Robert Bosch LLC and Mark Lenz were presented the Silver Star of Excellence Award during ATEA’s 46th National Conference on Technical Education, March 11-13, 2009 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. This award is presented jointly by the American Technical Education Association and the National Technical Honor Society. It is presented annually to a company that is supportive and committed to postsecondary technical education. Nominations for the award are from postsecondary technical institutions in letter form identifying specific contributions to technical education such as: donations of equipment, facilities, training, financial assistance, internships, advisory committee members and the company’s impact on technical education. The Tennessee Technology Center at Dickson-Clarksville Campus (TTC) nominated Robert Bosch LLC and Mark Lenz, Bosch Senior Training and Development Leader, for the Silver Star of Excellence Award. In addition to the award, Mark Lenz will be listed in the NTHS National Hall of Fame for Educational Excellence.
For the past two years, TTC and Robert Bosch LLC’s site in Clarksville, Tennessee have worked hand in hand to develop a Mechatronics Apprenticeship Program. Mark Lenz served as lead on the project. The development process benefited from his experiences with similar programs in both Bosch’s sites in Sumter and Charleston, South Carolina.
The project was a result of skill needs identified by the Bosch Clarksville Plant. A search to identify a high quality, cost effective supplier for technical training ensued, resulting in the selection of TTC at Dickson’s Clarksville Extension Campus.
Andy Greene, Maintenance Manager for Bosch, and Lenz worked closely with the staff of TTC to develop the apprenticeship, and maintenance Mechatronics training program. The timing of this project coincided with the Tennessee Board of Regent’s (TBR) plan to upgrade equipment state-wide due to $18 million in funding from the Tennessee State Legislature. All 27 Technology Centers were tasked with assessing the needs for the programs at their respective centers, based on a per program allocation by TBR. Advisory Committees, consisting of representatives from local businesses and industries, were involved to ensure upgrades were aligned with their present and future needs.
The Bosch Clarksville Plant demonstrated its involvement by donating idled equipment, tooling, cabinets, and out of date work benches to TTC. TTC also invested in their programs to improve the equipment and shop areas. New lighting, painted walls, and additional improvements, including a high grade manufacturing finish for the shop floor created a more professional appearance.
Bosch donated items and new upgraded equipment began arriving for both the Industrial Maintenance and Machine Tool programs. Advice on facility upgrades and assistance in transferring equipment was provided by David Thompson, Sr. Facilities Supervisor at Bosch. Ray Usina, Senior BPS Implementor, volunteered to train the TTC staff in workplace organization to establish 5S standards used in most industries today. In parallel, Lenz and Greene of Bosch and the TTC staff worked to combine portions of both the Machine Tool and Industrial Maintenance Technology curriculums for the new Apprenticeship Program. A curriculum spanning four Trimesters was mutually agreed upon. During the last two Trimesters the Apprentices will spend two days per week receiving on the job training from experts in the Clarksville Plant.
Robert Bosch LLC continues to demonstrate its commitment by paying tuition, books and tooling costs. Apprentices are also paid their regular hourly wages and benefits while attending 40 to 48 hours of training per week. Every class is supplemented by existing Bosch Technicians who are there to upgrade and refresh their knowledge.
The Mechatronics curriculum does not meet the requirements for a diploma in Machine Tool or the Industrial Maintenance Technology programs. However, a proposal for a Mechatronics Diploma program is being drafted for consideration by the Tennessee Board of Regents.
The U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration Office of Apprenticeship in Nashville, Tennessee has approved the Standards of Apprenticeship developed by Robert Bosch LLC for the occupations of Industrial Machine Systems Technician, with an emphasis in Mechatronics.
This project was an example of what can be accomplished through collaboration and sharing of mutual resources. Together Robert Bosch LLC and TTC have blended elements of two programs to transfer the skills need for today’s multi-skilled technicians.
Paul Zito, Sr. Owner and CEO of Bacharach, Inc. accepted the NTHS Silver Star of Excellence Award on behalf of his company for their commitment to postsecondary technical education. The award was presented at the American Technical Education Association‘s 41st National Conference, April 14-17, 2004 in Nashville, TN. Betty Krump, ATEA Executive Director and Allen Powell, NTHS Founder/Executive Director presented the award to Mr. Zito.
