Moraine Park carpentry student named ABC Apprentice of the Year

by admin27. May 2008 19:00

Nathan Potratz of Pickett, who recently completed his fourth year as a Moraine Park Technical College and Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of Wisconsin carpentry apprentice, was named ABC’s state Apprentice of the Year for 2008 during an ABC apprentice graduation banquet in Wisconsin Dells May 16. He is the fourth Moraine Park carpentry apprentice in as many years to receive this award.

 Nathan Potratz is shown with Wayne Belanger from ABC of Wisconsin. Nate is holding his award.

“Nate is an extremely knowledgeable student, a strong contributor to class discussions, an exceptional test writer and is always willing to share his expertise with fellow apprentices and his instructor,” said Jerry Schwengels, Moraine Park apprentice carpentry instructor. “In the lab and with hands-on theory, Nate also is an eager participant and leader in the various skill-development activities.”


Potratz earned a second-place silver medal in the carpentry competition at the 22nd annual ABC National Craft Championships held in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Prior to that, he placed first in the ABC of Wisconsin State Skill Competition in January.


His employer, Jason Geffers of J.J. Geffers Construction, Inc. in Oshkosh, noted Nate’s excellence in leadership and his ability to handle tasks beyond his years.


In addition to his job with Geffers, Potratz has his own side business building cabinets and furniture and is the treasurer at his church. “I love what I do and have accomplished so many things,” he said “I’m daily shown I do not know it all. Work is never boring; it changes daily.”


For more information about programs and apprenticeships at Moraine Park’s Beaver Dam, Fond du Lac and West Bend campuses, visit For the Carpentry Apprenticeship program, call Jon Waldhuetter at 262-335-5841.


Online courses make education possible for many students

by admin21. May 2008 19:00

Many students favor online courses to fit their busy lifestyles, according to a recent survey of online students conducted by the Wisconsin technical colleges’ distance learning consortium, eTech College. Respondents of the 2007 Online Student Survey felt the biggest benefit of online learning is flexibility. Two-thirds of respondents specifically wanted to take an online course instead of traveling to campus for class, and 85 percent of online students would take another online course with a Wisconsin technical college.


Sara Doege of Neosho recently graduated from Moraine Park’s online Instructional Assistant program. “The program allowed me to attend class at times and places that fit my schedule,” said Doege. “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.”


With more than 35,000 students taking 173,000 credits of online learning through Wisconsin’s Technical Colleges last year, online learning has grown to more than eight percent of all credit hours taken. That shift is expected to continue, according to eTech College of Wisconsin Online Learning Specialist Nancy Woodward. 


Moraine Park sees a similar trend, according to President Gayle Hytrek. “Since introducing our first online program in 2000 we've seen our numbers continue to grow steadily each year,” she said. “The demand for classes is there and we are continuing to build our online offerings in response to that demand.” In 2006-07 Moraine Park served nearly 4,600 online students accounting for just over 11 percent of the College’s full-time equivalents. The College served nearly 5,000 online students in 2007-08, with 75 percent of them female. The average age of online students was 34 with the youngest being 18 and the oldest being 86. 


“Online learning courses are an important and growing component of our technical college programs,” said
Dan Clancy, president of the Wisconsin Technical College System. “Our colleges will continue to work collaboratively
to ensure online learning options are delivered cost-effectively for students across the state.”


For more information about Moraine Park online courses, visit or call 1-800-472-4554.  


Moraine Park Class of 2008 heads out

by admin18. May 2008 19:00

In graduation caps and gowns, more than 300 members of the Moraine Park Technical College Class of 2008 left the Fond du Lac High School Field House as the newest Moraine Park alumni on Saturday, May 17.


“Instruction begins in the classroom, but learning continues throughout life” was the class motto adopted by the graduates from the Beaver Dam, Fond du Lac and West Bend campuses. A total of 1,095 students completed their Moraine Park studies, with 469 receiving associate of applied science degrees, 500 receiving technical diplomas and 126 receiving program certificates.


