Moraine Park apprentice takes second in carpentry at national ABC competition

by admin22. April 2008 19:00

Nathan Potratz of Pickett, a fourth-year carpentry apprenticeship student at Moraine Park Technical College, earned a second-place silver medal in the carpentry competition at the 22nd annual Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) National Craft Championships held in San Juan, Puerto Rico.


Potratz earned a berth at the national competition when in January he placed first in the ABC of Wisconsin Inc. State Skill Competition.Nate Potratz shakes the hand of his instructor, Jerry Schwengels, after winning a silver medal in carpentry at the ABC National Craft Championships.


“It was just an awesome experience,” said Potratz. “At nationals you're competing against the best from other states and it's interesting to see how they perform. The apprentices from other states all talk very highly of Wisconsin. They know the state to beat is Wisconsin, so you really have a big bull’s-eye on your back when you come in there.” Twelve of Moraine Park Carpentry Instructor Jerry Schwengels’ apprentices have placed first, second or third in the national championships.


Potratz is employed by J.J. Geffers Construction, Inc. in Oshkosh. “Nate is an exceptional employee,” said Jason Geffers. “His God-given abilities far exceed him in his years. It is great to see his determination and perseverance pay off in the recognition he so much deserves. I am blessed to have Nate as an employee and friend.”


The carpentry competition project consisted of five tasks:

  • Construct a structural metal stud wall frame with wood double-top plates.
  • Construct a non-structural metal stud angled wall frame with a window rough opening and drywall.
  • Construct a hip roof frame on the structural metal and walls and butting against the angled wall.
  • Construct a curved form for an opening in a round concrete tank.
  • Set up a builder’s level and take a number of readings.


“Competing in the ABC competition allows you to use a whole bunch of skills you may not use otherwise,” said Potratz. “It's funny because you think you know it all and then you get to these competitions and you do some things you've heard about but never experienced. It really humbles you and you realize that you are still learning.”


His instructor at Moraine Park, Jerry Schwengels, said, “Nate did an outstanding job on the competition. He is a very skilled craftsman as well as an efficient worker. Nate was the first to finish the competition, more than an hour ahead of the next competitor."


Potratz graduated from Laconia High School and is originally from the Lamartine area, where his family still resides.


For more information about programs and apprenticeships at Moraine Park’s Beaver Dam, Fond du Lac and West Bend campuses, visit


Moraine Park to hold Adult Information Session May 20

by admin20. April 2008 19:00

Adults and high school students who are interested in programs and services at Moraine Park Technical College are invited to attend an Adult Information Session at the Beaver Dam, Fond du Lac or West Bend campuses on Tuesday, May 20, between 2:30 and 6 p.m.


Stop by and talk with Moraine Park staff about specific programs and services. Assistance will be available for beginning the admissions process and selecting summer and fall classes. 


Information sessions will also be offered on June 12 and July 15.


Advance registration isn’t required. More information about the Adult Information Session can be found at under MPTC Presents on the home page, or call 1-800-472-4554, ext. 3201, or e-mail



Free Lean Enterprise/Six Sigma briefing offered at Moraine Park

by admin16. April 2008 19:00

Moraine Park Technical College will offer a free Executive Informational Briefing for Lean Enterprise and Six Sigma on Thursday, May 8, at the Fond du Lac campus.


The session is targeted to managers who will plan, control and oversee the implementation and continuation of a Lean Enterprise/Six Sigma program. Topics include the relationship of Lean Enterprise and Six Sigma to corporate strategies, issues of implementation, a basic overview of the methodology and tools, and an introduction to training programs.


Participants will learn the difference between Lean Enterprise and Six Sigma; the proper applications for each; why implementing one or both is important to one’s organization; the role everyone plays in the success of each system; the link between Six Sigma and the Critical to Satisfaction Characteristics of customers; Lean Enterprise tools; and Six Sigma training by levels – White Belt, Green Belt and Black Belt.


The Executive Informational Briefing will be presented by Glen Thielke, Moraine Park economic and workforce development instructor and Six Sigma Master Black Belt, from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. in Room O-102. While there is no cost, please call 920-924-3449 to reserve your seat. Early registration is recommended.


For more information about this and other Moraine Park business and industry offerings, call 920-924-3449 or e-mail


Moraine Park Auto Club to hold inaugural car show

by admin15. April 2008 19:00

Check out the new car show in town! The Moraine Park Auto Club, a group of Automotive Technician program students, will hold its first showcase of cool cars on Sunday, May 4, at Moraine Park Technical College’s Fond du Lac campus.


The gate opens at 7 a.m. and the show runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the C parking lot, with overflow going into the O lot. Spectator parking will be in the E lot. Signs posted around the campus grounds identify the lots.


