Moraine Park Building Trades and Fond du Lac Morning Rotary Team Up

by abemis31. May 2013 11:41

Walleye Weekend is always a key fundraiser for the Fond du Lac Morning Rotary and, this year, thanks to students in Moraine Park Technical College’s Building Trades Construction Worker program, the food and beverages Morning Rotary serves to the thousands of Walleye Weekend attendees will be served on 20 newly constructed tables built specifically for them by the Building Trades students.

Moraine Park Technical College’s Building Trades Construction Worker program partnered with the Fond du Lac Morning Rotary to build 20 foldable tables for the Club’s use. Shown from left, are: Austin Lee, student, Waupun; Paul “Torch” Keifenheim, Rotary member; Dave Derus, student, Sheboygan Falls; Don Enders, Building Trades instructor; Matt Rashid, student, Fond du Lac; Rhonda Bird Roerhig, Moraine Park careers instructor and Rotary president-elect; and Duane Johnson, Rotary president.

“We had been borrowing tables from two different groups,” said Fond du Lac Morning Rotary Club President Duane Johnson, “and we really felt it was time to get our own tables. Working with Moraine Park’s Building Trades Construction Worker Program really worked out great for us and for them.”

The project came to fruition after Morning Rotary Member Paul “Torch” Keifenheim and Don Enders, instructor for Moraine Park’s Building Trades program, connected. “I knew this was something our club needed done, and so I asked Don if this would be a project his class would be interested in. He felt it would be a great learning opportunity for his students and now, here we are with 20 brand new tables.”

“This was actually a great project for us,” said Enders, “as it gave my students an opportunity to see a different side of the building trades.” Enders said because they were producing a larger quantity of just one product, he was able to show the students how to build a jig for mass production of the various table pieces. “In addition to teaching home construction techniques, our program also provides a lot of different learning opportunities for our students. Partnering with Morning Rotary on this project allowed our students to set up a manufacturing process and see how the production side of things works.” 

Each table is 12 feet long and 16 inches deep with collapsible legs that fold up and under, allowing for easy storage and hauling. Fond du Lac Morning Rotary provided all of the building materials.

Monies generated at the Fond du Lac Morning Rotary’s Walleye Weekend booth help support numerous Fond du Lac-based community and philanthropic projects exemplifying the Rotary motto: “Service Above Self.” To learn more, visit

Moraine Park’s Building Trades Construction Worker program is a one-year technical diploma. To learn more about the program or to view a video, visit











Moraine Park Alumni Association hosts “5th Wednesday” May 29

by jbrezinsky20. May 2013 16:32

     The Alumni Association of Moraine Park Technical College is hosting its first-ever 5th Wednesday, an alumni networking event, on Wednesday, May 29, from 5-6:30 p.m. at Duffy’s Pub in the Holiday Inn, at 625 W. Rolling Meadows Dr., Fond du Lac. Appetizers will be provided and a cash bar available.
     According to Kelly Norton, who coordinates Moraine Park’s Alumni Association activities, 5th Wednesday will be held during months having five Wednesdays and will be rotated throughout the Moraine Park District.
     “We look at our 5th Wednesday event as a wonderful way to engage and network with our alumni and for our alumni to reconnect with each other and be a part of Moraine Park’s growing alumni association,” said Norton.
     Alumni planning to attend the May 29 5th Wednesday should RSVP by Friday, May 24 to RSVP is not required, but is recommended.


