Faculty and Administration

Taryn Underwood Risley graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Architecture in 2015. After graduating Ranken, she received her Master of Architecture degree from Southern Illinois University of Carbondale in 2017. Taryn is a licensed Remote Pilot for unmanned aircraft (drones) and certified in CM-BIM (construction management in building information modeling), and Autodesk Revit. She now holds the position of Architect II, at FGM Architects, a firm places a high value on understanding and responding to the multi-layered contexts of our clients’ projects, on collaborating to craft artful forms and spaces, and on how the architecture can creatively serve the gamut of causes and activities of the occupants.

Kevin Meyer, AIA, NCARB, Managing Director at FGM, explains Taryn joined FGM Architects during the heart of the pandemic, but despite remote work conditions she already feels like an irreplaceable asset to the team. She brought her immense knowledge of BIM, but has already proved that she is loaded with potential in other area as well. Taryn is organized, self-motivating, and dedicated. Whether it is jumping into contract documents or space planning early in design, Taryn jumps in and consistently exceeds expectations. I am anxious for what her future holds and I hope I am around to witness it. I cannot say enough complimentary things about Taryn. Since her start at FGMA, Taryn has never failed to impress me. She is hard-working, detail-oriented, and truly understands the fast-paced schedule of the commercial world. I am truly overwhelmed by her computer skills; she is not only advanced within most programs, but she also delivers a beautiful graphic presentation to all of her work. I also admire her attention to the details. Taryn has been a great addition to FGMA and I know she will continue to grow and make us better. Taryn is not afraid to dive-in and get it done.  With minor direction toward the end goal, she can turn that into a usable end product, and do it very proficiently and accurately.  She is a highly adept problem solver and learns extremely quickly. While analytical problem solving is a great strength of hers, she also approaches every challenge with an artistic viewpoint.   She is an excellent artist, skilled in both drawing and painting.  Taryn is always willing to share her knowledge and teach fellow coworkers as well. She possesses a rare combination of exceptional software skills, artistic vision, and eagerness to learn the craft of architecture that make her a remarkably valuable resource.  She has been a great fit at FGM, and I look forward to watching her progression at this amazing firm.”

Missy Borchardt, former Architecture Department Chair and instructor, says “Taryn had a strong work ethic, an eye for design, and was a strong role model for many.”

Taryn was granted several scholarships which fostered her success. Ranken scholarships included: the Anheuser-Busch InBev Scholarship, the BKD Scholarship, the Frederick Eiseman Scholarship, the Home Builders Association Scholarship, and a STEM Scholarship. She often spoke at Ranken-sponsored events to express her gratitude to those scholarship sponsors. Taryn also enjoyed representing Ranken during open houses and College community events.

Taryn was heavily invested in the Ranken community. She explains, “I was the Head Resident Assistant of Walker Hall Dormitory, Ranken Bookstore Associate, President of Student Ambassadors, President of Phi Theta Kappa, and President of the Student Government Association.” Above all, Taryn says “Ranken taught me two valuable things; the importance of networking and the tremendous value a technical degree has. I have been able to hold different positions within the field of architecture, ranging from drafting to Building Information Modeling (BIM) and even Virtual Design and Construction (VDC). In each of these positions, I have been able to gain beneficial experience that has helped me thrive as a future licensed architect.”

Of her many memories, Taryn recalls her late nights in the Architecture studio working on models with her peers. Kasey Risley, Taryn’s husband, graduated Magna Cum Laude from Ranken’s Information Technology program in 2015. He is currently an Infrastructure Engineer for Connectria, a global technology solutions provider.

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://www.fgmarchitects.com/

Alumni All

Ranken Faculty
Taryn Underwood Risley
Architect II @ FGM Architects
Ranken Faculty
Jequetta Smith Chestnut
Piping Designer @ Roeslein and Associates
Ranken Faculty
Nicole Betts
Full Building Mechanic, Facilities and Maintenance Department @ Ameren
Ranken Faculty
Brian Pohl
Owner and Operator, Affordable Seamless Gutters
Video Profile

Taryn Underwood Risley

Architect II @ FGM Architects

Taryn Underwood Risley graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Architecture in 2015. After graduating Ranken, she received her Master of Architecture degree from Southern Illinois University of Carbondale in 2017. Taryn is a licensed Remote Pilot for unmanned aircraft (drones) and certified in CM-BIM (construction management in building information modeling), and Autodesk Revit. She now holds the position of Architect II, at FGM Architects, a firm places a high value on understanding and responding to the multi-layered contexts of our clients’ projects, on collaborating to craft artful forms and spaces, and on how the architecture can creatively serve the gamut of causes and activities of the occupants.

Kevin Meyer, AIA, NCARB, Managing Director at FGM, explains Taryn joined FGM Architects during the heart of the pandemic, but despite remote work conditions she already feels like an irreplaceable asset to the team. She brought her immense knowledge of BIM, but has already proved that she is loaded with potential in other area as well. Taryn is organized, self-motivating, and dedicated. Whether it is jumping into contract documents or space planning early in design, Taryn jumps in and consistently exceeds expectations. I am anxious for what her future holds and I hope I am around to witness it. I cannot say enough complimentary things about Taryn. Since her start at FGMA, Taryn has never failed to impress me. She is hard-working, detail-oriented, and truly understands the fast-paced schedule of the commercial world. I am truly overwhelmed by her computer skills; she is not only advanced within most programs, but she also delivers a beautiful graphic presentation to all of her work. I also admire her attention to the details. Taryn has been a great addition to FGMA and I know she will continue to grow and make us better. Taryn is not afraid to dive-in and get it done.  With minor direction toward the end goal, she can turn that into a usable end product, and do it very proficiently and accurately.  She is a highly adept problem solver and learns extremely quickly. While analytical problem solving is a great strength of hers, she also approaches every challenge with an artistic viewpoint.   She is an excellent artist, skilled in both drawing and painting.  Taryn is always willing to share her knowledge and teach fellow coworkers as well. She possesses a rare combination of exceptional software skills, artistic vision, and eagerness to learn the craft of architecture that make her a remarkably valuable resource.  She has been a great fit at FGM, and I look forward to watching her progression at this amazing firm.”

Missy Borchardt, former Architecture Department Chair and instructor, says “Taryn had a strong work ethic, an eye for design, and was a strong role model for many.”

Taryn was granted several scholarships which fostered her success. Ranken scholarships included: the Anheuser-Busch InBev Scholarship, the BKD Scholarship, the Frederick Eiseman Scholarship, the Home Builders Association Scholarship, and a STEM Scholarship. She often spoke at Ranken-sponsored events to express her gratitude to those scholarship sponsors. Taryn also enjoyed representing Ranken during open houses and College community events.

Taryn was heavily invested in the Ranken community. She explains, “I was the Head Resident Assistant of Walker Hall Dormitory, Ranken Bookstore Associate, President of Student Ambassadors, President of Phi Theta Kappa, and President of the Student Government Association.” Above all, Taryn says “Ranken taught me two valuable things; the importance of networking and the tremendous value a technical degree has. I have been able to hold different positions within the field of architecture, ranging from drafting to Building Information Modeling (BIM) and even Virtual Design and Construction (VDC). In each of these positions, I have been able to gain beneficial experience that has helped me thrive as a future licensed architect.”

Of her many memories, Taryn recalls her late nights in the Architecture studio working on models with her peers. Kasey Risley, Taryn’s husband, graduated Magna Cum Laude from Ranken’s Information Technology program in 2015. He is currently an Infrastructure Engineer for Connectria, a global technology solutions provider.

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://www.fgmarchitects.com/

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Video Profile

Jequetta Smith Chestnut

Piping Designer @ Roeslein and Associates

Jequetta Smith Chestnut graduated with an Associate of Science in Architectural Technology in 2017. She is currently a piping designer for Roeslein and Associates, an engineering firm that provides complete solutions for project implementation by emphasizing a modular engineering strategy early in the project-planning process. Before joining Roeslein, Jequetta worked as an Architectural Associate for ArcVision, Inc.

Michael Walker, Architecture instructor,  tells us “JQ (Jequetta) was a great student who had such a wonderful and positive energy. She was always excited to learn as much as she could and would often enlighten me to the many things she knew and would learn. I have a good feeling that her passion, strong will, and optimism will take her far in life.”

Jequetta explains, “I had a summer internship that turned into my first job as a BIM (building information modeling) technician with Archimages, Inc. I connected with the firm at a Ranken Job fair. My Ranken education set me up for a career filled with success. I have had three different positions since graduating, and I was recruited for each one because of my Ranken degree. My husband, Derek Chestnut, attended Ranken’s Electrical System Design program. The institution means a lot to us, it completely changed our lives.”

One of Jequetta’s favorite Ranken memories was when she volunteered for a Summer Adventure Academy, a weeklong hands-on camp, for high schoolers. She worked with campers in the welding department and thought it was such a great program to expose kids to Ranken and the trades.  Jequetta served as a Student Ambassador while at Ranken and also held the positions of Secretary and later Vice President for Ranken’s Phi Theta Kappa Chapter.

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://roeslein.com/

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Video Profile

Nicole Betts

Full Building Mechanic, Facilities and Maintenance Department @ Ameren

Nicole Betts, a 2000 graduate of Ranken’s Industrial Electricity/Electronics (IE) and 2006 Cum Laude grad of our Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Program, is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Management.
Nicole says, “My career path began at Ameren when I graduated from Ranken.” Michael Pallarito, Supervisor of Facilities Maintenance and Construction at Ameren, says “Nicole is a valued employee who took advantage of opportunities with Ameren to further herself in every possible way. She began in an entry-level position and steadily worked her way up in our Office Mechanics Program with a combination of traditional schooling and extensive on-the-job training that escalated her to a Level of Full Building Mechanic and a leadership role within the Facilities and Maintenance Department. This can only be done through hard work, dedication, and a desire to succeed.”
Bill Layman, former Electrical instructor, explains “Nicole came to Ranken as one of the few female students in the Industrial Electricity/Electronics program. She was never intimidated by being in a typically male-dominated program. Her work ethic was outstanding. She proved herself to be an excellent employee based on her knowledge, skills, and attitude. I’m sure that she’s a respected and valued member of the maintenance team at Ameren. Nicole is one of the finest human beings you’ll ever meet. She’s a great example of what women can accomplish in the skilled trades and a great representative for Ranken and the importance of lifelong learning.”

Nicole says, “My Ranken career gave me the opportunity to achieve a lot of firsts for diversity. I graduated twice as the only female in the class and was the first female Maintenance Mechanic at Ameren. Without my IE degree, I would have never had the education requirements Ameren expected. My favorite memory of Ranken was having built a transformer backward; it had way too many volts on the protoboard. Leave it to me to innocently discover issues to keep students from killing themselves! Thank me later.”

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Video Profile

Brian Pohl

Owner and Operator, Affordable Seamless Gutters

Brian Pohl graduated from Ranken’s Industrial Electricity program in May 1995. He is the Owner and Operator of Affordable Seamless Gutters. Since opening in 2001, Brian explains “We have seen just about every possible problem or unique situation a customer can have with gutters. We have proudly served St. Charles, Lincoln, Warren and St. Louis Counties for 20 years.”
Brian says, “Although I did not follow through with the trade I received a degree in, I learned important skills that I still use today. I feel Ranken laid the foundation for my being the business person I am today. My favorite memories while attending Ranken are the friendships I made with classmates and hanging out with them.” Brian’s nephew, Greg Rich, also attended Ranken. He graduated from the Control Systems Technology program in 2005.
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Ranken Faculty
Jonathan Willi
Electrical CAD Designer @ Tri Tech Automation
Ranken Faculty
Kyle Waelde
Fabricator @ Tri Tech Manufacturing
Ranken Faculty
Jacob Becker
System Solution Architect @ Tri Tech Automation
Ranken Faculty
Andrew Gardocki
Field Services and Controls Equipment Operator @ Tri Tech Automation
Video Profile

Jonathan Willi

Electrical CAD Designer @ Tri Tech Automation

Tri Tech Automation, based in Moscow Mills, MO, is Dedicated to Perfecting American Manufacturing. In the video link we talk with Jon Willi, who graduated Magna Cum Laude from Ranken’s Control Systems Technology program in 2017.
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Video Profile

Kyle Waelde

Fabricator @ Tri Tech Manufacturing

Tri Tech Automation, based in Moscow Mills, MO, is Dedicated to Perfecting American Manufacturing. In the video link we talk with Kyle Waelde.
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Video Profile

Jacob Becker

System Solution Architect @ Tri Tech Automation

Tri Tech Automation, based in Moscow Mills, MO, is Dedicated to Perfecting American Manufacturing. In the video link we talk with Jacob Becker.
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Video Profile

Andrew Gardocki

Field Services and Controls Equipment Operator @ Tri Tech Automation

Tri Tech Automation, based in Moscow Mills, MO, is Dedicated to Perfecting American Manufacturing. In the video link we talk with Andrew Gardocki.
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Ranken Faculty
Lauren Wimpee
Service Writer @ Schaefer Autobody
Ranken Faculty
Chett Miles
Maintenance Technician @ Midwest Sterilization
Ranken Faculty
Ricky Hochecker
Application Engineer @ Hartwig, Inc.
Ranken Faculty
Joseph Million
Machinist @ Hartwig, Inc.
Video Profile

Lauren Wimpee

Service Writer @ Schaefer Autobody

Lauren Wimpee graduated from Ranken’s Automotive Collision Repair Technology program in May 2021. She recalls, “My favorite memory was when we were learning to refinish vehicles. We had a 2019 Camry in the shop, and it had a lot of new parts that needed painting. I spent a couple of days painting everything with my instructor. It was really fun, and I learned a lot within those couple days of painting.”

Tim Green, Automotive instructor explains, “Lauren served an internship with Schaefer Autobody while earning her degree at Ranken. She now works for Schaefer as a Service Writer. Lauren tells us, “Ranken has provided me plenty of information to use while performing my job. Although I don’t directly repair vehicles, I know the processes and can do smaller tasks if needed which makes my performance more efficient. Training to get into my position full-time was also done quicker since I had a better educational background.”

Heather Sims, General Manager at Schaefer Autobody’s Fenton, Missouri location, says “Lauren began her career with Schaefer while interning at the O’Fallon, Illinois location. The internship was a valuable experience for her. She came to our South County shop in February 2021 where she took on service writing. Lauren went back to the O’Fallon site for a short time before returning to our Fenton shop to become a permanent service writer. Lauren has always been eager to take on more work and she’s definitely a team player. She has become a real asset to me, picking up the slack when other service writers left our shop. Lauren has a great attitude and works the hours she’s asked, even when those hours go beyond her regular hours. She does a remarkable job with the tasks she’s given.”

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://www.schaeferautobody.com/

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Video Profile

Chett Miles

Maintenance Technician @ Midwest Sterilization

 

Chett Miles graduated from Ranken’s Industrial Engineering Technology program in May 2021. He served an internship with Midwest Sterilization while he was working on his degree and is now a maintenance technician at Midwest. Chett says, “Ranken gave me a jump start on the maintenance field along with life skills.”

Larry Calhoun, Maintenance Supervisor at Midwest Sterilization, explains “Chet has been a great addition to our team and has grown so much since I met him. He is patient and dependable and very hard working I appreciate every day we are blessed to have him.”

Jeremy Muscher, Maintenance Manager at Midwest, says “Chett has been full time with us for several months now and has become an integral part of our team. He adapted to our routines and learned our process quickly.  He was able to work independently and fill a spot in our on-call rotation immediately after finishing his internship. He works seamlessly alongside team members with far more experience. He has an excellent work ethic and a consistently positive attitude. The quality of his character and his training at Ranken are evident and make him an asset to our company.”

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://midweststerilization.com/

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Video Profile

Ricky Hochecker

Application Engineer @ Hartwig, Inc.

Richard (Ricky) Hochecker graduated 2018 from PMT, Magna Cum Laude, and now works at Hartwig, Inc. in St. Louis as an application engineer. In both high school and at Ranken Technical College, Richard was a star performer in state and national SkillsUSA CNC Turning competitions. South Technical High School instructor Bob Arcipowski comments that Richard “always pushed himself to be the best he could be . . . I was confident he was going to be successful.” Ranken faculty member J.C. Owens agrees, saying “[he] was an outstanding student [and] consistently displayed passion and exuberance for precision machining.” Mike Wolf, an Application Manager at Hartwig and Richard’s supervisor, has been impressed by his level of preparation and discipline, saying “methodical thinking must be taught and demonstrated in the kind of strong program offered at Ranken. Ricky reflects these attributes every day.” In this interview, Richard talks about the family atmosphere and his work at Hartwig, a leading machine tool distributor that provides expert guidance, support and manufacturing solutions.
Watch the video interview: https://youtu.be/y4REoaojZVI
Learn more about Ranken’s Manufacturing Division: https://ranken.edu/divisions/manufacturing/
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Video Profile

Joseph Million

Machinist @ Hartwig, Inc.

Joseph Million graduated from Ranken Technical College in 2003, Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Precision Machining Technology. After high school, he enlisted in the Air National Guard to help pay for his post-secondary education. In this interview, Joe talks about the benefits of a Ranken education, including the ability to gain experience with Computer Numerical Control (CNC) technology. After graduating he gained a wealth of experience at a variety of machine shops. “Be a machinist first” Joe says, emphasizing that practical skills help anyone looking to become an engineer. Having seen the quality of their service, Joe signed on with his current employer Hartwig – a leading machine tool distributor that provides expert guidance, support and manufacturing solutions. Mike Wolf, Hartwig’s Application Manager, tells us that Joe’s “creativity and enthusiasm for machining and CNC controls” are rare qualities that Ranken obviously fostered.
Watch the video interview: https://youtu.be/bzfTBpwJIHU
Learn more about Ranken’s Manufacturing Division: https://ranken.edu/divisions/manufacturing
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Ranken Faculty
Michael Ratcliff
Operator Technician @ EverGrain
Ranken Faculty
Jason Broeker
Service Manager @ Lou Fusz Subaru
Ranken Faculty
Nicholas Kallal
Apprentice Electrician @ Reinhold Electric
Ranken Faculty
Griffin Grover
CNC Programmer @ Tech Manufacturing
Video Profile

Michael Ratcliff

Operator Technician @ EverGrain

Michael Ratcliff graduated Magna Cum Laude from Ranken’s Control Systems Technology program in May 2021. He is currently an Operator Technician for EverGrain, a company that has untapped the potential of barley, using this nutrient-dense grain and transforming it into world-class protein and fiber ingredients that meet the needs of food and beverage brands around the world.

Michael served an internship with EverGrain while earning his degree. “My internship with EverGrain was great!” he says. “I could directly relate my daily tasks at EverGrain to lessons learned in the classroom. My internship with EverGrain boosted my confidence and convinced me I was choosing the right career path. When the opportunity to secure contracting work with EverGrain after graduation, it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up!”

Michael had always wanted to attend college but felt the financial challenge would bar him from fulfilling that dream. “Honestly, thanks to the scholarship awards I received from Ranken, and local scholarships I applied for while in high school, and a program called WIOWA (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act), I received a full ride to college minus a few textbooks. I am very fortunate for the help I’ve received and my efforts in class paid off.” Among the seven Ranken awards Michael received were the Dennis & Marilyn Kircher Scholarship, the Red Bud Industries Scholarship, and the David Ranken Scholarship.

Alex Kraemer, Merchandise Specialist, Anheuser-Busch InBev, explains “Michael Ratcliff recently joined EverGrain Ingredients, a start-up food manufacturing facility, as a technician. His ability to address a wide variety of challenges shows the breadth and depth of his education. Michael arrives every day with the belief that results matter while displaying the courage to maintain a safe and inclusive work environment. The operations team chose Michael to conduct multiple trips to our manufacturing facilities in New Jersey. He is contributing to their success while bringing back best practices to our St. Louis facility. He continues to develop his technical and manufacturing skills by training new employees and taking on new assignments in a dynamic business environment.”

Sal Francis, Electrical instructor, tells us “Michael was an excellent student in my class. He was one of those students that was genuinely interested in learning the subject material. He helped many of my evening class students succeed because of his teaching abilities as a tutor.” Michael’s favorite memory while attending Ranken was in Mr. Francis’ PLC and HMI class. “Our class got to write a program that ran through a small-scale brewing process. It was very satisfying to build a program whose use could be seen outside of the classroom. The skills I learned while working on that project greatly helped me in the workplace.”

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://evergrainingredients.com/

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Video Profile

Jason Broeker

Service Manager @ Lou Fusz Subaru

Jason Broeker tells us, “Ranken provided practical automotive knowledge to use as foundation to start my career. Upon program completion, I was ready to enter my field and engage.” Jason graduated in November of 1999 with an associate degree in Automotive Maintenance Technology. He is currently the Service Manager for Lou Fusz Subaru. Jason also worked an internship at Lou Fusz Dodge while attending Ranken. Internships are wonderful opportunities to demonstrate your talent and knowledge of the industry and establish solid relationships with prospective employers. Jason says his favorite memories during his time at Ranken were the days spent in line class, working in the shop environment with his peers.