Zito, born in Rhode Island, earned a BS in Business Administration from Bryant College. He was hired in 1964 as the financial control analyst for United Technologies Corporation and worked with UTC in various positions until October 1983 when he went to Bacharach, Inc. as the Vice President and General Manager. He purchased Bacharach, Inc. from United Technologies in January 1986.
Bacharach Inc., celebrating its 95th year, has earned the reputation as one of the leading manufacturers of instrumentation for the protection of health, property and the environment. Bacharach serves the HVAC/R, Automotive, Utilities, Industrial Safety and Environmental Monitoring industries.
Technical schools, fuel companies, training centers and generations of combustion technicians and combustion scientists, learned from the knowledge of Bacharach engineers and service representatives. Training and gathered field service applications resulted in Bacharach leading the way with research and shared technical assistance.
In 1995, Bacharach boldly began a formal Training Department, focusing instruction on carbon monoxide safety. The majority of manufacturer training on this topic and combustion testing was and still is a product sales and instrument feature demonstration. Within 3 years, over 5,000 people from over 40 states and 5 Canadian Provinces attended these experience-laden seminars. Professional associations, state and local regulatory entities and others approved this program for educational requirements for affiliation or licensing.
Bacharach has a train-the-trainer program strictly for technical and community college faculty, which allows them to be certified as an instructor in the carbon monoxide safety combustion program. The program will be offered to police officers, fire departments, EMTs, first responders, etc. and also to HVAC technicians, plumbers, building inspectors, home inspectors and utilities. Technical and community college faculty can teach and certify these people, thereby, producing additional revenue for an already depleted educational economy.
In 1999, the Bacharach Training Room web site, www.bacharach-training.com became a valuable resource for educators, technicians, inspectors and many others seeking immediate information on carbon monoxide, combustion analysis and care, maintenance and use of electronic test instrumentation. An average month results in over 100,000 visits to the “Training Room.”
In 2004, Bacharach instructors, in cooperative agreement with ESCO Press, a division of the Educational Standards Corporation, published Carbon Monoxide, A Clear and Present Danger. This publication contains practical information immediately useful to educators, technicians and a host of service providers where carbon monoxide awareness, combustion analysis and building pressure diagnosis is vital to the success of their efforts. Additionally, Bacharach has teamed up with HVAC Excellence to develop a National Carbon Monoxide Certification Exam.
Because of Bacharach’s expertise in creating the curriculum and text for carbon monoxide, it can be integrated into state or local curriculums to keep educators and students abreast of changing technologies. They provide input for advisory committees for HVAC/R programs throughout the nation. Bacharach has also been involved in equipment donations to technical schools for the last 20 years.
The Bacharach mission is to provide to the HVAC/R industry the broadest range of productive solutions to aid them in achieving their goals.
NTHS welcomes Mr. Zito and Bacharach, Inc. into the NTHS Hall of Fame for Educational Excellence as a shining example of how business and industry are supporting excellence in career and technical education in America.
Having been involved in education all her life, Lynn Southerland has carried on a family calling. Her grandmother taught in a one-room schoolhouse in 1909, and her mother taught Latin over twenty years.
Ms. Southerland received an English degree from The University of Georgia, adding Reading Specialist at the master’s degree level. She later joined the faculty at Middle Georgia College to teach reading in the University System’s newly formed Developmental Studies Program. Other teaching positions included Thomson and Eatonton, Georgia, and Georgia College in Milledgeville. During a brief “retirement” to be at home with her two small sons, she remained a teacher—teaching Sunday School, tutoring kindergarteners in reading, and preparing high school students for the SAT.
In 1983 Ms. Southerland returned to work, this time at Mercer University counseling at-risk students and teaching study skills. Four years later she joined the faculty at Middle Georgia Technical Institute—now Middle Georgia Technical College—teaching and serving as at-risk student specialist. It was during that first week that the school became part of the Georgia Department of Technical and Adult Education.
Over her 18-year tenure, Ms. Southerland has taught English, math, psychology, reading, and employability skills. Today her focus is English composition, business English, and reading.