Moraine Park President Gayle Hytrek presided over the College’s commencement ceremony and presented the degrees, diplomas and certificates with the assistance of Moraine Park District Board members Lisa Mader, chair, and Jodine Deppisch, employee member.


 “Commencement is a very significant event in our students’ lives,” said Dr. Hytrek as she addressed those gathered. “On behalf of all of us at Moraine Park Technical College, I would like to extend our congratulations and best wishes to all of you graduating today. You should be very proud of yourselves for reaching this milestone in your lives. You have worked hard and sacrificed a great deal during the past year or years and there is a wonderful future in front of you. Today, you join a huge group of very successful people — our graduates. They are the fabric that supports Wisconsin.”


Members of the graduating class from each campus addressed their fellow students, faculty and guests on the class motto’s theme of lifelong learning: Raelene Nauer of Beaver Dam, Administrative Assistant program; Michael Kiehnau of Fond du Lac, Culinary Arts program; and Leslie Troedel of Slinger, Administrative Assistant and Legal Administrative Professional programs.


“My experience at this college has instilled in me a love of learning and a thirst of knowledge that I had not had before,” said Raelene Nauer. “So many times in my life I have wanted to learn a new skill, but as soon as it got hard I gave up, thinking I was defeated. There is no giving up at Moraine Park. There is help from so many and in so many ways I was encouraged not to give up, and the result was success.”


Nauer also thanked the College for the many opportunities she had to participate in student government, college planning leadership and the Quality Council Team. “Being a student rep for these teams was invaluable. It gave me an insight into what business is like behind the scenes. I encourage all future students to serve on the different committees offered and become involved in student life.”


In his speech, Mike Kiehnau said, “As we all gather today to celebrate a lifetime achievement, I think to myself, ‘How we can continue our education?’ Then it hit me – we can live our lives. Waking up each morning, I look at life and say, ‘It’s going to be a great day; now, what am I going to learn?’ … Regardless of what we do once we walk out the back doors, I challenge each and every one of you to continue our education in some way, shape or form. Remember, your academic experience may be finished but your lifelong learning has just begun.”


The final student speaker, Leslie Troedel, thanked her family, friends and instructors. “When I came to Moraine Park as a dislocated worker after 17 years, I was nervous and scared, scared of failure,” she said. “I never thought I could come as far as I have. I remember being afraid to write a paper in written communications. Now I am writing commencement speeches. I received encouragement and guidance from so many people, and now am proud to say that I am graduating as a high honor student. Being inducted into Phi Theta Kappa was one of the happiest and proudest moments of my life.”


Ronald J. Ford, Moraine Park Class of 1994, was presented with the College’s 2008 Distinguished Alumnus Award by Dan Ensalaco, vice president of academics and economic development. A graduate of Moraine Park’s Electromechanical Technology program, Ford is president and CEO of Deutz Power Systems of America in Norcross, Georgia. “You have just completed the first step in what can be a most incredible journey that is out there waiting for you,” he told the new graduates. “You can take your career as far as you want it to go. … You have a great education, taught by dedicated professionals who have prepared you for this journey. Now it’s up to you.”


The 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. A reception was held at the high school.


Moraine Park/Mercury partnership celebrates 10 years

by admin13. May 2008 19:00

Mercury Marine has the need for dealer training. Moraine Park Technical College has the facility and the instructors. Put the two together and you have a solution to business and consumer needs: Mercury University at Moraine Park’s Beaver Dam campus.

 A Moraine Park instructor works with students in one of the Mercury training classrooms.

Part of Moraine Park’s mission and vision is to collaborate with business, industry and communities to meet current and emerging needs. The partnership between the College and Mercury Marine is one of many ways those needs are being addressed. In 2006-07, there were well over 900 dealers enrolled in the program at Moraine Park.


“We have had this partnership with Mercury for 10 years,” said Karen Coley, Moraine Park’s Beaver Dam campus and community partner. “It has been great for Moraine Park, allowing the College to be part of the successful strategic planning of Mercury Marine, and for the Beaver Dam community through the additional revenue from lodging, meals, gas and retail sales.” The training program’s marine power equipment instructors, Scott Schnettler and Chris Dudzinski, estimate that around 70 percent of their students stay in Beaver Dam-area hotels.


