Energy Open House Showcases CVTC Programs

Event held at unique Energy Education Center

Monday, April 23, 2018
Photo of Energy Open House Showcases CVTC Programs

Recent CVTC Electrical Power Distribution program graduate Kadin Westphal of Fall Creek helps Noah Nelson, 11, of Chippewa Falls learn how to climb a power pole at the CVTC Energy Open House April 19. Looking on is Noah’s father, Aaron, a 2010 graduate of the EPD program and now an Xcel Energy line worker.

Noah Nelson struggled some in his first-ever attempt at climbing an electric power pole wearing the gear line workers depend on, but he had a couple of good teachers on hand during the Energy Open House at Chippewa Valley Technical College Thursday, April 19.

One teacher was Kadin Westphal of Fall Creek, who just graduated from CVTC’s Electrical Power Distribution program. The other was his father, Aaron Nelson, of Chippewa Falls.

“I went to school here to become a lineman back in 2010,” said Aaron, who now works for Xcel Energy. “I brought Noah to show him what the program is.”

Over 300 people attended the event, including many families from throughout the area, some with older children exploring the programs housed at CVTC’s Energy Education Center, and some with younger ones who were more interested in picking up baby chicks and petting a couple of young goats on display in the agriculture programs area.

Noah, 11, was having fun at the event learning what his dad’s work was all about. “I rode the bucket truck,” he said. “You got to go up real high and look down at everything.”

Rosie Dean, 9, of Eau Claire came with her grandfather, Jack Mercer and enjoyed “riding” an electric motorcycle set up by the Motorcycle Safety instructors. Its powerful back wheel was jacked up off the floor, so it couldn’t actually move, but she wore full gear and learned how to get that wheel spinning while instructor Judi Anibas stood close by.

“I originally was scared but when I got going it was really fun,” she said.

Grandpa earlier tried the truck driving simulator. “I always thought I wanted to be a truck driver, but now I’m not so sure,” Mercer said of his results.

Noah Cline of Menomonie, who will soon graduate from CVTC’s Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration program, brought his parents and two nieces from Connorsville, Madeline and Josie Samens. The girls held white spruce tree seedlings donated by Lowes Creek Tree Farm and distributed by the CVTC Horticulture Club.

“Noah wanted us to come and to show off what he’s done here,” his mother, Theresa Cline said. “I love the location of the school. Even being in a bigger city, you get a small-town feel here.”

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 Diesel Truck Technician and Residential Construction programs. Students were present to represent their programs.

Tess Fagerland, an Animal Science Management student from Mondovi was stationed by a nearly full-sized plastic model of a Holstein, which was wearing something like an earring.

“It’s like a FitBit for cows,” said Fagerland, referring to a popular device people use to track fitness program data. “It tracks things like a cow’s activity, rumination and temperature. It’s kind of a new thing that I think everyone’s going to be using in their herds in a few years.”

Trent Johnson and Reid Moen, Diesel Truck Technician students from Eau Claire manned a noisy display of a truck anti-lock brake system, showing the various moving parts. Air pressure discharges got people’s attention.

“They hear a loud noise and they want to figure out what’s going on,” said Johnson. “We try to help people understand the ABS brake board and what it can do, and if they’re interested, troubleshoot it with them.”

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.