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