“There has definitely been a positive impact on the Beaver Dam community from the Mercury Marine training program at Moraine Park,” said Phillip Fritsche, executive director of the Beaver Dam Area Chamber of Commerce. “The trainees from around the country have used our lodging facilities, our restaurants and our retail stores. We welcome them and the economic impact they have on our city.”


Since 1998, a section of the Beaver Dam campus has been a classroom site for Mercury Marine’s Mercury University. The state-of-the-art facility provides dealer technical training and has separate Mercury MerCruiser and Mercury Outboard classrooms. It also contains multiple test tanks, providing hands-on training with actual running engines that enable students to diagnose and fix problems.


“The College is conveniently located and provides easy access for our dealers from the Midwest region,” said Brad Weber, Mercury Marine director of field service development and operations, who oversees Mercury University. “Mercury University’s goal is to educate dealers and consumers about technical and non-technical aspects of Mercury engines. We train and teach with the idea that if the dealer is well-informed, the customer will also be well-informed.”


Staff at Mercury Marine develop the yearly content and schedules based on the dealers’ needs, which are identified through new product introductions, the types of telephone calls that are made to a technical support line, or requests from the dealers. Aspects of Mercury University include the Dealer Service Development Program, Service Management Institute, Service Customer Satisfaction and Product Technical training. The program’s credit system clears a path to reach the Certified or Master Technician level with Mercury Marine.


Mercury University offers flexibility – dealers can use both the distance learning and classroom approach.


Product-specific classroom courses are offered each year in 17 locations throughout the U.S. and Canada, broken down into three categories: MerCruiser-specific, Outboard-specific, or both MerCruiser- and Outboard-product specific. Each lasts one to five days. Before attending, students complete a series of
E-Skills distance-learning that serve as prerequisites. 


Moraine Park provides the instructors and the delivery of the training for dealers who attend the Beaver Dam campus sessions. Every year, Moraine Park instructors attend a Mercury dealer seminar to enhance their skills and learn about new features and products.


The courses are set up for each type of engine the Mercury dealers need to service, with a focus on how each engine functions and how to make repairs. The goal is to provide the dealers with a stronger understanding of how the engines work, typical problems seen in the field by owners, prevention methods and corrective measures. “These folks are the face of Mercury to the owners of engines, so it's important that they are knowledgeable and able to sell to and service the customer,” said JoAnn Hall, Moraine Park executive dean of economic and workforce development.


“Mercury University is an all-encompassing program that has received rave reviews from our dealers, and Mercury works closely with our dealers to ensure we continue to meet and exceed their training expectations,” said Weber, adding that dealer participation in the training programs increases year after year.


In addition to the collaboration with Mercury Marine, the potential exists for Moraine Park to establish partnerships with other businesses that have a significant need. “While the training we do for the Mercury Marine dealers is unique to their business, the partnership arrangement is not,” said Hall, who indicated the College works with employers to meet the specific needs of their business.


For more information about Mercury University, contact Raj Pathare, Moraine Park dean of trades and manufacturing, at 920-924-3129 or






Moraine Park Student Awards Banquet recognizes outstanding students

by admin7. May 2008 19:00

The hard work and academic achievement of many students at Moraine Park Technical College were recognized during the College’s annual Student Awards Banquet on May 2 at The Golf Club at Camelot in Lomira.


The Wisconsin Technical College System District Student Ambassador Award was presented to Shelly Puckhaber of West Bend, who is enrolled in the Marketing program. Puckhaber will assume her role with the start of the 2008-09 academic year, taking over for 2007-08 Student Ambassador Lori VanGorder.


Moraine Park presented its second Student of the Year Award to Elizabeth (Beth) Kaiser of Van Dyne, who will graduate from the Criminal Justice – Corrections program this month. First runner-up was Lyle Dorn of Fond du Lac. A total of eight students were nominated. Nominees must be graduating, exemplify the College’s core abilities and also excel in classroom and community involvement. The winner is selected by a committee of students, support staff, faculty and administration members. 


