Employee Spotlight: John Columbus, Software Engineering Assistant Professor

Where did you grow up? 

Minneapolis, MN

Where did you attend college? What is your degree in?

Augsburg College and University of Minnesota. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Theater Design and Masters of Science in Software Engineering. I also have my Project Management Professional  (PMP) and Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) certifications.

How long have you been working at Dunwoody? 

7 months

Why did you decide to work at Dunwoody? 

I wanted to share with the students what I have learned so far in my career so I can help them get off on the right foot for theirs.

What is your favorite part about working at Dunwoody? 

People.  I really like all the people I’ve met. The culture here is exactly what I enjoy. I also enjoy learning about the students and helping them to grow. I want them all to be very successful.

Why Software Engineering

I went to work in computers in 1983 as that was my hobby and my minor at the time. As the years went by, I found that my lack of degrees was limiting the jobs I could have. I very much enjoy science and history, and along with my years of work experience, Software Engineering seemed like the best fit.

What are a few of your hobbies?

Sitting back and watching movies as well as going to the Guthrie to watch documentaries.

Where is the best place you have ever traveled to?

York, England and Lake District, England. My two favorite places!

What is your favorite annual holiday or tradition? 

Any holiday serving good food! 🙂

 What is the one thing in the world you are most proud of? 

My son. He has done a wonderful job in learning all aspects of life, and I believe he will have a very good future.

Fun facts:
  • I’ve worked on 20-30 theatrical productions
  • I’ve served on the board of four non-profits
  • I’m the fifth one of my family to be associated with Dunwoody (My grandfather, father, brother, and sister all have an affiliation with the College!)
Meet John in person!

Attend our next Open House on Nov. 14 from 3 to 7 p.m. Attendees will learn about all of Dunwoody’s programs, with a special emphasis on the School of Engineering. Guests will also have an opportunity to tour labs, try their hand on industry-standard equipment, and meet with faculty/staff–including John. RSVP here: http://www.dunwoody.edu/admissions/open-house-rsvp/

Students take part in Random Act of Kindness project

As part of the Interpersonal Communications course, Assistant Professor Reem El-Radi recently gave her sections an optional assignment called the Dunwoody Random Act of Kindness project to be completed throughout the month of October.

“The objective of the assignment is to recognize kindness as a lifelong interpersonal skill that’s critical to the success and creation of caring communities,” El-Radi said.

As part of this initiative, several students banned together to do some extraordinary things in their community.

One group of students elected to clean Dunwoody’s parking lot. Prepared with their own cleaning supplies, they spent an hour collecting trash from the large lot.

Another group raised $600 for hurricane relief in Puerto Rico. The funds will be donated to Direct Relief, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a stated mission to “improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergency situations by mobilizing and providing essential medical resources needed for their care.”

And finally, first-semester Architecture students signed up to volunteer raking leaves for elderly residents in East Saint Paul on October 27. Despite the snow coming down that day, students showed up to rake leaves for two residents in the neighborhood.

Thank you to all the students who participated in this optional assignment to make your communities a better place!

Employee Spotlight: Jonathon Moore, Student Services Advisor

Where did you grow up?

Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Laguna Nigel, California.

Where did you attend high school/college?
Southwest High School and Virginia Union University.

What is your degree in?
Interdisciplinary Studies/Political Science K-8.

How long have you been working at Dunwoody?
13 years.

What do you enjoy most about your job
Providing support for students and assisting them in reaching their goal of graduating!

 What are a few of your hobbies?
Basketball, Madden on PS4, and relaxing at home.

Which sports teams do you root for?
Minnesota Vikings (SKOL, Vikings, SKOL!), University of Michigan (GO BLUE!!) & all other Minnesota sports!

Do you have any pets?
Mathan, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier. He is 13 years young!

What is your favorite meal?
Steak, salad, baked potato, sourdough bread, and sweet tea.

Dunwoody committed to transforming lives

“I always thought that I had that creative mindset, but I was never able to bring it to reality,” Mechanical Engineering Student Tommy Dao said. “Before Dunwoody, I never touched a mill or a lathe. And so for me to grab raw material and make it into something that has value, it was very rewarding.”

Dunwoody earns First Place in annual AICC Competition second year in a row

Dunwoody students earned First Place in AICC’s Annual Corrugated as Art competition along with a $500 cash prize, and an all-expense paid trip to the Association of Independent Corrugated Converters (AICC)’s Annual Meeting in Las Vegas.

AICC Competition Team 2017

From left to right: Kris Patterson, Kristin Warehime, and Brann Haugen

When Pre-Media Technologies student Kristin Warehime found out that the theme of this year’s AICC Corrugated as Art student competition was “Las Vegas,” she immediately thought of the Bellagio.

“I wanted to figure out how to get some movement in there,” Warehime said. “I liked the idea of somehow moving the water in the hotel’s front fountains.”