Nathan Pitchford, General Manager at Lou Fusz Subaru, explains “Jason came to us ready, prepared to work, and added immediate value to our team. His work ethic and attention to detail stood out right away. Jason has gone through several promotions at our dealership, and we are now proud to have him as our Service Manager. Jason gets recognition from his coworkers and clients regularly. He has helped improve our dealership’s reputation in the community and we are lucky to have him on our team.”

Jason’s cousin, Michael Davenport graduated from Ranken’s Automotive Maintenance Technology program in 1995. His uncle, Gerald Davenport, graduated in June 1970 from the Automotive Maintenance and Repair program and taught for Ranken several years afterward. Another of Jason’s uncles, Allen Davenport, also taught Automotive Maintenance for Ranken for nearly 40 years.

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://subaru.fusz.com/

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Video Profile

Nicholas Kallal

Apprentice Electrician @ Reinhold Electric

Nick Kallal credits Ranken for having a great impact on his career. “Ranken gave me the opportunity to find what I liked and to be capable of many different skills that have helped me in my career,” he tells us. “The electrical class I took for one semester taught me more than I needed to know for a first-year apprentice electrician. I am definitely ahead in my trade. The other technical classes I took at Ranken also helped me understand the industry. With basic knowledge of welding, hydraulics, mechanical and carpentry, I am able to better understand my job and career on a daily basis as an apprentice. I am very thankful for Ranken for getting me started on a great career.”

Nick graduated in May 2019 with an Associate Degree in Industrial Technology. He is an Apprentice Electrician with Reinhold Electric. Reinhold, founded in 1976, serves the greater St. Louis area, as well as Central Missouri, and Southwestern Illinois. The company utilizes over 250 electricians daily to provide service and maintenance work in homes and businesses. Their 24-hour emergency service provides customers during power outages and electrical failures.

Nick valued the hands-on training he received at Ranken. He says, “[Ranken] is definitely one-of-a-kind and will get anyone ahead on beginning a career. The job fair was a huge help in finding jobs. I had at least half a dozen job offers on the spot with another half dozen interviews ready to be set up.”

Greg Presley, former Industrial Technology Department Chair and instructor, explains “Nick was a model student. He is smart and has a great personality and work ethic. When he finished required projects in class, he would take on extra projects. It is not a surprise that he is successful in his job.”

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://www.reinholdelectric.com/

 

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Video Profile

Griffin Grover

CNC Programmer @ Tech Manufacturing

 

Griffin Grover graduated Magna Cum Laude with an Associate of Technology Degree in Advanced Manufacturing in December 2018. Griffin explains, “Ranken has vastly impacted my career and life since the first semester I was there. After eight weeks of in-class training, I was placed in my first internship at Tech Manufacturing and I’m still there four years later. [Ranken] made it so easy for me to get a job and career that I loved right out of the gate. Earning a wage in a paid internship while working on my degree was a really great aspect of their program. If it weren’t for going to Ranken, I don’t know where I would be today.” Griffin told us some of his favorite memories at Ranken were when his class was given down time to make their own personal projects in the shop. He says, “I made a set of Ford Mustang coasters on an Okuma horizontal mill that I still use today.”

J.C. Owen, Advanced Manufacturing Department Chair and instructor, tells us “Griffin’s work ethic is second to none. He attended class each day with the intent of expanding his knowledge and skills and looked for ways to grow as a machinist. A can-do, can-fix-it attitude drove Griffin. His desire and competitive nature to be among the best have allowed him to become a CNC Programmer for Tech Manufacturing, one of the elite aerospace companies in the St. Louis area.”

Rich Vaughan, Operations and Plant Manager at Tech Manufacturing, explains “Griffin is one of the biggest success stories at Tech Manufacturing!  He started as an intern and became a skilled machinist right away. He was promoted to shop floor programmer/tooling fabricator where he also excelled. From there, he was promoted to an Unigraphics NX programmer, an advanced high-end CAD/CAM/CAE system) and shop lead. Griffin has advanced in every department he has been in. He is also active in recruiting new interns. I can’t say enough about how well he is doing and how successful he’s become here. Griffin has a very bright future in this industry.”

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://techmanufacturing.com/

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Ranken Faculty
Mehmet Dinceroglu
Maintenance Technician @ DLT Properties
Ranken Faculty
James Green
Director of Field Services @ Verve Industrial Protection
Ranken Faculty
Nick Hufker
Setup Machinist @ R&S Machining
Ranken Faculty
Matthew Mays
Outside Sales Support Specialist @ Airgas
Video Profile

Mehmet Dinceroglu

Maintenance Technician @ DLT Properties

 

Ranken Technical College has responded to the need for specialized training for technicians in the workforce. Over the past decade, the Major Appliance and HVACR (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration) industries have widely adopted electronic integration into their systems, which has necessitated industry specific certifications and education. These changes occur at a time when there is already a growing gap in the supply and demand of skilled workers and Ranken is the only school in the St. Louis region that offers students the opportunity to earn dual degrees in these areas with only an additional semester of enrollment.

Mehmet Dinceroglu is one of those students. Mehmet graduated in May 2019 with dual associate degrees in HVAC Technology and Major Appliance Technology.  He is employed by DLT Properties, a family-owned property management company, as a maintenance technician.

Gary Bick, HVAC instructor, tells us “Mehmet had a very strong HVAC/Appliance background and he progressed very well through each subject. I had to keep plenty of material in front of him. He also would assist his fellow students if he saw they were struggling and help them figure it out. Mehmet was a pleasure to work with in my class.”

At the SkillsUSA 2019 SkillsUSA National Conference, Mehmet placed first in the Major Appliance and Refrigeration Technology category. He and the other contenders analyzed and diagnosed service issues on refrigerators, washers, dryers, ranges, microwave ovens and dishwashers, demonstrated brazing abilities, participated in interviews, and were tested on a series of other learning exercise. In addition, Mehmet was also awarded tools and several other prizes including a $500 stipend for representing Ranken at the national conference.

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/

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Video Profile

James Green

Director of Field Services @ Verve Industrial Protection

James Green says, “Learning the base tools and what was necessary at the job, was my best takeaway from Ranken, the greatest being structure.” James graduated May 2009 with a degree in Internet Web Based Technology. He is now the Director of Field Services for Verve Industrial Protection.

John Livingston, CEO, Verve Industrial Protection explains “One of the most challenging things about hiring young people is how to spot potential leaders. Leadership is hard to teach, but it has foundational elements: being responsive, having a ‘can do’ attitude, being able to solve new problems, not just knowing the answer to old ones. James was leadership material from the day we met him. He ‘got’ how to work within a team, how to ‘own’ a problem or task and not just do the minimum. His technical abilities are very strong. What sets him apart is his ability to lead. That leadership appeared in his early roles as an individual contributor to projects. It shines particularly as he has grown into building and managing a team where his problem-solving, interpersonal skills, and commitment show through every day. The best term I have is ‘ownership.’ He was trained to own the results – his own and his team’s. That is very rare…and valuable!”

“I knew James was in the right industry when I saw how much he enjoyed his craft,” says Evan Gudmestad, IT Assistant Division Chair. “The more technical something was, the more he smiled. The more challenging the task, the more he dug his feet in. I recall him writing code to send a friend text messages from a fake phone number or using command line commands to remotely shut down a friend’s computer. He loved doing these things. Now, ten years later, it’s no surprise his employer raves about him. He chose the right career, and now he’s reaping the rewards.”

One memory that sticks with James is, “The time Evan made me go shave. Honestly, a true-life lesson on setting policies and abiding by them . . . that’s very important in what we do as a cybersecurity company.” James has several Ranken alum in his family: brother William (2002 Industrial Electricity); cousins Patrick Green (2002 Electrical Engineering), Michael Green (2002 Control Systems Technology), and Keith Green (2010 Industrial Technology); plus uncles Tommy Green and Gordon Becker.

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://verveindustrial.com/

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Video Profile

Nick Hufker

Setup Machinist @ R&S Machining

Nick Hufker graduated Magna Cum Laude from the Precision Machining Program in May 2021. He was the recipient of the Gene Haas scholarship in 2020. Nick says, “I have been financially paying for my college education and this [scholarship] will be of great help in paying for some of my expenses.” In a letter to the scholarship committee, he wrote “I respect and value highly the work you do to keep such an amazing foundation available for newcomers in the machining industry.” Nick currently works as a Setup Machinist at R&S Machining, the who’s who of the manufacturing machining world, producing Aerospace components.

Matthew Roderick, Lead Programmer for R&S Machining, and Ranken alum explains “Nick is a great worker! Since he began working here, he has been respectful, hardworking, quality orientated, and always striving to learn. Nick started in our 3axis department stock prepping parts at night, and then quickly excelled to gain more responsibility. He currently works in our 5axis department in our new facility. He is always on time and will do whatever it takes to get the job done. Nick has become a huge asset to our company and we’re really excited to see how much the future holds for him. With his great attitude and work ethic, Nick is going to be a core asset to our company for a long time. Working directly with him every day is great and I love having him as a team member.”

“Nick Hufker was an amazing student. He was very quick to learn new skills and, in my class, often willing to help other students with their projects without me asking,” says John Vanover, Advanced Manufacturing instructor. “He has awesome work ethic and was always on time to class. He is a real example of what Ranken expects from our students.”

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
http://randsmachine.com/

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Video Profile

Matthew Mays

Outside Sales Support Specialist @ Airgas

Matthew Mays graduated with a Certificate in Fabrication and Welding Technology in May 2018. He acknowledges, “I was able to change careers while attending Ranken’s welding program, which put me in a position for a more hands-on approach in my trade with more upward mobility. I believe going through the welding program gave me an advantage over others when I applied for a position at Airgas.” Airgas is an Air Liquide company, a leading single-source supplier of gases, welding equipment and supplies, and safety products.

Matt was hired as an Inside Sales Associate at Airgas (Pacific location) in October 2017. His prior welding experience and being enrolled at Ranken made him top pick. January 2021, he was asked to join a new Airgas team as an Outside Sales Support Specialist. Matt oversees sales operations at five locations, “from soup to nuts.”

Debra Alexander, Outside Sales Support Manager for Airgas, tells us “I refer to Matt as a rock star! He’s always on time, fully loaded and ready to go. I know when I assign Matt a project, he’s going to get it done. He’s very knowledgeable about our products, as well as the products of other vendors, so he readily offers our customers supply chain solutions.”

Ron Hampton, Industrial Technology instructor, explains “ Matt was always in a good mood and pleasure to have in class. He was a diligent worker and always prepared for class.” Matt recalls one of his fondest memories being “taking selfies in my welding booth while the class was at lunch and our instructor, Mr. Hampton, just happened to walk by. The look on his face was pretty funny. He just shook his head and walked away.”

Matt’s cousin, Jake Hartman, also attended Ranken Technical College, graduating with dual degrees in CST and HVAC in 2019.

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://www.airgas.com/

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Ranken Faculty
Sam Schlechte
Maintenance Technical @ Ranken Technical College
Ranken Faculty
Nicholas Meeks
CNC Operator @ Tech Manufacturing
Ranken Faculty
Thomas Roderick
President and CEO @ R&S Machining, Inc.
Ranken Faculty
Adam Blattel
HVAC Technician @ Scott Air Force Base
Video Profile

Sam Schlechte

Maintenance Technical @ Ranken Technical College

Sam Schlechte began his Ranken journey in the summer of 2015. He has successfully completed three degrees since that time and is now on the staff of Ranken Technical College as a Maintenance Technician. Sam graduated from the Industrial Technology program in May 2017. He went on to complete his second associate’s degree in Electrical Automation Technology in 2019. Sam graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Applied Management in May 2021.

“Having a Ranken education has had many impacts on my career and life,” says Sam. “I was a student worker for the Buildings and Ground Department at Ranken during my college journey and now my career is at Ranken.” Sam acknowledges he’s enjoyed his Ranken experience.

David Cadle, Director of Buildings and Grounds at Ranken, tells us “Sam has always been a great person to work with. He is always willing to help whenever needed, he is very smart and quick to help find the problem. He possesses a great attitude and makes a positive impact with those around him. He always arrives early and is prepared to work. Sam has the skills and abilities to be highly productive at any task given to him.“

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/

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Video Profile

Nicholas Meeks

CNC Operator @ Tech Manufacturing

Nicholas Meeks graduated with an Associate of Technology degree in Advanced Manufacturing Technology at our Wentzville location in December 2020. Nick is currently a CNC (computer numerical control) Operator at Tech Manufacturing in Wright City, Missouri, where he served an apprenticeship while completing his degree. The company, founded in 1956, specializes in precision machining of complex aerospace structures.

Rich Vaughan, Operations and Plant Manager at Tech Manufacturing and Ranken alum, tells us “Nick has been a great asset to the team here at Tech Manufacturing!  He is very reliable and always comes to work with a positive attitude and is a team player. Nick will continue to grow with the company.”

Brad Elbert, Advanced Manufacturing Technology instructor, explains “The first thing I look for in a student is passion for machining. Nick had that passion from day one. He is very goal oriented. Nick is the kind of person who will successfully accomplish tasks with little to no supervision. He was always willing to help any student that was struggling. One quote that I heard him say many times was, ‘I just want it to be perfect’. Nick is the type of student that makes my job as an instructor very rewarding. There is no doubt in my mind that he will have a very successful career.”

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://techmanufacturing.com/

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Video Profile

Thomas Roderick

President and CEO @ R&S Machining, Inc.

 

As President and CEO of R&S Machining, Inc, Thomas Roderick’s unparalleled determination and work ethic has made R&S Machining a leader in the aerospace industry, specializing in 4 & 5 axis aerospace components. Tom graduated Summa Cum Laude with a certification in Machine Shop in 1987 and later taught the Precision Machining program at Ranken Technical College from fall of 1989 to 1994. Tom tells us, “Ranken taught me that you can do whatever you put your mind to. Problem solving skills instilled a work ethic giving me the confidence to preserver in the face of adversity. It has allowed me to provide for my family in ways I never would have imagined.”

After serving a two-year apprenticeship in a job shop, Tom took a position with McDonnell Douglas, headquartered at St. Louis Lambert International Airport. During his ten years at McDonnell Douglas, Tom developed a very strong passion for aerospace manufacturing and a spirited enthusiasm for bettering the business. R&S Machining was founded in 1992 by two professionals with many years of experience in the machining industry. The company manufactures aerospace components, specializing in 4 & 5 axis machining. Their leadership instills a spirit of hard work and determination. According to Harvey Performance Company, a provider of world-class solutions to its customers in the manufacturing and metalworking industries, R&S Machining has been able to expand its facilities more than 225,000 square feet and 35 employees in the past four years (HPC 2021).

R&S Machining encourages eligible employees (postsecondary students) to participate in SkillsUSA competitions. SkillsUSA is a nonprofit national organization that drives the importance of education and integrity in the trades. SkillsUSA’s goals parallel R&S Machine’s mission to produce world-class workers and leaders. Tom’s field experience inspired him to teach and mentor others. Commitment to high-quality standards, cutting-edge training, and conformance to industries and customers’ evolving requirements are the foundation of R&S Machining’s sterling reputation.

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://randsmachine.com/

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Video Profile

Adam Blattel

HVAC Technician @ Scott Air Force Base

 

Adam Blattel is much like many talented adults who spend years in search of their niche. Adam graduated with an Associate Degree in Automotive Maintenance Technology in May 2003. He returned to Ranken the fall term of 2019 as an evening student to pursue a two-year certificate in Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Technology (HVAC), graduating in December 2020. Adam is a HVAC Technician at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois.

Benjamin Brown, HVAC Section Supervisor at Scott Air Force Base and HVAC instructor at Ranken Technical College, tells us “Adam was in my residential HVAC class. He was very serious about his education. He worked hard in class and asked lots of questions; his communication skills are outstanding. Adam applied for a temporary position at Scott AFB in the 375th HVAC Shop. This is a great way to gain experience working on all types of commercial, residential, and institutional equipment just coming out of school. He was hired as an apprentice but is working at a journeyman skill level. Adam is maintaining critical chillers, pumps, and air handling units that enable the Air Force global mission. He has been recognized as the ‘Performer of the Month’ for the 375th Civil Engineering Squadron. His background is working with computers and this fits in great when working with automated control systems. Adam is always on time and ready to work. He displays outstanding work ethic.  I am proud to know Adam and to have been one of his instructors.”

Adam acknowledges, “My certificate from Ranken is the only reason I have this job. Every respected employer in this region requires you to attend Ranken. When speaking with potential employers in the Greater St. Louis area, like Jarrell Contracting and the Union, I repeatedly heard the same advice, ‘You have to go to Ranken.’” Of Adam’s favorite memories while attending Ranken, he enjoyed helping younger students succeed.

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://www.scott.af.mil/

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Ranken Faculty
Scott Miller
Owner and Operator @ 360 Machine Shop
Ranken Faculty
Scott Griffin
Owner and General Manager @ Griffin Automotive Design & Collision Center
Ranken Faculty
Brandon Wheeler
Level II Technician @ Core & Main
Ranken Faculty
Matthew Turk
Production Revit Technician @ TBE Architects
Video Profile

Scott Miller

Owner and Operator @ 360 Machine Shop

Scott Miller tells us, “Ranken provided him the tools and methods necessary to be successful in this field; not just textbook knowledge but practical application by experienced professionals in the business.” Scott graduated Summa Cum Laude with an Associate Degree in Precision Machining Technology in 2017.

Scott served as a Corporal in the United States Marine Corps for four years after working as a residential general contractor. He worked in machining and construction fabrication both before and after attending Ranken. Scott is now the Owner & Operator of 360 Machine Shop, LLC, a precision machining and manufacturing shop specializing in 5-Axis machining located in East Peoria, Illinois.

Scott competed in the 2017 and 2018 SkillsUSA CNC Technician contests. He took 1st place at both the district and state championships. Scott advanced to the SkillsUSA National Conferences, where he placed 10th nationally in 2017 and finished 3rd in 2018.

Chris Clinton, former Precision Machining instructor, explains “Being an instructor at Ranken Technical College provided some of my most cherished memories in the machining industry. The most rewarding aspect was working with students who had that ‘it’ factor; Scott Miller was that student. His work ethic, ambition, and raw talent always stood out to us. Scott was not only engaged at the highest level personally, he also made himself available to help any students who struggled with the material. I’ve kept up with Scott since his time at Ranken. I couldn’t be more excited about both his growth in the industry and knowing he will ‘pay it forward’ by bringing young people into the trade and helping them reach their full potential. The only thing Scott loves more than the machining industry is Candy Corn!!”

Scott says, “My favorite memories while at Ranken were working with students who genuinely wanted to learn and better their abilities, and the faculty who legitimately encouraged growth and went above-and-beyond to facilitate it.” Scott worked as a tutor, shop assistant, and lab assistant while attending Ranken.

Scott pictured above at 2018 SkillsUSA National Conference (2nd from right)
Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://www.facebook.com/360MachineShop/

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Video Profile

Scott Griffin

Owner and General Manager @ Griffin Automotive Design & Collision Center

 

Scott Griffin explains, “Ranken prepared me for my career in the automotive field. It taught me to be responsible for my time throughout the day and be productive. I was able to secure employment right away after graduation and was a journeyman tech within two years of graduating.” Scott graduated in 1992 from Ranken’s Automotive Collision Repair Program.

“After ten years in the field, I started my own company,” he says. Scott is the proud owner and general manager of Griffin Automotive Design & Collision Center in Bonne Terre, Missouri. “I started very small in a 1,600 square foot shop. Now, after our fourth expansion, I have a 35,000 square foot facility. I give Ranken Technical College a lot of credit for helping set my career in motion with the right knowledge and tools I needed.”

Griffin Automotive Design has been a family-owned and operated auto repair shop since 2002. It is your one-stop shop for all things automotive: full restoration, metal fabrication, collision, body work, upholstery and interior, and everything mechanical featuring 54 working bays.

While attending Ranken Technical College, Scott was the VICA (Vocational Industrial Clubs of America) class representative, and he won a number of awards at local and state Missouri competitions. Scott enjoyed the sportsmanship aspect of the program. VICA, now identified as SkillsUSA, brings employers, educators, and students together to promote superior workmanship, life-long education, and pride in the dignity of work. The contests encourage hands-on, friendly competition among students giving them recognition for their skills.

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://www.griffinautomotivedesign.com/

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Video Profile

Brandon Wheeler

Level II Technician @ Core & Main

 

Brandon Wheeler concedes, “Ranken Technical College introduced me to what it is to be a professional and provided me with the tools and knowledge needed to achieve a prominent status. This has had a profound impact on my life, empowering me with the ability to deal with all types of individuals and make a good, lasting impression.” His fondest memory of Ranken is the first time he brought his newborn baby girl to the College for all the staff to see. “Everyone was so happy to meet her!” he says.