Schnell-Harrison named Moraine Park’s 2013-14 District Student Ambassador

by jbrezinsky20. May 2013 16:25

      “I gained my personality from my parents,” said Mihai Schnell-Harrison, the new District Student Ambassador at Moraine Park Technical College. “They taught me to be outgoing and give back to community. It makes me happier helping other people; it helps me emotionally and spiritually.”
     Adopted from Romania as a four-year-old, Schnell-Harrison, of Ripon, strives to lead by example. Even as an elementary student, he served as student body president – always exuding his unique and outgoing gusto for involvement. Schnell-Harrison, a graduate of Wayland Academy, a private preparatory school in Beaver Dam, is a first-year student pursuing a Moraine Park associate of applied science degree in Business Management and Supervision.
     He was nominated for District Student Ambassador this spring, after which he underwent an intensive selection and interview process. While all the nominees were highly deserving of the post, Schnell-Harrison’s history and personality stood out – making him special, according to Scott Lieburn, dean of students. 
     “Mihai, who is professional, polite and engaging, also holds a college preparatory background,” said Lieburn. “It’s rare for a graduate of Wayland Academy to seek a technical education over a four-year education. Yet, Mihai felt a technical education would benefit him personally, and simultaneously, provide him an affordable path for lifelong learning.” 
     As a high school graduate from Wayland Academy, Schnell-Harrison is among a minority of students from his alma mater not to immediately pursue a four-year degree. “I wanted to do what was best for me,” he said. “It’s a hard thing for people to step back and look at all their options.”
     As District Student Ambassador, Schnell-Harrison is charged with promoting technical education throughout Moraine Park’s district – spreading the word about its many benefits. Additionally, he will collaborate with student government and assist with college activities and events.
     “A technical education isn’t just for the older generation,” said Schnell-Harrison. Enrollment is shifting to a younger demographic; technical colleges offer great hands-on learning opportunities and the chance to study core subjects sooner; and they provide clear and simple pathways for graduates to transfer to four-year colleges and universities, according to Schnell-Harrison. “It’s less expensive and there are always ways to continue education further once you graduate,” he said.
     And that’s important to Schnell-Harrison, who plans to move into the workforce following graduation, and thereafter pursue both bachelor and master’s degrees. “I’m looking at going into an insurance or management position after receiving my associate’s degree,” he said. 
     For Schnell-Harrison, a technical education was the right choice. “A lot of people just don’t have the correct perception of what a technical education offers,” he said. “My goal is to show the community its many benefits. I fully believe there are more opportunities and connections for jobs and internships as a graduate of Moraine Park, when compared with most four-year colleges,” he added.
     Personally, Schnell-Harrison said he chose Moraine Park because it got him right into the meat of the business management core courses without having to take classes over from high school. “I wanted to get experience in what I wanted to do and go out to the workforce. When I transfer to a four-year college, I will start at the two-year level. I’ll end up with two degrees – a bachelor’s and associate’s – both of which will emphasize my career choice.”
     By fulfilling the role of District Student Ambassador, Schnell-Harrison hopes to spread the good word about a Wisconsin technical college education, and in so doing, help educate others.
     “A big thing in my life is giving back to other people,” he said. "I think a lot of people lose sight of that once in a while.”
     Learn more about Moraine Park at



