Category Archives: News Releases

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.


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.”


R.T. Rybak speaks at MLK Day Diversity Forum

Rybak’s speech focused on the importance of fixing the achievement gap in schools and he encouraged attendees to take action to engage with and understand someone who is different than them.

Rybak’s speech focused on the importance of fixing the achievement gap in schools and he encouraged attendees to take action to engage with and understand someone who is different than them.

Around 100 students and staff filled the Holden Center on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, Jan. 15, to hear former Minneapolis Mayor and Executive Director of Generation Next R.T. Rybak talk about King’s vision and the importance of equality.

Rybak was the 150th person to speak about diversity and inclusion at one of the College’s monthly Cultural Diversity Forums. The Forums expose students and staff to different cultures and various perspectives.

Rybak’s speech focused on the importance of fixing the achievement gap in schools and he encouraged attendees to take action to engage with and understand someone who is different than them.

“One of the most important things you can learn at Dunwoody is to sit down in the lunch room and talk to someone who is different from you. Sounds trivial, doesn’t it? But the fact of the matter is that’s not happening everywhere,” he said.

Rybak said the issues of race and opportunity are subtler today than they were in the past–stressing that those who succeed will cross boundaries.

“We each need to find somebody different than us and try to understand who they are. That’s not an obvious thing. That’s not something that will get a day named after you someday, but it is absolutely about the daily work of living a dream.”

February Forum
The College’s February Forum celebrates Black History Month. Civil rights leader Dr. Josie Johnson is the keynote speaker and Grammy Award winning-singer Kimberly Brown will perform. The Forum is Tuesday, Feb. 17, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Brenda Piliego-Geniz receives $15,000 scholarship from Minneapolis Rotary Club

Pictured (l-r): YCAP Manager Peggy Quam, Architecture student Brenda Piliego-Geniz, and President Emeritus Dr. C. Ben Wright. Piliego-Geniz is holding a skin diagram she created in her studio class using SketchUp. The diagram shows what a house looks like when it is pulled apart and the materials are exposed.

Pictured (l-r): YCAP Manager Peggy Quam, Architecture student Brenda Piliego-Geniz, and President Emeritus Dr. C. Ben Wright. Piliego-Geniz is holding a skin diagram she created in her studio class using SketchUp. The diagram shows what a house looks like when it is pulled apart and the materials are exposed.

Architecture student Brenda Piliego-Geniz, of Arden Hills, recently received a $15,000 scholarship from The Minneapolis Rotary Club to assist her studies at Dunwoody. Piliego-Geniz is a participant in the College’s Youth Career Awareness Program (YCAP). YCAP enhances the career opportunities of under-represented youth, by empowering them to graduate from high school and obtain a degree from Dunwoody.

For the past 20 years the Minneapolis Rotary Club has granted a scholarship to a student in the YCAP program. Piliego-Geniz was selected as the scholarship recipient because of her GPA and involvement in the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program. She received the scholarship check at the rotary breakfast on Oct. 29–which she was accompanied to by Dunwoody President Emeritus Dr. C. Ben Wright, Senior Development Officer Mary Meador and YCAP Manager Peggy Quam.

“I want to say thank you for the scholarship. It really means a lot to me because I am the youngest of four and the first to go to college, and I have nobody to ask what the experience was for them and how they got through it,” Piliego-Geniz said.

She added that the scholarship allows to her focus on her schoolwork instead of worrying about how she is going to pay for her education.

For more information about Dunwoody’s YCAP program, visit

MDES students visit Modern Metals Foundry Inc. for putter casting project

Engineering Drafting & Design students in the Product Design class recently visited Modern Metals Foundry Inc. in Bloomington, Minn. The visit is part of a golf putter design project the students are working on.


Before the students visited the foundry, Dan Taylor, pattern maker and partial owner of Modern Metals, spent a day in the classroom working with 21 students to create golf putter designs and follow boards that could be easily cast in aluminum.


“At the foundry the students were able to watch the actual process of packing the sand into a core and cavity using one of their putter patterns and follow boards,” said Senior Instructor Andrew LeRoy. “The sand was hardened using a CO2 process. Finally the sprue and runners were cut into the mold and the liquid aluminum was poured into the mold by hand using a ladle. After a cooling period the part was removed and then brought into the grinding area to clean it up.”


When all the putter parts are complete they will be returned to the students to do the final machining of the putters striking faces and installation of the shaft and grip.


“This project makes the design process come to life from conception through final manufacturing of a part using required standards from industry. It is very realistic and mirrors what graduates will face in industry on a smaller scale,” LeRoy said. “Modern Metals has been integral to the MDES program for several years and they really make an invaluable contribution.”

