go to a trade show, and they’d show up at our booth and say, ‘Where’s Shirley?’”

In 1987, Vern sold his share of the company and retired to travel the world with Shirley.

“I have great personal pride in the fact that after more than 25 years, Norfab is still very much in business and that most of the employees that were there when I left are either still working there or have retired from Norfab.”

“When I look back on my career, I see that things just evolved,” says Vern. He’s pleased to see that Dunwoody continues to evolve too. “When I was there, Dunwoody was all drafting boards and tee squares,” he remembers. “Now it’s all computers. It fascinates me to go through it and to see what the young people are doing and the things they’re creating.”

Architecture Students Present Design Proposals for Steger Wilderness Center Dining Hall

In August 2016, third-year Architecture students were asked to help design a brand new dining hall for the Steger Wilderness Center, an ecologically-focused building devoted to sustainability education and climate change solution.

Splitting into three groups, the students spent their fall semester studying the land, documenting their experience, creating schematic designs of the hall, designing 3D digital models and building full-scale detail models of the building. Birchwood Café’s Chef Marshall Paulson even critiqued the students designs.

In December 2016, students presented their design proposals to students, faculty, Will Steger, and members of the design faculty.

These are their final designs.

 

 

Dunwoody Automotive adds online training for Audi and Subaru vehicles

 Latest offerings boost Dunwoody’s number of manufacturer programs to five.

As the need for Automotive technicians continues to rise, so does Dunwoody’s list of program offerings.

A photo of Dunwoody's Automotive LabDunwoody will soon offer online, add-on credentials for students interested in working on both Subaru and Audi vehicles.

Audi is the College’s first European manufacturer program, which means Dunwoody is now recognized as a Premium Plus – Audi Education Partnership Program (AEP) College. The two new programs will join the already impressive spread of manufacture-specific programs at Dunwoody, which include Honda, Mopar, and Toyota.

“We are very fortunate in that we now have five manufacturer programs,” said Steve Reinarts, Automotive Dean. “Many colleges don’t have a single one.”

Online training to complement student’s campus training, boost job opportunities

The Audi and Subaru trainings are completely free for students enrolled in the College’s Automotive Service Technology, Mopar Career Automotive, or Honda Professional Auto Career Training programs.

A close-up of an Audi vehicle’s engine, recently donated to Dunwoody College

A close-up of an Audi vehicle’s engine, which was recently donated to Dunwoody College

The add-on credentials aim to complement the training students will already be receiving on campus. Reinarts explained that when a student is studying engines in class, they will also study engines specific to either Subaru or Audi online. The online training as well as all course materials come directly from the manufacturer, ensuring students are learning the most up-to-date information.

Upon completion of the training, students receive an Audi or Subaru General Skill Level certificate, which allows them to work at any Audi or Subaru dealer in the country. Combined with the student’s associate’s degrees, hands-on training, and internship or job experience, the additional certification aims to place students at the top of the resume pile.

Auto department to receive brand new Audi and Subaru equipment, vehicles

But the training doesn’t just benefit those who take it, Reinarts explained. “The entire Automotive department as a whole benefits from these programs.

A close-up of a Subaru vehicle’s engine, recently donated to Dunwoody College

A close-up of a Subaru vehicle’s engine, which was recently donated to Dunwoody College

“Because of these manufacturer programs, the Auto department is donated tools, equipment, vehicles—all of which are brand new,” Reinarts said. “So, all of our students get exposed to brand new service information and the latest and greatest of everything.

“These programs also benefit our new students because we can offer them all kinds of options,” Reinarts continued. “Some students love to work on just one type of vehicle, others like to learn and train on a wide variety of vehicles. We have opportunities for both.”

The College’s Subaru training option is available now. Audi training will most likely be available starting fall 2017.

Discover the Dunwoody Difference

If you are interested in an Automotive career, join us at our next open house on Tuesday, Jan. 17, or visit dunwoody.edu to learn more.

Learn more about Dunwoody Automotive.

Dunwoody’s Cindy Martimo elected to second term as Secretary/Treasurer of IDEC

Dunwoody Interior Design Principal Instructor Cindy Martimo to start second term as the Secretary/Treasurer for the Interior Design Educators Council (IDEC).

Dunwoody Interior Design Principal Instructor Cindy Martimo Earlier this month the Interior Design Educators Council (IDEC) announced the 2017-2018 Board of Directors, naming Cindy Martimo Secretary/Treasurer for the third year in a row.

The mission of IDEC is to advance interior design education, scholarship, and service. Founded in 1962, the organization strives to advance responsible design thinking through professional development, innovative teaching resources, and open dialogue/collaboration projects.

IDEC is the place where excellent teaching ideas are shared as well as opportunities for scholarships, grants, and presentations by our faculty,” Martimo said. “The organization provides an opportunity for instructors from across the country to connect.”

As the Secretary/Treasurer for the organization, Martimo manages the minutes and notes from all board and annual meanings, oversees the budget, maintains the Policy and Procedures Manual, and chairs the finance committee.

“I like my role as Secretary/Treasurer,” Martimo said. “It provides an inside look at the organization as a whole and the opportunity to provide the voice of a teaching institution.”

