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.

College celebrates 100th Founders Day

President Rich Wagner delivered the following address to the  college community at a Founders Day All-College Assembly on Friday, Dec. 12. The College’s 100th Founders Day occurred on Sunday, Dec. 14.


To start, I want to read a short piece from the Last Will and Testament of William Hood Dunwoody.

“Believing that in the multiplied facilities for obtaining a liberal education by the youth of this state, enough attention has not been given to instruction in the industrial and mechanical arts, therefore, it is my purpose and desire to establish and endow a school to be called the ‘William Hood Dunwoody Industrial Institute’ wherein shall be taught industrial and mechanical arts, giving special importance to the different handicraft and useful trades.”

After William’s death, his wife Kate worked with community leaders to organize and create the structures for this new school that made their dream a reality. On December 14, 1914, Kate attended the opening ceremonies as 80 students and 7 instructors started classes in four programs…and here we are 100 years later.

It is hard to believe: one hundred years of changing lives, providing hope, and building better communities through technical education. William and Kate Dunwoody saw a need and through their visionary leadership and philanthropy wanted, in their words — “to provide for all time a place.” And what a place it has become!

To reflect on all the accomplishments of Dunwoody’s faculty and staff and of Dunwoody’s alumni and students over our first 100 years is overwhelming.

The faculty and staff of Dunwoody:

  • Created and implemented the educational model that is the gold standard for career and technical education and has resulted in Dunwoody being called the birthplace of technical education
  • Provide a unique educational experience that helps students realize their maximum potential
  • Started technical education programs across the globe
  • And today are leading the technical education renaissance

Dunwoody alumni have:

  • Changed companies through the leadership and technical expertise they bring into the world of work
  • Changed industries by creating companies and creating new technologies and processes that revolutionized things like fiberglass welding, microchip processing, and sugar free fat-free commercial baking
  • With the good jobs and great careers a Dunwoody education affords they have changed the world by building better communities as active and productive citizens — in the words of our founders they have “fit themselves for the better performance of life’s duties.”

It is incredible to think that the vision of two humble people has had such a profound impact —an impact that can be seen throughout the Twin Cities, the State of Minnesota and across the globe.

So today we reflect on the significance of Dunwoody and we attempt to understand our place in this great history:

Faculty and staff — not only are you part of the legacy, but you preserve our traditions while helping us reach for the future. Your commitment to the mission of the College keeps us focused and your dedication to our students creates a unique learning environment and distinguishes Dunwoody as the leader in hands-on student centric learning.

Students you are the next chapter in Dunwoody’s storied history. And from what you’ve shown us so far in the results of the competitions in which you participate in many of our programs; the quality of your work displayed across the campus; and what is happening every day in the classroom we can rest assured that the next chapter is going to be even better!

In this this room we see the Dunwoody’s dream, we feel the presence of the Dunwoody’s spirit, and we take great satisfaction in knowing that William and Kate Dunwoody are proud of all the people that have been positively touched by their vision.

It is so cool to look around this room and see all of us gathered together: the people that are Dunwoody. Dunwoody’s legacy isn’t about a building. It’s about a place. And that place is defined, and continues to be defined, by people — all of us and all of those who have gone before. Together we have created for all time a place!

Stay commitment, be proud because together — we are Dunwoody!

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 www.dunwoody.edu/ycap.

College features 40 alumni leading up to 100th Founders Day

Dunwoody College of Technology’s 100th Founders Day is Sunday, Dec. 14.

To celebrate the College’s 100th birthday, we are featuring 40 of our alumni on the College’s Facebook and Twitter pages. We’ll feature five alumni each day.

To see who we feature, visit  https://www.facebook.com/dunwoodycollege or https://twitter.com/dunwoodycollege.

Students and employees will celebrate Founders Day on Friday, Dec. 12.

Check out the Alumni & Friends Fall 2014 Magazine article “100 for 100″ that features 100 Alumni stories (PDF).


Construction Sciences & Building Technology fish house to be raffled Dec. 6

 On Oct. 17 and 18 Construction Sciences & Building Technology students built a Minnesota Bound-themed fish house for Fish House Frenzy Twin Cities.