In 1988 Wynette Ginn and Ms. Southerland, realizing a unique opportunity for students, proposed that MGTI become a part of the National Vocational-Technical Honor Society. Initially the induction of members was a brief Honor Ceremony held during breakfast, but it gradually evolved into Awards Day, which today includes a celebration of all student, faculty, and staff achievements. Over the past 17 years, a number of other faculty have shared in advising the Society, but Ms. Southerland remained at the helm before stepping down in September to become General Education Division Chair.
Ms. Southerland is a member of several professional organizations, and she has served the college in numerous ways, including editor of COC and COE documents and membership on the Retention and other committees.
She is an elder at Northminster Presbyterian Church, where she is has been involved in teaching and coordinating education programs for over 20 years, and currently serves as Education Chair of the Community Service Guild of Macon. She lives in Macon with her husband Steve and is the mother of Wilson, a vocal coach and accompanist in New York, and Tone, a programmer in Nashville, who along with his wife Andrea are rearing her one-year old granddaughter Madelyne.
Darrell L. Parks is an independent employment and training consultant in the areas of educational services, professional writing, and training. For the past eight years he has been contracted by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) to review and recommend automotive technology training programs for certification in accordance with the automotive service industry's national standards. Also, he is currently under contract as interim executive director for the Ohio Association for Career and Technical Education Association. Dr. Parks has authored a chapter in a new secondary/post-secondary student textbook on automotive excellence and has also toured, studied, and/or consulted in the field of vocational education and workforce training in Austria, Denmark, the Federal Republic of Germany, Mexico, Russia, and Singapore.
Dr. Parks began his educational career as an agricultural education instructor in Rockford, Ohio. After three years of teaching, he moved his family to Canal Winchester, Ohio where he taught agricultural education for Canal Winchester Local Schools. During this time, his classroom was also a student teacher training site for The Ohio State University. His career then took him to The Ohio State University as a Supervisor of Itinerant Teachers for one year prior to becoming Supervisor of Agricultural Education at the Ohio Department of Education. Seven years at the Ohio Department of Education brought many challenges, opportunities, and experiences as he worked with leaders in Ohio to mold and shape career and technical education.
An opportunity was seized in 1972 when Dr. Parks was asked to move to Cincinnati and play a key role in the planning and development of the Great Oaks Joint Vocational School District. He spent three years as an administrative specialist focusing on instructional program management.
Returning to Columbus Ohio, Dr. Parks worked for one year at the National Center for Vocational Education as the director of the National Academy. He then returned to the Ohio Department of Education and served in various positions until he was named Director of Vocational and Adult Education in the Ohio Department of Education from July 1982 until January 1995.
Prior to his current consulting roles with NATEF and Ohio ACTE, Dr. Parks served as interim executive director of the Center on Education and Training for Employment at the Ohio State University from July 1, 1996 through June 30, 1998,. He has 44 years experience as a secondary vocational teacher, a secondary school administrator, a program director at the National Center for Research in Vocational Education, a supervisor and administrator in the Ohio Department of Education, and educational specialist in the private sector.
Dr. Parks has served as president of the National Vocational Technical Education Honor Society Board of Directors and a former member of the Board of Directors of the Center for Occupational Research end Development in Waco, Texas during which be served a two year term as Chairman of the Board. For eight years he was a member of NATEF Board of Trustees based in Herndon, Virginia. He is a past president of the National Association of State Directors of Vocational-Technical Education and is listed in Who's Who in American Education and Who's Who Worldwide Registry, Inc.
Dr. Parks has received many honors and awards including The Ohio State University College of Education's Centennial Award, The Ohio State University College of Agriculture's Distinguished Alumni Award, The Ohio State University's Center on Education and Training Distinguished Service Award, the Honorary American FPA Degree, honorary life membership in the National Association of State Directors of Vocational-Technical Education, and the Ohio Vocational Association's Ambassador Award.
Darrell Parks received his BS, MS, and Ph.D. degrees from The Ohio State University and engaged in post-doctoral studies at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He resides in Columbus, Ohio and he and his wife are the parents of three daughters and one son. He enjoys spending time with his 13 grandchildren. His special interests include reading, fresh water fishing, and agriculture.