Moraine Park Class of 2013 heads out

by jbrezinsky20. May 2013 16:15

More than 300 participate in May 18 commencement ceremony 
    In graduation caps and gowns, the Moraine Park Technical College Class of 2013 was buzzing with excitement as the more than 300 commencement participants, along with their family and friends, faculty and administration, filled the Fond du Lac High School Field House for the May 18 commencement ceremony.
     Anticipation filled the air as the graduates prepared to receive their diplomas and become the newest Moraine Park alumni. A quote by Ben Sweetland -- “Success is a journey, not a destination.” -- was the class motto adopted by the graduates from the College’s Beaver Dam, Fond du Lac and West Bend campuses. Nearly 900 Moraine Park students completed their studies, with 471 receiving associate of applied science degrees, 284 receiving technical diplomas and 119 receiving program certificates.
    Moraine Park President Sheila Ruhland presented the degrees, diplomas and certificates with the assistance of Moraine Park District Board members Dr. Richard Zimman of Ripon, Shirley Kitchen of Beaver Dam, Vernon Jung of Kewaskum, Donna Goetz of West Bend and Moraine Park administrators Dr. James Eden, vice president of academic affairs and Dr. Stanley Cram, vice president of student affairs.  
    Keynote Speaker Jim Wessing, president and co-founder of Kondex Corp., Lomira, gave an optimistic outlook to the graduates. He noted the demand for technical skills is very strong with many baby boomers retiring in the next few years; and more than 50 percent of those currently employed in manufacturing and other technical trades retiring over the next 10 years. 
    “This is a wonderful time to be graduating,” said Wessing, who also encouraged the Class of 2013 to think differently. “Make a conscious decision to think “it’s not all about me,”” he said. “Through education and learning, we get to decide what has meaning and what has purpose here on Earth. How will we act toward others? Think about the mystical oneness of all of us.” 
    Zimman, who welcomed the Class of 2013, noted the many important lessons the graduates had learned during their time at Moraine Park, particularly the ability to balance what so many technical college graduates experience today with managing classes, jobs, extracurricular activities and families. “You have been able to find the right balance to ensure everything in your lives fit together. A feat that I’m sure, was often challenging,” said Zimman. “But today, because of that ability, you are here reaping the benefits of all of your hard work.”  
    “Commencement is a very significant event in our students’ lives,” said Ruhland. “Today, you join the many Moraine Park graduates who have been successful in their own unique ways. Our communities and our state could not move forth without all of you. On behalf of all of us at Moraine Park Technical College, I extend our congratulations and best wishes.”
    Moraine Park’s graduation processional was led by bagpiper Gina Crossley, with the ceremonial music performed by Brassination, a brass quintet from the Fond du Lac area. Shady Grove, also from the Fond du Lac area, provided the pre-ceremonial music.  
    Moraine Park Technical College was established in 1912, and is one of 16 technical college districts that make up the Wisconsin Technical College System. With campuses in Beaver Dam, Fond du Lac and West Bend, Wis., Moraine Park offers more than 100 associate of applied science degrees, technical diplomas, apprenticeships and certificates delivered in a variety of formats — classroom, online and blended. Training and technical assistance for businesses is also offered.
    To view photos from Moraine Park’s 2013 Commencement Ceremony, go to




Griesmer named Moraine Park Student of the Year

by jbrezinsky17. May 2013 11:26

     Tom Griesmer, of Rubicon, Wis., was recently named Moraine Park Technical College’s Student of the Year. Griesmer, who will receive his Electrical Power Distribution technical diploma this May, was named Student of the Year following an intensive interview and presentation process.
     Each year, one student is chosen to receive the Student of the Year award, according to Lisa Manuell, Moraine Park’s student involvement specialist. “That student has excelled in and outside the classroom, made the most of his or her college experience, and modeled Moraine Park’s core abilities, or life skills,” she said. These skills include the ability to communicate clearly, act responsibly, work cooperatively and productively, adapt to change, demonstrate integrity, and think critically and creatively.
     “I was caught off guard receiving the award,” admitted Griesmer, who enrolled at Moraine Park at the urging of his employer. “I believe that Moraine Park’s core abilities represent how people should carry themselves in everyday life. I didn’t think I was doing things that were out of the ordinary.”
     Griesmer, who was among five other finalists – May Montezon of North Fond du Lac, Tanya Schloemer of Hartford, Austin Barten of Mayville, Becca Jahns of Beaver Dam, and Bonnie Weiss of Kewaskum – best fit award qualifications, according to a selection committee comprised of Moraine Park faculty, staff and a student representative.
     It was his story that set him apart, according to Scott Lieburn, dean of students. As an older student with a family and full-time job, Griesmer enrolled in Moraine Park’s Electrical Power Distribution technical diploma program to further his knowledge and skills. “I was sent to Moraine Park for cross training by the utility division of the City of Hartford,” he said. “I was really excited for the opportunity, but nervous because the program is mostly filled with younger students.”
     It turns out that being senior in age was a blessing for the program as a whole. Griesmer, who brought hands-on skills and knowledge to class, served as a mentor to his younger fellow classmates. Moreover, he involved himself in the Electrical Power Distribution club on campus – working to gain as much skill and knowledge as possible. “I had 23 years of working experience with a utility company, while most of my classmates came in from high school,” said Griesmer. “I was able to share my experiences with my classmates. They are a good group of guys who strive to do their best and are encouraging to each other. That helped me a lot, as well.”
     Griesmer maintains his greatest challenge involved gearing up for the requirements of a college program. “I had to get back into the classroom itself and switch my lifestyle from work back to homework,” said Griesmer. “I had to adjust to studying out of books again. The whole experience was wonderful. I got through it, did well with grades and made great friendships along the way.”
     Humbled by the experience, Griesmer is thankful to his employer for the opportunity. “More employers should send their employees back to school for training,” he said. “It’s been a mutual investment and commitment that I hope makes me a more valuable employee.”
     What’s his advice to others in similar scenarios? “Always try to advance your knowledge.”
     Moraine Park Technical College was established in 1912, and is one of 16 technical college districts that make up the Wisconsin Technical College System. With campuses in Beaver Dam, Fond du Lac and West Bend, Wis., Moraine Park offers more than 100 associate of applied science degrees, technical diplomas, apprenticeships and certificates delivered in a variety of formats — classroom, online and blended. Training and technical assistance for businesses is also offered. To find out more about Moraine Park, visit



