Tag Archives: Dunwoody College of Technology

Changing Lives Through Scholarships: Danny Treat

Scholarship Spotlight
Danny Treat, Engineering Drafting & Design
Expected Graduation: May 2017
Owen Family Fund for Prosperity Scholarship

Danny Treat has always had a lot of interests in life. But Dunwoody College of Technology has given him the focus and drive he needed to steer those interests onto a promising career path.

Growing up in San Diego, Treat struggled with traditional high school, but found success at a charter school that emphasized real work experience.

With interests that spanned a wide spectrum of fields, Treat explored multiple options at a community college before admitting he just wasn’t ready for more school.

Treat was interested in several service-learning programs available through non-profit organizations. He eventually settled on a three-month commitment with Catholic Charities, helping rebuild homes in New Orleans. He continued that work with AmeriCorps, eventually serving as one of the project managers and volunteer coordinators.

A hands-on learner, Treat enjoyed the carpentry and construction aspects of the job, but he also liked the idea of helping design a project. With those interests in mind, Treat enrolled at the University of New Orleans in the naval architecture and marine engineering program.

But the four-year, traditional college model wasn’t a good fit. “There was no ‘hands-on’ learning,” Treat said, adding that it wasn’t until the final year of the program that you got to do the “fun stuff.”

By this time, Treat had met his now fiancée who was from the Twin Cities and wanted to move back to start her teaching career.

The couple moved to Minneapolis and Treat found work installing closets, and looked into joining the electrical union. It was his fiancée’s mother, who happens to be a career counselor, who first suggested Dunwoody as an option.

So Treat attended an open house and checked out a number of programs before hearing about the Engineering Drafting & Design program.

“When I saw the 3D printers and heard about the program I knew that was it,” Treat said.

It was decision he never regretted. “I felt more at home here than I did at either the community college or the four-year university,” Treat said. “I connected more.”

Treat was impressed with all of the hands-on work, and with a 3.96 GPA, he has excelled in all of his coursework. Treat is also one of the 2016-17 Owen Scholarship recipients.

“I haven’t had a day when I haven’t wanted to come to school,” Treat said.

He already has an internship with Proto Labs, an on-demand manufacturer of custom prototypes using CNC machining, injection molding and 3D printing.

After graduating, Treat wants to find a career that allows him to utilize all of the skills he’s learned – from design to build. “I want to design the stuff and then help make it,” Treat said.

If you’d like to help someone like Danny with a scholarship gift, donate online at www.alumni.dunwoody.edu/donate-now or contact Mary Meador at 612-381-3048 or mmeador@Dunwoody.edu.

Developing a Leadership Mindset: Five Points

Ted Ferrara, ’77 Refrigeration, describes his personal leadership as a “work in process,” not a “work in progress.”

Photo of Ted Ferrara speaking at Dunwoody.

Ted Ferrara, ’77 Refrigeration, was the April 2016 Leadership Lecture speaker at Dunwoody.

“Some days progress, some days regress, but all days are part of a process,” Ferrara said. One of the owners of Standard Heating & Air Conditioning, a local, family-owned business, Ferrara shared his thoughts on leadership during the April 7 C. Charles Jackson Leadership Lecture Series at Dunwoody College of Technology.

The Dunwoody alum and immediate Past Chairperson of the Board of Trustees, Ferrara also holds a B.A. and B.S. in Applied Mathematics from Metropolitan State University and an MBA from Harvard University.

During his talk, Ferrara defined “Leadership that Matters,” as “Helping people get to a place they would not have otherwise been inclined to go,” and touched on five main points.

  1. Be a Good Follower.  Know what it is to be a good follower.  It is an active pursuit, not a passive one. Ask yourself, “Would I want me as a follower?” Good followers push back when they disagree and help ensure that their leaders are successful. Becoming a good follower helps future leaders develop understanding and empathy.
  2. Take Ownership. The organization you work for is an extension of yourself and taking ownership means going beyond the job description and taking responsibility to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks. At the same time, don’t take on everyone’s problems. Instead, empower others to become problem solvers.
  3. No Excuses. Leadership is difficult and risky personally, and things don’t always work out, but nobody buys excuses. Instead, ask yourself if you had a “do-over” knowing what you know now, would you have done anything different. By adopting a “no excuses” mentality you put your best efforts forward and unleash a lot of creative problem solving.
  4. Define Reality. Whether it’s an established and well-functioning enterprise or a total turn-around, a leader’s job is to first figure out where the organization is at and then help others understand that reality.
  5. Lead With Values. Define and communicate your core values. In an uncertain world, this is where you find certainty.  Shared values are the strongest reasons for people to follow you.

Watch the video

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.