Entries are being taken for the following classes: Pre-1950, 1950s, 1960s-1970s, 1980s-1990s, 2000+, Truck Pre-1979, Truck Post-1980, Corvette, Street Rod and Tuner.


Food served by the Moraine Park Culinary Arts Club will be available for purchase.


General admission is $2. Children under 12 will be admitted free. Proceeds from car registration and admission fees will help the Auto Club raise money for scholarships, registration and test fees for ASE certification, and educational activities such as trips to car assembly plants.


For more information, contact Tim Moy, Moraine Park Auto Club advisor, at


Articulation agreement signed with UWO for Instructional Assistant program

by admin13. April 2008 19:00

Instructional Assistant program students at Moraine Park Technical College are now able to transfer their associate of applied science degree to the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh's special education bachelor of science degree.


An articulation agreement has been signed between the Wisconsin Technical College System’s (WTCS) Instructional Assistant (IA) associate of applied science degree program and UW–Oshkosh’s bachelor of science degree in Education (Special Education).  Technical colleges that offer the IA degree include Moraine Park, Gateway, Northeast Wisconsin, Waukesha County and Western.


According to Gretchen Gall, Moraine Park Instructional Assistant program instructor, UW–Oshkosh sought the articulation with technical colleges offering the IA degree due to a shortage of special education teachers in the Fox River Valley. Moraine Park’s program offers a flexible online format that allows students to complete the program while fulfilling family and work responsibilities. The curriculum provides multiple opportunities to apply learned skills to real-life classroom settings, including one full semester of field experience working as an instructional assistant/paraeducator under the direct supervision of a licensed classroom instructor. Students develop the skills to assist children with math, reading and writing assignments, as well as handle classroom management, clerical and other tasks related to instruction.


“The IA program offers a fantastic way to test the waters to see if a career in education may be for you,” said Gall.


“The Instructional Assistant online program has taught me to think critically and creatively, and to analyze information in an intelligent way, skills which prove invaluable in the workplace,” said Sara Doege of Neosho, who will graduate in May. “The program allows me to attend class at times and places that fit my schedule. The online format creates more opportunities for more direct communication with teachers and classmates, through online chats, email and in newsgroup discussions and enhances my learning experience by allowing me to work with peers from around the state and across the nation. The Instructional Assistant program course material is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week, giving me the ability to read and re-read lectures, discussions, explanations and comments.”


The new articulation agreement allows students to transfer 48 credits from the IA program transfer directly into the UWO special education teaching degree. Transfer students from the WTCS should be able to complete their special education degree with an additional three years of full-time coursework at UWO. “Given that most special education teaching degree programs take students five years to complete, this is a great ‘bang for the buck’ – money-wise and time-wise,” said Gall.


Moraine Park IA program credits also transfer to Alverno College’s elementary education teaching degree and UW-Stout’s special education teaching degree.


"Lately, I have been receiving job-related compliments from the teachers I work with,” said Maria Kubota-Abgoon, current IA program student and a paraprofessional with the Beaver Dam School District. “They state that they feel I have grown a lot professionally. I believe that this growth comes from the Instructional Assistant courses that I have taken and am currently taking."


To enroll in Moraine Park’s Instructional Assistant associate of applied science degree or for more information, call 1-800-472-4554 or visit and click on Academics. A program video is available on the Web site. Program Instructor Gretchen Gall can be reached at 920-887-1468 (office) or 920-602-6897 (cell).


Moraine Park honors Phi Theta Kappa inductees

by admin13. April 2008 19:00

More than 70 Moraine Park Technical College students were inducted into Beta Mu Kappa, Moraine Park’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, an international honor society.


Fifty-five students participated in the April 10 ceremony, held at Moraine Park’s Fond du Lac Campus, which honored 75 Moraine Park students who achieved a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5 in an associate of applied science degree program. The inductees also completed a minimum of 12 associate degree credits as well as the steps to become Phi Theta Kappa members, and must continue to maintain a GPA of at least 3.5.


“Phi Theta Kappa induction recognizes the academic accomplishments of our associate of applied science degree students,” said Amanda Hruska, Moraine Park registrar and Beta Mu Kappa advisor.


Inductees, along with more than 135 family members and friends, were welcomed by Hruska. Moraine Park President Gayle Hytrek provided opening remarks to those assembled. Also participating in the ceremony were Dan Ensalaco, vice president of academics and economic development; Richard Barnhouse, dean of students; Roberta Laine, dean of general education; Craig Finley, special services associate; and several current chapter members including Carrie Pierquet, Eileen Rottscholl, Christal Shipp and Kelly Wondra. Jill Stiemsma, sociology instructor, provided the musical entertainment and a reception concluded the evening.


