75th Diversity Forum: looking to the future to solve today’s problems

Minnesota Council on Foundations President Trista Harris speaks at Dunwoody's 75th Diversity Forum.

Minnesota Council on Foundations President Trista Harris speaks at Dunwoody’s 75th Diversity Forum.

The 75th Diversity Forum featured a performance by saxophonist Jason Weismann and a talk given by Minnesota Council on Foundations President Trista Harris in celebration of MLK Day. Harris spoke about how to use the tools of futurism to build on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream for a better future.

 Three-Step Guide to a Better Future

Harris pointed out that “we treat the future now like it’s something that happens to us, not something we create for ourselves.”

Instead of thinking about today’s problems this way, Harris encouraged the audience to think about what positive impacts they would like to leave on the world. With that, she provided a simple, three-step guide to looking to the future to create something better:

  1.  Stop loving the problem. Instead of dwelling on what the problems are, Harris encouraged people to understand the problem then immediately move to step two.
  2. Look around you. Pay attention to trends and headlines to get a grasp on where you might find solutions for your problem.
  3. Go, try it out. “If you fail faster, you succeed sooner,” said Harris, try new ideas to learn what works and how to move forward.

The next Diversity Forum will feature KSTP TV 5 Broadcast Journalist Cleo Green and Grammy Award Winner Kimberly Brown in honor of Black History Month. For questions or to RSVP, contact Dr. Leo Parvis via email at lparvis@dunwoody.edu. Dr. Parvis is a Principal Instructor and the Diversity Programs & Education Coordinator at Dunwoody College of Technology.

Honor Roll Spotlight: Gary N. Petersen

Gary N. Petersen
Retired President and COO of Minnegasco
Dunwoody Board of Trustees
1990-present

Photo of Gary N. Petersen

Gary N. Petersen

Gary Petersen has always approached his service to Dunwoody College of Technology with a “never say no” philosophy.

For the retired President and Chief Operating Officer of Minnegasco (now Centerpoint Energy) this has translated into 25 years of volunteer service as a member of the Dunwoody Board of Trustees, including two years as Chair and another two years as Treasurer. In addition, Petersen has served on numerous committees and even chaired the Good to Great Capital Campaign, which ran from 2001-2009.

Petersen’s long history with Dunwoody first began in 1990. As the new Chief Operating Officer for Minnegasco, Petersen was proud of the company’s long history of hiring Dunwoody grads.

“Dunwoody has always provided the best technicians,” Petersen said.

So when he was asked to join the Board of Trustees, Petersen was happy to say “yes.”

“When I joined, the Board had so much great experience and leadership,” Petersen said. “It took me a couple of years to figure out how I could contribute.”

Of the 160 individuals who have sat on the Dunwoody College of Technology Board of Trustees over the past 101 years, Petersen has had the pleasure to know and serve with 81 of them.

A Certified Public Accountant, Petersen graduated from Iowa State University with a B.S. degree in Computer Science. His career first began in public accounting, which led to his work with public utilities and then to senior management. His background in finance meant Petersen was a natural fit for the Finance and Audit Committee at Dunwoody.

In addition, Petersen’s leadership experience in the areas of strategic thinking and planning led to his involvement in developing Dunwoody’s formal program evaluation system, which is still used by the Board to this day.

In 1998, Petersen retired from Minnegasco and became an independent consultant. Even after his departure from the utility company, Petersen has remained a valued and active member of the Board of Trustees.

Besides giving of his time and talents, Petersen and his wife Barbara have also donated generously to the College. “There is definitely a joy of giving” Petersen said, adding that his affinity to Dunwoody comes from knowing that there really is a Dunwoody Difference that can be seen in the students and graduates who leave here ready to work from Day 1.

In addition to his volunteer service to Dunwoody, Petersen also served as a Board Member for the YMCA for more than 20 years and held several volunteer roles with his church. In fact, through his involvement with all three organizations, Petersen has been directly involved in eight different capital campaigns.

And when he is not serving on Boards or giving back to his community, Petersen is an avid sports fan who enjoys spending time with his family.

When he looks to the future, Petersen is excited about the direction that Dunwoody is heading, with the addition of more 4-year Bachelor of Science degrees offered through its new School of Engineering.