Brandon successfully completed dual associates degrees, first Architectural Technology in May 2020, followed by Information Technology in May 2021. Duke Miller, Information Technology instructor, tells us “Brandon was a very positive and attentive student. I recall him always being willing to help other students. Brandon wasn’t one of those students who just sat in the back of the classroom, he was appropriately social and made sure everyone was happy.”

Brandon is employed by Core & Main as a Level II Technician. In the short time he has been there, “Brandon hit the ground running, taking only a couple days of on-the-job training to get acclimated, which normally takes two or three weeks,” says Zak Sheffield, Information Technology Manager at Core & Main. “Brandon’s job is one that’s not easily mastered. He supports our leadership team, and the position is very demanding. Brandon has a great personality and technical training to match; he checked all the boxes for us.”

Core & Main, headquartered in St. Louis, was founded in 1874. This company is a leading distributor of water, sewer, storm drain and fire protection products in the United States. Their seasoned staff serves plumbers, pipefitters, fire protection contractors, and the irrigation market, ready to answer their questions regarding local specifications.

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://coreandmain.com/

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Video Profile

Matthew Turk

Production Revit Technician @ TBE Architects

“Matthew Turk was always willing to help other students and his instructors as well. He worked as the department tutor, arriving very early every morning, and prepared to work,” says Kelley Raftery, Architecture Department Chair and instructor. “He displayed leadership skills and a willingness to teach others when needed. Matt was trustworthy and reliable.”

Matt graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Technology in May 2018. Since that time, he held the position of Intern Architect/ASBIM for Hollerbach Designs and is currently employed as a Production Revit Technician for TBE Architects. TBE (Thalden Boyd Emery) Architects is an architectural firm based out of St. Louis, Missouri, specializing in design for the hospitality and gaming industries since 1971. TBE has completed more than 400 hotel and 300 casino design projects throughout North America.

Matt tells us, “Ranken opened many doors within my field. I’ve been through several positions and received many inquiries due to my degree from Ranken. My favorite memory from my time spent at Ranken is late night projects in the studio with several other students.”

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://www.linkedin.com/in/tbe-architects-795452115/
http://tbearchitects.com

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Ranken Faculty
Travis Oliver
Head Painter @ American Automotive, St. Louis
Ranken Faculty
Anthony Zinser
BIM Design Technician @ Archimages, Inc.
Ranken Faculty
Matthew Roderick
Lead Programmer @ R&S Machining
Ranken Faculty
Frank Roth
Owner @ Elite Tool
Video Profile

Travis Oliver

Head Painter @ American Automotive, St. Louis

 

“Ranken really solidified me as a technician. I was a self-trained car enthusiast. The education I received at Ranken made me a professional technician and took my skills to the next level. The training Ranken gave me has allowed me to provide a good and comfortable living for my wife and daughter,” says Travis Oliver. Travis graduated in 2006 from Ranken’s Collision Repair Technology program. He is currently the Head Painter at American Automotive, St. Louis.

Tim Clark, Owner, American Automotive, tells us, “I have had the pleasure of working with Travis for a long time. The dictionary defines superlatives as: of the highest kind, quality, or order, surpassing all else, or others, supreme. When it comes to his work and who he is as a husband and father, as well as a coworker, that definition stands true. We are lucky to have him.” Tim has owned and operated American Automotive for more than 35 years. The company is a 4th generation-owned collision center.

Travis had the honor of being selected by Dan-Am Company, the exclusive distributor of SATA spray paint guns in the United States, to spend 10 days in Stuttgart, Germany (SATA’s headquarters) on an all-expense-paid trip to tour the factory, gain training, and explore Germany. He says, “It was a trio of a lifetime and very few painters earn this opportunity.”

John Helterbrand, former Department Chair of Automotive Collision, recalls Travis coming into the program, as many students do, thinking that customizing and restoring cars was his dream. “I saw Travis reexamine those ambitions as he realized his talents and abilities in collision and refinishing. I believe Travis is one of the best refinishers in St. Louis. I recruited him to teach evening school for Ranken’s collision program post-graduation.”

I remember a time when I was struggling with aluminum welding and passing my ICAR certification test. Mr. Helterbrand gave up a Saturday to train with me, one-on-one, to sharpen my skills. I am very grateful for his dedication to see me succeed.”

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
http://americanautomotiveonline.com/

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Video Profile

Anthony Zinser

BIM Design Technician @ Archimages, Inc.

Anthony Zinser graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Architectural Technology from Ranken Technical College in 2015. He describes his collegiate life with pride, “Ranken drove me in pursuit of my career and education. I always had a good work ethic before I started school at Ranken, but Ranken reinforced that attribute.” He recalls, “Some of my favorite memories of my time spent on campus are staying up late with my classmates in the architecture studio working on projects and our models.” Anthony was honored to serve as the Vice President of Phi Theta Kappa.

Anthony interned for Hilbolt Curtainwall Incorporated, a nonresidential building construction company in St. Louis, for a semester and then joined them full time after completing his degree. He worked for them about five years. He is currently a BIM (building information modeling) Design Technician at Archimages, Inc. Jim Huber, Principal at Archimages, tells us “Anthony Zinser has been a great addition to our team.”

Missy Borchardt, former Architecture Department Chair and instructor, commented “Anthony always came to class with a good attitude and ready to learn. He would take on additional projects that would stretch his ability.” David Graf, another Architecture instructor, tells us “Anthony was a good student. He was enthusiastic about architecture and always got along well with his fellow classmates.”

Anthony’s great grandfather, John Joseph Bryne, attended Ranken’s plumbing program in 1957.

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://archimages-stl.com/

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Video Profile

Matthew Roderick

Lead Programmer @ R&S Machining

Matthew Roderick is a Lead Programmer at R&S Machining, a leader in the aerospace industry. Matthew graduated Summa Cum Laude with an Associate Degree in Precision Machining and Magna Cum Laude with a B.S. in Applied Management December 2017.

Jim Maloney, Operations Manager for R&S Machining, explains “Matthew Roderick has worked his way up to our Lead programmer from parts finishing. His work ethic, attitude and performance-based results are commendable. He is a disciplined, dependable team player and willing to lend a hand where required. I firmly believe that the combination of technical school training and his industry experience complement each other very well.”

Jeff Ogle, former Precision Machining Department Chair and instructor, tells us “Matthew was an exemplary student in the Precision Machining program. It didn’t take long to see he was going to be an asset to R&S Machining as an intern. He always had a great attitude and an outstanding work ethic. Matt pushed to learn new things, always working ahead and willing to lend a hand to his classmates,” he says. Jeff recalls Matt competing in SkillsUSA District Manufacturing contests. “In 2016, Matt placed 1st in the CNC Milling contest, advancing to State where he took 2nd place. In 2017, Matt and his team placed 1st in the Automated Manufacturing contest, advanced to State, and placed 1st again. Next stop, the SkillsUSA National Conference where Matt led his team to win the gold!”

Matthew says his Ranken education gave him the foundation and fundamentals that are so critical for continued success in the machining industry. “Without it, he says, I wouldn’t have been able to excel as much as I have and as fast as I did. I was employed by R&S Machining while I was at Ranken during both of my programs.” His favorite memory is winning gold at the 2017 SkillsUSA National Conference. Matt was also nominated for the David Ranken Jr. award in 2017.

Tom Roderick, Matthew’s father, is a Ranken alum. He received a certificate in Machine Shop in 1987 and later taught the Precision Machining program at Ranken.

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://randsmachine.com/

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Video Profile

Frank Roth

Owner @ Elite Tool

Frank was a very good student in high school and when he decided to go to Ranken his college counselors tried to dissuade him, but he knew what he wanted to do. It is clear that Frank made the right choice. After graduating from Ranken he went to work for a St. Louis based machine shop and after a time started working at the shop he now owns, Elite Tool in Moscow Mills, MO. “I firmly believe in the Ranken Model,” says Roth. “With the skills I’ve learned and the opportunities I’ve had in industry to further my training, I was able to run a machine and fabrication shop and become the plant manager of Elite Tool when I was just 26 years old. We purchased the business and have owned Elite Tool since 2008.” In 2020 Frank gave a generous gift to the Ranken West Endowed Scholarship. “I received scholarships when I went to Ranken,” says Roth IV. “The money that I was awarded paid for my entire first year and part of my second and I ultimately graduated with zero debt for my education.”

He added, “I’ve been very successful in my career, thanks to the start I got at Ranken. It’s time to give back — to Ranken and to the community in which I live. As the demand continues to rise for more skilled workers in the region, we all need to step up and support this collaborative partnership in the community and help students on their way to successful tech careers.”

Roth’s father, Frank III, is also a Ranken graduate, earning his associate degree in Gas and Diesel engines in 1974. He now works for his son at Elite Tool.

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/

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Ranken Faculty
Richard Vaughan
Operations/Plant Manager @ Tech Manufacturing
Ranken Faculty
Colton Knowles
Custom Home Building Assistant @ Riesenmy Construction Services
Ranken Faculty
Nicholas Woolbright
CNC Machinist @ Boeing Company
Ranken Faculty
Nour Fuqa
Architectural Assistant @ HT Design, LLC
Video Profile

Richard Vaughan

Operations/Plant Manager @ Tech Manufacturing

Tech Manufacturing, with over 70 employees at their facility in Wright City, MO, has been a top supplier to major Aerospace manufacturers for over five decades. Alumnus Rich Vaughan, their Wright City Operations/Plant Manager, talks with us about the value of a Ranken degree and his start in the industry. He also discusses Tech Manufacturing’s valued partnership with our college, which produces a steady stream of skilled employees and promotions. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without Ranken,” Rich tells us.

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/

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Video Profile

Colton Knowles

Custom Home Building Assistant @ Riesenmy Construction Services

“Ranken helps most students obtain a sense of a scheduled, orderly life with rules you must follow no matter how ridiculous students may think they are,” says Colton Knowles. “The classes were very balanced in ratio of students-to-instructors, which alleviated the challenge of receiving instructive, one-on-one clarity when you simply asked for it.”

Students in the St. Louis campus Construction Division programs use their skills to build houses in the neighborhood through our nonprofit Ranken Community Development Corporation (RCDC). They receive construction training in a “learn by doing” style, supervised by our faculty in every facet of construction. Colton enjoyed plumbing those houses with his class during the winter of 2019. Most of his classmates had never been a part of a “build” before and he enjoyed seeing everybody’s reaction to the physical demands and know-how required when piping a house together. He says, “You learn a lot about the people you thought you knew when you get to work out in the field.”

Dave Munie, Plumbing Department Chair and instructor, explains “Colton is a go-getter and was one of the best in his class. He is very focused on the quality of his work.” Colton graduated Cum Laude with a Certificate in Plumbing Technology in May 2020. “My work at Riesenmy Construction allows me to use all my talents as a technician, craftsman, plumber, and assisting in all aspects of custom home building, particularly historical homes,” says Colton.

Nathen Riesenmy, Owner of Riesenmy Construction Services, describes Colton as well-suited for the many facets hit profession entails. “Colton is a long-time acquaintance; our families have known one another since Colton was young. He worked with me years ago before venturing on to other jobs and enrolling at Ranken. He comes with a wealth of knowledge and a great work ethic. We are an all-trades company that performs custom work primary in renovation. Colton often refers to his Ranken instructors when explaining techniques he picked up while earning his college certification.”

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/

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Video Profile

Nicholas Woolbright

CNC Machinist @ Boeing Company

Nick Woolbright is currently a Computer Numerical Control Machinist writing code for 7-axis robotic arms on automated robots for the Boeing Company, the world’s largest aerospace company. He graduated with an Associate Degree in Precision Machining Technology in May 2018. Nick shares his heartfelt gratitude for having attained his Ranken degree. He says, “Ranken has allowed me to get a fantastic career very early in life. This allowed me to increase the quality of my life exponentially . . . I attribute my success solely to my experience at Ranken and how it led me to a good job.” Nick and his wife, Crystal, tied the knot in 2020 and purchased their first home this year.

Nick and his team competed in the 2018 SkillsUSA Automated Manufacturing District Contest. They took 1st place and advanced to the State Championship where they placed 1st again, bringing home the gold. Nick and his team qualified to complete at the SkillsUSA National Conference held in Louisville, Kentucky. He was excited at the prospect of competing against rivals from across the country. Nick’s experience of participating at the national conference is one of his favorite memories during his time at Ranken.

Jeff Ogle, former Precision Machining Department Chair and instructor, tells us “Nick was a great student and I enjoyed having him in the Precision Machining program. I remember helping Nick prepare for one of his interviews. I think he thought I was crazy based on some of the questions I was asking him while preparing. Nick came back in the next day and said, ‘Mr. Ogle you were right about the questions,’ but he got the job! I am glad to hear Nick is successful and doing well!”

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
http://www.boeing.com/

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Video Profile

Nour Fuqa

Architectural Assistant @ HT Design, LLC

Nour Fuqa began her collegiate journey in the Architectural Engineering program at Birzeit University in Palestine. When she and her family moved to the United States in 2016, Nour wanted to continue her studies. “Ranken was recommended by a friend who is a Ranken alumna,” she said. “Besides being a good program, the hire rate for graduation is extremely high from Ranken.” Nour graduated Magna Cum Laude from Ranken Technical College with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Architecture in 2019. She has recently been awarded a Director’s Scholarship from Washington University in St. Louis to pursue her master’s degree in architecture.

Nour is an architectural assistant for HT Design, LLC in St. Louis. Duane Thompson, Principal, HT Design, appreciates having Nour on his team. “During this challenging last year, Miss Fuqa has been a great team member and reliable asset,” he said. “She has shown great capacity for putting together construction drawing sets including researching code standards and zoning requirements. Miss Fuqa is exceptionally creative. She communicates well and has the confidence to articulate design vision to our clients. I am excited to see Miss Fuqa continue to sharpen her skillset as a young, up and coming designer.”

One of her favorite instructors at Ranken was Elizabeth Proost, who shared, “Nour was an introspective student who exhibited a true desire to produce quality design. She always challenged herself to thoroughly investigate the design prompt, was open to suggestion, and offered a refreshing approach to problem solving. In the studio environment, Nour was well liked, and her voice gave depth to the studio.”

Nour recalls her favorite memory of Ranken being Portfolio Day where she got the chance to connect and network with new people and professionals in the field. “Through the studio classes, Ranken prepared me to expedite project phases from concept design through construction documentation,” said Nour. She is very excited to begin the next step in her life, pursuing her graduate degree at Washington University in St. Louis.

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/

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Ranken Faculty
Stephen “Andrew” Taylor
Draftsman and Taper System Estimator @ Crown Supply
Ranken Faculty
Oliver Gilmore
Collision Repair Technician @ American Automotive
Ranken Faculty
Brian Imboden
Aircraft Painter @ Boeing
Ranken Faculty
Cody Frank
Plumbing Superintendent @ Comfort Systems USA, Mtech-ICON
Video Profile

Stephen “Andrew” Taylor

Draftsman and Taper System Estimator @ Crown Supply

Stephen “Andrew” Taylor graduated in May 2018 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Architectural Technology. He served an internship at Frontenac Engineering Group after completion of the first year of his program, then began working at Crown C. Supply during the summer after his second year. Andrew is currently a Draftsman and Taper System Estimator @ Crown Supply where he is appreciated for his contributions.

Dave Kelly, Assistant Branch Manager at Crown Supply, explains “Andrew is very skilled in Auto-Cad and Revit, and most of his work at this location is with Auto-Cad. He is organized and understands prioritizing work on deadlines. He was able to hit the ground running after his time interning with us prior to accepting a full-time position.  Andrew understands workflow and adjusts ‘on the fly’ to changes based on customer requests. He is a dedicated worker, is on time, and works extra time as needed to fulfill needs during peak times. Andrew is willing to perform any task working toward the success of the team.”

Elizabeth Proost, Architecture instructor, tells us “Andrew Taylor was a resourceful and creative student with an eye towards detail. His unique approach to problem solving was influenced by his curiosity about the world around him. He was well-liked by his fellow students and was instrumental in the refurbishment of the significant ‘Falling Water’ model on display in the architecture department.”

Andrew speaks to the impact his Ranken education has had on his career. “I am more knowledgeable with the programs I use and understanding of the layout of the building plans,” he says. Of his favorite memories while attending Ranken, Andrew enjoyed the unique opportunities available to architecture students. He reflects, “Every couple of years, [classes] travelled overseas and were able to visit the buildings we studied in class, like the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris.” Andrew was the President of Phi Theta Kappa in 2018.

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://crowncsupply.com/

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Video Profile

Oliver Gilmore

Collision Repair Technician @ American Automotive

Oliver Gilmore received his Associate Degree in Automotive Collision Repair (ACR) Technology from Ranken Technical College in May of 2015. He currently works at American Automotive, a full-service auto body repair shop founded in 1929. American Automotive’s April Haddix notes that the company employs a number of Ranken alumni. She has observed firsthand that the college “provides the tools and skills needed for our staff to be well-rounded technicians.”

ACR Department Chair and instructor John Helterbrand states that as a student, Oliver was “very quality conscious, [he] pushed himself to be the best. I remember he was driven to work constantly on his hobby vehicle – a four-wheel drive that he loved!” Only a few years after graduating from Ranken, Oliver became a part-time evening instructor in collision repair. John was equally impressed by Oliver’s teaching ability, saying he “was a very good instructor, due to his compassion for people and his empathy.” Oliver continues to keep in touch with his former classmates, and former students, in the industry.

April sums up by telling us “Oliver is amazing. He has the combination of drive and skills that don’t come along very often!” According to a recent survey by the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF), Oliver is one of nearly 200,000 collision technicians nationwide employed at over 40,000 collision shops. Average annual income in the field is $54,842, with almost one in three technicians earning over $70,000.

Learn More at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
http://americanautomotiveonline.com/
https://www.facebook.com/americanautomotivestl
https://www.collisioneducationfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/2019-Snapshot-of-the-Collision-Industry-Executive-Summary.pdf

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Video Profile

Brian Imboden

Aircraft Painter @ Boeing

Brian Imboden graduated May 2017 from Ranken’s Automotive Collision Repair Technology program. While working on his associates degree, Brian worked full time in a body. He is currently an aircraft painter at Boeing, the world’s largest aerospace company. Brian shared that his Ranken credentials were a great resource when applying for employment with Boeing.

Josh Avello, former Automotive Collision instructor and Ranken alum, tells us “Brian was an example of the quality of student Ranken instructors want. You could tell he was genuinely polite and attentive. He got along well with many, as I would see him laughing with friends, but Brian was also quick to be serious about working. He was reliable and didn’t hesitate when it came time to get the job done in the shop. I recall him being very humble about winning the SkillsUSA competition among his classmates.”

Brian was drawn to SkillsUSA competitions where he medaled multiple times carrying the torch for Ranken. In 2016, Brian placed 1st in the Collision Repair Technology district and state contests. He took 1st place medals in both contests again in 2017. Winning the gold at the state level qualified Brian for the 2016 and 2017 SkillsUSA National Conferences held in Louisville, Kentucky for which he received a $500 complementary stipend for representing Ranken. These are among Brian’s favorite memories of his time spent at Ranken.

Brian explains, “[Boeing] is a wonderful company to be with. They always want to have you expand yourself by going further with the company . . . The people are fun to be around.  Working on fighter jets is always cool and fun; seeing the final product flying up in the air is always a sight to see.”

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
http://www.boeing.com/

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Video Profile

Cody Frank

Plumbing Superintendent @ Comfort Systems USA, Mtech-ICON

 

Now a Master Plumber and Plumbing Superintendent for Comfort Systems USA, Mtech-ICON in Houston, Texas, Cody Frank tells us Ranken had a huge impact on his career. “The plumbing program at Ranken jump started an awesome career . . . Ranken classes and instructors put me ahead of my coworkers with equal and sometimes even more experience. Coming from a small town in Southern Illinois, I never would have imagined I’d be managing plumbing crews and helping run a large-scale company in Austin, Texas doing all sorts of commercial jobs,” he says. Cody received his Certificate of Plumbing Technology in 2007. He is a State of Texas Responsible Master Plumber who carries a Medical Gas Endorsement and owns a small side business named Redbird Plumbing Service, LLC.

Victor Mangold, Vice President of Construction, Comfort Systems USA, Mtech-ICON,  shared “Cody is a great success story here. Within six months of joining Mtech, Cody was chosen as the new field superintendent of our plumbing workforce. He has really excelled and developed a culture of loyalty in his team. Cody gets our name out to the customer base. The sky’s the limit for Cody and we’re proud of him.”

Cody adds, “[The Ranken Plumbing Program] taught me many formulas and methods I did not use right away but always had in my ‘tool bag,’ so to speak. I’m proud to be a Commercial Superintendent managing around 50 men. Ranken teaches you skills and knowledge and gives you the motivation and confidence you need to get in, thrive, and advance in the Plumbing and Pipefitting trade.”