With this in mind, Warehime teamed up with Graphic Design students Brann Haugen and Kris Patterson to design and build a replica of the Bellagio Hotel made entirely out of corrugated cardboard – complete with its signature fountain.

Their hard work recently paid off, earning them First Place, a $500 cash prize, and an all-expense paid trip to Las Vegas to attend AICC’s Annual Meeting.

Building the Bellagio

The BellagioAdding movement to the Hotel’s fountains wasn’t easy, but the team took on the challenge.

Haugen invented a pull-tab mechanism that could rotate and shift the water on a set of gears, giving the piece a dynamic user experience.

“I had to adjust the size of the teeth on the gears multiple times,” Haugen said. “It was really a trial and error process. It wasn’t like anything I had done before, so it was a good learning experience.”

The students also worked with Architecture Adjunct Instructor Stephen Knowles to learn more about the College’s Boss Laser table. With this machine, they could take their replica to the next level by refining the details in the cutouts.

“The Boss Laser worked really well for cutting the water,” Patterson said. “We wouldn’t have been able to get that much detail without it.”

In addition to designing and building the structure, the students had to submit an instruction manual and essay. All of which contributed to their First Place prize.

The team travels to the AICC Annual Meeting

The team will be traveling to Vegas for AICC’s Annual Meeting at the end of September where they will have the chance to network with professionals from the packaging industry.

In addition to networking, the students will be paired up with seasoned structural design industry professionals in a multi-day design lab where they will learn design and production tips and techniques.

“The Annual Meeting is where the leaders in the industry gather,” Principal Pre-Media Technologies Instructor Pete Rivard said. “The networking will be unbelievable.”

The Dunwoody Difference

“Our program has been evolving over the past decade toward an emphasis in packaging and retail in-store displays – which features heavy use of corrugated substrates – and reflects our geographical region’s expertise, career opportunities, and international standing in this market,” Rivard said.

In their first year of study, students in the Design & Graphics Technology department are challenged to find innovative ways to use the state-of-the-industry software and equipment in the College’s print and packaging facilities, including ArtiosCAD.

“[Building the Hotel] was a good review of the Artios program,” Warehime said. “I feel like this experience really built on the stuff I learned in the packaging class.”

“This win continues to validate our decision to concentrate our curriculum on packaging design with an emphasis in materials exploration and aesthetics,” Rivard said.

Learn more about Dunwoody’s Design & Graphics Technology Department.

Dunwoody College Announces Multi-Million Dollar Renovation

An architectural rendering of the Welcome Center for prospective students and their families. The space will also include a gathering area for lectures, social events, student presentations, etc.

The main floor of the old gymnasium will be turned into a Welcome Center for prospective students and their families. The space will also include a gathering area for lectures, social events, student presentations, etc.

Mortenson Selected as General Contractor For Major Renovation of Iconic Minneapolis Campus

MINNEAPOLIS, MN — Dunwoody College of Technology, the leader in technical education for more than a century, is taking a big step towards its next one hundred years. The College is breaking ground on a new construction project on its Minneapolis campus: a major renovation of its currently under-utilized gymnasium to create a state-of-the-art Learning Commons and a Welcome Center for students and their families. The project is part of a comprehensive plan that will transform the Dunwoody campus to better meet the future needs of a growing student body, which will help bridge the skills gap in the Minnesota workforce.

“This is more than an upgrade to the physical spaces of our campus,” says President Rich Wagner, Dunwoody College of Technology. “It’s about continuing to create the kind of collaborative, immersive learning spaces Dunwoody has become known for as well as staying ahead of what’s needed to fully prepare our students, from all walks of life and all parts of the state, for success in the 21st Century workplace. There’s a critical skills gap in Minnesota and around the country; this renovation is the next step in our efforts to meet employers’ needs this year, this decade and well beyond.”

Part of that need is spurred by the growth of students in the College’s new School of Engineering. In addition, many of Dunwoody’s other programs are growing and technology is merging across many of the programs requiring space for students to gather and work on sophisticated projects.

The Dunwoody Board, working with project management firm NTH, Inc., has selected Mortenson as General Contractor. Credo Campus Planning & Architecture drew up the multi-year, comprehensive master plan.

“Dunwoody College is one of the oldest technical colleges of its kind in the nation,” says Ken Sorensen, Senior Vice President of Minneapolis operations, Mortenson. “But even more importantly, it’s an iconic building in the Twin Cities metro landscape. Our team is obviously thrilled to partner with Dunwoody and help realize the next stage of the College’s long history.”

Demolition begins later this fall and will focus on a re-imagining of the space currently occupied by the under-utilized gymnasium, which was first constructed in 1924. Smart re-use of this existing space will create 24,000 square feet of space dedicated to support students with a new Learning Commons and Welcome Center. The Learning Commons will house a library, technology for research and additional digital library access, classrooms and multi-use spaces for faculty and student collaboration. The new Welcome Center, capable of accommodating events of up to 200 attendees, will provide students with space to collaborate to work on multi-disciplinary projects and will house the College’s Admissions department.