“We’re on the cusp of taking off in the next 100 years,” Petersen said.

Read more spotlight stories in the 2015 Annual Report.

 

 

Dunwoody College Of Technology’s 2015 Fall Semester Dean’s List

Congratulations to the following students who have been named to Dunwoody College of Technology’s fall semester dean’s list. The students listed received this honor by upholding a 3.5 (or higher) grade point average while being a full-time student*.

Anthony Ablack
Eli Abnet
Alexandra About
Samuel Albers
Connor Alexy
Alexander Al-hilwani
Jacob Allen
Satiya Amporful
Angela Anderson
Benjamin Anderson
Brett Anderson
Maria Anderson
Matthew Anderson
Trevor Anderson
Tyler Anderson
David Andresen
Alysa Arnold
Justin Aune
Matthew Backus
Lawal Bada
Tyler Bares
John Bautch
Alec Becklin
Jacob Berg
Michael Berg
Alexander Biggs
Thomas Blossom
Jacob Blue
Jackson Boehmer
Brittney Boie
Adam Booth
Ronald Bridgemon
Joseph Broadston
Richard Brodala
Amanda Bronson
Chad Brooks
Kyle Burnside
Matthew Campbell
Kayla Canfield
Christopher Cao
Anna Carlson
Matthew Carlson
Ross Carlson
Robert Carson
Ling Chang
Paxton Chase
Brady Christian
Samantha Christner
Bryan Coats
Dalton Crouch
Randy Dahlberg
Brady Dalton
Jazmine Darden
Brandon Davis
Adam DeCurtins
Walldo Deluna
Tristan Dewitte
David Dietz
Nathan Donahoe
Mandi Drevlow
Jamie Dulebohn
Scott Duncan
Marydithe Edgerton
Christopher Eklund
Margaret Ellsworth
Daniel Emery
Corey Erickson
Jon Erickson
Steven Fay
Nicholas Felix-Carlson
Paige Fischer
Bryce Fisher
Rachel Fisher
Alexander Froemming
Zachary Gabler
David Gainous
Ryan Galegher
Francis Garsulao
Tarty Gaye
Brandon Goldschmidt
Ryan Grigoleit
Robert Grindahl
James Grommersch
Charles Guelcher
Andrhea Gulden
Nicholas Gustafson
David Haerle
Jon Hagen
Keven Halloran
Neil Halvorson
Sandra Hammerlund
Robert Hammond
Jonathan Hansen
Steven Hanson
Ryan Harris
Benjamin Harvey
Daniel Hattenberger
Andrew Haug
Caleb Hays
Andrew Henry
Josh Henry
Peng Her
Matthew Herrick
Aidan Hicks
Michael Hiepler
Anina High
Joshua Hill
Tiara Hill
Tan Ho
Vincent Hoang
Daniel Hoffman
Nathan Hole
Jesse Hollen
Nicholas Holman
Benjamin Holmgren
Andrew Hoogenakker
Michael Houge
Nathan Hruby
Kyle Huberty
Katherine Humphrey
Benjamin Hunerberg
Ashley Hurner
Troy Hyland
Blake Isetts
Matthew Jarvis
Leo Jensen
John Jeske
Michael Jindra
Jettana Jitlak
Joel Johnson
Andrew Kampa
Kyle Kane
Edward Kibira
Shelby Kiltinen
Matthew Kirchgasler
David Klinkner
Joel Koenigsmark
Kimberley Kotila
Patrick Kowal
Matthew Krei
Mitchell Krienke
Kasey Kromschroeder