Technical Achievement Awards were presented to nine students. To receive this award, recipients must be enrolled in a one-year technical diploma program and have maintained a 3.25 GPA. They are judged on classroom participation and other contributions and characteristics that exemplify an outstanding student. Recipients were John Bundy, Stevens Point; Greg Clemens and Helen Neal, West Bend; Nathan Heck and Eric Johnson, Beaver Dam; Gina Sammataro Bolstad, Lomira; Christine Schmitt, Lowell; Debra Siewert, Randolph; and Sarah Theander, Fox Lake.


The Meritorious Service Award is granted to students who have served the College through their leadership and participation in co-curricular activities such as student clubs, student government or other volunteer opportunities. Eligible students must maintain a 2.5 GPA. Recipients include Jill Aimone, Amanda Herriges and Kelly Spang, Kewaskum; Wardell Ashford, Josh Bliefnick, Curt Braatz, Lyle Dorn, Amanda Ennis, Vernon Farley, Gregory Gross, Stacy Hammack, Mary Hitselberger, Amy Lapine, Sherry Rickmeier, Candace Roberts, Andrew Rodriguez, Ethan Schlottke, Wanda Schmit, Laurie Schneider and Lori VanGorder, Fond du Lac; Diamond Avalos, Shannon Desjarlais-Caine, Dean Dunday, Lacey Frieman, Raelene Nauer, Jessica Shannon, John Stanton, Ashley TeBeest and Lindsay Wietzke, Beaver Dam; Becky Billington, Mayville; Chris Bolstad and Randy Rush, Lomira; Joe Calliari, Duane Porter, and Michelle Steffen, Campbellsport; Beth Denny and Libby Kraft; North Fond du Lac; Sara Doege, Neosho; Tim Drewiske, De Pere; Dori Easterson, Omro; Nancy Folkedahl, Emily Hettwer, Charity Krawzik, Becky Ninmann, Joe Remillard, Cathie Roegner, Jessica Rust and Jeremy Sarnowski, West Bend; Maria Guenther, Horicon; Elizabeth Kaiser, Van Dyne; Stephanie Kakatsch, Manitowoc; Mike Kiehnau, St. Cloud; Becky Klink and Julie McAleavey, Rubicon; Justin Kohlhagen, Oostburg; Ron Kohlmann, Waldo; Steve Lang, Markesan; Kim Lindemann, Jackson; Kayla Navis, Joey Pausma and Rene VanDeList, Waupun; Josh Persik, Hubertus; Ann Radtke, Cascade; Jennifer Roemer, Hartford; Corrine Seidel, Leslie Troedel and Sharon Weimer, Slinger; Jessica Serwe, Eden; Mary Sharp, Adell; Alicia Streiber, New Holstein; and Ramona Trudeau, Sheboygan.


Twenty-seven Moraine Park students were named to Who’s Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges. Who's Who Among Students is one of the most highly regarded and long-standing honors programs in the nation. Students receive national recognition for achieving at least a 3.5 GPA as well as participating and showing leadership in academic and extracurricular activities.


Student government leadership recognition included Raelene Nauer of Beaver Dam, Beaver Dam campus Student Senate president; Josh Bliefnick of Fond du Lac, Fond du Lac campus Student Senate president; Becky Ninmann of West Bend, West Bend campus Student Senate president; Laurie Schneider and Raelene Nauer, District Student Government presidents; Diamond Avalos of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin Student Government (WSG) governor and WSG president; and Joe Calliari of Campbellsport, WSG lieutenant governor.


Also recognized at the banquet were the 75 students who were inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa international honor society in April; 11 students who received scholarships from the Moraine Park Association of Career and Technical Education and the Moraine Park Federation of Teachers; and 19 students who served as peer tutors/notetakers for their fellow students.


For more information about Moraine Park, visit


Moraine Park marketing students score big in competitions

by admin7. May 2008 19:00

Several Moraine Park Technical College students were national finalists at DECA’s 62nd annual International Career Development Conference held recently in Atlanta, Georgia.