This year’s inductees include Erika Aamodt, Thomas Badzinzki Jr., Julie Justman, Samantha Kraft and Ludmila Krier, all of West Bend; Christoper Aspenson, Chelsea Burgert, Lyle Dorn, Diane Dudley, Melissa Fechter, Amanda Gindt, Keri Nitschke, Sharon Ponce, Colleen Price, Ludeen Rice, Candace Roberts, Jamie Schumacher, Alicia Stanger, Valerie Syrjamaki, Matthew Wise and Jennifer Ziegler, Fond du Lac; Lisa Barczykowski, Columbus; Nichole Bengtson and Debra TerBeest, Markesan; Gayle Bigsby and Eric Wagner, North Fond du Lac; Melissa Bille, Jennifer Bomkamp, Elizabeth Busch, Sarah Haddy, Amanda Pluim and Cathy Vande Berg, Waupun; Dustin Bittner, Kim Martel and Michael White, Fox Lake; Jodi Boeckman, Chilton; Nicholas Brewer and Zachary Wajerski, Horicon; Peggy D’Amato, Diane Margelowsky, Christin McHugh and Jennifer Roemer, Hartford; Shelly Darmody and Phillip Murphy, Campbellsport; Marc Daverveld, Appleton; Tracy Derksen, Valerie Hare and Kathleen Wolter, Lomira; Samantha Dickey, Pickett; Jennifer Erickson, Amanda Fowler, Lisa Rogers and Beverly Sonnkalb, Ripon; Rita Grasse-Gustafson, Saukville; Gabrielle Petersen, Cottage Grove; Marabeth Hoffman, Neshkoro; Joyce Mathieu Holder and Krystal Lindner, Sheboygan Falls; Annmarie Johnson, Eden; Amy Jones and Kayla Sterr, Malone; James Krutilla, Sheboygan; Michele Kujawski, Brownsville; Tamara Kunesh and Mitchell Vis, Rosendale; Christopher Lewandowski, Hubertus; Michele Merten, St. Cloud; Lizabeth Miller, Plymouth; Jennifer Moser, Hubertus; Renee Raquet, Kiel; Jean Rynes, Milwaukee; Sarah Swanke, Princeton; Sandra Waranius, Fredonia; Laura Winter, Beaver Dam; and Jessica Witthuhn, Oshkosh.


Established in 1918, Phi Theta Kappa recognizes and encourages the academic achievement of two-year college students. It currently has more than two million members and 1,200 chapters located in all 50 states, U.S. territories, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Germany, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, United Arab Emirates and Palau. The American Association of Community Colleges recognizes Phi Theta Kappa as the official honor society for two-year colleges.


Fond du Lac campus to celebrate 2007-08 with Viva Las Vegas

by admin9. April 2008 19:00

Moraine Park Technical College students will mark the end of the 2007-08 academic year with a “Viva Las Vegas” Last Blast on Wednesday, April 30, at the Fond du Lac campus. The public is welcome to attend.


Sponsored by the Fond du Lac campus Student Senate, the event includes blackjack and roulette as well as live music by Lloyd Lamar and the Bonus Features. Door prizes have been donated by local vendors, and raffle prizes include a GPS system, a $100 gas card, an iPod with speakers and an iTone gift card, and a digital camera and frame.


The festivities will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Cyber Center cafeteria. For more information, contact Joan Seichter at 920-924-3353.


Moraine Park's Beaver Dam, West Bend campuses plan events

by admin8. April 2008 19:00

On Wednesday, April 30, Moraine Park Technical College’s Beaver Dam campus will hold its Last Blast year-end celebration to mark the approaching end of the 2007-08 academic year.


The public is invited to the event, which features free activities throughout the morning from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the commons. There will be a free cappuccino bar, henna tattoos, chair massages, caricatures and tarot card readings, as well as DJ/karaoke music during the lunch hour. Meals can be purchased by the public for $5 each.


For more information, contact Lisa Manuell, Moraine Park Student Life, at 920-887-4462 or


Rock out with Holiday at Moraine Park’s West Bend campus on Wednesday, May 7, for the last lunch-hour concert of the 2007-08 academic year.


The high-energy alternative pop/rock band will perform in the campus courtyard from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Based out of Minneapolis/St. Paul, Holiday took first place in the Cities 97 Basilica Block Party competition.


Lunch will be available at cost to the general public. For more information, contact Bradley Mitchell, Moraine Park Student Life, at 262-335-5743 or


The events are sponsored by the Beaver Dam campus and West Bend campus Student Senates, respectively.


Shelly Puckhaber named Moraine Park Student Ambassador for 2008-09

by admin7. April 2008 19:00

After working for a plastics manufacturer for three years after high school graduation, Shelly Puckhaber of West Bend decided she wanted to do something different with her life.         