Ryan Ksiazek
Wesley Kuhnley
Carson Landvik-Geyen
Benjamin Larsen
Jacob Larson
Justin Larson
Anthony Laylon
Marc Leahy
Yeng Lee
Scott Leighton
Jonathan Leistico
Ashley LeMay
Joseph Lerum
Charles Lesher
Dexter Lewis
Alex Linahon
Brent Littlejohn
Kory Lommen
Richard Longstrom
Eric Lorentzen
Bennieco Luangrath
John Mabusth
Joseph Machtemes
Alex Maciej
Michael Mack
Andrew Madison
Richard Makori
Timothy Malkovich
Kerry Mandt
Matthew Mannella
Francis Maranga
Cole Marsh
Paxton Martensen
Jeffrey Martin
Jennifer Martin
James Matthes
Thomas Mavencamp
Aaron McCauley-Aburto
Patrick McDonald
Kyle McGinnity
Dwight McKinnis
Saul Mellado
Eric Meyer
Jacob Meyer
Michael Miazga
Andrew Miller
Charles Miller
Madison Montgomery
Zachary Moore
Jonathan Moreno
Sharon Mount
John Moynihan
Kareem Mroue
Colin Mulcahy
Celina Nelson
Peter Neraasen
Phat Nguyen
Stephanie Nguyen
Travis Northway
Nicholas Novak
Grady O’Gorman
Andrew Olson
James Olson
Joshua Olson
Travis Olson
Corin Osborne
Michael Otten
Sarah Padovese
Taylor Parker-Greene
Taylor Paschke
Sergey Paskar
Tovah Penning
Ricky Perez
Jonathan Peter
Drew Peterson
Matthew Peterson
Brian Pevensie
Zach Pollei
Julian Prowizor
Michael Prudhon
Thomas Quicksell
Nicholas Ramsingh
Adrienne Reich
Mark Reznikov
Graham Rico-Johnson
Cory Roberts
Madelyn Rodewald
Oscar Romero
Henry Rudolph
Randal Rue
Loren Sabetti
Micah Schoenecker
Sarah Schroeder
Trevor Schroeder
Patrick Schulz
Will Schulzetenberg
Brianna Schumacher
Nicholas Schurhammer
Kurtis Seurer
Luke Shaw
Matthew Shephard
Lloyd Show
Sarah Silver
Justin Sloneker
Thomas Smith
Devyn Smoter
Ryan Solheim
Rebekah Somers
Eric Sosa
John Spartz
Jerred Speller
Zachary Sprung
Mark Stafford
Alexander Stanley
Pierce Stavish
Paul Steffens
Daniel Stellburg
Brian Stewart
Aaron Stoehr
Donavan Sullivan
Heidi Sunne
Matthew Svihel
Dustin Szumowski
Erica Thiel
Anthony Thiery
Chloe Thomas
Steven Thomas
Kathleen Thompson
Steven Thomson
Micah Thorson
Bradley Toenges
Alek Tomann
Brittney Tompkins
Daniel Treat
Timothy Trembulak
Miles Tristani
Mark Tully
Andrew Unger
Christopher Uttke
John Vaccaro
Gabriel Vail
James Vanderbosch
Adam VanderVorste
Choua Vang
Marcos Villalobos
JJ Virnala
Ashley Wagner
Ashley Wagner
Jerry Wang
Isabel Waryan
Thomas Webster
Jacob Wegner
Justin Wenz
Kimberly Wieting
Michael Willems
Brandon Williams
Blake Wilson
Christopher Wilson
Shelby Wittibslager
Brian Witzany
Keith Wojciechowski
Samual Wolters
Gregory Woolsey
David Yang
Pierre Yang
Say Vue Yang
Brandon Young
Rodrigo Zangano
Korin Ziesmer
Austin Zimmermann