One of Cody’s fondest memories of the Plumbing program was the class final. He says, “Topping out a 3-story building frame before I knew much at all was pretty cool.” Two of Cody’s closest friends, Brian Meado (2007 CST) and David Murphy (2008 HVAC) also graduated from Ranken Technical College.

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://comfortsystemsusa.com/

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Ranken Faculty
Lori Sommer
Associate Director of Charter School Compliance @ Washington University in St. Louis
Ranken Faculty
Jeff Scott
Training Supervisor @ Ameren
Ranken Faculty
Deanna Landreth Law
Architectural Technician @ Archimages
Ranken Faculty
Tyler Milek
Machinist @ The Gund Company
Video Profile

Lori Sommer

Associate Director of Charter School Compliance @ Washington University in St. Louis

 

Lori Sommer received her Associate Degree in Machine Shop Technology in May 1991. She tells us Ranken had an amazing impact on her life. “I learned the practical skills of the trade in an excellent program with exceptional instructors. However, the lessons went far beyond that. I was taught the dignity of labor, as well as critical thinking skills that eventually applied to all aspects of my life.” Lori was a student in the McDonnell Douglas Foundation Scholarship/Internship Program while attending Ranken. While she had hoped to acquire permanent employment after completing the program, the aerospace company began laying off one out of every seven workers. Lori was honored with the Outstanding Graduate and the Perfect Attendance in Program Awards at graduation.

With over 15 years with the Associated General Contractors of Missouri, where she managed operations for Construction Careers Center Charter High School, Lori now holds the position of Associate Director of Charter School Compliance at Washington University in St. Louis.

One memory of Ranken, very personal to Lori, speaks to her being the only female in her machining class. She remembers the program starting off a bit rocky. Back then, women in the trades were often looked upon with some suspicion and disdain. She says, “Most of the guys didn’t know how to speak to me for the first six months. I preferred the silence to their sometimes-cutting remarks. I kept my head down and focused on the challenging courses.”

Two weeks before May graduation, her shop instructor, Mr. Pumfrey opened a discussion about the future and who merited their upcoming degrees. He pointed to Lori, saying “What about her?” She recalls the guys all turning to her, several of them chiming in, “She deserves it; she earned it. She worked her behind off for this.” Lori reveals, “It was honestly one of the proudest moments I’ve ever experienced, more so than any honors or awards. In that moment I truly felt accepted as an equal by my peers.” Mr. Pumfrey often stayed and tutored Lori most days after school during the first semester so she could practice on the machines and improve her skills.

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://wustl.edu/

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Video Profile

Jeff Scott

Training Supervisor @ Ameren

There is a critical shortage of industrial technicians in the workforce. Employers are partnering with Ranken to help build their pipeline of skilled workers. Earning potential for occupations in this industry is limited only by your desire to learn. Career path opportunities into supervision and management, or entrepreneurship are endless. It is a multi-skill, multi-craft profession which provides a lot of flexibility to advance your career.

Jeffery Scott graduated Cum Laude from Ranken’s Industrial Technology program in December 2006. He can attest to opportunities in this field. Following graduation, Jeff dove in to working for local industry. One job search led him to John Henry Foster, the largest, full-service pneumatic and hydraulic equipment distributor in the Midwest, where he was an Air Service Technician. In 2008, Jeff joined the ranks of Ranken faculty for the next ten years, teaching Industrial Mechanical Systems in the Industrial Technology program. He is currently a Training Supervisor for Ameren, a Fortune 500 company that powers the quality of life for millions of people throughout Illinois and Missouri.

Greg Presley, Industrial Technology Department Chair and instructor, explains “Jeff Scott was an outstanding student with an eye for detail and the desire and drive to accomplish any task at the highest level. When Tim Hessel, former Industrial Electrical instructor, asked  if I could refer a student to assemble and mount electric brakes for his motor shop, I immediately said ‘Jeff Scott.’ Being that Mr. Hessel was extremely attentive to the aesthetic and functionality of every electric device installed in his shop, Jeff was the only student up for the task. After the install was complete, Mr. Hessel not only complimented Jeff, but found more work for him to do. He was the only student worker I ever heard Mr. Hessel brag about.”

Jeff expressed the impact that Ranken has had on his career, “Ranken is a great place to be from! My work life is a direct result of what I learned both as a student and as a teacher at Ranken.” In 2011, Jeff received the Distinguished Young Alumni Award.

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://www.ameren.com/

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Video Profile

Deanna Landreth Law

Architectural Technician @ Archimages

Deanna Landreth Law graduated March 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Technology. She is now an Architectural Technician for Archimages. Archimages Inc. is an award-winning leader in the Architectural, Engineering, and Design Industry in the Midwest. Jim Huber, Principal at Archimages, explains “Deanna was well prepared to step in and immediately be productive on our projects. As with anyone, there is a learning curve regarding the way we like to do things and our drawing standards, but she enthusiastically picked that up rather quickly. Our culture centers around teams that work together to create a common goal. She has fit into that culture rather easily and continues to learn and expand her work skills on a daily basis. She is a very important part of our team.”

Deanna tells us, “Ranken has taught me that showing up ready, in uniform or proper attire, and being ready is half the battle. It really builds a lot of respect. Deanna was Student Ambassador President, Head Resident Assistant, Student Government President, Phi Theta Kappa President, and Student Worker in various departments; she was an active member of the Ranken community. She adds, “Some of my favorite memories are staying up late working on models in the [Architecture] studio perfecting every little detail of a project.” Deanna also completed an internship at The Korte Company, a design-build construction firm, during her junior year. Her cousin, Matthew Omans, is also a Ranken alum.

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://archimages-stl.com/

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Video Profile

Tyler Milek

Machinist @ The Gund Company

 

Tyler Milek, graduate of Ranken’s Advanced Precision Machining Technology Program, explains, “Ranken has helped and allowed me to not only expand my knowledge for my career path in programming, but also has allowed me to be more creative in my free time. I also invested in a CNC router and mill for the robotics team I mentor, and I can now teach middle and high school students about machining.”

Tyler went to work for The Gund Company as a machinist after graduating Cum Laude in May 2020. [The company] is a global, vertically integrated, manufacturer and fabricator of engineered material solutions for the most demanding electrical and mechanical requirements of our industry leaders. “Tyler is a valued employee,” says Josh D’Atri, Value Stream Manager, at The Gund Company . . . “He is eager to learn and is capable of working in many areas of the shop. What we admire most about Tyler is that he is a great team player and has a lot of potential for future growth within our organization.”

Paul Durkee, Precision Machining Technology Instructor, recalls “Tyler was the type of student that is an asset to others around him. Besides having a passion for machining and engineering, he has a great work ethic and is one of the nicest guys you will meet. Tyler went above and beyond during his time at Ranken, and I expect that he will have an abundance of success in his career moving forward.”

One of Tyler’s fondest memories of his Ranken experience is having the opportunity to create a custom set of coasters for Missouri Senator, Roy Blunt, with the U.S. Senate Seal on the inside.

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://www.facebook.com/TheGundCompany/
https://thegundcompany.com/

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Ranken Faculty
Kyle Neely
Technician @ Schaefer Autobody Centers
Ranken Faculty
David Munie
Department Chair & Instructor, Plumbing Department @ Ranken Technical College
Ranken Faculty
Caleb Goodrich
Material Handling Equipment and Controls & Programmable Logic Controls Technician @ CBRE
Ranken Faculty
John Nance
Owner/Operator of All The Details
Video Profile

Kyle Neely

Technician @ Schaefer Autobody Centers

Kyle Neely graduated Magna Cum Laude in May 2007 with a degree in Automotive Collision Repair (ACR). He is employed as a Technician by Schaefer Autobody Centers. Kristen Henry, a Sales & Marketing Lead at Schaefer, is impressed by his skills and willingness to help peers. “[Kyle] is a pillar of Schaefer Autobody Centers and we are proud he joined our team in 2008. Ranken produces high caliber technicians and we look forward to continuing to hire Ranken graduates.”

Beyond his professional accomplishments, Kyle Neely has made a major impact on social media. As the host of YouTube channel BlueCollarKyle, he provides a look behind the scenes of collision repair. Kyle produces step-by-step videos of various projects while providing valuable tips to industry professionals and laypersons alike. The channel has produced over 750 videos with a cumulative total of over 4.5 million views! BlueCollarKyle also has a strong presence on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Tik Tok. Kyle is a true ambassador for a field that employs 180,000 repair specialists across the nation.

Kyle gives Ranken props for his success, telling us “I knew I was going to work on cars from a young age. Ranken was able to dial in my knowledge and skills to the point that I could start my career with confidence. I appreciate the networking and connections I made while at Ranken. Some of those connections are part of the reason I’m where I am now.”

ACR Department Chair and faculty member John Helterbrand recalls how impressed he was with his former student. “Kyle was different, he wanted to bring attention to his industry. He was involved in the earliest days of social media, even writing code for Myspace.” John appreciates that Kyle is still engaged with Ranken, such as sitting on an Advisory Board. “Our industry wants to hear what he has to say. I’ve seen high school students, and teachers, who want his autograph or a selfie with him. Through it all, Kyle has stayed true to himself. He was and is a well-grounded young man, looking to help any way he can . . . celebrity does not go to his head!”

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
www.youtube.com/channel/UCVL5dT9figJYVNh5NhCGqZA
https://www.schaeferautobody.com/

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Video Profile

David Munie

Department Chair & Instructor, Plumbing Department @ Ranken Technical College

 

Dave “The Plumber” Munie graduated from Ranken’s Plumbing Technology program in 1990. He took the post of Plumbing Department Chair and Instructor at Ranken in 2015. Since that time, Dave has been writing curriculum and teaching day students the craft of plumbing. He also maintains a departmental budget and does an incredible job of recruiting future plumbers for our industry. Dave has increased enrollment in Ranken’s Plumbing Technology program four-fold in the past five years. With Dave’s ingenuity and imagination, Ranken now has a state-of-the-art three-story plumbing laboratory. “[The structure has] 43 bathrooms, so every student’s going to put full bathrooms in. They’re going to do laundries, kitchens, water heaters . . . and we’re going to turn it on,” he says. “We’re growing great plumbers from the ground up.”

Dave, Master Plumber, has been a member of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 101 in Belleville, Illinois for 27 years. He’s been a leader in charge of many different facets of the plumbing industry including commercial, residential, and industrial. Dave is the former owner and operator of a plumbing company himself; he possesses entrepreneurial experience and a love of the trade. He also taught plumbing and pipefitting apprentices in foreman certification and Illinois plumbing code through Local 101 for 15 years.

Dan Kania, Ranken Vice President for Education boasts, “It’s no secret that Dave has a passion for plumbing and that is why the program has grown under his leadership! Whenever there is a tour through plumbing, Dave always gets the group excited about the program with his enthusiasm. His real impact has been in preparing and connecting students to industry. Dave is well respected by his students, his team, and the Ranken community. “

Dave tells us, “[My Ranken education prepared me for] a great career!” His favorite memory of his time as a Ranken student is . . . “impossible to choose, there are too many to list,” he says. Dave’s father, Roger Munie, graduated from Ranken’s plumbing program June 1965 (pictured with Dave above).

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/

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Video Profile

Caleb Goodrich

Material Handling Equipment and Controls & Programmable Logic Controls Technician @ CBRE

Caleb Goodrich is a graduate of Ranken’s Electrical Automation Technology (EAT) and Control Systems Technology (CST) programs. Both degrees were obtained in 2020 and Caleb graduated the CST program Cum Laude. Caleb is currently a Material Handling Equipment (MHE) Controls and Programmable Logic Controls (PLC) Technician for CBRE (a commercial real estate services company) managing mechanical maintenance for an Amazon Distribution Center. He recalls one of his favorite memories being a PLC project where the class programmed their own tic-tac-toe programs.

Dennis Pierce, Electrical Automation Technology instructor, explains, “Caleb was an excellent student, he understood all phases of electrical theory, and had a great electrical mind on how to solve problems. Caleb’s work ethic was great, not only did he finish his shop projects in a timely manner, but he also assisted his peers who needed help as well. Caleb had good attendance, and if he did miss, he always made up his work the next day. Caleb was one of the most industrious students that I ever taught. Caleb was very much a team player in all we did in class, he was always willing to go the extra mile to help out his class as well as his peers. Caleb will be a credit to Ranken Technical College, as well as a very marketable employee to the electrical field.”

Nick Brinkman, Control Systems Engineer at CBRE, tells us ““Caleb Goodrich was hired onto my team right at the start of the new year and has been a great addition to the team. His ambition to learn and be curious combined with the confidence to approach new situations with an open mind have helped him establish himself as a very reliable Controls Technician. He is thorough and efficient in his critical thinking and problem-solving when presented with new issues that arise within an industrial fulfillment center such as Amazon. That skill is paramount to being successful in an environment where something new requires attention every single day. His utilization of knowledge of fundamentals with electricity and automation have helped propel him to be a driver in one of the top Controls Teams within the entire Amazon Fulfillment Center network and I’m very proud to have worked alongside him through his development.”

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://www.cbre.us/people-and-offices/corporate-offices/st-louis

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Video Profile

John Nance

Owner/Operator of All The Details

John Nance is one of many Ranken Technical College alumni who apply their skills by owning and operating a small business. All the Details, established in 2010, is located in Fenton, MO. It provides collision repair, window tinting, restoration, bumper & wheel repair, paintless dent removal and professional detailing services. The company’s slogan is “We take care of All The Details and will make you a customer for life.”

John graduated Cum Laude in 2005 with an Associate of Technology degree in Automotive Collision Repair. While attending, he participated in the SkillsUSA competition, and remembers the pride he felt after placing 3rd nationwide on Ranken’s behalf. After graduating, he gained experience in the industry with repair shops such as Don Brown Chevrolet.

John Helterbrand instructed John Nance while he was attending Ranken. “He wanted to own a business from the first day I met him,” Mr. Helterbrand says. “John was an excellent student, definitely driven to achieve his goals, and has made a name for himself and his company. In fact, my wife’s business often uses [All the Details] to detail police vehicles.”

John Nance remains connected with Ranken, not only through his former teacher, but he became an evening instructor in welding and collision repair before running a business of his own. Through All the Details, he has also hired fellow Ranken alumni. Over a decade since attending, John sees how the college gave him the skills and expertise to succeed as an entrepreneur. “I wouldn’t be the owner of a company and doing body work without my Ranken education,” he says.

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
http://atdstl.com/

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Ranken Faculty
Marcus Chaplin
Senior Facilities Manager @ W.W. Grainger
Ranken Faculty
Tyler Keim
CNC Operator @ Elite Tool
Ranken Faculty
Tony Raya
Technical Principal @ HOK Architects
Ranken Faculty
Christopher Mills
Plumber Pre-Apprentice @ Grasse & Associates
Video Profile

Marcus Chaplin

Senior Facilities Manager @ W.W. Grainger

Marcus Chaplin spent eight years in the Army then chose Ranken Technical College and studied Industrial Engineering Technology (IET). He graduated Magna Cum Laude with an Associate Degree in Industrial Technology in May 2013. Marcus is a Senior Facilities Manager for W.W. Grainger, a worldwide industrial supply company. “Ranken helped hone my work ethic and helped me transition from the military to the civilian world. The dress code, student code and attendance policies were all very comforting, having lived a rigid military life. Ranken taught me the mechanical, electrical, and fabricating skills that I have used every day since my graduation both in my professional and personal life,” he says. “I wouldn’t be where I am today, overseeing a 1.3 million square foot facility and a team of 40, without the combination of leadership development and technical aptitude. [I’m] proud to be a veteran of this great nation and proud to be an alum of Ranken!”

Jeffrey Scott, former IET instructor and Ranken alum, explains “Marcus was a great student with a strong drive and work ethic. He was always the first to jump in on projects and volunteer for assignments. Marcus served in a student worker role that included prepping, teaching and mentoring other students.”

Steve Williams, Senior Manager of Facilities, DC Operations Excellence at Grainger, shared “Marcus exhibits great leadership ability, willingness to accept responsibility to develop his team, as a strong team makes a strong leader. While I’ve only had less than a year working with him, it’s apparent that he is eager to contribute to his local team, and the larger team within the organization, and supply his insight and experiences to benefit the whole.”

While at Ranken, Marcus served as Student Ambassador President and President of the Student Government Association. His favorite memory was being hired as an adjunct instructor and teaching continuing education classes in the evening. He says, “[It] launched my love for developing and investing in the success of those around me.” Marcus taught Mechanical Systems and welding classes as an adjunct instructor for Ranken from 2012-2013.

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://www.grainger.com/

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Video Profile

Tyler Keim

CNC Operator @ Elite Tool

Tyler Keim graduated with an Associate Degree in Advanced Manufacturing Technology in May 2021. He was born and raised in Troy, Missouri. Tyler was diagnosed with a profound hearing loss when he was a toddler and received a cochlear implant at the age of three. Tyler says, “I have always been interested in computers, technology, and the skilled trades, so I looked at what careers fit my goals. That’s when I found the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Program at the Ranken Technical College Wentzville campus.”

J.C. Owen, Advanced Machining Department Chair and Instructor, tells us “I remember meeting Tyler Keim during an Open House event. He displayed a strong interest in an Advanced Precision Machining Technology career.” Despite his challenges, Tyler persevered and overcame obstacles without complaint. “He displayed the true definition of commitment, dedication, and enthusiasm. It was my pleasure to work with Tyler and develop a relationship with such an outstanding student. How fortunate Elite Tool is to have such a devoted student of manufacturing be a part of their team.”

Tyler elected to participate in Ranken’s Advanced Precision Machining internship program and was hired by Elite Tool, an established lean contract manufacturer serving aerospace, commercial, and government/defense industry. Tyler says, “I was hired part-time at Elite Tool in Moscow Mills while still  attending classes, [upon graduation] I was hired full-time as a CNC Operator for a great company and would not have gotten here without the training I received at Ranken.”

Jon Zierenberg, Plant Manager at Elite Tool, explains “Tyler Keim has a great attitude and always gives 110% at anything he does. He also has great work ethic, always on time and ready to go at his shift start. I feel he has been a great addition to our team here at Elite Tool.”

Tyler’s grandfather and two uncles graduated from Ranken in Saint Louis.

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://elite-tool.com/

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Video Profile

Tony Raya

Technical Principal @ HOK Architects

Miguel Anthony “Tony” Raya graduated with an Associate Degree in Architectural Drafting in May 1991. He worked as an architectural technologist for The Korte Company following graduation. In August 2000, Tony joined HOK Architects’ St. Louis Studio as a Senior Project Architect. HOK is a global design, architecture, engineering, and planning firm. In 2020, the Saint Louis Business Journal named HOK both the area’s largest architecture firm and largest interior design firm. HOK announced July 19, 2021, that Tony Raya had been promoted to Technical Principal.

Dennis Nieweg, former Ranken architecture instructor, recollects “Tony was an outstanding student who set a great example for his fellow students. He handled adversity well and worked with and encouraged his classmates to work hard and do their best as well. It is very helpful for a teacher to have a student like Tony who sets their standards high and promotes great work ethics that classmates can look up to and follow.”

Tony tells us, “[Ranken] provided me with the skills to begin my career and journey.” His most notable memory is graduation.

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://www.hok.com/news/2021-07/hok-expands-leadership-team-in-st-louis/
https://www.hok.com/studios/st-louis/

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Video Profile

Christopher Mills

Plumber Pre-Apprentice @ Grasse & Associates

Christopher Mills graduated Summa Cum Laude from Ranken’s Plumbing Technology program in May 2021. Ranken offers a nine-month certificate in Plumbing. The program is highly regarded in the Greater St. Louis area. Students get hands on training through Ranken’s Community Development Corporation (RCDC), working on real residential job sites, installing all the plumbing components in accordance with the Universal Plumbing Code.

Following graduation, Chris joined Grasse & Associates, a plumbing and fire protection contractor, as a Plumber Pre Apprentice. Lou Grasse, President, Grasse & Associates, says “[Chris] has only been with us for a few months, but he is great.”

“In lieu of the decline of skill trades workers, Ranken’s education has significantly helped me secure my career trajectory,” says Chris. “The field needs plumbers and Ranken helped me get my foot in the door. Definitely one of the best decisions I ever made.” Chris values becoming a member of Local 562 with his friends and fellow peers.

Stephen Felling, Plumbing instructor, tells us “Chris is intelligent and gets along with everyone. He is focused and completes tasks in a timely manner with a high degree of proficiency. Chris willingly accepts challenges, analyzing tasks and breaking them down. His calm, confident demeanor puts people around him at ease. I have no doubt Chris will have an outstanding career and positively influence everyone privileged to work with him.”