Architectural Rendering of the new Learning Commons

A second floor will be added to the gymnasium space for a Learning Commons, which will house a library, technology for research and additional digital library access, classrooms and multi-use spaces for faculty and student collaboration.

The original plan for Dunwoody’s main building allowed for the flexible use of space as well as additions and in-fills. Since the building was completed in 1917, the College has taken advantage of this pre-planned flexibility but until now it has not undertaken such a thorough and comprehensive review of space usage for current and future needs. The project is expected to be completed in late 2018 and is funded by capital investments from alumni, industry partners, and other friends of Dunwoody College.

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About Dunwoody College of Technology

Founded in 1914, Dunwoody College of Technology is the only private, not-for-profit technical college in the Upper Midwest. It has provided a hands-on, applied education to more than 200,000 men and women, who in turn have gone on to meaningful and rewarding careers and become outstanding technicians, successful entrepreneurs and industry leaders. Located on the western edge of downtown Minneapolis, Dunwoody offers more than 30 certificate, associate’s degree and bachelor’s degree programs in the areas of Applied Management, Automotive, Computer Technology, Construction Sciences & Building Technology, Design & Graphics Technology, Engineering, Radiologic Technology, Robotics & Manufacturing, and Workforce Training & Continuing Education.

About Mortenson

Founded in 1954, Mortenson is a Minnesota-based, family-owned company. As one of the nation’s top builders and developers, Mortenson provides a complete range of services, including planning, program management, preconstruction, general contracting, construction management, design-build and turnkey development. Mortenson has offices in Chicago, Denver, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Portland and Seattle with international operations in Canada.

Siblings continue the family tradition of attending Dunwoody College

Nick and Angela FreelandNick Freeland, ’15 Mechanical Drafting & Engineering Systems, and Angela Freeland, ’20 Mechanical Engineering, saw firsthand the value of a Dunwoody education when their father James enrolled at the College following a 20-year career as automotive mechanic.

James Freeland had returned to school and earned his Mechanical Drafting & Engineering Systems Degree in 2013. He now designs parts in the medical field. His decision made an impact on his two oldest children, and it wasn’t long before they both decided to follow in their father’s footsteps.

Nick had spent a year attending the University of Minnesota Duluth and was about to enroll in classes for his second year when he decided that the hands-on, professional atmosphere at Dunwoody that his father described would actually be a better fit.

“I’m more math-based and I learn better with hands-on opportunities. Plus I wanted a career more on the engineering side,” Nick said. “My dad was going here, so I just decided to enroll [at Dunwoody].”

Father and son were at Dunwoody together for only one semester, since James was about to graduate, but having two generations in one family attending at the same time – and in the same program – is still a rarity.

Right away, Nick felt at home in the small-class environment with students who were serious about their education and focused on their career choice. He especially liked working with the Computer-aided Design (CAD) software, which felt more like a game than actual work.

During his first year at Dunwoody, Nick was hired for a paid internship at Johnstech, a manufacturer of high-performance precision test solutions in the semiconductor test market. The internship continued during his second year and then turned into a full-time job after graduating. Today, Nick is a CAD Designer, Level II and designs components for the company.

Angela was still in high school when both her dad and brother were attending Dunwoody. So when she learned about Dunwoody’s Youth Career Awareness Program (YCAP) at a college fair during her junior year, it seemed like a good fit.

The summer program allowed Angela a chance to explore all of the different career paths and programs offered at Dunwoody. She was drawn to the graphic design program.

Like her father and brother, Angela is also mathematically and mechanically-inclined. So after a semester she switched her program and is now a student in the four-year Mechanical Engineering program.

“I like the idea of being able to design and build something, and you can work in almost any field,” Angela said.

Nick wasn’t surprised by either his sister’s decision to attend Dunwoody, or the switch to Mechanical Engineering.

“I always knew she’d be my boss someday,” Nick said with a laugh.

Angela, who is a member of Dunwoody’s Student Government, is already enjoying the project-based learning and hands-on environment with instructors who have all worked professionally in the field.

“I like the project work and the instructors are great,” Angela said, adding that having a mix of older and younger students in the program has also been an advantage.

While it is still three years away, Angela is already thinking about her career after Dunwoody. She is interested in exploring mechanical engineering in the construction industry and would like to become a project manager someday.

The three Freelands aren’t the only relatives in the family to attend Dunwoody. On their mother’s side, the pair have two uncles who have attended the College — Carroll Gackstetter and Michael McMonigal.

“Dunwoody is a really good fit for a lot of people,” Nick said. “As a graduate, you have a lot of opportunities in technical industries.”

Angela agrees, adding that technically-trained workers will always be needed.