Having been involved with education and the SkillsUSA organization for most of his life, Mr. Tim Lawrence firmly believes that getting involved in technical education over 30 years ago set his course for a successful future. Mr. Lawrence began his experience with technical education as a welding student and VICA member in high school, competing in the West Virginia State Skill Olympics in 1969. He worked in both labor and management positions in the manufacturing industry for nine years while continuing his education, and received his teaching credentials from Virginia Tech and his degree in Administration and Training from James Madison University. He fulfilled one of his life dreams when he became a teacher and successful SkillsUSA advisor in Tazewell County, Virginia in 1978, a position he thoroughly enjoyed for nearly ten years. In 1983, Mr. Lawrence achieved another life goal when he was named the National Trade and Industrial Education Teacher of the Year by the American Vocational Association (now ACTE).
In 1987, he joined the Virginia Department of Education as a vocational student specialist and chief executive officer of the Virginia Association of SkillsUSA. During his nine years as Virginia’s director, Mr. Lawrence expanded the SkillsUSA program and added several unique state activities, making it one of the most active state associations in America and the fourth largest in membership nationally. He also served students, teachers and administrators in other youth initiatives with the National Safety Council’s Youth Division, Students Against Driving Drunk and numerous community service organizations. Mr. Lawrence also served SkillsUSA nationally as a team leader and director of the Washington Leadership Training Institute and held every leadership position with the SkillsUSA State Association Directors Association. As chairman of this association, he served as a member of the national SkillsUSA Board of Directors. He also served on the task forces that developed the SkillsUSA Professional Development Program and Total Quality Curriculum.
In 1996, Mr. Lawrence accepted the position of Director of Business and Industry Partnerships at the SkillsUSA national leadership headquarters in Leesburg, Virginia. In this position, he oversaw all partnership activities, including SkillsUSA’s Youth Development Foundation, the SkillsUSA Championships, the World Skills Competition, and National SkillsUSA Alumni. He served as a board of director’s member for several national organizations and was also involved as a member of the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council. In January, 2001, Mr. Lawrence became the Executive Director of SkillsUSA, one of our nation’s largest individual membership organizations. In this position, Mr. Lawrence feels he works for the students and teachers of America’s technical education system.
Robert Laches was born in Elgin, North Dakota in 1953. He attended school in Mott, North Dakota and graduated from Mott Lincoln High School in 1971. After high school, Bob attended the North Dakota State School of Science in Wahpeton, North Dakota. Graduating in 1973 with a diploma in Electronic Communications Systems, he began working in the television industry until 1977, at which time Bob was hired as an Electronics Instructor with Bismarck Public Schools, where he has been for 28 years.
As an instructor with the Bismarck Public Schools, he took an active part in SkillsUSA/VICA, becoming an advisor for the organization. Bob promoted the importance of both the leadership and technical skills students could learn. He saw the importance of allowing students to fine-tune their skills. Bob implemented a 3-hour lab every Tuesday evening for electronic students to come and practice their skills. He encouraged all students wishing to expand their knowledge through hands-on experience to take advantage of this opportunity. This selfless desire to promote knowledge among his students is one area that separates Bob from the average instructor. This type of commitment has led to Bob’s students having continual success at both state and national competitions. His students have brought home 11 national medallions and two awards in World Competitions. This commitment has also aided the Electronics program in moving from a two-year to a three-year program.
In the classroom, Bob has the reputation of being the instructor that kids respect because he respects each of them and their unique learning styles. Students know Bob is always accessible, even at home, to answer questions and provide help. Each student is given a business card at the beginning of the year with his work number as well as his home number and are encouraged to call if they have any questions. This respect is reflected by the fact that year after year, students request letters of recommendation from Bob. Students continually contact Bob with input on how the courses offered have helped in their careers. These students know that any suggestions or comments they have will be listened to and, where possible, will be implemented into the curriculum.
During his tenure as an instructor, Bob has received a variety of awards and special recognition which include being chosen as the North Dakota Curriculum consultant for MAVCC in 1980 while developing a national curriculum; chosen for Who’s Who Among American Teachers seven times; a Citation for Meritorious Achievement International Biographical Center, Cambridge England; North Dakota VICA Advisor of the year; and included in Who’s Who in the Midwest. Bob was selected as the 2002 Crystal Apple Award/Teach of the Year.