Putter Contest
For this project the students are required to ensure their putter meets United States Golf Association standards of weight and design. In mid to late November the students will host a putting contest for Dunwoody faculty, staff and students–who will be asked to vote for which putter they think is best. The winner will be listed on a trophy displayed in the Robotics & Manufacturing department.

Automotive Service Technology earns NATEF reaccreditation

Dean of Automotive Jon Kukachka

Dean of Automotive Jon Kukachka holds the NATEF certificate the College recently received.

The National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) recently informed Dunwoody’s Automotive Service Technology program (AUTO) that it continues to meet the requirements for NATEF Master Automobile Service Technology Accreditation–the highest level of achievement recognized by NATEF.

This follows a yearlong extensive review process, which included a self-review by the AUTO Program Advisory Committee in May and an on-site review by a NATEF Evaluation Team in September. It also marks the fourth reaccreditation review process of the AUTO program by NATEF since the program was initially accredited May 17, 1993

“For years our AUTO program has strived to be the best program in the upper Midwest, perhaps even one of the best in the nation.  It is this continuous effort that has led to three manufacturer programs being part of our department, industry anxiously wanting to hire our graduates, and our graduates continuing to be the ‘go-to’ technicians in their respective organizations,” said Dean of Automotive Jon Kukachka. “By having the manufacturer programs at Dunwoody, the automotive department has the latest in vehicle technology, tools and training materials that all automotive students are able to use.”

NATEF accredited means that AUTO is following a very demanding set of guidelines in the areas of academics and curriculum, instructor qualifications, organization, management, facilities, equipment, finances and industry approval.

“Our efforts continue to be rewarded, and the NATEF team leaders who come in to scrutinize what we do are always astonished at how well we accomplish some things with our limited resources–and they almost always want to use us as examples for their organization or others,” Kukachka said.

Dunwoody AUTO was one of the first NATEF accredited programs in the state.


Dunwoody students sweep national packaging design competition


A team of Dunwoody College of Technology Design & Graphics Technology students won first place in both categories of the Association of Independent Corrugated Converters (AICC) Annual Student Packaging Design Competition “Design to an Opportunity.”

The 2014 competition was a three-part structural and graphic design project and 27 colleges nationwide participated. The Dunwoody team–Stephanie Burdorf, Charlotte LaCour, Jenna Weiler, Dan Mueller, Noah Rabinowitz and Finn Pearson–was challenged to create a real-world marketing solution for the College that included a standing display for use at college fairs or on campus; a mailing envelope to send to potential students; and a welcome kit for new students.

“We were judged on the creativity, marketability, design attributes, manufacturing, durability, and ease of assembly for the structure of all three projects,” said team leader Stephanie Burdorf. “We were also judged separately on the graphics of all three projects on how well they created a brand and tied-in with each other to give them all a similar look.”

Graphically, the team used the College’s branding guidelines and in-house photographs, while also incorporating archived photos from the 1920’s and centennial seal to celebrate the College’s 100-year history.

“Structurally, we designed three separate units that would follow the enrollment process for Dunwoody that would allow optimal student retention. The standee is designed to rotate, allowing for viewer interaction as well as utilizing the entire space for attention grabbing graphics and information,” explained Burdorf. “The mailing envelope is designed to create a visually intriguing piece that serves as an attractive and durable folder. And finally, the welcome kit is designed to be handed out to new students as a place to hold all materials gathered throughout their first day experience. This structure was also designed to fit inside a locker, increasing locker sales as well as making it easier for a student to use throughout the year.”

Burdof said the team learned a lot through the competition.

“Not only have we all become more proficient with the Adobe and Esko programs and software, but we also all had a chance to work in a real world setting,” she said. “We had to work as a team, follow a strict timeline, research on what was in place as well as what was needed, find materials, and work with different departments as well as industry partners.”

Dunwoody’s Design & Graphics Technology program has a rich history of winning national competitions, but this is the first non-flexographic win, the first international win, and the largest and deepest in talent in terms of number of schools competing.

“Because of the timing of the competition, we are obliged to compete with first-year students, as no team member can participate after graduation, and the annual AICC deadline is in late June,” said Principal Instructor and Faculty Advisor Pete Rivard. “The four-year universities with their graduate programs typically field teams with juniors, seniors, and even graduate students, each with successive years of competition experience. So this is an absolute David vs. Goliath story, if you amend the details to have David surrounded by dozens of Goliaths.”

The Design & Graphics Technology faculty said they couldn’t be more proud of their students. For the past several years, they have observed North America’s best colleges and universities compete for the AICC recognition, and it was only last year that they felt the College was ready to enter the competition. Last year’s team won second place in both the structural and graphic design categories for their Lifeguard Chair.

Rivard said this year’s team took complete ownership of their project and delivered excellence with little faculty guidance.