“I knew I needed to go back to school,” said Puckhaber, a Phillips, Wis., native who is close to turning 23. “I just didn’t know what I wanted to do.”

 Professional photo of Shelly Puckhaber

When she and her boyfriend moved to West Bend in spring 2007, Puckhaber started looking at colleges in the area. She registered for the Career Explorations and Career Decisions classes at Moraine Park Technical College’s Career Center.


“Those free classes helped me choose a career path and I enrolled in Moraine Park’s Marketing program shortly after,” said Puckhaber. “I got a job at the Pier 1 in Germantown and went to school in my free time. I’m currently in my second semester and I feel that I’ve chosen the right program for me.”


Her Marketing instructor, Robin Rodee-Schneider, felt that Puckhaber was the right person to nominate for Moraine Park’s 2008-09 District Student Ambassador. Puckhaber was later chosen for the role.


“Shelly has exhibited an extraordinary ability to balance school, work and outside growth activities,” said Rodee-Schneider. “She has maintained high grades, and has the support of her employer. Her skills go beyond the basics – she has written a marketing plan which required a great deal of research. She used all resources available and sought out new resources to help her learn a complicated marketing/business area. Her projects are creative and she has demonstrated the ability to see possibilities. She doesn’t talk about what she will do – she just does it.” Rodee-Schneider added that Puckhaber uses her problem-solving ability to get things done in class, for the Marketing Club and on the job.


Upon enrolling in Moraine Park, Puckhaber joined the Wisconsin Marketing and Management Association (WMMA), competing at the regional and state levels in the Retail Management category and placing first and third, respectively. “I’ve gained quite a bit of confidence and professional polish from being in the WMMA,” said Puckhaber. She joins her fellow WMMA members in Atlanta, Georgia, this month for DECA’s International Career Development Conference.


Puckhaber will participate in a statewide recognition event for the 16 new Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) District Student Ambassadors in Madison April 16-17. She begins her term as Moraine Park's ambassador with the start of the 2008-09 academic year.


The WTCS District Student Ambassador Award program identifies outstanding students in the technical college system, with nominations solicited from faculty and staff each year. A committee of college administrators and community leaders select the ambassador based on the College’s core abilities – work productively, learn effectively, communicate clearly, work cooperatively, act responsibly, value self positively, and think critically and creatively. The core abilities are defined by Moraine Park as transferable skills, knowledge and/or attitudes essential to an individual’s success regardless of occupation or community setting. The Student Ambassador represents the College at numerous events throughout the year and serves on the College Planning and Leadership Team as the student representative.


“I enrolled in the technical college system for many reasons,” said Puckhaber. “First of all, it's affordable. Living on my own, I really appreciate the low tuition cost at Moraine Park. I also enjoy the flexible class schedule. I work full-time, so it's great that I can choose classes that fit into my schedule. I also enrolled in the technical college system because I can jump right into my core program classes. I don't have to take a lot of classes that don't apply to my degree. Last, but definitely not least, I chose a technical college because I feel that smaller class sizes allow for a more personalized learning experience. My teachers know who I am and care about my progress.”


In addition to Puckhaber, finalists for the 2008-09 Student Ambassador were Joe Calliari of Campbellsport, Radiography program, and Candice Sippel of Fond du Lac, Instructional Assistant program. All three will be honored during Moraine Park’s Student Awards Banquet on May 2. The current District Student Ambassador for 2007-08 is Lori VanGorder of Fond du Lac, Legal Administrative Professional program.


For more information about Moraine Park, visit


Sensenbrenner resigns from Moraine Park Board

by admin7. April 2008 19:00

After more than two and a half years of dedication, Peter Sensenbrenner of Ripon has resigned from his position as an elected official member on the Moraine Park Technical College District Board. Sensenbrenner was appointed to the board on July 1, 2005. 


“I want to thank the Moraine Park Board and the Administration,” said Sensenbrenner, who opted not to run again for his seat on the Fond du Lac County Board. “They are really listening to what the needs are in our geographical area. This group is very intuitive to what’s coming down the road. My knowledge of the technical college system has really blossomed during my time here.”Peter Sensenbrenner holds a plaque of appreciation. With him are Moraine Park board chair Lisa Mader and Moraine Park president Gayle Hytrek.


Moraine Park President Gayle Hytrek and Moraine Park Board Chair Lisa Mader presented Sensenbrenner with a Resolution of Appreciation plaque on behalf of the board and thanked him for his contributions.


During his time on the board, Sensenbrenner was active in the Wisconsin Technical College District Boards Association, most recently serving on the Legislative Committee. He also attended Association of Community College Trustees events and participated in student events at Moraine Park.


Sensenbrenner’s resignation took effect at the March 19 meeting.