David Prost, Plumbing instructor, recalls “Every time I needed a special project done on campus, I asked Chris if he would lead the crew. He is one of those quiet, strong leaders that others naturally follow. One of his strengths is taking instruction extremely well. I liked to give him tasks above his skill set; it was fun and rewarding to watch him rise to the occasion. Chris came up in a tough environment as a young man. He put himself through trade school in a program that appealed to him; now he is reaping the rewards. I couldn’t be happier for him. I’m proud to say I had the honor and pleasure of being part of his Ranken experience.”

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
http://www.grasse.com

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Ranken Faculty
Dalton Nichols
Software Developer @ UNCOMN
Ranken Faculty
Graham Miller
Application Development @ Mercy Virtual Care Center
Ranken Faculty
Jonc Pender
HVAC Apprentice @ Jarrell Contracting
Ranken Faculty
Abigail Pritchard
Carpenter's Apprentice @ Metis Construction Inc.
Video Profile

Dalton Nichols

Software Developer @ UNCOMN

Dalton Nichols graduated Summa Cum Laude from Ranken Technical College in Spring 2020 with an Associate Degree in Application and Web Development (AWD).

As a second-year student, Dalton made an impression on prospective employers from across St. Louis as they gathered to view final projects. Evan Gudmestad, Information Technology Assistant Division Chair, was present when Dalton unveiled a web application that could be used to store headstone information from graveyards nationwide. Replacing an archaic paper filing system, the app was “modern, fast, and easy to use . . . Dalton’s presentation left [such] an impact on the employers that he was sought after before he even graduated. He considered dropping out of school to take a job offer but he made the right decision, to finish what he started and earn his degree,” Evan says.

Rachel Wilkins, in charge of tapping talented geniuses for UNCOMN, was one of the representatives that was impressed with Dalton’s talent and passion for software development. Rachel shares that among all the applicants she was considering “Dalton was well-prepared and had researched our organization’s cultures and values. He was work-ready.” In his virtual interview, he was able to demonstrate a digital mirror prototype – an outstandingly innovative and practical device able to display real-time weather conditions, appointment calendars, bills and utilities, and other information on demand. Dalton built the mirror using open-source software, applying the techniques he had learned at Ranken to ‘wow’ Rachel and her team!

Dalton recalls that “Evan Gudmestad had a huge impact. He invested in us in every way that a teacher should. I learned much from him about programming, but also about leadership.” His post-graduation career path has surpassed his expectations, and he reached out to the college to let us know that although he is employed by UNCOMN, he is currently contracted to the United States Air Force at Scott Air Force Base as a software developer. “I would not have the knowledge or career that I have without [Evan’s] leadership and the AWD program,” Dalton emphasizes.

Learn more at s://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://uncomn.com/

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Video Profile

Graham Miller

Application Development @ Mercy Virtual Care Center

Graham Miller graduated in May 2020 Cum Laude with an Associate Degree in Application and Web Development. The program exposed Graham to a wide variety of coding and programming applications in use by nearly every industry. He remembers the sense of shared purpose with his friends at Ranken, and “having conversations in the cafeteria about our daily lives and what we think will be on the next exam.”

Evan Gudmestad, Ranken faculty and Information Technology Assistant Division Chair, says “Graham is simply an outstanding person and I feel privileged to have the opportunity to get to know him these last couple of years.”

After a post-graduation internship at the REJIS (Regional Justice Information Service) Commission, Graham moved on to Application Development at Mercy Virtual Care Center. The Center is the world’s first facility dedicated to telehealth, and features two-way cameras, online instruments, and the ability to register vital signs, connecting clinicians and patients remotely in real-time.

Mr. Gudmestad, looking back at Graham’s academic career, knew from the beginning that his student would go far. “Yes, he excelled in the classroom. . . he helped those around him. . . he had a positive attitude and was enjoyable to be around. Graham checks all the boxes for an ideal student and employee. Any employer that is lucky enough to hire him will quickly learn that they’ve got a genuine rock star on their team!”

Congratulations to Graham Miller as he embarks on his career working at the very cutting edge of healthcare technology!

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://www.facebook.com/MercyVirtual
https://www.mercyvirtual.net/

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Video Profile

Jonc Pender

HVAC Apprentice @ Jarrell Contracting

Jarrell Contracting, one of the largest mechanical contractors in the greater St. Louis area, specializes in creating full-service solutions for the highest level of performance for commercial and industrial businesses. Jarrell Contracting is a family-owned company, bringing all the best people to the table with the knowledge, commitment, and passion to do whatever it takes to get the job done. Mr. Mark Wiegmann, service manager, has worked for Jarrell for more than 36 years serving the commercial industry with their operating needs including HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning), electrical, plumbing, and sheet metal work. He manages 70 skilled technicians, including Jonc Pender. “I am pleased with Jonc’s performance” he says. “He has a strong work ethic and is a team player. Jonc trains with journeymen at Jarrell, learning everything there is to know about industrial maintenance and repair.”

“I got to know Mr. Pender as a student in my first year HVAC course at Ranken Technical College,” explains Chad Crouch, HVAC instructor. “He was always eager to be in the shop applying the theory behind the hands-on [curriculum]. During my semester with Jonc, he was well-liked by his peers in class and an attribute when working on group projects. I have always known Mr. Pender to be honest and hardworking during his training at Ranken.”

Jonc graduated from Ranken’s Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Technology program in May 2020. He tells us, “[Ranken] set me up for a long-term career where I will be able to make a good living and support myself.” His favorite memory would have to be going out to play whiffle ball on the last day. Jonc’s father, Jonc Jason, graduated from Ranken’s Refrigeration, Air Conditioning, and Heating Technology (RFAHT) program in June 1997.

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://www.facebook.com/jarrellcontracting
https://www.jarrellcontracting.com/

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Video Profile

Abigail Pritchard

Carpenter's Apprentice @ Metis Construction Inc.

Abigail Pritchard was drawn to the craft of carpentry – the ability to apply knowledge and skill to fashion useful items and structures from raw materials. She graduated from Ranken Technical College with an Associate Degree in Carpentry and Building Construction Technology in May 2020.
Abby thrived in the program. Carpentry instructor John Davis noted her reliability and the fact she “always jumped in to help out.” In her second year, she especially enjoyed the ability to work on actual construction projects on properties owned by the Ranken Community Development Corporation (RCDC). “After learning the basics of carpentry and construction, my transition into an apprenticeship was as smooth as it could be,” Abigail tells us. Among her favorite memories is the day she helped install the roof trusses. “It was very satisfying seeing our house get one step closer to being closed off from the elements.”

Not long after graduation Abigail established herself on the west coast in Seattle, where she has family. Abby has worked for Mētis Construction on a variety of remodeling projects, uncovering timber and trusses and repurposing older buildings while restoring them to their former glory. Andy Madden, a project manager at Mētis, has been astounded by the new apprentice’s immediate impact. “She is a quick learner . . . with an amazing work ethic. Abby was well-prepared by Ranken; she is ready to work every day.”
Mētis is an organization committed to the tradition of the craftsperson contractor, and Abigail was also impressed by their dedication to equity and social justice. “The fact that it is worker-owned drew me to this company,” Abby observes. “I am loving my job and my mentors have been fantastic . . . I couldn’t be happier in my new home.”

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://www.metisconstructioninc.com/
https://www.facebook.com/metisconstructioninc

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Ranken Faculty
Natalie Howell
Assistant Electrical Estimator @ Schaeffer Electric
Ranken Faculty
Kody Zedolek
Architectural Designer @ The Lamar Johnson Collaborative
Ranken Faculty
Tonisha Harvey
Maintenance Technician Apprentice @ ABB
Ranken Faculty
Tyler Wagner
Automotive Collision Technician @ South County Collision Center
Video Profile

Natalie Howell

Assistant Electrical Estimator @ Schaeffer Electric

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Natalie Howell is an up-and-coming graduate, wrapping up concurrent degrees in Electrical Systems Design Technology and Bachelor of Applied Management. Bryan Truemper, electrical instructor, speaks to Natalie’s drive and motivation, “Natalie started the class well prepared because of the internship she sought during the previous summer. She works hard to understand the why’s and how’s of Electrical Design and is willing to help others in the class better understand the projects we are working on.”

While on her degree path, Natalie qualified for several scholarship awards:

  • Monticello Scholarship (for female students),
  • Jaudes Endowed Scholarship (for new students), and
  • Alumni Association Scholarship (awarded to family of Ranken alumni).  Natalie’s brother Nick graduated with honors from the same programs she is completing.

“Ranken gave me the opportunity to attain a career that I am truly passionate about . . . I was able to learn about a subject and field I knew nothing about before attending Ranken,“ says Natalie. “My favorite memory is learning how to do the hands-on portion of my schooling. I believe that through Ranken I was able to learn how a specific function actually works.”

Justin Kohlman, Executive Vice President, Schaeffer Electric Company, met Natalie at the Fall 2019 Ranken Career Fair. He explains, “At that time, we were hoping to bring in a new intern who had recently started at Ranken that could have an extended internship at Schaeffer and really learn what it was like at our company. It gave us time to decide if she would be a fit and it gave her time to learn and decide the same. Natalie presented as polished, confident, and excited for an opportunity to learn. While she was new to electric, Natalie was an easy choice to offer an internship because we believed she was very capable of learning the job.”

Once Natalie was in the office, Kohlman shares,

She picked up on things quickly. Learning to be an electrical estimator can be a boring, repetitive endeavor, especially in the middle of a pandemic. Natalie has always been a positive person throughout her internship as she learned more about the position. She also displays punctuality, dedication, and an easy-going personality. Natalie gets along with everyone. She works with different estimators and project managers. She always asks the right questions. For an intern, that speaks volumes.”

Natalie will join Schaeffer Electric full-time after she graduates. Kohlman adds, [This] “is a great example of why working with Ranken and offering students internships early in their education can be very beneficial to employers . . . In addition, extended internships are beneficial to the student/intern. Natalie was always excited to share her experience at Schaeffer. Hopefully, this made her schooling easier, and allowed her to get more out of her schoolwork.”

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
http://schaefferelectric.com/
https://www.facebook.com/SchaefferElectric

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Video Profile

Kody Zedolek

Architectural Designer @ The Lamar Johnson Collaborative

 

Kody Zedolek graduated in May 2019 with a Bachelor of Science from Ranken’s Architectural Technology program. Kody’s course of study included intensive building design projects, and he remembers the atmosphere of mutual support, recalling “nights spent working in the studio to meet deadlines with my friends. Architecture students can accomplish anything, given [enough] pizza, energy drinks, and a projector to watch The Godfather on.”

“He was always eager to do more than the basic requirements of a project,” says Architecture Department Chair Kelley Raftery. “Kody was a team leader and respected by his classmates.” Kody started to apply his skills in real-world settings almost immediately. Working for Ranken’s Buildings & Grounds department from his second semester, he later participated in a three-semester internship with HOK, the prestigious global architectural design firm based in St. Louis.

After graduation, Kody became part of the Architectural Staff at The Lamar Johnson Collaborative (LJC), a subsidiary of leading constructor Clayco. Vance Stutz, a Principal with Clayco, tells us that “Kody has been a wonderful addition to our design practice and . . .creates an awesome work environment with his positive and humble personality.” Furthermore, Vance sees that “Kody has helped create awareness throughout the firm of what great talented students Ranken is developing in our own backyard. In the past two years, we have hired six individuals from Ranken’s architectural program.” Among the many key projects, Kody has contributed to at LJC is an engine plant for Blue Origin – the rocket company initiated by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

“My education at Ranken, both in the classroom and as a student worker, prepared me for the fast-paced and ever-changing field of Architecture at an affordable cost,” Kody says. His younger brother, Tanner, is currently enrolled in Ranken’s Electrical Systems Design Technology degree program.

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
http://www.claycorp.com/
https://theljc.com/

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Video Profile

Tonisha Harvey

Maintenance Technician Apprentice @ ABB

Tonisha Harvey graduated from Ranken’s Electrical Automation Technology program in May 2020 and anticipates completing a BS in Applied Management in summer 2022. “Having my Associate Degree in Electrical Automation Technology from Ranken, I was able to bypass the entire training process necessary to become a maintenance helper. I am currently a maintenance technician apprentice at ABB, a 2-year program,” explains Tonisha. “I am the 1st set of eyes on any machine or press, so I’m able to find problems early on, ensuring the machines are properly oiled and lubricated, while always being available to assist the maintenance team. I coordinate and process weekly orders on a timeline monitored by our central offices and am certified to operate all moving vehicles at ABB including forklifts, scissor lifts, and boom trucks.” ABB is a global leader in electrification, process automation, motion, and robotics & discrete automation.

Highly motivated students are in great demand in industry and Ranken faculty are proud and excited to recommend these high performers. Nick Weatherly, electrical automation instructor, shared “Tonisha was my student for three semesters. She impressed me with her dogged determination, work ethic, and initiative. At just over 4 feet tall and less than 100 pounds, she never shirked her responsibilities or complained. Tonisha was always prepared for the day’s lessons and labs and her work was done to a high degree of professionalism. I would be hard pressed to find someone with her focus and determination. She will do well in any endeavor she chooses.”

Understanding Ranken’s grading structure was challenging, but Tonisha soon appreciated how the institution evaluated her work ethic, overall competence, and skills knowledge demonstrated at the college level. She has more than doubled her salary since graduating from Ranken and with more anticipated experience, her earning potential is promising. Tonisha acknowledges,

My Ranken experience was by far the absolute best! I really enjoyed the hands-on approach to learning.  The professors were eager to assist me in any way possible; I thought that was really cool! I honestly recommend Ranken to anyone who has witnessed my career evolution and success. My decision to attend Ranken was the best decision I’ve made in my adult life. I can’t thank Ranken enough for equipping me with the fundamentals to be the best maintenance technician I can be!

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://global.abb/

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Video Profile

Tyler Wagner

Automotive Collision Technician @ South County Collision Center

Tyler Wagner is a 2020 graduate of Ranken’s Automotive Collision Repair program. He says, “Ranken was a great hands-on education that allowed me to get a jump start in my career.” While pursuing his degree, Tyler competed in the Auto Refinishing contest at the 2020 SkillsUSA District Championship where he took 1st place.

One of his instructors, Tim Green, Auto Collision instructor remembers Tyler being a great asset that he enjoyed having in class. He explained, on days when I can’t get around the shop fast enough, students sometime step up to assist fellow students with questions and give them direction. “Tyler was one of those students and he was good at it because he had experience. His classmates became close-knit; everyone got the support they needed when struggling with new tasks. When you have a student like Tyler, his desire to encourage others and help them succeed benefits the class and me as an instructor.  I know he’ll be a great mentor to future Ranken collision apprentices.”

Tyler Wagner was born with innate characteristics for baseball and cars, whether foreign or domestic. In 2015, Tyler began working at Meramec Heights Collision Center, the second shop of Rob and Sheena Wagner. He started at the bottom, doing anything that needed to be done. Sheena, owner and manager, shared, “Tyler gained a lot of experience working on cars at a young age. His dad, Rob, owner of Performance Auto Body had him hanging around cars since before he could drive. While this was fun as a child, he realized his potential. After realizing professional baseball was harder than repairing cars, he began his Ranken journey in 2018. It was then, he began working on customer’s cars, pushing dents and repairing and replacing parts. He’s been cross-trained in many areas of the body repair business.”

Tyler now works at South County Collision Center, also owned by the Wagner’s. He works all areas of a body shop, talking with potential customers, and detailing and repairing cars. Tyler realizes that owning a business means “working the business” in order to succeed.

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://www.facebook.com/MHCCPAB/
https://www.mhccpab.com/

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Ranken Faculty
Ermin Velagic
Computer Support Specialist @ IMPACT Strategies
Ranken Faculty
Hope Brasseur
IT Service Desk Analyst @ Stifel Financial Corporation
Ranken Faculty
Andrew Hoemmen
Skilled Maintenance @ Toyota Motor Manufacturing Missouri
Ranken Faculty
Daniel Brostron
Drafter, Sargent & Lundy
Video Profile

Ermin Velagic

Computer Support Specialist @ IMPACT Strategies

Ermin Velagic graduated in 2020 with an Associate Degree in Network and Database Administration. He immediately took a position with TekSystems. Last winter, Ermin joined IMPACT Strategies, a full-service commercial builder as a Computer Support Specialist.

Ermin tells us his parents emigrated to the United States “seeking a better life,” making him a first-generation college graduate. His academic journey faced serious challenges. Ermin and his fiancé both worked full-time while he attended classes at Ranken to build a more secure future. While juggling this schedule, he distinctly remembers the support he received from Ranken IT faculty member Ashley Reddick, who spent many hours before and after class mentoring and motivating him to pass demanding certification exams. In a personal letter to Mr. Reddick, Ermin’s emotions were clear, “[You] created a never-forgetting impact I will carry with my heart and soul heavily for as long as I will be able to remember it.”

Mr. Reddick says, “I saw his passion, his potential, and his desire to do better for his family . . . I am glad to have been part of his journey. This shows me that when we care about [students], their lives can truly change.” IT Division Head Charles Corrigan was equally impressed, reflecting, “Ermin was not satisfied that he could perform a task, he always wanted to know the ‘why’, the ‘how’ and the ‘what for’ so he would have a total understanding.”

Teresa Whittaker, Controller at IMPACT Strategies, says she’s consistently impressed by Ranken alumni. “Ranken does a great job of preparing their students for the work environment. Ermin is a great team player.” He now oversees 3 Hyper-V servers and foresees an administrative role.

Ermin’s story is inspirational and heartfelt, he shares:

In the moments I get overwhelmed, I take a breather and remind myself that everything I thought I could not accomplish when I was sitting in my chair at Ranken, is now in front of me. Those moments of ‘I’m giving up, I’m not going to make graduation’ are now a whisper in the wind. The thoughts and dreams I had . . . [of reaching] my 5-year goal are now my day-to-day reality. A tremendous amount of material I learned in class is really being applied to what I am doing. I could not be more satisfied with where I was destined to be.

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://www.buildwithimpact.com/

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Video Profile

Hope Brasseur

IT Service Desk Analyst @ Stifel Financial Corporation

Hope Brasseur graduated from Ranken’s Information Technology program Summa Cum Laude in December 2019. She tells us, “It [a degree from Ranken] made finding a job in my field very easy! I received a lot of hands-on experience through my classes at Ranken and earned certificates that have advanced me ahead of other IT associates in my field.” Recollecting her time spent at Ranken, Hope says her favorite memory “would be getting to know my classmates. I still talk daily with a few of them.”

Hope was a top performer and mentor. Charles Corrigan, IT Division Chair and instructor explains, “Hope was an outstanding student with great work ethic. She was always one of the top performers in class and put forth the extra effort to always stand out. She was a respected class member and often took on a role of a team leader, helping others. Hope always displayed traits, attitude, and knowledge we would expect from an outstanding Ranken student.”

She has been employed by Stifel Financial Corporation for more than a year now. Her accomplishments there have received high praise. “Hope Brasseur is fantastic and one of the best hires I have ever made in any position I’ve held,” said Tom Chesley, IT Team Lead. “I was actually the one who attended Ranken’s hiring fair and spoke to Hope in person that day. We were not only impressed with her choice of educational institution but with the certifications she held upon graduation. Despite her lack of experience in the field, we felt her resume spoke to what we could expect from her if hired; she performed very well during the interview process. We knew we had to hire her, and it was one of the best decisions we could have made for our desk. Hope is professional, knowledgeable, and exhibits strong customer service skills. She has outshined most of her peers and put herself in a position to move forward in her career quickly . . . I just can’t say enough positive things about her.”

Mr. Chesley added, “As for Ranken, we have pulled from their talent pool many times now and have yet to be disappointed. All of the candidates we have interviewed and hired from Ranken have proved to be standouts and I am impressed with their job readiness, professional demeanor, and their skillsets. I am always excited to attend your [Ranken] job fairs, looking for my next standout.”

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/

https://www.facebook.com/StifelFinancial

https://www.stifel.com/

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Video Profile

Andrew Hoemmen

Skilled Maintenance @ Toyota Motor Manufacturing Missouri

Andrew Hoemmen graduated from Ranken Technical College in 2020 from the Electrical Automation Technology (EAT) associate’s degree program. Today, many companies rely on highly skilled workers to operate and maintain complex electronic and robotic systems, and EAT graduates fill this urgent need. The Ranken experience is truly part of a tradition for Andrew, as three family members are either alumni or are currently attending!
Andrew consistently impressed his instructors with his positive attitude and work ethic. Perhaps the descriptor most applicable to Andrew’s academic career at Ranken however, is resiliency, as electrical instructor James Gober explains: “Andrew lived in Illinois and when the main channel of the Mississippi froze and the ferry couldn’t run, he would take an open jon boat in front of the Winfield Dam . . . to come to school. During the spring flooding, he was unable to return home for a month or so and stayed with relatives. Andrew had a great dedication to his academic pursuits!”
He is now employed by Toyota Motor Manufacturing Missouri (TMMMo) in Troy. Toyota Missouri (formerly Bodine Aluminum) employs over 900 team members and produces 2.7 million cylinder heads a year. Andrew’s supervisor, Camryn Vrbka, has been extremely impressed by the capabilities of this Ranken graduate telling us, “Andrew is a team member I can perpetually count on . . .[he] consistently wants to learn new skills and always goes above and beyond to ensure the job is done right.” Andrew himself remains very appreciative of his educational experience, saying “I went directly from Ranken into my current position, [the college] had a huge impact.” Andrew is an outstanding example of the skilled, dedicated individuals that start their professional journey at Ranken Technical College and continue on to meaningful career paths.
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Video Profile

Daniel Brostron

Drafter, Sargent & Lundy

Ranken Technical College’s alumni, as a general rule, Pay It Forward.  They hire, mentor, teach and encourage current students preparing to enter the workforce.  One example of this tradition is Dustin Snyder and Daniel Brostron, both graduates of the Electrical Systems Design Technology (ESDT) degree program.

