Tag Archives: Automotive

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.

Tesla Motors visit sparks interest of automotive students

 

The Tesla car visit was made possible by two Dunwoody alumni who work at the new Tesla Motors dealership in Eden Prairie. Todd Teele, who graduated from the automotive program in 1997, is the service manager and 2012 graduate Noe Cardenas is a Tesla technician.

A 2013 electric Tesla P85 Model S pulling into the Warren Building sparked the interest of Automotive students Wednesday morning.

The luxury car visit was made possible by two Dunwoody alumni who work at the new Tesla Motors dealership in Eden Prairie. Todd Teele, who graduated from the automotive program in 1997, is the service manager and 2012 graduate Noe Cardenas is a Tesla technician.

Teele and Cardenas showed students and faculty the Model S and answered questions about its state-of-the-art technology.

The Model S is 100 percent electric and features a 17-inch touch screen display, which Teele says are just a few of the features that make it unique.

Dunwoody Automotive students enjoyed looking at various aspects of the 2013 electric Tesla P85 Model S brought to campus from Tesla Motors in Eden Prairie on Jan.

“Our students just love new technology, “ said Senior Instructor Lee Frisvold. “It’s not often they get to see and touch a $120,000 vehicle.”

Teele and Cardenas encouraged students to sharpen their electronic skills to keep up with advancements in automotive technology.

“The automotive industry is changing,” Teele said. “You need to be a strong person with electronics because you’re basically going to be a computer technician.”

Cardenas’ advice to current automotive students is:

  1.  Be punctual.
  2.  Go above and beyond.
  3. Learn more than just the fundamentals.
  4. Listen to your instructors.

Dunwoody students earn gold at 2013 SkillsUSA Minnesota Contest

Dunwoody students performed well again this year in the SkillsUSA Minnesota Contest held last weekend at various locations in the Twin Cities, including the Dunwoody campus.

The Collision students, advised by Bruce Graffunder and Bob Brandon, made a complete sweep of the awards, taking first through fourth place in the contest. Kevin Wendt advised two teams for the Web Design contest, and they placed first and second.

Overall, 16 Dunwoody students competed in seven contests, including Collision, Automotive Refinishing, HVAC, Computer Programming, Computer Maintenance, Web Design, and Internetworking.  The students medaled in five of the contests with three in first place, two in second place, three in third place, and two in fourth place.  The full results are:

 

Collision Repair– Advisors: Bruce Graffunder and Bob Brandon

1st: Erik Campion

2nd: Trevor Multhaup

3rd: Huey Lewis

4th: Andy LaRue

 

Internetworking – Advisors: Rob Bentz and Dave Mansheffer

1st: Donald Geer

 

Computer Web Design –Advisor: Kevin Wendt

1st Place Team:  Joe Packer and Brett Lidfors

2nd Place Team:  Martin Sheeks and Brady Skaurad

 

Automotive Refinishing – Advisors: Bruce Graffunder and Bob Brandon

3rd: Erik Campion

4th: Huey Lewis

 

Computer Maintenance – Advisor: Dave Mansheffer

3rd: Lee Reiners

 

The first place winners are eligible to compete at the national SkillsUSA competition in Kansas City, Mo., June 24–28.

Kevin Wendt and Bruce Graffunder will be attending the national competition as advisors for the contests.  Four Dunwoody faculty members are going to the national competition to judge: Lonny Lunn and Dave Duval for the Automotive competition, Heather Gay for the Teamworks competition, and Polly Friendshuh for the Electrical Construction Wiring competition.

For more information about SkillsUSA Minnesota, visit www.mnskillsusa.org.

 

SkillsUSA Minnesota is part of a national organization that serves over a quarter million student members annually, organized into more than 14,700 chapters and 54 state and territorial associations (including Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands). The Minnesota Association has offered leadership opportunities to over 200,000 student members since 1967, with a current annual membership of over 3,000. There are chapters in 29 technical colleges and 50 high schools or cooperative centers, with potential to serve many more. SkillsUSA is governed by a Board of Directors, elected from teachers that advise local chapters, and representing both the high school and college divisions and industry representatives. All programs are offered as integral to the curriculum.

 

 

Remember the 1998 Minnesota State Fair?

Remember the 1998 Minnesota State Fair? Ryan Stumpf does. He had his photo taken at the Dunwoody booth and received a personalized calendar. And, apparently, even back then he did see himself in a rewarding career — Ryan has enrolled in the Automotive Service Technology program and will be starting classes when Dunwoody begins its academic year next week. Congratulations Ryan! Welcome to Dunwoody!

And while it’s been a few years since Dunwoody has been at the State Fair, we hope to get back as soon as next year.

Star Tribune column features Dunwoody alumnus, deployed serviceman Kofi Law

Gail Rosenblum’s Star Tribune column today featured Kofi Law, who graduated from Dunwoody’s Automotive program. The column focused on his journey from citizen of Togo to Minnesota resident (and Dunwoody student) to American citizen and U.S. serviceman. It also featured comments from Student Services Advisor Molly Malone.

Rosenblum writes:

Law, 28, had dreamed of becoming a U.S. citizen since he was a boy. He moved to Minneapolis in January 2003 from Togo (where the average daily temperature is 80 degrees), taught himself English, graduated from Dunwoody College of Technology and gathered the required paperwork to become a new American.

A few days after a joyful citizenship celebration at Bethel University in Arden Hills in August, Law headed to Fort McCoy in Wisconsin for premobilization training.

Later she reports on a conversation she had with Molly:

Molly Malone Docken, student services adviser at Dunwoody, calls him “the nicest guy in the whole world,” and a model student to boot. “He would come early and stay late,” she said. “Whenever he had questions, he would ask. When he got nervous, he’d seek tutoring. Deadlines looming? He never missed one. Then he would follow up. We would love to clone him.”

For more, click here to read the full column on the Star Tribune website.