Friday, April 21, 2017

2017 Energy Open House Showcases CVTC Programs

Event held at unique Energy Education Center

Article Photo - 2017 Energy Open House Showcases CVTC Programs

Gunnar, left, and Jamison Henke play with a test board that demonstrates the circuits used in the lighting systems on trucks while their mother, Christina, looks on at the CVTC Energy Open House Thursday, April 20. CVTC student Preston Miller of Menomonie, right, first showed the boys how to make the lights work.

Preston Miller, a Chippewa Valley Technical College Diesel Truck Technician student from Menomonie, saw a bit of a reflection of himself in one of the visitors at the CVTC Energy Open House Thursday, April 20.

Timothy Kampfer of Eau Claire was at the event with his mother and older sister, exploring the next step after his high school graduation.

“He’s not going to a four-year college; he wants more of the hands-on,” his mother, Lynette Quigley, said. “He’s always tearing cars apart and rebuilding them.”

“I was just where he’s at now,” Miller said after he talked at length with Kampfer. “The same thing happened to me. I didn’t know what I wanted to do and I was at something like this. My girlfriend picked up all the paperwork I needed to apply.”

Now Miller is working at Wisconsin Kenworth in Menomonie while going to school. He will graduate next year from a program in which the students are heavily recruited long before they even finish. He told Kampfer all about it.

“This is wonderful, that one-on-one,” Quigley said. “This is just what he needs.”

People attending the event explored programs in Electrical Power Distribution; Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology; Agronomy Management: Animal Science Management; Landscape, Plant and Turf Management; Truck Driving; and Architectural Structural Design, as well as Miller’s Diesel Truck Technician program. People had the opportunity to try the truck driving simulator, pet a farm animal, plant a seed, try a cow milking simulator, climb an electrical power pole, see how biodiesel fuel is made, and a small group of baby chicks was a big hit with young children.

Wesley Brantner, a junior at Durand High School, was going to give climbing the power pole a try, as he expects to enroll in Electrical Power Distribution when he graduates. “I like being outside and it’s hands-on,” he said.

The agriculture area at the open house was busy. “We were telling people how our Agriscience program is being expanded into two specialty areas next school year,” said program director Adam Zwiefelhofer. “They can now enroll in Agronomy Management and Animal Science Management.”

But career exploration wasn’t the only reason people attended the Energy Open House. “There have been a lot of family members of our students coming through, getting a chance to see the program their son or daughter is in,” said Adam Wehling, CVTC dean of energy, agriculture and transportation.

People also came to see the unique Energy Education Center facility that last year became the first building in the area to be LEED Gold Certified by the U.S. Green Building Council. The building has an impressive list of energy-efficient features, including a geothermal heating and cooling system.

“We’re trying to get people excited about opportunities in energy-related fields like agriculture, electrical power, heating and cooling systems, and transportation,” Wehling said. We’ve got lots of hands-on things for people, and the best part for me is to see the young kids coming through.”

The Energy Open House was the third major open house event held at CVTC facilities in Eau Claire in the past two months, after the Manufacturing Show and the Spring Open House.