Dustin admits he had a rocky start: he didn’t apply himself in high school, had false starts in community college, and had trouble finding a fulfilling career.  That changed when at the behest of his stepfather he enrolled in ESDT at Ranken.  Electrical instructor Sal Francis relates it was “always so nice to be around him . . .he was so curious about things and very positive. . . It was fun to tap into his energy because he is so inspiring.”  Dustin threw himself into as many activities as he could before graduating Magna Cum Laude in 2014 – from serving as a Student Ambassador and Teacher’s Assistant to working at the on-campus BioMerieux micro-enterprise to volunteering for the FIRST Robotics competition; he is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Applied Management (BSAM) at Ranken.

Daniel Brostron enrolled several years later, graduating from the ESDT program in 2020.  He found that the practical experience in electrical installation at Ranken helped him clearly comprehend writing diagrams and visualize his own electrical circuit designs.  “Ranken’s training helped a lot with preparing me,” Daniel tells us.  Instructor Bryan Truemper found that “Daniel worked hard in class and had a great attitude. He thrived learning the different design software programs.”

Their paths crossed when Dustin returned to campus to participate in a job fair.  For several years, he had worked for global energy leader Sargent & Lundy, and he introduced the company to Daniel.  Now, they work together at S&L’s Browns Ferry Nuclear Power Group in Alabama – Dustin as Design Lead and estimator and Daniel as a Drafter.  Nuclear Power Group Senior Manager Randy Cook, who supervises both young men, finds that Ranken students are equipped with a strong foundation for success, are work-ready on their first day of employment, and able to handle challenging assignments with minimal supervision.

Dustin continues to serve as an ambassador and express his gratitude for the opportunities the College has provided him with.  He says “the three items that had the biggest impact on my success were the quality of the instructors at Ranken, the curriculum being based on employer need, and the fact Ranken employs the latest and greatest technology.  Attending Ranken is one of the most important decisions I’ve made in my life.”

https://www.facebook.com/SargentLundyLlc

https://sargentlundy.com

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/

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Ranken Faculty
Richard Wetstein
Maintenance Technician @ Coca-Cola North America in Truesdale, MO
Ranken Faculty
Violet White
Wiring Installer @ AZZ Switchgear Systems
Ranken Faculty
Joeb Easterday
Control Engineer @ Hytrol
Ranken Faculty
Cameron Anderson
Automotive Maintenance Technician @ Machens Ford Dealership
Video Profile

Richard Wetstein

Maintenance Technician @ Coca-Cola North America in Truesdale, MO

Richard Wetstein graduated Cum Laude from Ranken Technical College’s Electrical Division in December 2019 with a degree in Controls Systems Technology (CST).  He immediately found employment with Coca-Cola North America at the independently owned bottling and packaging plant in Truesdale, Missouri. Adam Wetstein, Richard’s brother, is also a Ranken alum from the same division, holding a degree in Electrical Systems Design Technology.

The growing CST program requires extremely precise and detailed measurements with advanced instruments. Ranken instructor Gene Island enthused about Rich, saying “he did well with both theory and hands-on type material. He was always prepared and ready to learn more. Rich was the type of student that makes teaching fun.”

Working in Maintenance at Coca-Cola North America, Richard was equally impressive.  His direct manager, Mr. Zacarias, comments on his transition to the workplace, telling us, “he has done a great job closing the gap from school training and real-life troubleshooting. . . Richard has done a great job filling in during emergency situations. He was able to identify complex problems using the knowledge learned [at Ranken].”

At the plant, Richard adjusts and troubleshoots highly complicated, automated equipment including labelers, case packers, wrappers and Honeywell palletizers. Rich’s manager, Duane Freels, emphasizes that he is “very happy with his performance” and looks forward to helping him grow within the organization. Coca-Cola North America regularly hires Ranken graduates, and there are currently nine other alumni at the plant working with Richard. The Coca-Cola Foundation has even stepped forward to support Ranken’s students, generously establishing a scholarship at the college in 2019.

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/

https://www.facebook.com/watch/TheCocaColaCo/

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Video Profile

Violet White

Wiring Installer @ AZZ Switchgear Systems

Violet White graduated December 2019 from Ranken’s Electrical Automation Technology evening program, Cum Laude. She pursued her degree in tandem with work and family commitments. Her strong work ethic and determination took priority over the obstacles she encountered. Often complimented for her positive disposition, her success comes as no surprise.

“I really enjoyed the hands-on training that we did.  It helped me retain the information we were learning,” she says, “I enjoyed the different people I was able to meet and loved the fact there were two other women in the class with me. I enjoyed being able to work along with them.”

Violet’s personality and fortitude complement her success. “Violet ranks in the top five of my favorite students,” says Nicholas Weatherly, Electrical Instructor, “She had the best personality and was always an absolute joy to work with. I truly admired Violet’s ‘never give up’ approach to everything. Through dogged determination and faith, she persevered and excelled.” He added, “I find the students that must grind and work tirelessly are the ones that will be the most successful. Lessons learned through struggle are kept forever.”

Violet’s supervisor, Greg Miller, Production Supervisor for AZZ Switchgear Systems, enjoys having this Ranken grad on his team. He explained, “Violet does a great job for us. She has a wonderful personality, a good attitude, and great work ethic. Violet took to her job very quickly, working on large electrical switchgear systems for substations serving local communities. She gets along with everyone and we’re very happy to have her here.”

https://www.azz.com/products/switchgear-systems

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/

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Video Profile

Joeb Easterday

Control Engineer @ Hytrol

2019 graduate Joeb Easterday says that the time spent with hands-on training made his education at Ranken standout. Now, Easterday works as a Controls Engineer for Hytrol, one of the largest producers of material handling products such as conveyors in NorthAmerica. At Ranken, Easterday attended the Electrical Automation and Control Systems Technology programs. “Joeb has always been an absolute joy to work with,” said former instructor Nick Weatherly. “He and I have continued to communicate, after his graduation, and it would seem he has continued these behaviors into his new career. He is a true team player, always assisting not only other students but myself. It came as no surprise to me, that he was able to earn the respect and admiration of the working professionals in the night school classes as well as his contemporaries in day school.”

https://www.facebook.com/hytrol

https://hytrol.com/

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/

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Video Profile

Cameron Anderson

Automotive Maintenance Technician @ Machens Ford Dealership

Pictured, left to right, Blake Forward, Cameron Anderson, Jacob Bailey, Jacob Crum

It’s not unusual to discover several Ranken Tech grads on the payroll of our industry partners. Machens Ford Dealership in Columbia, Missouri is one such company. Jared Phillippe, service advisor, warranty administrator, and service manager, tells us he currently has four of our graduates working on his team. “All four are great technicians with tons of knowledge and great work ethics.  We couldn’t be any happier with the quality of techs we have seen come from Ranken.  We look forward to continuing to recruit and employing more like them. We’ve heard rumors about Ranken opening a location in our region and we’d love to see that happen.”

On his team are automotive maintenance graduates: Jacob Bailey and Cameron Anderson (2020), Blake Forward (Magna Cum Laude, 2019), and Jacob Crum (Summa Cum Laude, 2017). Jacob Crum also graduated from Ranken’s Bachelor of Science in Applied Management (BSAM) Summa Cum Laude in 2018.

Jacob Bailey shared, “Ranken set me up to meet some of the greatest friends that I have now and gave me the opportunity to work my way up in one of the biggest Ford dealers in Missouri. I made so many great memories at Ranken.” Jared Phillippe says, “Jacob Bailey came to us work-ready and well trained. Jacob was recently promoted from technician to service advisor. He’s self-motivated and we love him here.”

Andrew Jesse, Ranken Automotive Certified Dealership Technician Program instructor, explained, “Machens Ford in Columbia is a tremendous industry partner and is key to the success of these students. Each of these students has a unique skill set and their dealership is helping them to continue to develop those skills. Jacob Crum is now a Ford Certified Senior Master Technician, Cameron Anderson & Blake Forward are advancing towards the senior master level, and Jacob Bailey is currently pursuing the path to service management by working as a service advisor at his dealership.”

https://www.machensford.com/
https://www.facebook.com/joemachensford
Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/

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Ranken Faculty
Jacob Bailey
Automotive Service Advisor @ Machens Ford Dealership
Ranken Faculty
Jason Monesmith
Technician @ Goldkamp Heating and Cooling
Ranken Faculty
Gabe Ware
Diesel Mechanic @ Republic Services
Ranken Faculty
Richard Maor
Automotive Technician @ Morley Performance LLC
Video Profile

Jacob Bailey

Automotive Service Advisor @ Machens Ford Dealership

Pictured, left to right, Blake Forward, Cameron Anderson, Jacob Bailey, Jacob Crum

It’s not unusual to discover several Ranken Tech grads on the payroll of our industry partners. Machens Ford Dealership in Columbia, Missouri is one such company. Jared Phillippe, service advisor, warranty administrator, and service manager, tells us he currently has four of our graduates working on his team. “All four are great technicians with tons of knowledge and great work ethics.  We couldn’t be any happier with the quality of techs we have seen come from Ranken.  We look forward to continuing to recruit and employing more like them. We’ve heard rumors about Ranken opening a location in our region and we’d love to see that happen.”

On his team are automotive maintenance graduates: Jacob Bailey and Cameron Anderson (2020), Blake Forward (Magna Cum Laude, 2019), and Jacob Crum (Summa Cum Laude, 2017). Jacob Crum also graduated from Ranken’s Bachelor of Science in Applied Management (BSAM) Summa Cum Laude in 2018.

Jacob Bailey shared, “Ranken set me up to meet some of the greatest friends that I have now and gave me the opportunity to work my way up in one of the biggest Ford dealers in Missouri. I made so many great memories at Ranken.” Jared Phillippe says, “Jacob Bailey came to us work-ready and well trained. Jacob was recently promoted from technician to service advisor. He’s self-motivated and we love him here.”

Andrew Jesse, Ranken Automotive Certified Dealership Technician Program instructor, explained, “Machens Ford in Columbia is a tremendous industry partner and is key to the success of these students. Each of these students has a unique skill set and their dealership is helping them to continue to develop those skills. Jacob Crum is now a Ford Certified Senior Master Technician, Cameron Anderson & Blake Forward are advancing towards the senior master level, and Jacob Bailey is currently pursuing the path to service management by working as a service advisor at his dealership.”

https://www.machensford.com/
https://www.facebook.com/joemachensford
Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/

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Video Profile

Jason Monesmith

Technician @ Goldkamp Heating and Cooling

Over the past year our society has seen a renewed emphasis on, and appreciation of, essential workers. Among the most needed are those that maintain climate control systems. Ranken Technical College helped Jason Monesmith enter this skilled profession at a critical time – he earned his Certificate in Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVACR) Technology Magna Cum Laude in May 2020.

Mike Graft, one of Jason’s instructors, says that he “possesses the knowledge and drive needed to succeed in this everchanging field.” Mike was especially impressed by his attitude, sensing that his “possibilities are limitless, and I know Jason will work hard and strive to be the best in his position.”

Jason is employed by Goldkamp Heating and Cooling, a Florissant, MO-based company that prides itself on the efficiency and training level of its staff. Goldkamp’s Installation Manager, Patrick Luley, tells us his new employee has rapidly become an invaluable asset, noting “Jason is awesome! He’s so team friendly and everyone loves to work with him. [He] often comes to me with work-related ideas of his own.” Patrick is even confident that someday, Jason will “have a business of his own.”

Jason found his HVACR experience satisfying on both a professional and a personal level, telling us “Ranken taught me useful information for the trade I am in. I enjoyed the friendships I made with my classmates and instructors.” Jason Monesmith is an outstanding example of a Ranken career success story – impressing everyone he comes into contact with while providing indispensable services to his community!

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/

https://www.facebook.com/GoldkampHVAC/

https://www.goldkamphvac.com/

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Video Profile

Gabe Ware

Diesel Mechanic @ Republic Services

Ranken Technical College proudly holds an amazing job placement rate of 98%. Career services is a lifetime benefit that the college offers its graduates. Industry partners and graduates alike frequently take advantage of this opportunity to seek advancement and/or fill vacancies.

Gabriel Ware graduated with a degree in Automotive Diesel Technology in 2020 at Ranken’s Wentzville location. Gabe explains, “Ranken is an amazing school to have on your resume. I have gotten so many interviews and been offered many jobs because of it. It [Ranken] was a great way for me to get my foot in the door of an industry I had no idea about!” Eric DeSplinter, diesel instructor, describes Gabe as an industrious young man: “Gabe Ware was a hard-working student that had good grades. [Gabe] was always involved in the class scenarios that he had a good understanding of.”

Now working as a diesel mechanic for Republic Services, Gabe is highly valued by his employer.  Republic Services has an entire fleet of diesel vehicles. It strives to be America’s preferred recycling and waste services partner. Their vision is to be an employer of choice, a company that makes every effort to create a meaningful and rewarding workplace where safety is revered, and each employee can be a compassionate steward of our environment. Anthony Byers, fleet supervisor at Republic Services tells us, “Gabe is one of our top trainees. He is a model employee whose work surpasses others. Gabe is punctual and respectful. After just one month, Gabe is working solo on his own jobs, repairing and servicing our diesel fleet.”

https://www.republicservices.com/about-us

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Republic%20Services%20Recycling/183827658636677/

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/

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Video Profile

Richard Maor

Automotive Technician @ Morley Performance LLC

By now you may have noticed a pattern with our graduates. They work hard, and they do well in the SkillsUSA competition year after year. This next graduate is no different. Richard Maor took first place earlier this year in the auto services contest at the district level, and would have competed in the State Championship had it not been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nevertheless, Maor didn’t allow the disappointment to hinder his studies, successfully completing Ranken’s Advanced High Performance Racing Technologies program, and graduating Summa Cum Laude this past May.

“My Ranken experience would have been incomplete without the forever helpful faculty and staff,” Maor says. “The dedication they gave to handing over knowledge to their students is remarkable! I will forever remember my stint at Ranken.”

Maor left a lasting impression on his instructors as well.
“Richard Maor is the most outstanding student I have had so far at Ranken,” said Donald Rote, High Performance Racing instructor. “He excelled in coursework with a high “A”, and he excelled in Work Ethic well beyond 100%, always coming in before and staying after class to lend a hand wherever necessary without ever being asked.”

Now, Maor is employed as a technician at Morley Performance LLC, where his employer Dave Smith speaks highly of him.

“Richard is great,” Smith says. “He does everything we ask of him and more. He is knowledgeable and understanding of all aspects of his field. Not only is he a skilled mechanic, but he communicates well with customers and is a great salesman.”

https://www.facebook.com/Morleyperformance

http://www.morleyperformance.com/?fbclid=IwAR02cwjqY3Dcss4Zd-Cn0MzRYhd1RjJHL80pcr_IlNbBxXIUUx-9wQyq48Q

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/

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Ranken Faculty
Jared Wilmas
Service Technician @ Bommarito Chevrolet
Ranken Faculty
George Riley
Field Engineer @ Underwriters Laboratories
Ranken Faculty
Taylor Watson
Machinist @ Roton Products
Ranken Faculty
Neal S
Mid-Level Versatile Technologist @ Boeing
Video Profile

Jared Wilmas

Service Technician @ Bommarito Chevrolet

Jared Wilmas graduated from Ranken’s General Motors Automotive Service Educational Program  (GM ASEP) in May 2020.
“Jared was a great student, super intelligent and highly motivated. I have heard glowing reviews from his dealer and his performance in class mirrored that opinion. Jared’s work in our shop was always solid and I used him for a few class projects that went above and beyond normal classwork. His skills and work ethic made him a prime candidate for the extra shop projects. Overall, I give Jared a glowing review!” says Chris Webb, Ranken Automotive Instructor.
According to Roy Queen, Service Manager, Bommarito Chevrolet, “Jared has a good work ethic and shows the desire to learn. He stays busy and is consistent. I am happy with his performance.”
To learn more about Certified Dealership programs, please visit our website.
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Video Profile

George Riley

Field Engineer @ Underwriters Laboratories

George completed his Electrical Construction Design and Management degree in 2019. He explains, “A few years ago I was teaching a CDL class . . . now I’m the head of safety for over 1100 organizations. It’s been a wild wonderful ride.”

Nick Weatherly, Electrical instructor, remembers George well. “George is super smart and a very hard worker. He works as a compliance officer for Underwriters Laboratories (UL), an organization that tests every electrical device in the United States to make sure they are safe. This includes ensuring manufacturers adhere to the mandated rules set forth by the National Fire Protection Association and National Electrical Manufacturers Association. Riley came to us out of the Military with superb work ethic, attending night school while carrying a full-time job to support his wife and children. He worked for Savvis Center as an electrician, before getting his job at UL.

“I hired George during his last semester at Ranken after recruiting at their annual job fair,” says Charles Lover, Field Engineer/Business Manager for Underwriters Laboratories. “George has proven to be a valuable asset to our team. He came to us with the foundational skills necessary to excel in our organization. Since joining UL, George has become a key player in several group initiatives. Two years later, he continues to strive to improve not only himself, but to develop the talents and skills of others. George has performed admirably over the past two years, positioning himself as a candidate for the next level promotion in April 2021.

George recalls fun times while at Ranken, including working with an instructor to link a Billy Bass to a Google home. He says, “I had time to kill in-between work and evening classes and we played with some silly stuff.”  George has two cousins who attended Ranken, as well as his grandfather, who is now retired after 62 years with the Electrician’s Union.

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://www.ul.com/about

Photo taken pre-pandemic. Pictured (L to R): George Riley, Greg (co-worker), and Charles Lover

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Video Profile

Taylor Watson

Machinist @ Roton Products

Taylor Watson graduated Cum Laude in 2020 from Ranken’s Precision Machining Program.

Instructor Robert Wirtel tells us, “I had Taylor as a student for CNC Programming. He was always early to class and was very eager to learn as much as possible. He learned quickly and retained knowledge very well. Taylor was always a pleasure to be around. He worked very well with the other students and  would be a good addition to any machine shop.”

Bill Lochmoeller, Owner and Manager of Sales and Marketing at Roton Products, Inc. explains, “Taylor is a great employee.  His role here is machinist, working with CNC lathes, special equipment, and thread rolling.  What we admire most about Taylor is his versatility.  He is skilled and willing to perform every task we ask him to do.”

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://www.roton.com/

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Video Profile

Neal S

Mid-Level Versatile Technologist @ Boeing

Neal S graduated from Ranken’s Associate of Technology, Network Architecture and Design Technology program in 2013. He has since obtained certifications in CCNA Security and Ubiquiti Enterprise Wireless Administration. Neal is presently employed as a Mid-Level Versatile Technologist for Boeing, the world’s largest aerospace company and leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners, defense, space, and security systems.

His favorite memory of his time spent at Ranken is helping his classmates study the materials needed to pass their certification.  When asked what impact having a Ranken education has had on his career, Neal responded, “[I] tripled my pay and opened up doors to many different companies.”

Ashley Reddick, Information Technology instructor, shared “Neal was a student who went to a different institution for another degree that didn’t work out for him. He came to Ranken because he wanted to pursue something that people were gainfully employed for. After obtaining his degree, he went to work for a contractor working in both Afghanistan and Puerto Rico. He came home, not only paying off his mother’s home but all his student debt with earnings made in the field. As a student, Neal always had questions and wanted to learn about everything. He was a role model and had a perfect work ethic. I have no doubt that he will be successful in his future endeavors.”

According to Stan Shoun, Ranken’s Chief Executive Officer, “Neal is a perfect example of a person with a traditional degree who then pursued a technical education in the skilled trades.” With his degrees, first in business management and then in internet technology, Neal took his skills overseas where he executed multiple projects as the IT Manager for Fluor Corporation, a global engineering, procurement, fabrication, construction and maintenance company. “When Neal returned to the states, he was able to pursue any job he chose. Neal has been active on several advisory boards, two strategic planning committees, and continually gives back to Ranken,” said Shoun.