Martimo has been involved with the organization since 2010. Her second term officially begins May 1, 2017.

Learn more about Dunwoody Interior Design.

Birchwood Café Chef helps Architecture students design Steger Wilderness Center Dining Hall

Chef’s critiques and background in restaurant industry influences student James Matthes’ kitchen design.

Earlier this year, third-year Architecture students were asked to help design and build a brand new dining hall for the Steger Wilderness Center, an ecologically-focused building devoted to sustainability education and climate change solution.

Photo of Birchwood Café’s Chef Marshall Paulson critiquing student designs.

Birchwood Café’s Chef Marshall Paulson critiques student designs, shares tips and best practices on kitchen design

The project—led by Architecture Instructor Molly Reichert and Center Founder Will Steger—began in late August, when students spent a week at the Center in Ely, MN. Here students studied the Center, learned of the building requirements set forth by Steger, and camped at the location where the new structure will be built!

Students have since split into several small teams, each working to design a different options of what the dining hall could be. Steger will then use the designs as he seeks funding for the structure.

But creating the schematic design proposals hasn’t been as easy as some of the student’s past design projects. It has required a lot of one-on-one time with the client, new approaches to design, and even critiques from the Birchwood Café’s Chef Marshall Paulson.

Advice from industry experts gives students a taste of life in the industry

As someone who has spent most of his time in a kitchen, Paulson was able to provide students with a unique and necessary perspective to each of their designs. During his presentation, Paulson shared industry tips and best practices on things that might not have immediately come to mind for the students, including sink location, cabinetry space, number of drawers, preferred shelving structures, ideal appliances, kitchen health codes, budgets, and timelines.

Architecture student James Matthes said that the critique was extremely valuable, helping him and his group identify a few areas of improvement that could be made to their design.

“It was really good to have his perspective,” Matthes said. “We bounced ideas off of him, and he was able to pick out a few things that we had missed, especially in regards to the openness of the kitchen to the dining room.”

In addition to help from Paulson, Matthes’ background in the restaurant business has also helped shape his schematic design.

Family business helped shape Architecture student’s design
Initial sketches/designs from Architecture students James Matthes, Aaron McCauley, Guyon Brenna, and Marcos Villalobos.

Initial sketches/designs from Architecture students James Matthes, Aaron McCauley, Guyon Brenna, and Marcos Villalobos.

“My dad owns a restaurant and I worked there for several years,” Matthes explained. “So I’ve been surrounded by kitchens my whole life—it’s kind of in my blood.”

With good Italian food, reasonable prices, and catering capabilities, Matthes’ family restaurant, Marino’s Deli’s, cliental and sales varied greatly. And those experiences have helped Matthes decide what the Center Dining Hall could look like and how to best accommodate a wide-array of customers and kitchen-needs.

“We have a very small restaurant, and we keep our prices fairly cheap so we get a huge mix of people coming in. So, I got that small, day-to-day interaction with people, but we also cater really large events. And that’s kind of what this Dining Hall space has to be flexible with: the people and both small events and big events.”

But one thing Matthes said he and his classmates were not as prepared for was the challenge of making a sustainable kitchen.

“It’s really tough to make a sustainable kitchen,” Matthes said. “You have these big pieces of equipment, and you’re constantly washing things—it’s a waste. But we’re exploring ideas on how to deal with waste and recycling and composting, and Will is interested in adding a root cellar and using an icehouse. And that’s not something we’ve done in past projects, like when we were-designing an apartment complex in downtown Minneapolis. It’s just not something we are used to seeing. So it brings a whole other perspective that should help all of us in the long-run.” 

Studio provides real-world experience

While this studio hasn’t been the student’s first stab at design, Matthes shared that this particular project has been much more real than the projects conducted in year one and two.

The combination of hearing from industry experts, working with a real client, and knowing this is a structure that will actually be built, has forced the teams to approach their designs in a much more practical, real-world way—an approach to education that Dunwoody College prides itself on.

A potential dining hall design for the Steger Wilderness Center created by Architecture students James Matthes,<br /> Aaron McCauley, Guyon Brenna, and Marcos Villalobos.

A potential dining hall design for the Steger Wilderness Center created by Architecture students James Matthes,
Aaron McCauley, Guyon Brenna, and Marcos Villalobos.

“In the past it’s been ‘okay, here is our design. This looks cool, so let’s just go with that,’” Matthes said. “Whereas now [we ask] ‘does this appeal to the client and is it going to fit?’ And so from the get-go that was something we really concentrated on: to make sure that the design worked.

“It’s exhausting every design idea that we’ve had, and it has been stressful, but in the end, it’s worth it. It’s worth it to see a client happy and enjoying what they’re seeing.”

Learn more

The students will present their designs at 9:30 a.m., Friday, Dec. 16, at Dunwoody. Steger and Paulson as well as Founder of Birchwood Café Tracy Singleton and Mechanical Engineer and Alternative Energy Consultant Craig Tarr will be in attendance.

After the presentation, Steger will choose several student designs, or portions of their designs, to move forward with. The final building design will be dependent on funding and community support. The hope is to break ground in 2018.

