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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


2015 Dunwoody Recognition Award Winners

As the 2014-2015 academic year comes to an end, Dunwoody is honored to recognize the many faculty and staff members who have made a difference to the College, its neighbors and its students by presenting several service awards.

Congratulations to the following 2015 Dunwoody Recognition Award Winners:

Building Community Award Winner: Barb Russell

The Building Community award goes to an individual whose projects or efforts demonstrates and heightens Dunwoody’s commitment to cultural awareness being integrated in the campus and community.

Outstanding Team Award: Bachelor of Architecture Team, Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering Team and Support for Campus Women’s Initiatives Team

The Outstanding Team award is given out annually to a cross-departmental team of employees whose work has had a significant impact on the way Dunwoody serves its constituents.

Bachelor of Architecture Team: John Dwyer, Stephen Knowles, Paul Strother, Bridget Reynolds, Olawale Falade, Molly Reichert, James Howarth and Charlie Radloff – Posthumously

Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering Team: Jane Bohl, Janet Nurnberg, E.J. Daigle, Tim Flugum, Andrew LeRoy, Jim Nyberg, Mary Anne Jaedike and Carla Pogliano

Support for Campus Women’s Initiatives Team: Maggie Whitman, Janet Nurnberg, Karen Schmitt , Mary Zawadski and Jenny Saplis

Outstanding Academic Innovation Award Winners: Tom Herold, Stephen Knowles and Janet Nurnberg  

The Outstanding Academic Innovation award is awarded to faculty members who demonstrate a commitment to implementing innovative instructional strategies in the classroom.

Instructor of the Year Award Winners: Jeff Bixby and Andrew LeRoy 

Nominations for the Instructor of the Year award come from current Dunwoody students. The award is given out annually to instructors who are committed to the students’ academic success, serve as a professional role model to students and colleagues, aim for academic excellence in curriculum development and aim for academic excellence in instruction.

Distinguished Teacher Award Winners: Hank Beadell and Jim Nyberg

The Distinguished Teacher award is given to faculty members who have committed a significant portion of their career to the art of teaching and who demonstrate an ongoing commitment to education and lifelong learning.

William and Kate Dunwoody Outstanding Service Award: Tou Vang (Honorary), William Morris and Jane Bohl

The William and Kate Dunwoody Outstanding Service award is given to employees who have consistently performed outstanding work for the College.

Two Dunwoody 2015 Graduates are Finalists in Sherwin-Williams STIR Student Design Challenge

Two 2015 Interior Design graduates—Andrea Mbali and Jessica Curtis—are among the ten finalists in the Sherwin-Williams STIR Student Design Challenge.

Mbali and Curtis standing by their designs The challenge—open to all students in the United States, the District of Columbia and Canada—provides applicants with an opportunity to create and submit a color rendering of an interior space for a residential and/or a commercial design. The submission requires the use of at least three Sherwin-Williams paint colors in addition to a project statement describing the project and explaining how color was essential in creating the design.

Each submission undergoes two rounds of judging and is scored on originality (30%); overall design aesthetics (30%); best use of color palette (30%); and the overall project statement (10%).

“We always let students know about all competitions that are open to them,” Interior Design Principal Instructor Colleen Schmaltz said, “and we particularly encourage them to enter since we know that our students consistently show strong work. The students also know that winning a national competition is a significant addition to their professional resume and portfolio, and in some cases a great source of prize cash and scholarships. This is the first year two of our students have chosen to enter this particular competition—and now both are national finalists!”

Both Andrea and Jessica used part of their mini-capstone project—created in the Fall semester of their senior year at Dunwoody—in their submission. The capstone project requires students to learn and become fluent in design programs such as REVIT and the Adobe Creative Suite including InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator—programs widely used in the Interior Design profession.

“All of the studio classes and building technology courses have taught me how to design creatively and utilize real practices,” says finalist Jessica Curtis, “and [Principal Instructor] Nada Sarraff-Knoweles really challenged me to create a unique design.”

Andrea Mbali also paid tribute to her instructors saying, “Colleen Schmaltz really inspired me to enter my project. Without her encouragement, I probably would have ben consumed with day-to-day projects and schoolwork and not have applied. Nada Sarraff-Knoweles also helped me during the design process. Nada pushed me to push myself creatively and was able to tell me when things were or were not working.”

Practice made perfect for Andrea when it came to designing. “Throughout class projects, my rendering skills in REVIT have developed tremendously,” she said, ”and I now typically build all of my own furniture, lighting and other necessary structures instead of using online prebuilt models. I feel this gives me an edge because I am not limited to what the internet provides.”

Andrea—who hopes to specialize in Hospitality design—took the idea of a traditional spa in a whole new direction in her STIR competition submission titled “Felicity Day Spa.”

Andrea Mbali: Felicity Day Spa

Andrea Mbali: Felicity Day Spa

“My inspiration was drawn from my own experiences of going to spas and not feeling like they were cool enough for younger generations. Not everyone always wants zen,” Andrea said, “I was also inspired by my travels and seeing what the world has to offer outside of the Midwest. Everything here is so safe, and I love the unexpected and daring in design and fashion.”