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://www.facebook.com/Boeing
http://www.boeing.com/

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Ranken Faculty
Bill Kindig
Software Engineer @ National General Insurance
Ranken Faculty
Joshua Bradley
Lead Developer/Project Manager @ Engage Software
Ranken Faculty
Andrew Poetz
Plumbing Apprentice @ Beis Plumbing
Ranken Faculty
Andrew Stephens
Plumbing Apprentice @ Beloman Services
Video Profile

Bill Kindig

Software Engineer @ National General Insurance

According to Indeed.com, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment for software developers, which includes software engineers, is going to grow 22%, substantially faster than the 4% average for all careers. There are several reasons driving the high demand for software engineers:  the need for innovative software, the limited life span of code, the accelerating growth in technology, and increasing complexity of projects. The earning potential for these careers is very lucrative.

Bill Kindig is a software engineer for National General Insurance in a full-time permanent position that started with a contract. His primary role is .NET Core MVC C# developer.  Bill has been at the company since 2019. His technical experience includes HTML, CSS, JavaScript/jQuery, consuming APIs, C#, SQL and working with XML and JSON data. Bill graduated in 2013 with an Associate Degree in Internet Web Based Technology.

Evan Gudmestad, IT Assistant Division Chair explains, “Bill was an impressive student from day one because his brain was an absolute sponge. Anything I taught, advised on, or gave a reference to, he would take in and remember it verbatim! Bill was also very moldable, and those two skills together made him an ideal student. I always believed he was a bright, hardworking young man who was destined for success in the industry and I’m glad to see that I was right.”

“Ranken helped prepare me for the work environment by simulating it in the classroom,” says Bill. “Along with learning all the newest and most used technologies, we worked on projects every day in class. The emphasis was placed on learning and practicing our skills, and gaining experience, rather than only reading from a book every day. Ranken also helped our class reach out to experienced web developers to help give us an idea of what our future careers would be like.”

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/

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Video Profile

Joshua Bradley

Lead Developer/Project Manager @ Engage Software

Joshua Bradley’s career in Internet Web Based Technology (IWBT) began prior to his graduation in 2012. He explains, “I worked an internship with Engage Software towards the end of my time at Ranken. Since then, I have been hired on full time, and have been working there for one year and eight months. We work with DNN, formerly DotNetNuke, so I work with C#, JavaScript, HTML, CSS, and SQL daily. I love the environment and the challenges that Engage provides me. I have recently begun transitioning into a Lead Developer/Project Manager role.

Since graduating Cum Laude from Ranken’s IWBT program, he chose to continue his education at Lindenwood University, working towards a Bachelor Degree in Information Technology with an emphasis in Cyber Security. Joshua notes, “I am extremely grateful for the opportunities that Ranken, and specifically Professor Gudmestad, provided for me. My experience at Ranken definitely helped me with my career. My professional abilities and punctuality were established and improved upon during my time at Ranken.”

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/

https://engagesoftware.com/

https://www.facebook.com/EngageSoftware

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Video Profile

Andrew Poetz

Plumbing Apprentice @ Beis Plumbing

May 2020 graduate Andrew Poetz was on the fast track to the 2020 SkillsUSA National Championship when the COVID-19 pandemic began. This year, he placed first in the plumbing contest during the District Championship, and garnered the praise of Ranken’s Plumbing Department Head, David Munie.

Now, Poetz is working at Beis Plumbing, specializing in residential repairs, residential remodels and new construction. He says in five years, he sees himself as a journeyman plumber and working to become a master.

“Ranken has given me an intro to plumbing, and gave me a step above even some experienced plumbing apprentices,” Poetz says. “It has helped me find a fantastic job and set me on a path only leading up. It has put me in a place where I can look to the future and be confident in my capabilities.”

https://www.facebook.com/beisplumbing

https://beisplumbing.com/

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/

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Video Profile

Andrew Stephens

Plumbing Apprentice @ Beloman Services

It’s sort of a rare occurrence to have both an instructor and an employer come from the same family. But when you’re talented with a strong work ethic, sometimes it just happens. For Ranken grad Andrew Stephens, going from student to employee and maintaining a relationship with brothers Dave and Mark Munie has been beneficial.

Stephens is employed by Beloman Plumbing, where coincidentally Mark Munie is his manager. Before Beloman, Dave Munie was Stephens’ instructor and Plumbing department head.

“Andrew is a great addition to our company,” said Mark Munie. “Since coming on-board he has worked both residential and commercial projects. He has a great work ethic, is timely, and complies with our company policies. Andrew is well-spoken and knowledgeable, serving our clients well. ”

Dave Munie agrees. “Andrew is a great guy who is willing to do anything for you. A true team player. I’d hire him in a minute if i was an employer!”

In addition to his work ethic, Stephens graduated May 2020 from the Plumbing Technology program, Summa Cum Laude.

https://www.facebook.com/beloservice

https://beloman.com

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/

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Ranken Faculty
Matthew Blessing
McGowan Development Maintenance Manager
Ranken Faculty
Andre Hickman
Plumbing Apprentice @ Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562
Ranken Faculty
Jake Aurelio
Carpenter @ Pfund Construction
Ranken Faculty
Mark Ezepue
2nd Year Apprentice @ Murphy Contractors
Video Profile

Matthew Blessing

McGowan Development Maintenance Manager

Matthew Blessing is one of many students who pursued more than one degree while at Ranken Technical College. For years, he had worked in building maintenance in one capacity or another. He enrolled in Ranken’s Electrical Automation Technology (EAT) program in 2017. Matthew graduated from the EAT and Control Systems Technology degree programs in 2019. He tells us his favorite memory of his time at Ranken was helping others. Matthew threw himself into many activities before graduating, including volunteering for the FIRST Robotics program. He is not a stranger to hard work. Matthew served in the U.S. Army and is known by many for his diligence and optimism.

On the job, “Matt Blessing has been nothing short of an amazing maintenance manager for me at McGowan Brothers Development,” stated Matthew Ryffel, property manager. “From his broad knowledge of maintenance and labor skills to his hard work and dependability, I’ve been very lucky to have Matt Blessing on my team.”

Matthew left a lasting impression on Ranken faculty. One of his electrical instructors, Nick Weatherly, explained, “Matthew was a student of mine for three semesters. I thoroughly enjoyed working with him and came to know him as a truly remarkable student and human being. He is honest, dependable, and incredibly hard-working. Matthew has an impressive work ethic and is always seeking to better himself.  He had a  ‘never give up’ attitude that was a joy to behold and an inspiration. Along with his undeniable talent, Matthew is a true team player, he always managed to foster positive discussions and bring the best out of other students.” Another of Matthew’s electrical instructors, Gene Island, shared, “Matthew was not a ‘standard’ student. He was older and had a military background. It was very satisfying to see his success and his goals come to fruition.”

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/

http://mbdstl.com/

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Video Profile

Andre Hickman

Plumbing Apprentice @ Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562

Andre Hickman, graduated from Ranken’s Plumbing Technology program in May 2020.  Since graduation, Hickman has taken on a role at Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 562, here in St. Louis. Hickman is one of 13 men and women in the new Champions program, “ a joint initiative to expand membership diversity in the city of St. Louis, while strengthening the Local 562 workforce. “

“Graduating from Ranken was a huge accomplishment for me, “ Hickman said. “Ranken prepared me for my career, whether it’s hands-on training, or in a classroom setting.”

Hickman will complete the one year Champions program, then continue with a 5-year apprenticeship. With an education from Ranken, Hickman will be prepared for what lies ahead.

“My instructors gave me the perfect advice, and pushed me to be the best I can be,” he said.

https://www.facebook.com/Local562

https://www.local562.org

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/

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Video Profile

Jake Aurelio

Carpenter @ Pfund Construction

From his first day at Ranken, Jake Aurelio caught the attention of his instructor John Davis for his self-assuredness and work ethic.

“Jake was a great student from his first day in the program,” Davis said. “He knew he wanted to be a carpenter and worked very hard to improve all of his carpentry skills.”

While enrolled in the Carpentry program, Aurelio took advantage of the annual SkillsUSA competition, where he won at the district and state level, and earned a spot in the national competition. In 2020, he did it again. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Aurelio was unable to participate in this year’s national competition.

Aurelio established himself as a leader during his time as a student, often stepping up for more tasks to do while working on Ranken Community Development Corporation (RCDC) homes. According to Aurelio, Ranken has deeply impacted his life, as it “gave me new opportunities in the workforce and my job, specifically,” he says. We are proud to say that Aurelio is a May 2020 graduate, with Magna honors. Jakc is employed as a carpenter by Pfund Construction Company.

https://www.facebook.com/Pfundconstruction

http://pfundconstruction.com/

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/

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Video Profile

Mark Ezepue

2nd Year Apprentice @ Murphy Contractors

Mark’s success story is quite impressive. He conquered obstacles that would have otherwise thwarted a young adult pursuing a degree in the trades. Mark came to the United States from Nigeria. Not only did he overcome the language barrier, but he adapted to our country’s Imperial system of measurement. Educated using the Metric system, which uses measuring units to count orders of magnitude (i.e. meter, liter, and gram), he graduated from Ranken’s Plumbing Technology Certificate Program Cum Laude in 2019.  He now works as a 2nd-year apprentice for Murphy Contractors, the largest mechanical, industrial construction, and engineering company in the United States. Mark’s supervisor, Alex Ivanov, service operations manager for the Murphy Company, shared “Mark absolutely goes above and beyond. He’s always prepared, often researching project solutions after hours.”

Dave Munie, Plumbing Department Chair, tells us, “Mark Ezepue was a stellar student.  He is very professional and possesses a great attitude and excellent work ethic. While attending Ranken full time, he was employed at a job where he put in thirty-six hours each weekend and still managed to excel in his studies and meet Ranken’s attendance requirements.”

Mark reflects on his decision to attend Ranken, “Going to Ranken was probably the best choice I made especially as an immigrant who was trying to find his feet in a different environment. I am grateful for making that decision.” He has many memories of Ranken, “. . . especially with my classmates and the instructors who were always ready to help each student irrespective of their race, gender, or academic issues.” In 5 years Mark sees himself as a licensed Journeyman skilled in the plumbing craft.

Photograph was taken pre-pandemic.

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/

https://www.facebook.com/MurphyCompanyMechanicalContractorandEngineers/

https://www.murphynet.com/

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Ranken Faculty
Brett Stockmann
Residential Service 2nd year Apprentice @ E&M Plumbing
Ranken Faculty
Daniel Otten
Chemical Operator and Subject Matter Expert @ Afton Chemicals
Ranken Faculty
Jacob Hartman
R & D Lab Technician @ Hussmann Corporation
Ranken Faculty
Dustin Snyder
BFN Design Lead and Estimator at Sargent & Lundy
Video Profile

Brett Stockmann

Residential Service 2nd year Apprentice @ E&M Plumbing

There is no standardized definition of ‘nontraditional student’. The phrase often refers to young adults who have difficulty finding a fulfilling vocation, returning to a post-secondary environment after some years in the workforce. At Ranken Technical College, one example of this increasingly common route is Brett Stockmann, who graduated from the Plumbing certificate program in 2019.

Brett reflected on his circumstances before enrolling at Ranken, “college dropout . . .working the night shift . . .lacking much in the way of ambition or hope for a career that didn’t involve gasoline, hot dogs and racing the sun home.” Ready for a change, Brett toured Ranken, met Plumbing instructor Dave Munie and quickly enrolled. Dave says, “Brett came to Ranken with management experience, so he matriculated effortlessly into Ranken’s work ethics expectations . . . [he] jumped right into the curriculum and was a great problem solver and mentor to other students.”

Brett embraced the Ranken experience, referring to his two semesters as “a true adventure, one that has been rewarding beyond belief.” He eagerly familiarized himself with the various tools, became a SkillsUSA state finalist, jumped at the chance to conduct student-led tours for other potential plumbers, and was especially proud of the opportunity to install a permanent grease trap in the College’s cafeteria.

Brett is a Residential Service 2nd year apprentice with E&M Plumbing, working towards Journeyman status. It is fair to say that he views his path towards a new career with a sense of wonder, “the 9-month Plumbing day program at Ranken quite literally changed my entire future. It took me from a dead-end retail job to a well-paying, secure and rewarding profession that I’m proud of and I enjoy.” Brett is even considering returning as a plumbing instructor himself in the future. He says, “Looking back today, I am certain I am on the path I was meant to walk.”

https://www.facebook.com/EMPlumbing

http://www.emplumbing.com/eandmplumbing/indx.jsp

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/

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Video Profile

Daniel Otten

Chemical Operator and Subject Matter Expert @ Afton Chemicals

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the construction business was booming. Like many other industries, this health hazard has had a negative impact, including backlog, revenue and profit margin expectations, workforce issues, and supply chain issues. Infrastructure projects rely on public funding and the general economic health of the nation, which significantly slowed down the market. The Civil Quarterly, a report published by Dodge Data & Analytics, states the Commercial Construction Index, that gauges the strength of the industry, plummeted from 74 to 55 between the 1st and 2nd quarter of 2020. Times like this, when furloughs and layoffs occur, call for ingenuity and persistence.

Daniel Otten possesses those very qualities. He began his career doing foundation, plumbing, and masonry work, then pursued electrical technology at Lincoln Tech in Indiana. He entered the Navy in 2012, serving until 2016. As an aviation structural mechanic 3rd class, he worked on the MH-60 Sierra Helicopter and he served on three aircraft carriers during training maneuvers.

Daniel utilized the G.I. Bill to attend Ranken. He says, “Ranken has given me the opportunity to tune the skills I learned growing up to be successful in my trade. My favorite memory was the last day of school, sitting there on the front porch of the house we had just finished, looking back at all the little tasks we had completed to make our house a home for the family that now lives there.”

After graduating Summa Cum Laude from Ranken’s Carpentry and Building Construction Technology program in 2019, and Magna Cum Laude with a BS in Applied Management in 2020, Daniel worked as a carpentry apprentice for a local union. Carpentry instructor John Davis noted Daniel’s dependability, explaining “He was a great student and person . . . [Daniel] was one of the most reliable, dependable students that I have ever had.” A few months into the pandemic, Daniel took another path. He is now a chemical operator and subject matter expert for Afton Chemicals where he controls part of the plant that makes an engine oil additive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daniel Otten, Aviation Structural Mechanic 3rd Class, U.S. Navy

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://www.aftonchemical.com/

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Video Profile

Jacob Hartman

R & D Lab Technician @ Hussmann Corporation

Graduate Jacob Hartman says attending Ranken gave him the skills he needed to succeed professionally, as well as skills he needed in life.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my time as a student at Ranken,” Hartman says. “I will always say it was the best decision I’ve ever made.”

Hartman graduated in May 2016, first with an Associate of Technology in Control Systems Technology, then received a Certificate of HVAC in May 2019. He now works as an R&D Lab Technician at Hussmann Corporation, where he’s been for the last four years.

“On each project, Jacob brings his skills learned at Ranken as a strong knowledge base, and adds new skills learned on the job,” said Hussmann R&D Manager Mike D’Anna. “In this regard Jacob Exceeds expectations working in the Hussmann R&D Center.”

Before attending Ranken, Jacob says he almost shut the door on going to college. But with the help and encouragement of his cousin, Jacob decided to go for it.
“Ranken gave me the structure I needed to be successful in life,” he says. “Going to Ranken completely changed my life.”

https://www.facebook.com/hussmanncorp

https://www.hussmann.com/

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/

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Video Profile

Dustin Snyder

BFN Design Lead and Estimator at Sargent & Lundy

Ranken Technical College’s alumni, as a general rule, Pay It Forward.  They hire, mentor, teach and encourage current students preparing to enter the workforce.  One example of this tradition is Dustin Snyder and Daniel Brostron, both graduates of the Electrical Systems Design Technology (ESDT) degree program.

Dustin admits he had a rocky start: he didn’t apply himself in high school, had false starts in community college, and had trouble finding a fulfilling career.  That changed when at the behest of his stepfather he enrolled in ESDT at Ranken.  Electrical instructor Sal Frances relates it was “always so nice to be around him . . .he was so curious about things and very positive. . . It was fun to tap into his energy because he is so inspiring.”  Dustin threw himself into as many activities as he could before graduating Magna Cum Laude in 2014 – from serving as a Student Ambassador and Teacher’s Assistant to working at the on-campus BioMerieux micro-enterprise to volunteering for the FIRST Robotics competition; he is currently pursuing a BSAM at Ranken.

Daniel Brostron enrolled several years later, graduating from the ESDT program in 2020.  He found that the practical experience in electrical installation at Ranken helped him clearly comprehend writing diagrams and visualize his own electrical circuit designs.  “Ranken’s training helped a lot with preparing me,” Daniel tells us.  Instructor Bryan Truemper found that “Daniel worked hard in class and had a great attitude. He thrived learning the different design software programs.”

Their paths crossed when Dustin returned to campus to participate in a job fair.  For several years, he had worked for global energy leader Sargent & Lundy, and he introduced the company to Daniel.  Now, they work together at S&L’s Browns Ferry Nuclear Power Group in Alabama – Dustin as Design Lead and estimator and Daniel as a Drafter.  Nuclear Power Group Senior Manager Randy Cook, who supervises both young men, finds that Ranken students are equipped with a strong foundation for success, are work-ready on their first day of employment, and able to handle challenging assignments with minimal supervision.

Dustin continues to serve as an ambassador and express his gratitude for the opportunities the College has provided him with.  He says “the three items that had the biggest impact on my success were the quality of the instructors at Ranken, the curriculum being based on employer need, and the fact Ranken employs the latest and greatest technology.  Attending Ranken is one of the most important decisions I’ve made in my life.”

https://www.facebook.com/SargentLundyLlc

https://sargentlundy.com

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/

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Ranken Faculty
Chazzerene ‘Chazz’ Howard
Service Advisor @ Caliber Collision, Hampton, Virginia
Ranken Faculty
Blake Forward
Automotive Maintenance Technician @ Machens Ford Dealership
Ranken Faculty
Trace Gray
Technician @ Firestone Complete Auto Care
Ranken Faculty
Jacob Crum
Ford Certified Senior Master Technician @ Machens Ford Dealership
Video Profile

Chazzerene ‘Chazz’ Howard

Service Advisor @ Caliber Collision, Hampton, Virginia

A majority of Ranken students are from Greater St. Louis, but the College’s reach is far wider, with young men and women attending from throughout the Midwest. One such student is Chazzerene ‘Chazz’ Howard, who left her hometown in western Tennessee and enrolled in the Collision Repair Technology degree program. She was one of the very first students to take part in Ranken‘s new Collision Engineering model – alternating 8-weeks of instruction with 8-weeks of paid work experience at a local shop.

Chazz immediately impressed her instructors. Collision Repair Department Chair and faculty member John Helterbrand explains, “I was struck by her self-motivation and the way she was ‘super-focused’ on her education. Anything she did, got her full effort. While building her technical skills, Chazz’s character and work ethic shone through.”

Chazz is equally appreciative of her Ranken experience, telling us the college “had a huge impact on both my life and career path. It has allowed me to reach far beyond my comfort zone.” She graduated in May 2019 with Cum Laude honors.

As a student, Chazz impressed representatives of Caliber Collision, the second-largest Multi-Shop Operator (MSO) nationwide, when they toured Ranken. This led to full-time employment post-graduation with Caliber, where Chazzerene has been employed as a Service Advisor in Hampton, Virginia. Chazz’s branch General Manager, Eric Carr says, “She has been an invaluable addition to his team. Her experience in auto repair is what makes an estimator not just good, but great. As young as she is, with the knowledge she has, she will keep moving forward . . . she’ll probably replace me someday!”

John Helterbrand fully agrees that Chazz’s current position is a stepping stone toward the future. “Chazzerene is a lifelong learner with amazing things in front of her. It’s clear to everyone, her journey is just beginning!”

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://www.facebook.com/calibercollisioncenters/
https://calibercollision.com/

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Video Profile

Blake Forward

Automotive Maintenance Technician @ Machens Ford Dealership

Pictured, left to right, Blake Forward, Cameron Anderson, Jacob Bailey, Jacob Crum

It’s not unusual to discover several Ranken Tech grads on the payroll of our industry partners. Machens Ford Dealership in Columbia, Missouri is one such company. Jared Phillippe, service advisor, warranty administrator, and service manager, tells us he currently has four of our graduates working on his team. “All four are great technicians with tons of knowledge and great work ethics.  We couldn’t be any happier with the quality of techs we have seen come from Ranken.  We look forward to continuing to recruit and employing more like them. We’ve heard rumors about Ranken opening a location in our region and we’d love to see that happen.”

On his team are automotive maintenance graduates: Jacob Bailey and Cameron Anderson (2020), Blake Forward (Magna Cum Laude, 2019), and Jacob Crum (Summa Cum Laude, 2017). Jacob Crum also graduated from Ranken’s Bachelor of Science in Applied Management (BSAM) Summa Cum Laude in 2018.