*Student must take a minimum of 12 credits to be considered full-time. 

Klein Tools provides supplies to Electrical Construction & Maintenance program, awards student with Outstanding Graduate Award

As Dunwoody students and employees gear up for spring semester, the College would like to take a moment to congratulate our December graduates as well as thank an important donor and partner, Molly Kujawa from Klein Tools.

“Molly has been involved with the electrical department for about seven or eight years now,” said Electrical Construction & Maintenance Principal Instructor Karen Schmitt.

“She always comes through when helping our students. On several occasions, she has provided me with experts who have demonstrated and presented to our class; when I have had students who couldn’t afford something, she is always very quick to help.”

In addition to assisting students, Kujawa also frequently donates tools and materials to the program. Just recently, the Electrical Construction & Maintenance program received several multimeters; numerous low voltage test kits and low voltage hand tools; and multiple display boards.

Klein Tools recognizes Fall 2015 Outstanding Graduate

Each semester, Klein Tools also recognizes an Outstanding Program Graduate. The award is given to a graduating student who has gone above and beyond during his or her time at Dunwoody.

For the fall semester, Max Orman was the chosen recipient.

Molly Kujawa from Klein Tools honors Max Orman with the semi-annual Outstanding Graduate award.

Molly Kujawa from Klein Tools honors Max Orman with the semi-annual Outstanding Graduate award.

“Max has proven to be an exemplary example of what we expect of our students,” Schmitt said. “In addition to a very good GPA, he has had great attendance and an excellent work ethic.”

During Orman’s final class at Dunwoody, Kujawa surprised him with a $150 meter; a rare, etched pair of linesman pliers; and the Top Graduate award signed by the owner of Klein Tools.

Orman graduated with an Associate’s Degree in Electrical Construction & Maintenance last month. He was recently accepted into IBEW Local 292, the Minneapolis electrical union.

CFMA continues history of Dunwoody-giving, awards Construction Management student with scholarship

Construction Management student and CFMA scholarship winner Justin Brastad The Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA)—a nonprofit organization devoted to enhancing the education of today’s construction financial professionals—has awarded its fourth Dunwoody scholarship to Construction Management student Justin Brastad.

The CFMA has a long history of giving to the College, awarding Dunwoody with multiple student scholarships and a generous endowed scholarship over the last several years.

CFMA’s support goes beyond financial assistance

“The goal of the scholarship program is to promote accounting, finance and management careers in the construction industry,” CFMA Scholarship Chairperson Michael Michelsen said. “It is our intent to improve the perception of the value and impact that a career in construction can have for both the industry and the individual.”

The giving doesn’t stop there: members of the CFMA Twin Cities have also joined the College’s Program Advisory Committee; participated in student capstone presentations; and have conducted several presentations to Dunwoody classes, focusing on topics like construction risk management and cash flow management.

Scholarship provides tuition relief for Justin

Justin, a Junior this year, says receiving this scholarship means a great deal to him.

“Being a college student and full-time employee is a huge task in itself,” he said. “On top of that, trying to pay for college and books can be overwhelming. I am very grateful for this scholarship and am honored to have been the one selected to receive it.”

The award will be put towards Justin’s remaining tuition at Dunwoody. Upon graduation, Justin hopes to become a Construction Estimator.

“I am on the right path to do so, but have a lot of learning to do,” he said. “I want to continue to grow and see how far I can push myself in industry. Wherever that takes me, I will be happy. I just want to be able to make a difference.”

Automotive Dean’s service celebrated at annual potluck, department continues Toys for Tots donation

Dunwoody Automotive students loading up their lunch plates at the annual holiday potluck event in the Warren buildingFor the past two decades or so, Dunwoody’s Automotive Department has celebrated the holiday season in a memorable way. The Warren Building is festively decorated; long banquet tables are packed with crock-pot treats; Toys for Tots donations are collected; and students celebrate the end of their final exams and presentations.

This year, however, the annual holiday potluck was even more special than usual as students, staff and faculty bid farewell to Automotive Dean Jon Kukachka who is set to retire January 15.

Kukachka leaves Dunwoody with fond memories

Dunwoody Automotive students loading up their lunch plates at the annual holiday potluck event in the Warren building

“The holiday potlucks are definitely something that Automotive graduates remember about their time here,” Kukachka said. “I am going to miss events like these. The students have always been very special to me.”

Kukachka–who has provided the College with over 30 years of service–has been the program’s dean since 2010.

Retiring Dunwoody Automotive Dean Jon Kukachka speaking to Automotive students at the annual holiday potluck event “I have tried to be the kind of dean that students would not be afraid to talk to,” he said. “I wanted students to know that they could come to me about anything—good or bad—whatever was on their mind,” he said.

Faculty applaud student’s Toys for Tots donation

While the farewell was bittersweet, Kukachka was pleased to learn that the Automotive department did well in another  Toys for Tots fundraiser.

“The department has been donating to Toys for Tots ever since Dunwoody got involved with the program in the late ‘80s or early ‘90s,” Kukachka said. “It has become a tradition that the Auto Department does well so every year we try to instill that drive into our students.”