Andrea Mbali: Felicity Day Spa Locker Room

Andrea Mbali: Felicity Day Spa Locker Room

Jessica’s submission—titled Flex Art Gallery and Studios—takes a more commercial design approach, inspired by real Minneapolis structures and landmarks.

Jessica Curtis: Flex Art Gallery and Studios Entry

Jessica Curtis: Flex Art Gallery and Studios Entry

“My project is a flexible art gallery and studio space,” says Jessica, “It started with being an adaptive reuse space utilizing the Bauhaus (Tap room) in Northeast Minneapolis. It incorporated different spaces where local artists could come and work and for the public to take classes. An expansion was then ‘built’ onto that to create an art gallery. The Art Gallery is an all-encompassing glass box façade offering a spectacular view of the Mississippi River and the Minneapolis skyline.”

Jessica Curtis: Flex Art Gallery

Jessica Curtis: Flex Art Gallery

Jessica Curtis: Flex Art Studio

Jessica Curtis: Flex Art Studio

Both projects are currently being reviewed and judged by Sherwin-Williams Director of Color Marketing Jackie Jordan as well as two celebrity judges.

A first place prize in both the residential design category and the commercial design category will be announced in early June. Winners will have their work featured in the 2015 edition of STIR magazine and receive $2,500 in cash.

Former Machining Student Honored with Gerstner Tool Box

Academic Excellence Award winner and 2015 Dunwoody Graduate Marc Svihel was recently honored with a Gerstner toolbox valued at over one thousand dollars. The box is estimated to be more than 50 years old.

Academic Excellence Award winner and 2015 Dunwoody Graduate Marc Svihel standing by toolbox

Academic Excellence Award winner and 2015 Dunwoody Graduate Marc Svihel

 The toolbox was donated by The Grant Wahlberg Estate–through Grant Wahlberg’s sons–who wanted it to go to Dunwoody.

 Students examining toolbox Upon further inspection of the box and it’s contents, Ron Underhill, Tool Crib Attendant in the Machine Tool Technology program, noticed just how valuable the box was.

“I realized that this box needs to be in a shop with a top Machining student,” Ron said, “not in the Tool Crib to be forgotten and gather dust. I am sure Grant Wahlberg would agree with that statement as well.”

Marc was chosen by Dean of Robotics & Manufacturing E.J. Daigle and Senior Instructors Brian Nelsen and Keith Jirak as a deserving recipient based on his high GPA, consistent attendance and desire for extra learning projects. Marc recently graduated Magna Cum Laude with an Associate of Applied Science in Machine Tool Technology.

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


YCAP revved Lakeram Seriram up for an automotive degree

 Seriram said he was intrigued by the culture of the Lexus of Wayzata dealership so he applied for a job. He’s been working at Lexus of Wayzata since August 2014 and his formal internship starts in fall of 2015.

Seriram said he was intrigued by the culture of the Lexus of Wayzata dealership so he applied for a job. He’s been working at Lexus of Wayzata since August 2014 and his formal internship starts in fall of 2015.

Lakeram Seriram is finishing up his first year in the two-year Toyota Technical Education Network (TTEN) program at Dunwoody College of Technology. As he reflects on the milestone in his college career Seriram says he’s thankful for the support of his family and the College’s Youth Career Awareness Program (YCAP) that prepared him for the rigors of higher education.

The mission of YCAP is to enhance the career opportunities of under-represented youth by empowering them to graduate from high school and obtain a degree from Dunwoody.

Seriram lived in Guyana before moving to the United States at three and a half years old. The 2014 Fridley High School graduate says he grew up observing his uncle, Motie Seriram, working on cars, which sparked his desire to pursue a career in the automotive industry.

During his search for the right college, Seriram and a friend attended one of Dunwoody’s open houses where he learned about the College’s small class sizes, emphasis on hands-on learning and how the YCAP program could help him pay for college and transition smoothly from a high school to college learning environment.

Since he is the first in his immediate family to attend college, Seriram thought YCAP would be a great option for him to explore the various aspects of technical education.

During the summer, YCAP students take college-level classes in the morning—like math, business, and physics—and in the afternoon hands-on technology classes in almost all of the technologies that Dunwoody offers. On Fridays, students visit companies to network with professionals in the fields they are interested in.

Seriram said during the summer months YCAP students get to know their instructors and other students—and it removes the “awkward stage” at the start of the school year.

“The YCAP summer program shows you what’s coming up in the future. You can’t slack off at Dunwoody. You have to do work here, I learned that my first semester,” he said. “I like the small classes. I don’t get drowned out by 60 other people, and the teachers are always listening and helping.”

Seriram grew up observing his uncle, Motie Seriram, working on cars, which sparked his desire to pursue a career in the automotive industry.

Seriram grew up observing his uncle, Motie Seriram, working on cars, which sparked his desire to pursue a career in the automotive industry.

“Lakeram is a shining example of a YCAP student fully utilizing the career and college-readiness resources the program aims to provide. He’s had perfect attendance and is actively engaged during YCAP events and activities,” said YCAP Program Manager Peggy Quam.

