Mark Franson, co-owner of Bartingale Mechanical Inc., an Eau Claire-based mechanical contracting firm, has been chosen to receive Chippewa Valley Technical College’s (CVTC’s) 2012 Distinguished Alumni award.
Franson will accept the award at the 9th Annual CVTC Alumni Association Spring Gala on Thursday, April 12, at Florian Gardens in Eau Claire.
“It’s kind of cool being selected this year, the College’s 100-year anniversary,” says Franson, who in addition to being a co-owner, also serves as Bartingale Mechanical’s vice president in charge of daily operations. He also is an active member of the Mechanical Contractors Association of America.
Reflecting on how he started at CVTC, Franson smiles and says, “It’s a funny story.”
Franson, an Eau Claire native, recalls working at a local restaurant in 1985 as he tried to figure out what he wanted to do with his life. “I knew working in a restaurant wasn’t taking me anywhere,” he says. “I knew I had to do something.”
One day, Franson’s search brought him to CVTC (then known as District One Technical Institute), where he noticed a display of brochures advertising the College’s many programs. Somewhat randomly, he picked up a brochure about the Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) program and suddenly he had a direction.
Franson graduated from the HVAC program in 1986 and, after a few months working for a local insulation company, was hired at Bartingale as an estimator.
Today he is one of several Bartingale leaders who are CVTC graduates. Others include Chuck Falch, president and controller, and Ron Pfankuch, an estimator and project manager.
“If you just walk the halls here at the office, there are five or six or us who are CVTC graduates, and there are many others who have taken classes there,” Franson says. “CVTC has done a lot for this company.”
Receiving CVTC’s Distinguished Alumni Award is evidence that in the 26 years since his graduation, Franson has done much for the college in return.
Since 2003, Bartingale Mechanical has sponsored an annual scholarship for students in CVTC’s HVAC program. In addition, Franson has served on the HVAC program advisory committee for the past eight years. Last December he was the commencement speaker at the CVTC graduation ceremony
Franson is currently providing his expertise and insights to a planning committee that is generating local support for the College’s plan to create a new Energy Education Center. He also works closely with the College through his role as a member of the Eau Claire Area Plumbing Joint Apprenticeship Committee.
Franson doesn’t anticipate his involvement with CVTC will wane. “I don’t think they’ll let me cut the ties now, not after giving me this award,” he says. “But that’s OK, I’m happy to help out however I can. CVTC has played a big role in my personal and my professional life.”
The 9th Annual CVTC Alumni Spring Gala will be held on Thursday, April 12, at Florian Gardens at 5:30 p.m. The Gala will honor Northwestern Bank, Distinguished Alumnus, Mark Franson, and three Alumni Endowment Scholarship recipients. To attend or learn more about this event, contact Heidi Fisher, CVTC Foundation and Alumni Association Director, at 715-833-6277 or firstname.lastname@example.org.