Bob’s dedication and commitment have given him many rewards during his time as an advisor. These accomplishments span almost 30 years of dedication, during which many of the National SkillsUSA/VICA conferences Bob attended with his students were paid for with personal funds.
Outstanding SkillsUSA Contributions and Achievements
Robert Laches has been active in SkillsUSA/VICA, a student organization, as the Electronics Advisor. He has also successfully implemented a 3-hour Tuesday evening open lab for the electronics students. This lab allows students the extra time and assistance to those needing special assistance or to those wishing to expand their knowledge of electronics through hands-on repair of personal electronics items. Bob is proud to say that he has successfully promoted the growth of the electronics program to three years, including an operating electronics/internetworking (Application Based) program for the advanced students, to better prepare and expand student knowledge in this career area.
Bob has served as a curriculum consultant in the development of a national curriculum in electronics, which is currently the foundation of the Bismarck Electronics Technology Program. He has been successful in promoting and implementing the first Chapter in the state of North Dakota of NTHS (National Technical Honor Society) to honor outstanding achievement of students at the Bismarck Technical Center in their technical areas at the completion of their programs. Bob has served as a test writing consultant to NOCTI (National Occupational Competency Testing Institute) in the development of National Certification tests in electronics. He has served on a number of committees including: Math Standing Committee, Technology Task Force, Vocational Standing Committee, Engineering Cluster ND Tech Prep.
Bob has used innovative methods that he has implemented for all of his students. Students of all learning styles are treated as individuals. They are given as much special and individual attention as is possible. The UNIQUE thing that is done with all students is their ability to call Bob at home at any time for assistance as needed.
At the beginning of the school year, Bob’s students are issued his business card with his home and work phone on it, and they are encouraged to call if they have difficulties with their homework. Students are also encouraged to participate in the weekly Tuesday evening open lab, to enhance their learning experience in electronics technology.
Students view Bob as a caring instructor, interested in seeing each student succeed to their highest potential; a teacher with a realistic work place approach to education and a genuine interest in the students and to the field of electronics technology.
Bob has constant contact from former students. The students honor him by asking for recommendations, and provide input to him as to the ways the program has helped them in their careers and lives as well as providing valuable feedback to him on what areas can be improved in the program to keep it up-to-date.
Bob is viewed as an outspoken instructor, yet willing to go out on a limb to maintain and improve the electronics program and Career and Technical Education in general, in the best interest of the students. Bob is constantly selected to assist on interview teams when new faculty is hired. Bob was nominated by his students and peers for the Bismarck Chamber Crystal Apple Award.
Significant Positions held: (in education or SkillsUSA)
1980 North Dakota Curriculum consultant in the writing of the national curriculum in electronics for MAVCC
1988-2005 National Technical Honor Society Chapter Advisor for Bismarck Technical Center
1994-2004 Society for Excellence in Business and Industry
1995 North Dakota VICA Advisor of the year
2005 North Dakota SkillsUSA Advisor of the Year
Standing Committee for Bismarck Public Schools Vocational Technical Center
SkillsUSA/Advisor (25 years)
Being the VICA Advisor for students that have reached their potential in the SkillsUSA-VICA Program; which includes 11 National Winners; 4 First-Place Gold Medallions, 6 Second-Place Silver Medallions, and 1 Bronze Medallion. Two International (Team USA) Competitions in Taiwan, that brought back to the United States a 2nd Place and a 4th place in World Competition in Electronics Technology and Electronics Product Servicing respectively
Honors and/or Recognitions:
The honor of being chosen for Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers
1990, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2005
1994 Citation for Meritorious Achievement International Biographical Center, Cambridge England
1994-1995 The honor of being included in Who’s Who in the Midwest
2000-2001 Strathmore’s Who’s Who
2002 Bismarck Chamber Crystal Apple Award/Teacher of the Year
1988-2004 North Dakota Association of Career and Technical Education
1988-2004 National Association of Career and Technical Education
1988-2004 Trade, Industry, Technical and Health Association
1995-2004 Block captain in the neighborhood Crime Watch program in Mandan
1994 Citizen Police Academy
Constructed a promotional float to promote Career & Technical Education in the Folkfest parade
Other specialized SkillsUSA activities, such as community service, safety projects, or any other activity above and beyond the call of duty.