This year a friendly competition was implemented throughout the College with a first place prize of $150 awarded to the department who raised the most dollars and/or collected the most toys.

During the potluck, Automotive donations were totaled, revealing a grand total of about $2,000 in cash and toys—more than any other department.

Dunwoody Automotive students standing next to toys being donated to Toys for Tots

Program faculty decided to continue the season of giving by also donating their $150 winnings to the toy drive.

Kukachka says that this is the most the Automotive department has ever raised, making it a department—and quite possibly a Dunwoody—record.

Dunwoody College wishes Kukachka all the best

“This year’s potluck was very special to me,” Kukachka said.

“I will miss the people—both students and coworkers. I came here in 1980 wondering if I had made the right decision to change occupations. I know now that yes, I made the right decision to work at Dunwoody.”

On behalf of Dunwoody’s students, faculty and staff, the College wishes Kukachka all the best on his retirement.

“40 Under 40” recipient Trista Harris to speak at Dunwoody College’s 75th Diversity Forum

Trista Harris, President of Minnesota Council on Foundations

Trista Harris, President of Minnesota Council on Foundations

Join us for our 75th Diversity Forum at 12 p.m. on Jan. 14, 2016, in the Holden Center at Dunwoody College of Technology in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This Forum will feature philanthropic futurist Trista Harris.

Harris, president of the Minnesota Council on Foundations, was recently named to the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s list of “40 under 40.”

A passionate advocate for new leaders in the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors, Harris’s work has been covered by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, CNN, The New York Times and numerous social sector blogs.

Harris is also the co-author of the book How to Become a Nonprofit Rockstar and speaks internationally about using the tools of futurism in the social sector.

For questions or to RSVP, contact Dr. Leo Parvis via email at lparvis@dunwoody.edu. Dr. Parvis is a Principal Instructor and the Diversity Programs and Education Coordinator at Dunwoody College of Technology.

Dunwoody ranked #1 in Minnesota in Brookings Institution earnings data college scorecard

College rankings are often met with a mixture of eagerness, nervousness and disdain by U.S. higher education institutions. Depending on how the data is collected and evaluated, the ranking of colleges and universities can vary widely. What’s more, rankings often don’t account for institutional differences in mission and student population. And, of course, no matter how high or low, no ranking can accurately predict or describe the individual educational experiences of our students.

For a unique institution like Dunwoody — the only private, not-for-profit technical college in the Upper Midwest — traditional college rankings are especially a double-edged sword. They often reward institutional activity that the College simply isn’t going to engage in because of its specific educational philosophy and mission. Which is why a recent report by the Brooking Institution was a pleasant surprise. Titled Using earnings data to rank colleges: A value-added approach updated with College Scorecard data, the report focuses on earnings of graduates plus other indicators that are likely to lead to a high value-added education for students.

The report is based on the Obama administration’s College Scorecard database as well as other data sources and assigns colleges a score based on “Value-added to median student earnings 10 years after enrollment of 2001-02″ with the top score possible being 100.

Dunwoody College of Technology received a score of 94 out of 100 — the highest of any college or university in Minnesota.

The full methodology and list of rankings can be found on the Brookings Institution website.

In general, technical colleges scored well in this particular ranking, which is not a surprise considering that an applied education generally leads into a specific, often well-paying career path. But as report author Jonathan Rothwell notes, “there will always be serious imperfections to any effort to assess college quality. People are not randomly assigned to colleges and differ in important ways that will remain unobservable to any researcher.”

Those unobservable differences are exactly why we talk about our accomplished alumni so much and why we understand that Dunwoody’s rigorous, industry-focused, applied education is not for every student.

Since 1914, Dunwoody’s pioneering hands-on, applied education has provided students with the skills they need to have a rewarding career. It will continue to do so while it also works to improve in all areas of its mission to changes lives by building opportunities for graduates to have successful careers, to develop into leaders and entrepreneurs, and to engage in “the better performance of life’s duties.” (Quote is from the Last Will and Testament of William Hood Dunwoody)

The best way to understand Dunwoody is to visit our campus, meet our faculty and staff, and tour our classrooms, labs, shops and studios. Call us at 612-374-5800 to arrange a campus tour or RSVP for one of our monthly open houses.