One of the YCAP activities Seriram participated in during the summer of 2014 was a tour of the Lexus of Wayzata dealership.

It was that dealership tour that solidified Seriram’s decision to enter the TTEN program. “I liked the environment. Sure, it’s a strict dealership, but I could tell that everybody was close and liked each other. They were joking around but still getting their work done,” he said.

Seriram said he was intrigued by the culture of the Lexus of Wayzata dealership so he applied for a job. He’s been working at Lexus of Wayzata since August 2014 and his formal internship starts in fall of 2015. “I get to see what I’ve learned at Dunwoody in the real world,” he said. “Each day at work is something different. One day I can be doing oil changes, the next day all tires. I like the thrill of things never being the same.”

“I get to see what I’ve learned at Dunwoody in the real world,” he said. “Each day at work is something different. One day I can be doing oil changes, the next day all tires. I like the thrill of things never being the same.”

“I get to see what I’ve learned at Dunwoody in the real world,” he said. “Each day at work is something different. One day I can be doing oil changes, the next day all tires. I like the thrill of things never being the same.”

Seriram said he hopes to have a long career at the Lexus dealership and maybe even open his own shop someday.

The next YCAP application deadline is May 1. For more information or to apply, visit or contact Peggy Quam at 612-381-3067 or




2015 CAD Table installed for Dunwoody Design students

Dunwoody students and faculty are celebrating the installation of the College’s newest piece of equipment- a Kongsberg V20 CAD (Computer-Aided Design) Table. Kongsberg, a division of Esko, Inc. (a valued partner to the Design & Graphics Technology department) manufactures its tables in the Czech Republic and sells them worldwide.


The new table and software allows users to design and produce cartons, containers, retail displays, signage and die cut art made from a wide array of materials including paper, plastic and corrugated cardboard. The upgraded table cuts 1,150 inches per minute- nearly 10 times faster than the College’s previous CAD table.

While students of multiple Dunwoody design programs will use and benefit from this new piece of equipment, perhaps those most excited are students of the Design & Graphics Technology department, particularly first years enrolled in the “Intro to Packaging Design” course.

The Packaging Design course, a class required for both Pre-Media and Graphic Design programs, centers around a semester-long project requiring students to work one-on-one with real customers on the design and production of a custom package using the CAD table’s 2015 technology.

The project begins once the student identifies a real customer (e.g., a Dunwoody staff member, instructor or a local business owner) who is in need of a container or package for a certain product.

IMG_6582-smallerKeeping in mind the ultimate purpose or goal of the container, the student begins to design a template for the package using Esko’s ArtiosCAD design software. The resulting file is transferred without further conversion to the CAD table’s computer, which runs Esko’s iCut Production Suite software.

The package’s template will ultimately consist of a large collection of lines (pictured above) that tells the table where the material must be cut, perforated or creased for folding.

IMG_6181-smallerOnce the template has been finalized and the designer has chosen an appropriate type of material to cut, the computer will send a message to the table’s tool head (pictured right) to begin cutting.


Before cutting


After cutting

The designer then “pops out” the design (pictured below), assembles the container and issues it to the customer. Should the prototype be something the customer is genuinely interested in using or distributing, the student may share the design template with a larger production house for mass production. Any single design can be stepped and repeated or ganged with other design templates before cutting to maximize productivity and minimize waste. All scrap corrugated and paper is collected for recycling (pictured below), quite often returning in the form of new corrugated sheets.


Scrap corrugated ready for recycling

At the end of the semester students are graded on their knowledge of the CAD table as well as their ability to successfully work with clients, and design and produce a purposeful, real-life product. The project is a great opportunity for students to network, build their resumes and portfolios and experience design and production in its entirety.

“There is a lot of excitement throughout the department right now,” says Pete Rivard, Principal Instructor of Pre-Media Technologies, when discussing the recent installation. “Students are having a hard time paying attention in Photoshop class because they are too busy refining their package designs! Although we obviously want them to pay attention to their other courses, it is neat to see them so excited about their projects. Package design is a complex process. Nobody gets it right the first time, even out in industry. So to have this table in our lab gives every student in the program a second, third or seventeenth chance to adjust their designs to meet the demands of the material. The finished result should be the equal to any carton on any store shelf anywhere.”

The 2015 table is also generating buzz throughout the community as Dunwoody is currently the only College in the state of Minnesota that has this table for the use of packaging and retail display design. Dunwoody also enjoys the support of local corrugated manufacturer and box design business Liberty Carton, who happily provides the graphics program with all the corrugated material it needs.

“The table also helps with the ‘hands-on’ piece of Dunwoody’s curriculum,” says Rivard. “Because of this table, our students will not only learn the process of packaging design, but will really get to experience it first hand. The act of manually folding and assembling and evaluating a physical object that you yourself designed and cut is a powerful experience, and causes students to want to do better.”

Rivard plans to continue the momentum this table has brought by providing CAD table demonstrations for design students and faculty from various Minnesota colleges, as well as professionals in the design and packaging industry, at the upcoming AIGA PIVOT event on April 22.

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

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.