Moraine Park students partner with Habitat for Humanity

by jbrezinsky17. May 2013 11:20

    Moraine Park Technical College’s Beaver Dam Student Senate recently wrapped up a two-day build with Habitat for Humanity of Washington and Dodge Counties. More than 50 student volunteers rotated through a total of four working shifts to help put the finishing touches on the new ReStore located in Beaver Dam.  The ReStore is a shopping and donation center opening its doors late May.  Sales from items sold in the store benefit Habitat for Humanity.
    Student volunteers produced the equivalent of more than 200 hours of labor in less than 14 hours on Wednesday, May 1 and Tuesday, May 7.  Students lifted, hauled and moved donations and furniture, painted walls and floors, installed shelving units, washed windows, and put in a retaining wall.
    “The Moraine Park volunteers amazed us with their efficiency, wonderful work ethic and commitment to getting the job done,” said Habitat for Humanity Volunteer Coordinator Emily Jennings. “We still can’t quite believe all of the work they got done.”
    The Habitat/Restore community service project was sponsored by Moraine Park’s Beaver Dam Student Senate along with the College’s Electrical Power Distribution and Welding clubs and The Edge program.
    The new ReStore is located in the former Save-A-Lot building at 1022 Madison Street.
    For more information on Moraine Park’s Service Learning projects visit



Wisconsin Beef Council’s Farm-to-Fork Tour Connects Culinary Chefs and Students to the Farm

by ratkinson17. May 2013 08:00

Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, May 10, 2013 — Meeting a beef farmer, stepping into his farm’s green pastures and touring a meat processing facility, isn’t the everyday norm for chefs and culinary students in southeastern Wisconsin. Yet for these professionals, recently they followed the "life of a sirloin steak" from a local beef cattle farm, Huth Polled Herefords to Brandon Meats and Sausage, an award-winning family-owned and operated meat processing facility in Fond du Lac County.

For more than 55 chefs and culinary students the farm and meat processing plant became the classroom during a “pasture to plate” tour of Wisconsin's beef value chain.

"The Farm-to-Fork Tour was truly an eye opening experience," says Chef Zac Benson of The Pine Lodge Restaurant at Heartwood Conference Center in Trego. "To be able to see where our beef and dairy products are coming from and positive impact these family farms have on the local economy, is truly special."

The tour connected the dots of the beef value chain from farmer, processor, restaurant to end consumer. Chefs from Mr. B's A Bartolotta Steakhouse, Brookfield; The Blind Horse Restaurant & Winery, Kohler; among culinary students from Moraine Park Technical College (MPTC) learned about new beef cuts today's health conscious consumer’s desire. Participants gained an understanding of modern farming practices, sustainability, food safety and nutrition. The Beef N' Beer Tasting pairing MPTC culinary student inspirations with local craft brews topped off the tour.