The team expressed gratitude for the industry partners who helped bring their standee concept to life: the biggest industry partner Esko, for crucial design software; Liberty Carton-Golden Valley, who supplied the team at no cost with all the freshly manufactured corrugated that they asked for;  Ambassador Press and The Bureau, who provided CAD table time and some large format printing; and Dunwoody admissions and marketing staff members for initial guidance and concept critiques that helped the team design and manufacture marketing and admissions items that had real value.

The team was invited to attend AICC/TAPPI 2014 Corrugated Week, Sept. 29 – Oct. 1, 2014, at the Long Beach Convention Center in Long Beach, Calif.  They plan to use their $1,000 cash prize for the AICC contest win to go toward travel expenses to ensure all team members can attend the event. In addition to the monetary award, they will also receive an engraved plaque commemorating their win in the competition.

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



Donaldson Company, Inc.’s generous $25,000 grant to Dunwoody College of Technology’s Youth Career Awareness Program (YCAP) will aid the College in redesigning the program to increase the number of diverse students earning an associate’s degree at Dunwoody in pursuit of a technical career.

The YCAP program makes technical education both appealing and affordable for a diverse population–including students of color, first-generation college students, immigrants, and young women. Beginning in high school and continuing at Dunwoody, YCAP offers mentorship, supplemental academic support, and financial assistance that lead to a path of fulfilling and well-paid careers.

“The face of the Twin Cities is changing—we are quickly becoming a much more diverse community. Yet many of our students of color and young women still do not consider a technical career when planning for their future,” said Vice President of Enrollment Management Collette Garrity. “To maintain our region’s robust economy, it is important that all of our young people have the opportunity to pursue an education at a great college that will lead to a great career with a great salary. The Donaldson Foundation grant will make it possible for us to create a YCAP 2.0 that will better speak to the needs and dreams of Twin Cities youth.”

The redesign will respond to both the demographic changes and changing employment needs of the region. YCAP 2.0 will have new leadership and other programmatic changes resulting in a stronger, more effective and collaborative program.

“The Donaldson Foundation is excited to support the Dunwoody YCAP program, because we believe in its value and sustainability. It supports education within and around underrepresented communities in which our employees work and live. This aligns well with the mission of our Foundation and we are grateful for the opportunity to help,” said Donaldson Foundation Director Mike Dwyer.

For more information about Dunwoody’s YCAP program, visit

For more information about the Donaldson Foundation, visit



Congratulations to the following students who have been named to Dunwoody College of Technology’s 2014 spring  semester dean’s list.  The students listed received this honor by upholding a 3.5 grade point average or higher.