For several legislative sessions, Bob and his students have set up a promotional display at the Capitol to promote Career & Technical Education
Bob and his students have constructed a float for the Fantasy of Lights Christmas parade put on by the Downtowner’s Business Association
Bob and his students have assisted in the “Open Your Heart” campaign, by helping fill Christmas baskets for the needy
Bob has successfully implemented a 3-hour Tuesday evening open lab for the electronics students. This lab allows students the extra time and assistance to those needing special assistance or to those wishing to expand their knowledge of electronics through hands-on repair of personal electronics items.
For several summers, Bob donated his time and financial resources to accompany students to the National SkillsUSA Competition in Kansas City
Betty M. Krump is the Executive Director of the American Technical Education Association. ATEA is an international association dedicated to excellence in the quality of postsecondary technical education with an emphasis on professional development. The Association office is located on the campus of North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton, N.D. ATEA is composed of individual, institutional, and corporate/business members.
Ms. Krump started her career with ATEA in 1976, when she was hired as the association’s administrative assistant. In 1984, she was named Executive Director of ATEA. As Executive Director, Ms. Krump is the chief executive officer of the association. She reports to a 25 member Board of Trustees and is responsible for the administrative and business management of the association in accordance with its bylaws.
Utilizing national and regional planning committees, Ms. Krump coordinates the arrangement and implementation of national ATEA conferences including site selection, registration, onsite coordination, and promotional activities. These conferences provide professional development opportunities for faculty and administration. Recently, she reorganized the conference format to involve an entire state technical education system and incorporate discipline specific presentations.
Additionally, Ms. Krump is the managing editor of the ATEA Journal, a professional, refereed publication published four times annually. She is credited with updating the publication from a newsletter to its current format.
Also to her credit is the annual ATEA awards program. The Outstanding Technical Teacher Award is given to a full time postsecondary technical educator anywhere in the nation whose performance and contributions are exceptional, including innovative teaching strategies and involvement with business and industry. The Outstanding Technical Student Award is presented to a full time student in a postsecondary technical education program who is very strong academically and shows potential in his/her chosen field. The Outstanding Service Award, is given to an individual in the field of postsecondary technical education who has made significant contributions to its benefit. Also, in cooperation with the National Technical Honor Society, the Silver Star of Excellence award is presented at ATEA’s National Conference each year recognizing business and industry members who have made significant contributions to postsecondary technical education.
Over the years, Ms. Krump has worked diligently to foster relationships between technical education institutions and business and industry. She has provided leadership supporting the current and future trends for an effective learning environment for postsecondary technical education and its industrial training counterparts. She promotes technical education and training in order to support the needs of business, industry and government to provide a competent, well-trained workforce needed to be competitive in today’s market. In addition, Ms. Krump is continually working to form relationships and partnerships with other professional organizations and trade associations that support and share ATEA’s interests in technical education. She represents ATEA and serves as a liaison at events and meetings of these organizations. Most recently, ATEA was named an associate of Workforce Innovations 2005, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor and the National Association of Workforce Boards. This annual conference showcases the latest initiatives, federal policy developments, and innovative practices from the world of workforce investment.
She is member of several professional organizations and has served on numerous boards and committees including National Association of Tech Prep Leadership, Editing Board for Adjunct Info, National Council on Occupational Education, Association of Career and Technical Education and Society for Excellence in Business and Industry. She has been a presenter on technical education at many meetings and conferences and has been published several times in her 30-year career.
In addition to her work in technical education, Ms. Krump is very active in community and civic organizations. She is a past president of the Wahpeton Rotary Club and was recently named a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International. She has served as co-chair and spokesperson for the Richland/Wilken County Stride for Life (American Cancer Society) and is a member of the American Legion auxiliary.