"Helping connect culinary professionals to a beef producer, meat crafter and beef educational experts is vital," says John Freitag, Executive Director of Wisconsin Beef Council. "By showcasing new beef cuts to add value to menus while communicating with foodservice professionals who directly impact consumer’s choices strengthens the understanding of beef in today’s food chain.” 

In addition to the beef farm tour, attendees toured a modern dairy farm, Vir-Clar Farms. This family dairy farm milks 1,400 dairy cows, raises dairy beef cattle and recycles waste using an on-farm bio-energy digester to power 400 Fond du Lac area homes. Wisconsin's dairy influence offers consumer choices from the many Holstein dairy beef cattle speckling our landscape.

"I was pleased to learn that farmers not only take excellent care of their animals, but also the environment around them making this a sustainable industry," says Lisa Hitchcock, Chef de Cuisine at The Wilderness Resort in Wisconsin Dells. "The tour gives a detailed look into the entire process of what it takes for us to create and enjoy a delicious meal with beef."

For culinary professionals interested in attending a future "Farm-to-Fork" tour, contact Angela Horkan, Director of Marketing at Wisconsin Beef Council at 608.833.9941. Chefs can also earn continuing educational credits by attending.

For delicious recipes, grilling tips and ways to fuel up with lean beef, visit  or call 1-800-728-BEEF today.    

The Wisconsin Beef Council is a checkoff-funded, producer-directed organization dedicated to building demand for beef and veal through promotion, consumer education and research. The WBC continues its work to improve the demand for beef and veal through well-planned programs throughout Wisconsin.

Jerry Huth, a beef farmer speaks to the care of raising cattle at his family farm, Huth Polled Herefords in Oakfield.


Culinary professionals tour Vir-Clar Farms, a family dairy farm who milks 1,400 dairy cows, raises dairy beef cattle and recycles waste using an on-farm bio-energy digester to power 400 Fond du Lac area homes.

Chefs get a behind the scenes tour at Brandon Meats and Sausage. This award-winning meat crafter has two generations working in the meat processing business.


Moraine Park Kiwanis Satellite Club raises $1,600 for St. Baldrick’s

by jbrezinsky16. May 2013 11:24


     Moraine Park Technical College’s Fond du Lac Kiwanis Satellite Club recently presented a check for $1600 to the St. Baldrick’s organization.
     A quilt, handcrafted by members of the Moraine Park satellite club, was displayed at various community events with all proceeds from the raffle tickets donated to St. Baldrick’s.
     Kathy Hass, a satellite club member, said the club was looking for a service project that fit with Kiwanis’ mission to change the world, one child and one community at a time. “Making the quilt to donate to St. Baldrick’s was a perfect project for us,” she said. 
     Robin Schroeder, organizer of the Fond du Lac St. Baldrick’s event, said the $1600 donation is a great help in supporting St. Baldrick’s, which sees 82 percent of their budget going to fund childhood cancer research, but the quilt service project also helped create awareness about their organization. “Getting the word out about what St. Baldrick’s is, and how we are helping children who are suffering from cancer, is so important. We are very thankful for all [Moraine Park’s Kiwanis Satellite Club] did to make their service project so successful.”
     Craig Schwanz, a Moraine Park automotive technician instructor, was the lucky winner of the quilt.
     Moraine Park’s Kiwanis Satellite Club is an extension of the Kiwanis Club of Fabulous Fond du Lac host club. For information on the Fond du Lac Kiwanis Club, visit
     For more information on St. Baldrick’s, visit







Moraine Park announces Jim Wessing as 2013 Commencement Speaker

by ratkinson14. May 2013 14:16

Moraine Park Technical College has announced Jim Wessing, co-founder and president of Kondex Corp., Lomira, Wis., as their 2013 Commencement keynote speaker.

The College’s 2013 Commencement Ceremony will be held Saturday, May 18, at 10:00 a.m. at the Fond du Lac High School Field House. Dr. Sheila Ruhland, Moraine Park president, will preside over the ceremony.