Learn more about Dunwoody Architecture.

3D printing: more than just modeling

3D Printing at Dunwoody is more than just prototyping of parts.

Engineering Drafting & Design students were recently tasked with creating their own golf putters. Students designed putter heads in SolidWorks and printed prototypes using the College’s Stratasys 3D Printers. But they didn’t stop there. Students then took their models to Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center to make metal castings of their designs before machining and refining them into polished, ready-to-use golf putters.

Dunwoody Architecture students visit the Delos-Mayo Clinic Well Living Lab

Latest Architecture studio shows students how the design of a building can influence the health of the people in it.  

Photo of Well Living Lab Door21 hours a day. According to the Well Living Lab, that is the amount of time the average American spends inside a building. For Dunwoody Architecture students, that brings up a whole lot of questions:

How does being indoors affect our health and well-being? Can alterations to a building or structure improve that experience? How can we change the way most people think and feel about indoor spaces?

The Dunwoody Architecture Studio 7 class chose to tackle these questions head-on by touring the Well Living Lab, a Delos-Mayo Clinic Well collaboration focused exclusively on human health and the built environment.

 Well Living Lab research inspires latest Architecture studio

“I always feel that it is important to introduce students to contemporary ideas that push them out of their comfort zone. We have been discussing many design issues in class and how our environment can impact human health in both positive and negative ways. Learning how researchers are measuring our built environment and its users could help students get a better understanding of how their design decisions impact health,” said Architecture Principal Instructor Stephen Knowles.

Dunwoody Architecture students tour Well Living LabDuring the tour, students were exposed to the many different ways researchers study and alter the interior of a room. The lab has 5,500 square feet of configurable space dedicated to researching how the indoor environment impacts our comfort, health, and productivity.

And this left quite the impression on Architecture student Roman Zastavskiy:

“[The tour] helped me realize how often buildings are being repurposed,” Zastavskiy said. “Usually when you design a building you design it for a specific use. So, it’s comfortable when you’re using it for that case, but then if it’s reused, things are completely different.”

And changing the actual building is not as easy as changing the building’s purpose. The fixtures, lights, floors, and vents are for the most part rooted in place, which can be challenging for those remodeling and those who will use the building after the remodel. Zastavskiy explained that the Well Living Lab recognizes these difficulties and incorporates potential solutions into their space:

Photo of tinted lights at Well Living Lab

An example of how lighting within a room at the Well Living Lab can change colors and brightness.

“At the Lab, it was a very dynamic system,” Zastavskiy continued. “The lights change tints, the floors are retractable, so you can move it to re-plumb or re-do electrical work, etc. It is kind of a one-building fits all approach, which allows you to say ‘okay, this space doesn’t work for this reason anymore. So let’s change it.’” 

In an effort to make the studio more hands-on, a tour of the Lab wasn’t the only thing required of the students. They were also asked to find a specific aspect of indoor living they would like to help improve.

Throughout the semester, students studied and researched their topics, and later this year will present architectural drawings that show how a structural change could potentially fix that very problem.

Project focuses include sound acoustics (interior and exterior); active design (a planning approach to creating buildings that promote physical activity); biophilia (the study of interior and exterior foliage impacts), and for fourth-year Architecture student Gianna Madison: individual thermal control by way of heating and cooling:

Photo of Well Living Lab showcasing a wall of indoor plants/greenery

This particular Well Living Lab room has an entire wall of indoor plants and greenery.

“The focus of my project is individual thermal control,” Madison said. “I chose this particular subject because this is a real life problem that is encountered, within most buildings, and it remains one of the most difficult things to regulate. Most often someone is always going to be too hot or too cold, rarely is there a happy medium.”

“And when you have someone in an office that is freezing, there are statistics that say they’re less likely to be productive because they’re so busy trying to keep warm. The same is true if they are too hot; it’s difficult to focus,” she explained.

Studio encourages new thoughts, ways of designing

Both Zastavskiy and Madison shared that focusing on a singular topic—and how it can affect someone’s well-being—requires a completely different way of thinking; something that they haven’t quite done before.

A wall of computers that control the Lab’s rooms and features

Students were also able to see how many of the Lab’s rooms and features are controlled.

As Zastavskiy explained: “[In prior projects] it has been all fun and games. You can design whatever you want. Usually it looks nice but does it actually make sense? Well, probably not. Because you didn’t really think it through and you didn’t really research these different aspects. You could design a building that looks nice, but then after building realize it’s freezing cold because you loved windows so much you built the whole thing out of glass.

“Where as now, even just focusing on my project focus, which is sound—you start to pay attention. How will people feel in this building? If I walk into this space, will it be loud? Will it be quiet? I never really thought about that. Now I approach [designing] completely differently. A project like this forces you to start thinking about that kind of stuff. That’s what I really like about this studio.”

Learn more

The Studio 7 students will present their findings and recommended building designs during their final project presentation in mid-December.

Learn more about Dunwoody Architecture.

Learn about previous Dunwoody Architecture studios with Will Steger and Minnesota’s Independent Filmmaker Project.