Minnesota Bound-themed fish house

Teams from Adolfson & Peterson Construction and Kraus-Anderson Construction also participated in the 24-hour construction competition to raise funds for Rebuilding Together Twin Cities, which makes critical repairs for homeowners in need–particularly older adults, individuals living with disabilities, families with small children and members of the armed forces.

While the other fish houses were auctioned off already, the Dunwoody team’s fish house is still available via raffle to be drawn on Saturday, Dec. 6, at 3 p.m. in the parking lot of Joe’s Sporting Goods, 33 East County Road B, St. Paul.

In addition to raising money for a good cause, the students learned about the importance of preparation and teamwork.

Students learned through trial and error how to manage people and time. During a recap session they shared ideas about technical and management problems that arose,” said Senior Instructor James Strapko. “For example, they agreed on the value of preparation and following the drawings. They also recognized the need for establishing clear lines of authority and matching work crews with tasks.”

Through the competition construction students formed partnerships with other Dunwoody programs. The College’s HVAC and Electrical students provided some labor and materials for this year’s project, and Interior Design students have expressed interest in participating with the College’s Fish House Frenzy team next year.

Saturday, Dec. 6, at 3 p.m. in the parking lot of Joe’s Sporting Goods, 33 East County Road B, St. Paul.  Tickets are $20. To purchase raffle tickets, email k.greiner@rebuildingtogether-twincities.org.

Surveying & Civil Engineering Technology students form club to expand learning


A group of Surveying & Civil Engineering Technology students created a club to gain additional surveying experience outside the classroom. The club’s first project was a geocache; a drone is next on the list.

The students meet informally for about a half hour each week to discuss current and future objectives. The idea for the geocache arose after the students had completed eight weeks of surveying classes.

“We were starting to gain some basic knowledge of the surveying world. We were looking to apply some of the information we’d learned so far in the semester and apply that to a geocache clue,” said club member Jeremy Brunell. “Geocaching is very similar to surveying to some degree. In geocaching you read up on all the clues, then go out into the world to try and find the cache. In surveying, you conduct research on property lines, site history, monument locations, among other pieces of information, and then you travel to the site to see what you can find.”


Geocaching is an outdoor treasure hunting game that uses GPS-enabled devices to help participants navigate to a container located at hidden location using a set of GPS coordinates. The container typically includes a logbook and a few small “treasures.” If a participant takes a small item from the container, they leave something of equal or greater value and write about their find in the logbook.


The club used Topcon HiPer SR GNSS receivers to record the position of their geocache.  To store the logbook and small items, the students used a durable Pelican Case, which is commonly used to store survey equipment.

The club’s main objective for the semester is to create a surveying drone from scratch.

“The concept of drone technology has enormous potential to impact the surveying world. Such drones can collect data from the field in minutes, where it may take surveyors on the ground hours to collect such data,” said Brunell. “Drone technology is such a new concept that it hasn’t yet impacted the surveying world, but in the next decade it is possible that every surveying company will have a drone to use out in the field.”

Principal Instructor and Club Advisor Kelly Ness supports the students’ desire to pursue emerging technologies for club projects.

“I think the club has an opportunity to focus on emerging technology more than our curriculum can,” Ness said. “Our curriculum focuses on technology currently utilized by the industry. The club can look into the future and explore what technology will be used and how it might impact the profession.”

The club plans to send out letters requesting donations or student/non-profit pricing for drone components.  They hope to have a drone that will collect data by the end of the school year.

“These surveying drones are not allowed to operate commercially at this time, but the FAA is working on procedures to allow for this.  I think our students could be operating these drones within a few years,” Ness said.

Other projects the club has planned include attending surveying conferences and reviewing old surveying documents to research where past historical monuments were once located in the Twin Cities.

For more information about the club’s cache, visit http://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GC5EXAT_william-h-dunwoody-cache?guid=b096fb5a-d2c8-4613-89e3-20978ec733a1. Brunell says individuals who search out the geocache might learn some basic surveying concepts.



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.