Betty Krump received an A.A. in 1979 and A.S. in 1987 from North Dakota State College of Science. She received a B.S. in Management from Moorhead State University in 1988 and a M.S. in Educational Administration from North Dakota State University in 2001. She has one daughter, Timmi, who recently received her Masters Degree in library and information science. Timmi Krump resides in Manassas, VA
Great River Energy, headquartered in Elk River, Minn. is Minnesota's second largest electric utility based on generating capacity, and the fourth largest generation and transmission cooperative in the U.S. in terms of assets. GRE provides wholesale electrical service to 28 distribution cooperatives across Minnesota and part of Wisconsin. Those member cooperatives distribute electricity to approximately 580,000 homes, businesses and farms serving 1.3 million people. GRE’s North Dakota coal-based generating plants—Coal Creek Station at Underwood and Stanton Station at Stanton—generate 80% of the electricity it distributes and employ half of GRE’s employees. The plants are among the most innovative in the industry, making continuous improvements in operations and environmental management. This spirit of innovation is only possible with a well-educated, motivated workforce. Great River Energy was nominated by Bismarck State College as an exemplary example of how industry partnerships improve technical education for students. Through its long association with Bismarck State College, GRE provides educational experiences for students that benefit the student and the company. While the student learns what he/she needs to know to be successful, the company ensures a well-trained, viable workforce for the future.
The award was accepted on behalf of Great River Energy by Henry Hanson, chair of the Board of Directors for GRE since 2000. He joined the Cooperative Power Board of Directors in 1993. Also present were John Weeda and John Pelerine.
Energy production is a major industry in North Dakota and in the best tradition of community colleges, Bismarck State College has responded to the specialized training needs of the industry. Created in 1976, the Power Plant Technology Program was the first program of its type in the country, followed by the Process Plant Technology Program, created in 1981. In 1999, at the request of industry, BSC began to offer these courses on-line as well as onsite.
At about the same time, BSC partnered with GRE, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and Honeywell to place a $1.2 million power plant simulator on campus (GRE makes an annual contribution of approximately $80,000 for maintenance, warranty and service contracts for the simulator). This simulator is used to train GRE employees, provide workforce training opportunities to external markets, and is used by the on-campus students in their program curriculum. The simulator has such high demand, that a second simulator will soon be placed on campus - made possible by Stanton Station, a GRE power plant located in Stanton, North Dakota.
GRE takes great pride in conducting its business with an eye toward conserving resources through environmental stewardship, pollution prevention, waste minimization, recycling and reuse. The Coal Creek Station produces fly ash, a coal combustion byproduct that can be used to replace a portion of cement in concrete production. Making good use of this byproduct will result in substantial savings of landfill disposal costs and a reduction in greenhouse gases.
In partnership with GRE's Coal Creek Station, BSC is using fly ash materials to construct a new building on campus - the Career & Technology Institute (CTI). The CTI will be home to BSC's growing energy programs and GRE will be donating a large portion of the fly ash for the project. The CTI will be a showcase of the newest technology for turning energy industry byproducts into marketable products. This building will be designated "green" for its environmentally-friendly construction using fly ash. Students of BSC, Bismarck-Mandan area businesses and the energy industry will see firsthand how this byproduct can be used as the primary component of the construction material FlexCrete. In the past, fly ash was simply buried in landfills; with the cutting-edge technology on display at the CTI, it's turned into high ¬quality construction material. Without a solid relationship with Great River Energy, BSC would not have this unique opportunity.
GRE recognizes that every community needs a well-educated workforce. The energy industry in North Dakota depends on this human resource to continue operating. In the BSC on-line Power Plant and Process Plant Technology programs, students are required to log 80 hours of hands-on activities. GRE offers this hands-on experience to BSC students through a job-shadowing program where students spend two weeks at the North Dakota plants working closely with their personnel. Under the watchful eye of a GRE mentor, students complete a competency workbook during this time that is part of their course work. This is an integral part of their education and provides the students with an experience that will benefit them as they begin their own careers in the energy industry.
Providing educational experiences for students benefits the student and the power plant. The student is provided with invaluable learning experiences and the plant ensures a viable workforce for the future. This is an opportunity for both arenas - the college and industry - to come together to ensure the student is learning what he/she needs to know in order to be successful and productive on the job. GRE representatives actively participate on BSC advisory committees for curriculum development. There are advisory committees for instrumentation and maintenance programs, as well as power plant and process plant programs. GRE’s impact on technical education can be felt when the student become the employee, supplying America’s energy.