Amjed Ali
Nicholas Amor
Nathan Anders
Benjamin Anderson
Charles Anderson
Dane Anderson
John Anderson
Patrick Anderson
Peter Anderson
Erik Andreska
Nicholas Arneson
Grant Aslakson
Justin Aune
Tyler Bares
Maria Bebel
Jake Benson-Devine
Stephen Berguetski
Aaron Bivins
Amelia Blakeley
Wade Blanton
Kyle Blouin
William Bobick
Blake Bodine
Colin Bolser
Travis Bonnstetter
Zachary Boyd
Aaron Breid
Brett Broekema
Joseph Brown
Thomas Brown
Timothy Bryant
Timothy Budge
John Bungert
Stephanie Burdorf
Jacob Bursott
Brett Butler
Scott Byzewski
Joseph Cadorette
Cory Cadwell
Jonathan Carlson
Myles Carlson
Thomas Carmichiel
Robert Carson
Drake Chapman
Maxwell Chenoweth
Kevin Clausen
Nicholas Conniff
John Cornelius
Shannon Corpe
Jared Courtney
Jessica Curtis
Brady Dalton
Brian Dehn
Joshua Dehncke
Thomas DeMars
James Demos
Damien Dicken
Mark Donlin
Kent Duffney
Ruben Duran
Timothy Easter
Daniel Emery
Erin Erickson
Nicholas Ernst
Andrew Esch
Nathaniel Evenson
Steven Fay
Allison Fedie
Andrew Flagg
Michael Flahave
James Flannigan
Nicholas Freeland
Nicholas Frostin
Jesse Gable
Sarah Gagnon
Martin Garcia
Joel Greimel
Jacob Gruber
Brady Grummons
Bradley Guetter
Charles Gunderson
Ibrahim Haji
David Hall
Josiah Hanka
Christopher Hansen
Logan Hapy
Christopher Harrington
Ryan Harstad
Benjamin Harvey
Amber Hattenberger
Andrew Haug
Danielle Haugen
Montgomery Have
Brandon Hedberg
Kyle Heitschmidt
Benjamin Hendrikse
Christopher Herd
James Herman
Justin Herman
Serjio Hernandez
Matthew Heshiser
Karl Hilde
Robert Hoagland
David Hofgren
Nathan Hole
Samuel Holtberg
Andrew Hoogenakker
Megan Howell
Andrew Hrbacek
Kyle Huberty
Logan Hunt
Ashley Hurner
Jacob Huseby
Dustin Irmiter
Samuel Isaacson
Randy Iverson
Jamison James
Joel Jameson
Nicholas Jepson
Will Jernigan
Chase Jessen
Chad Johnson
Jeffrey Johnson
Molly Johnson
Oladipo Johnson
Andrew Kampa
Evan Kangas
Nicole Kehren
Brent Kirchgasler
Zachariah Klein
Sean Knollmaier
Zeth Knyphausen
Dmitriy Komarov
Joseph Kooiman
Anthony Kopp
Bradley Kovalak
Samuel Kragh
Adam Krause
Edo Krivdic
Maria Ksiazek
Charlotte LaCour
Sean LaFontaine
Matthew Lambert
Meghan Larson
Quinn Larson
Jason Latts
Vincent Lecuyer
Scott Leighton
Ryan Lesetmoe
Christopher Lester
Ari Levie
Brandon Lindberg
Benjamin Little
Alexander Lord
Tanner Luhm
Heidi Lund
Joseph Machtemes
Evan Makinen
Timothy Malkovich
Chad Marchetti
Zachary Martell
Benjamin Marti
Peter McCain
Daniel McCusker
Patrick McDonald
Peter McDonald
Joshua McElhaney
Keegan Melton
Jihad Merrick
Frank Mersch
Kera Messinger
Michael Miazga
Lewis Miller
David Millman
Jason Millner
Alexander Mjos
Jonathon Monson
Maik Mosbach
Daniel Mueller
Jade Murray
Mickey Muza
Joseph Myhre
Nathanial Nagel
John Nelsen
Celina Nelson
Deven Nelson
Benjamin Newkirk-Ledo
Jonathan Newstrom
Joseph Ngaima
Luan Nguyen
Phat Nguyen
Joseph Niewendorp
Maurice Nitti
Al Nobello
Maggie Nordlocken
Michael O’Connor
Sean O’Leary
Nicholas Obermiller
Adam Oknich
Evan Olson
Jerry Opp
Joseph Packer
Joseph Paese
Anthony Palo
Brian Parsons
Alyx Paschke
Jacob Paulus
John Pauly
Timothy Paynter
Ira Peden
Samuel Pederson
Fernando Pereyra
James Persian
Marchel Perzhu
Anthony Petersen
Jon Peterson
David Petit
Deena Pettit
Christopher Pilling
Daniel Piper
Ivan Piskun
Jesse Platzke
Christopher Prose
Vishal Punsammy
Shannon Raines
Cody Reed
Lee Reiners
Timothy Ritter
Brandon Rodriguez
Roberto Rodriguez
Nicole Rodriguez Mata
Jorell Rohan
Jonathan Roorda
James Rowell
Christopher Rubio
Jessica Ruscheinsky
Andrew Ryan
Dianna Ryan
Jessica Ryan
David Rybak
Steven Sabalaskey
Nicholas Saeko
Kirsten Sahl
Pete Sajadi
Sean Schaefer
Dennis Schnellman
Matthew Schon
Claire Schuebel
Daniel Schuler
Nicholas Sheridan
Shaun Sheridan
Benjamin Sherman
Matthew Shevich
Benjamin Shiek
Matthew Silvernail
Peter Singleton
Brady Skaurud
Nicolas Skrogstad
Nicole Slaminski
Ian Smith
Jeffrey Smith
Matthew Snyder
Peter Sobolik
Joseph Sohns
Nicholas Stadler
Tanner Stearns
Nicholas Stein
Mike Steinman
Daniel Stellburg
Karl Stoffels
Dmitri Strohman
Collin Sturdevant
Marc Svihel
Aaron Swandal
Brian Swennes
Travis Szkotak
Zaaj Thao
Ryan Tobin
Thang Tran
Sean Tyson
Christopher Uttke
Brian Vang
Jamie VanHauer
Bastian VanHofwegen
Edwin Viehman
Adam Voelker
Kyle Vogt
John Volinkaty
William Walinski
Shelby Walker
Kristin Warren
William Washatka
Caleb Wede
Kenneth Weis
Daniel Wenderski
Scott Wessel
Jacob Wheeler
Derek Whitcomb
Jason White
Jacob Whiteoak
Curtis Wilcox-Schowalter
David Willenbring
Amanda Williams
Anya Williams
Michael Wilson
Jeffrey Wiplinger
Douglas Wojack
Jesse Wold
Craig Woodward
Joe Yang
Pheng Yang
Matthew Yank
Craig Yundt
Roman Zastavskiy
Mathias Zoubek