In the National Management Institute apprentice-style competition, Moraine Park students Kayla Navis of Waupun and Christopher (C.J.) Lewandowski of Hubertus were part of a team that took first place in the nation. They gathered research and created a marketing strategy and brand identity for a new business, then presented their concept to a group from Piper Jaffray in Minneapolis. They will split a $1,000 scholarship with their two other team members.


Jeremy Sarnowski and Shelly Puckhaber, both of West Bend, were also among those who placed. Sarnowski took first place in the comprehensive exam for the Hospitality category. Puckhaber took first place both in the comprehensive exam and in preliminary role play for the Retail Management category. Both placed fourth in the finals.


Kelly Brumley of Randolph took fourth place in Entrepreneurship. All of the Marketing – Business-to-Business students had taken part in the state competition of the WMMA, and are members of the Moraine Park chapter of Delta Epsilon Chi – Wisconsin Marketing & Management Association (WMMA).


Also competing at the international event were Travis Bryant of Fredonia, Retail Management; Aaron Christman of Beaver Dam, Entrepreneurship Challenge and Marketing Management; and Angie Zurn of Mayville, Human Relations.
All three were finalists in these events at the state WMMA competition held prior to the DECA event.


DECA is an international association of high school and college students studying marketing, management and entrepreneurship. Its college division is called Delta Epsilon Chi. More than 13,000 students from 200 campuses participate in the organization, including those at community colleges, technical colleges, four-year colleges and universities.  


For more information about Moraine Park’s marketing programs, visit


Moraine Park to celebrate commencement May 17

by admin7. May 2008 19:00

For more than 1,000 members of the Class of 2008 from Moraine Park Technical College’s Beaver Dam, Fond du Lac and West Bend campuses, “instruction ends in the classroom, but learning continues throughout life,” as their class motto goes.


Moraine Park President Gayle Hytrek will preside over the College’s commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 17, at 10 a.m. in the Field House at Fond du Lac High School.


Members of the graduating class from each campus will address their fellow students and guests – Raelene Nauer, Administrative Assistant program, Beaver Dam campus; Michael Kiehnau, Culinary Arts program, Fond du Lac campus; and Leslie Troedel, Administrative Assistant and Legal Administrative Professional programs, West Bend campus.


A special award will be presented to Moraine Park’s 2008 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year, Ronald J. Ford, a 1994 graduate of the College’s Electromechanical Technology program. Ford is the president and CEO of Deutz Power Systems of America.


Associate of applied science degrees, technical diplomas and certificates will be presented by Moraine Park District Board employee member Jodine Deppisch.


The graduation processional will be 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, will provide the pre-ceremonial music. A reception immediately following the ceremony will be held at the high school.


Moraine Park students named to Who's Who

by admin7. May 2008 19:00

Moraine Park Technical College announced that 27 students will be recognized in the Who’s Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges 2008 for being national outstanding campus leaders.


Those who were selected include Nicole Brotz and Nicole Paarmann, Sheboygan; Kelly Brumley, Randolph; Malgorzata Bryant, Horicon; Mitchell Choy, Mayville; David Claussen, Jackson; Andrew Detloff, Elizabeth Kraft and Joann Meilkie, North Fond du Lac; Sara Doege, Neosho; Amber Durante, Charity Krawzik, Shelly Lukowitz, Rachel Peters and Kimberly Whiting, West Bend; Sarah Hagie, Mukwonago; Dennis Jeske, Milwaukee; Susan Kelley, Natalie Lewis, Sharon Ponce and Candice Sippel, Fond du Lac; John Kiekhaefer and Ashley Welak, Beaver Dam; Stephanie Larson, Slinger; Lizabeth Miller, Plymouth; Teresa North, Cascade and Jena Ottery, Oakfield.


Who's Who Among Students is one of the most highly regarded and long-standing honors programs in the nation. Campus nominating committees and editors of the annual directory have included the names of these second-year associate degree and technical diploma students based on their academic achievement (including a minimum 3.5 GPA), service to the community, leadership in extracurricular activities and potential for continued success.