 Associate of applied science degrees, technical diplomas and certificates will be presented by Moraine Park District Board Chair Dr. Richard Zimman, Vice Chair Vernon Jung, Jr., and board members Donna Goetz and Shirley Kitchen. 

"I am both humbled and honored to be the keynote speaker at MPTC's 2013 Commencement Ceremony," said Wessing, who noted his wife, Sue, earned three separate degrees from Moraine Park while they were raising their family and growing Kondex.  "I have experienced firsthand the feeling of accomplishment by Sue, as our children and I applauded her each time she walked across the stage; realizing the completion of another milestone in her life."

"We are excited and honored to have Jim Wessing as this year’s Commencement Speaker," said Moraine Park President Sheila Ruhland. "Jim is a strong supporter of both Moraine Park and technical education. He understands the important role technical education plays in our high schools and he recognizes the many opportunities a technical education provides for those who pursue it as a postsecondary option."

Kondex was presented with the 2013 C.L. Greiber Award of Merit by the Moraine Park Association of Career and Technical Education in recognition of contributions to the improvement, promotion, development and progress of career and technical education in Wisconsin.

Wessing is a trustee of the University of Wisconsin Memorial Union Building Association and Ag Sector Board Director of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers.  He served as past president of the Farm Equipment Manufacturers Association (FEMA) and the Wisconsin Buy Recycled Business Alliance. Wessing, who received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin - Madison, is also a member of The Executive Committee (TEC) and a long-time Junior Achievement teacher.  His awards include FEMA’s Golden Presidents Club and C.P. Nicholson Memorial Award. Wessing was named the 2000 CCLT Distinguished Graduate and in 2009 was named the Lomira Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) Business Person of the Year.

Kondex Corp. is a global manufacturing company employs 300 dedicated associates and is a manufacturer of precision components servicing the agricultural, bio-fuels, lawn and turf, construction, and forestry markets. Kondex produces high-quality cutting parts used in items such as harvesters, wood chippers, stump cutters, concrete equipment and harvesting equipment. Find out more at

Moraine Park Technical College was established in 1912, and is one of 16 technical college districts that make up the Wisconsin Technical College System. With campuses in Beaver Dam, Fond du Lac and West Bend, Wis., Moraine Park offers more than 100 associate of applied science degrees, technical diplomas, apprenticeships and certificates delivered in a variety of formats — classroom, online and blended. Training and technical assistance for businesses is also offered. To find out more about Moraine Park, visit


Three Moraine Park staff earn state honors

by ratkinson14. May 2013 14:08

Moraine Park Technical College staff members Stephanie Lueck, Amy Patterson and Bonnie Baerwald were recently honored for their contributions to technical education during the Wisconsin Association for Career and Technical Education’s (WACTE) annual conference held in Middleton, Wis. in April.

Lueck, of Campbellsport, is a financial aid specialist for Moraine Park. She received the 2013 Professional Excellence – Outstanding Support Professional Award.

Baerwald, of Fond du Lac, was the recipient of the 2013 Professional Excellence – Outstanding Member - Community Involvement Award. Baerwald is Moraine Park’s vice president of finance and facilities.

Patterson, a communications instructor for the College, received the 2013 Professional Excellence – New Instructor Award. Patterson lives in Beaver Dam.  

WACTE has more than 600 members throughout Wisconsin and is comprised of local affiliates representing the Wisconsin Technical College Districts, Department of Public Instruction, Business Education, Vocational Education Special Needs, Wisconsin Technical College System Board/UW-Madison Association, Wisconsin Association of Agricultural Educators, and Wisconsin Association for Leadership in Education and Work, and UW-Stout. The association unites those involved in career and technical education by providing professional development, encouraging leadership in the political arena and promoting innovative change to enhance lifelong learning.

Moraine Park Technical College was established in 1912 and is one of 16 colleges making up the Wisconsin Technical College System. To learn more, visit