For more information about Moraine Park, visit


Moraine Park announces retirees, service anniversaries

by admin5. May 2008 19:00

Amid a spring-themed setting beautifully decorated and catered by Moraine Park Technical College students and staff, the College expressed its gratitude to new retirees and to those who reached service anniversaries this year.

 Photo shows six of the Moraine Park retirees for the 2007-08 academic year.

The welcome for the retirement and service recognition event was given by Moraine Park President Gayle Hytrek, with retirees announced by Kathy Broske, Human Resources vice president, and service recognition given by Beth Mendoza, Human Resources associate director.


The 10 retirees include Janice Knowles, switchboard operator/student records clerk; Dianne Koehler, corrections science instructor; William Locke, emergency medical services instructor; Jan Logan, student involvement associate; Joe Pease, network specialist instructor; Gerald Schwengels, apprentice carpentry instructor; JoAnne Smith, human resources systems associate; and Evelyn Whittaker, administrative aide – registration, from the Fond du Lac campus; and Susan Linde, office technologies and computer applications instructor, and Mary Janice Powers, Learning Resource Center technician, from the Beaver Dam campus.


“We are grateful to each and every one of our retirees who have contributed a combined 288 years to Moraine Park and our students, and to our staff who are marking service anniversaries for their 720 combined years,” said Gayle Hytrek, Moraine Park president.

 Photo shows some of the Moraine Park staff marking 25-, 30- and 35-year service anniversaries.

Honorees from the Beaver Dam campus who observed service anniversaries include Sherry Hackbarth and Robin Koerner, 20 years; Tom Eilbes, 10 years; and Brenda Block, Lisa Manuell, Lorraine Marquardt, Margaret Rentmeester and Kelly Schoeller, five years.


Honorees from the Fond du Lac campus include Pat Olson and Sharon Peitz, 35 years; Tim Flood, Linda Harmsen, Karen Jarvis and Sue Krueger, 30 years; Marilyn Groneng, Larry Kent and Diane Simon, 25 years; Rebecca Krug and Orville Moore, 20 years; Bonnie Baerwald, Mary Ellen Dietrich and Tammy Freund, 15 years; Roseann Braun, Julie Budde, Lauri Kounelis, Daurren McCarthy, Patrick O’Neill, Lisa Pollard, Brad Rodenkirch and Dee Schmitz, 10 years; and Nancy Barnes, Todd Bartelt, Tamara Becker, Ken Carnahan, Kim DeMaa, Michele Eggers, Sandra Justman, Colleen Lace, Jennifer Schoonover, Jennifer Wagner and Catherine Winters, five years.


Honorees from the West Bend campus include Peter Mihas, 30 years; Patricia Hrobsky, 25 years; Mary Nyhouse and Margaret Spieth, 15 years; Marcia Arndt, Cynthia Bernhard, Michael Melaney, Ed Meltz, Christine Schilling and Debra Stoffel,10 years; and Ron Campopiano, Carrie Schmidt and Frances Stoffel, five years.


The event was catered by Moraine Park Culinary Arts students, under the supervision of Culinary Arts instructors Ron Speich, Tom Endejan and James Simmers.


Free orientation offered for online/blended classes

by admin4. May 2008 19:00

If you’re thinking about taking an online/blended class or program at Moraine Park Technical College, a free face-to-face orientation can help you get started. Sessions will be offered at all three campuses in May, July and August.


Online/blended orientation will take place May 20, July 24 and Aug. 6 at the West Bend campus; May 21, July 30 and Aug. 5 at the Beaver Dam campus; and May 22, July 22 and Aug. 7 at the Fond du Lac campus.


Each May and August session has two times from which to choose – 2:30 to 4 p.m. or 5:30 to 7 p.m. The July sessions run from 1:15 to 2:45 p.m., to coincide with Moraine Park’s New Student Orientation held on those dates so students who wish to attend both the online/blended orientation and New Student Orientation can reduce travel time.


A blended format refers to classes that can be taken both online and in the classroom. The orientation sessions are designed to help prospective and newly enrolled students become knowledgeable about and feel comfortable with online courses, eCollege, chat rooms and other aspects of online learning.


Registration is required and space is limited. To register or for more information, call 1-800-472-4554.