Jacob Bailey shared, “Ranken set me up to meet some of the greatest friends that I have now and gave me the opportunity to work my way up in one of the biggest Ford dealers in Missouri. I made so many great memories at Ranken.” Jared Phillippe says, “Jacob Bailey came to us work-ready and well trained. Jacob was recently promoted from technician to service advisor. He’s self-motivated and we love him here.” 

Andrew Jesse, Ranken Automotive Certified Dealership Technician Program instructor, explained, “Machens Ford in Columbia is a tremendous industry partner and is key to the success of these students. Each of these students has a unique skill set and their dealership is helping them to continue to develop those skills. Jacob Crum is now a Ford Certified Senior Master Technician, Cameron Anderson & Blake Forward are advancing towards the senior master level, and Jacob Bailey is currently pursuing the path to service management by working as a service advisor at his dealership.”

https://www.machensford.com/
https://www.facebook.com/joemachensford
Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/

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Video Profile

Trace Gray

Technician @ Firestone Complete Auto Care

 

Trace Gray graduated from the High Performance Racing Technology degree program in 2018. Trace was hired by Firestone Complete Auto Care as a Technician, setting himself the goal of becoming Lead Tech within five years while pursuing his state inspector’s license.

Donald Rote, a High Performance instructor at Ranken, was impressed by Trace’s attitude in class, and the fact that he was “always willing to lend a hand or supportive ear to other students.” Trace was able to work at Firestone before he graduated, a perfect partnership that allowed him to apply his newfound knowledge in a real-world scenario.

“He works closely with our Master Tech, learning new things daily,” says Amy Gillam, a Senior Recruiter at Firestone. While becoming his location’s go-to alignment specialist, Trace also “loves working on high performance cars whenever he can,” Amy relates.

Firestone has 27 service locations across the St. Louis region. On Firestone’s behalf, Amy has seen how quickly Trace has taken to his new position: “We enjoy Trace being on our team! He helps keep the store in line and organized, so much so that his nickname is ‘Sheriff’!”

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://www.facebook.com/FirestoneCompleteAuto/
https://www.firestonecompleteautocare.com/

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Video Profile

Jacob Crum

Ford Certified Senior Master Technician @ Machens Ford Dealership

Pictured, left to right, Blake Forward, Cameron Anderson, Jacob Bailey, Jacob Crum

It’s not unusual to discover several Ranken Tech grads on the payroll of our industry partners. Machens Ford Dealership in Columbia, Missouri is one such company. Jared Phillippe, service advisor, warranty administrator, and service manager, tells us he currently has four of our graduates working on his team. “All four are great technicians with tons of knowledge and great work ethics.  We couldn’t be any happier with the quality of techs we have seen come from Ranken.  We look forward to continuing to recruit and employing more like them. We’ve heard rumors about Ranken opening a location in our region and we’d love to see that happen.”

On his team are automotive maintenance graduates: Jacob Bailey and Cameron Anderson (2020), Blake Forward (Magna Cum Laude, 2019), and Jacob Crum (Summa Cum Laude, 2017). Jacob Crum also graduated from Ranken’s Bachelor of Science in Applied Management (BSAM) Summa Cum Laude in 2018.

Jacob Bailey shared, “Ranken set me up to meet some of the greatest friends that I have now and gave me the opportunity to work my way up in one of the biggest Ford dealers in Missouri. I made so many great memories at Ranken.” Jared Phillippe says, “Jacob Bailey came to us work-ready and well trained. Jacob was recently promoted from technician to service advisor. He’s self-motivated and we love him here.”

Andrew Jesse, Ranken Automotive Certified Dealership Technician Program instructor, explained, “Machens Ford in Columbia is a tremendous industry partner and is key to the success of these students. Each of these students has a unique skill set and their dealership is helping them to continue to develop those skills. Jacob Crum is now a Ford Certified Senior Master Technician, Cameron Anderson & Blake Forward are advancing towards the senior master level, and Jacob Bailey is currently pursuing the path to service management by working as a service advisor at his dealership.”

https://www.machensford.com/
https://www.facebook.com/joemachensford
Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/

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Ranken Faculty
Ross Stromberg
Lead Technician @ Firestone Complete Auto Care
Ranken Faculty
Katie Beck Schuler
Lead Refinish Technician @ Car Craft Auto Body
Ranken Faculty
Kyle Neely
Technician @ Schaefer Autobody Centers
Ranken Faculty
Joseph Siekmann
Video Profile

Ross Stromberg

Lead Technician @ Firestone Complete Auto Care

Ross Stromberg is currently employed with Firestone Complete Auto Care, which has 27 locations across the St. Louis region.  Firestone has partnered with Ranken Technical College and hired Ranken alumni for decades.

Ross started working there while enrolled in the Automotive Maintenance Technology (AMT) program at Ranken in Wentzville. Part of the Wentzville location’s very first graduating class in Automotive Maintenance (2014), Ross has worked his way up to become a Lead Technician at Firestone and achieved L1 certification. Amy Gillam, a Senior Recruiter at Firestone, states they “are super proud of the work Ross does, and we love to see him train and coach new Ranken students.”

While attending Ranken, Ross was able to find a productive balance between working with the cars at Firestone’s shop, applying what he had learned, and setting himself on a successful career path. He continues to be a vital link between other Ranken alumni and his workplace. Amy tells Ranken, “He definitely shows a sense of pride being able to show what he has accomplished and where he came from.”

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://www.facebook.com/FirestoneCompleteAuto/
https://www.firestonecompleteautocare.com/

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Video Profile

Katie Beck Schuler

Lead Refinish Technician @ Car Craft Auto Body

Katie Beck graduated May 2013 from Ranken’s Automotive Collision Repair program. While there she competed in many SkillsUSA events. In 2012, she placed 2nd in Ranken’s District Auto Refinishing contest. She advanced to the State Championship, placing 1st in Auto Collision. Next stop, the SkillsUSA National Conference. In 2013, Katie finished 1st in Ranken’s District Auto Refinishing contest. She took 3rd in Auto Collision at the State Championship. Katie says, “SkillsUSA competitions and the skills I learned while there” are my favorite memories of Ranken. [Ranken] taught me to be punctual, self-disciplined, and to never give up.”

Katie’s resume includes Schaefer Auto Body, Plaza Collision, and Car Max. She now works as the Lead Refinish Technician for Car Craft Auto Body. Phil Meier, General Manager at Car Craft, explains, “Katie joined our team in December 2018. She has a great work ethic, pride in her work, positive attitude, and determination. In December of 2019, Car Craft acquired a 5th location in Hazelwood, MO. Car Craft granted Katie the opportunity to transfer to the Hazelwood location and take on the role of lead refinish technician. Without hesitation, she accepted the offer. Katie has now been the lead refinish technician at our Hazelwood location since January 2019. She is the poster girl for future technicians interested in auto refinishing. To say we enjoy having Katie on the team is an understatement. Katie is a great person and an awesome employee. Loyalty, care, and compassion are just a few words that come to mind when reflecting on Katie. We look forward to her future and growing with Katie as she continues her journey in collision repair and refinishing.”

John Helterbrand, former department chair of Automotive Collision Repair, recalls meeting Katie for the first time. “My family went with me to Chicago for Sherwin Williams training for SkillsUSA students. Her high school instructor told me Katie had been chasing ducks in front of the hotel for several hours and planned to take one home if she caught one. I was troubled as I had volunteered to take Katie home after training. She never caught a duck, but she did manage to keep me on my toes for two years.” John adds, “Katie is fearless. She was a self-promoter, respected by her classmates, and mentor to other ladies in our automotive programs. Katie has grown into a true success in a career to be proud of.” Katie’s brother, Kyle, also graduated from Ranken’s ACR program in 2014.

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://www.facebook.com/CarCraftStl
https://www.carcraftstl.com/

 

 

 

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Video Profile

Kyle Neely

Technician @ Schaefer Autobody Centers

Kyle Neely graduated Magna Cum Laude in May 2007 with a degree in Automotive Collision Repair (ACR). He is employed as a Technician by Schaefer Autobody Centers. Kristen Henry, a Sales & Marketing Lead at Schaefer, is impressed by his skills and willingness to help peers. “[Kyle] is a pillar of Schaefer Autobody Centers and we are proud he joined our team in 2008. Ranken produces high caliber technicians and we look forward to continuing to hire Ranken graduates.”

Beyond his professional accomplishments, Kyle Neely has made a major impact on social media. As the host of YouTube channel BlueCollarKyle, he provides a look behind the scenes of collision repair. Kyle produces step-by-step videos of various projects while providing valuable tips to industry professionals and laypersons alike. The channel has produced over 750 videos with a cumulative total of over 4.5 million views! BlueCollarKyle also has a strong presence on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Tik Tok. Kyle is a true ambassador for a field that employs 180,000 repair specialists across the nation.

Kyle gives Ranken props for his success, telling us “I knew I was going to work on cars from a young age. Ranken was able to dial in my knowledge and skills to the point that I could start my career with confidence. I appreciate the networking and connections I made while at Ranken. Some of those connections are part of the reason I’m where I am now.”

ACR Department Chair and faculty member John Helterbrand recalls how impressed he was with his former student. “Kyle was different, he wanted to bring attention to his industry. He was involved in the earliest days of social media, even writing code for Myspace.” John appreciates that Kyle is still engaged with Ranken, such as sitting on an Advisory Board. “Our industry wants to hear what he has to say. I’ve seen high school students, and teachers, who want his autograph or a selfie with him. Through it all, Kyle has stayed true to himself. He was and is a well-grounded young man, looking to help any way he can . . . celebrity does not go to his head!”

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
www.youtube.com/channel/UCVL5dT9figJYVNh5NhCGqZA
https://www.schaeferautobody.com/

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Video Profile

Joseph Siekmann

Joe graduated in 1968 from the Automotive Mechanic program, served in the Army as a supply clerk in Hawaii then returned to Ranken and completed the Automotive Collision Repair program in 1971. He worked in auto collision repair his entire career. First, he was at Lincoln Mercury in East St. Louis for 3 years. He then moved to Meyer Oldsmobile for 17 years and finished his career at Jack Schmidt Ford for eleven years as the auto body shop manager. He retired at 54 and now spends his time working on his hobby, street rods. He is a member of a club and has four street rods that he works on. He takes his cars to car shows and on road trips. Joe attended a reunion with several of his classmates on campus during an open house several years ago. “I was amazed at how much the campus had changed since I attended.” He recalled. Joe has been married to his wife for 51 years and has two kids and 4 grandkids.

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Ranken Faculty
Peter Kostecki
Ranken Faculty
John Calaway
Ranken Faculty
Michael F. Buckley
Ranken Faculty
Nick Meloy
Laborer, LoneStar Pipeline Contractors
Video Profile

Peter Kostecki

Pete’s first job after graduating was for a construction company in Madison, IL repairing heavy equipment. After this his career took a different path. Pete decided to become a police officer which he did for two years. He then got into security work and completed his bachelor’s degree from LaSalle University in 1990. He eventually got hired to work security at Emerson which he did for 32 years before retiring. Pete did not stay retired long. After two years he got bored and went to work for Guarda Security where he still works. Pete says, “Ranken was a great school. I am glad I went there. The safety training, I received at Ranken saved my life. In my first job a piece of medal punctured a vein in my wrist. I was bleeding really bad and I remembered what our teachers told us to do. I immediately put pressure on the wound to control the bleeding until I got to the hospital.” Pete has two daughters and three grandkids. He remembers carpooling with classmates Tom Kasprovich and John Calaway and talking with the guys about racing cars, a hobby which he enjoyed for years at Gateway and Alton Dragway. Pete wrote a book on weight loss in 1993 titled Thirty-Five Pounds Gone.

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Video Profile

John Calaway

John remembers Pete Kostecki’s lime green 1963, 6 cylinder Plymouth with the tiger skin vinyl roof which he got to work on as a student. He said, “Pete wanted to put an 8 cylinder engine in it and his Dad told him not til the 6 cylinder blew. Pete could never get the 6 cylinder to blow. Those 6 cylinders were bullet proof.”  Several of the students, against the instruction of their teachers, would go to the interstate and race their cars. One day they were caught and were late for class. Ranken instructor Mr. Turnbull was not happy. The boys use to kid with Mr. Turnbull about Fords, of which Mr. Turnbull was a fan. The boys would say Ford stood for “found on road dead” Mr. Turnbull would counter with “first on race day.” John also remembers the boys all had their draft number written on their lapel, an ominous reminder of the times in which they lived. After graduating John worked as an auto mechanic, then went to work for his father-in-law as a combustion engineer. Later he went back to school at SIUE’s Environmental Resource Training Center, after which he worked for Granite City in wastewater treatment. John is grateful for his Ranken education. He remembers going to the GM school for eight weeks. He said he outshined the students from Bailey Tech because of the training he received at Ranken. John’s wife passed away in 2009 – he remarried in 2011 and moved to Arenzville, IL where they live now.

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Video Profile

Michael F. Buckley

Michael went to work at the GMC Truck Center on Chouteau in 1971 after graduating and stayed there until 1975. He then worked at an independent car and light truck center and became a part-time evening instructor at Ranken. From 1978 through 1991 he moved between Art Haack GMC and the GMC Truck Center holding the positions of Shop Foreman, Service Advisor, and Truck Service Manager. From there he worked at S & K Electric and then Bistate Development each for one year, before getting hired by FedEx as a senior heavy truck mechanic. Michael retired from FedEx in 2015. Michael has been an ASE Master Mechanic since 1975 and was named ASE Technician of the year (Medium/Heavy Truck electrical systems). Congratulations, Michael!

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Video Profile

Nick Meloy

Laborer, LoneStar Pipeline Contractors

Ranken Grads in the Workplace: One of the most exciting events to take place at Ranken year after year is the SkillsUSA District Competition. It’s such an honor to watch our students compete with other area students to show off how hard they’ve worked and what they’ve learned. Nick Meloy is one of those students who stood out. Last year, Meloy took home the 1st place trophy in the Welding contest. Had it not been for the COVID-19 pandemic, he would have been able to compete at the Missouri State Championship contest as well.

His success in welding doesn’t stop there. In May 2020, Nick graduated from the Fabrication & Welding program Summa Cum Laude, and is now employed as a laborer for LoneStar Pipeline Contractors.

“Nick Meloy was one of the top students in Ranken’s 2019-20 program,” said Cory Blair, a Ranken Welding instructor. “He was highly skilled, had a great work ethic, and was an employee for the welding department as a student worker.”

https://www.facebook.com/LoneStarPipelineContractors

https://www.lonestarplc.com

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/

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Ranken Faculty
Katherine Bangert
Lead Software Engineer, Project Manager, and Interim Solutions Architect @ NextEra Energy/Florida Power & Light
Ranken Faculty
Daniel Bortz
Application Developer @ Laclede Chain Manufacturing
Ranken Faculty
Brad Francis
Owner, Certified Performance and Auto Repair, Inc.
Ranken Faculty
Tom Kasprovich
Video Profile

Katherine Bangert

Lead Software Engineer, Project Manager, and Interim Solutions Architect @ NextEra Energy/Florida Power & Light

Katherine Bangert graduated Cum Laude from the Internet Web Based Technology program in 2012. While at Ranken, she was a Student Ambassador and Secretary of the college’s Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. In the field, Kate has earned both the Six Sigma Yellow Belt and Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certifications, globally recognized training of techniques and tools for process improvement.

Evan Gudmestad, IT Assistant Division Chair says, “Katherine was the type of student that not only performed well on all her own assignments, but she would help to raise the quality of her classmates’ work as well.  She would organize study groups outside of class, encourage others to put in more effort, and she had an all-around outstanding work ethic that made her a true leader in the class.”

Kate tells us, “Ranken provided the foundation for my career. Where I excelled at being book smart, Ranken ensured I would be ready for the rigorous work weeks and long hours that are demanded of us. The work ethic grade truly gives you a perspective for what to expect in an enterprise and provides the necessary feedback to becoming a professional in your field. Most individuals coming out of a four-year university are not set up for success and tend to not fully grasp what is needed in the field. To this day, I interview new prospective engineers and it shows how real hands-on training puts a candidate well above the rest.”

Kate’s supervisor, Ronnie Bailey, Information Technology Agile Delivery Manager for NextEra Energy/Florida Power & Light explains, “Katherine embodies the characteristics of someone who is dedicated to personal success. She takes personal pride in her work and does her best to ensure her team delivers projects on time. She is an ideal team member that makes others around her better because she continues to raise the bar.”

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://www.facebook.com/nexteraenergy/
https://www.nexteraenergy.com/

Photos taken pre-pandemic: 2019 NEE Excellence Awards Ceremony Q1 in Juno Beach, Fla., on May 2, 2019

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Video Profile

Daniel Bortz

Application Developer @ Laclede Chain Manufacturing

Daniel Bortz graduated from the Internet Web Based Technology program in 2010.  Since that time, he has built his resume while gaining technical experience in customer support services, onsite installations and troubleshooting of networks, database management, and software application development.

When asked about his favorite memory from his time here at Ranken he admits, “Honestly, it was the cafeteria food. They made the best buffalo chicken wraps and breakfast burritos! But also, being able to be hands-on with the systems was huge for me. I also graduated with my best friend as well!” Daniel adds, “my favorite instructor was Evan Gudmestad (a.k.a. Mr. G) and obtaining a Ranken education ‘got him into the field of his dreams!’”

Mr. Gudmestad, IT Assistant Division Chair explains, “Daniel’s greatest strengths are his soft/social skills. He is outgoing and very likeable. In a world of geeks, that’s exceptional.”

IT Manager, Matt Gorman, shared, “Daniel does work for me at Laclede Chain Manufacturing. We hired him back in August 2020, and he has worked out very well for us. He fits in great with our culture and has caught on very quickly, learning our systems and data. Daniel is an application developer for us, but also helps out with technical support since we are a small company and have to wear many hats. He has had a great attitude from day one and has been very flexible with our current remote working environment. Daniel also has a great work ethic and is always eager and willing to help out where he can. He came to us with several years of experience under his belt, as well as in the key areas we needed like C#, SQL, and SSRS which was a huge plus for us.”

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://lacledechain.com/
https://www.facebook.com/lacledechain/

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Video Profile

Brad Francis

Owner, Certified Performance and Auto Repair, Inc.

Brad Francis, ’01 Automotive Technology Grad, did not like high school. He did like working with his hands and as a high school student he worked as an automotive technician at an independently owned repair shop. The owner and employees at this repair shop were all Ranken graduates.

After high school he decided to go to Ranken. “I wanted to be a great mechanic. Real world experience was good, but I really wanted to know my craft. I was not a fan of high school and skipped a lot of school as a result. At Ranken I only missed one day and that was because I was at work and had the start day wrong.” After graduating he continued to work at the same repair shop.

After a few years working for someone Brad got the entrepreneur urge and he decided to go into business for himself. In 2005, at the age of 23 Brad opened his own independent repair shop in Overland, MO and after a month in business convinced one of his friends from Ranken to join him in the venture. Business was good, but realizing that many of their customers were from St. Charles County, they decided to move their business. They eventually ended up in Moscow Mills, MO, where they found a good deal on the building that they still own and onto which they recently added 4500 square feet. Today, Certified Performance and Auto Repair Inc. http://www.stlcarrepair.com/ is a respected and successful business.

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/

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Video Profile

Tom Kasprovich

Tom graduated from the Communications Electronics field but while at Ranken he had a class in Drafting, and he loved it so much it became a career. Upon graduating he was hired by National Vendors as a Junior Technical Illustrator. His electronics proved invaluable in laying out schematics and wiring diagrams. Turns out Tom was a natural at laying out complex schematics and wiring diagrams. At National Vendors he also learned Trimetric exploded views of equipment. After six years he moved on to Emerson Electric where his technical illustration skills really took off. When computers came into the picture, Tom was the first one in the department chosen to transfer the schematics and wiring diagrams to the computer. Later on, Trimetric exploded views were put on the computer as well. Over the years Emerson spun off their military division and that company was bought and sold and merged with other companies, but Tom always stayed with the same company and retired in 2010 from DRS Technologies. Tom Said, “None of it would have been possible without my Ranken education.”

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Ranken Faculty
Lloyd Miller
Ranken Faculty
Amanda Blazer
Water Restoration Technician @ Woodard Cleaning & Restoration
Ranken Faculty
Ryley Wallin
Plumbing Apprentice @ Beloman Services
Ranken Faculty
Chris Richardson
Plumbing Apprentice @ Grasse and Associates
Video Profile

Lloyd Miller

Lloyd Miller – Communications and Computer Technology

Congratulations to Lloyd as he celebrates the 50thanniversary of his graduation from Ranken Technical College. Lloyd had this to say about the impact of his Ranken education, “Ranken’s greatest impact in my life was how its training and strong work ethic positioned me to be initially successful in the US Navy immediately upon graduation.  The skills obtained at Ranken allowed me to enlist in the US Navy, during the height of the Vietnam War, and immediately propelled me into one of the most technologically advanced areas of the early 1970’s – Satellite Communications.  Over my four years, I became responsible for the 2nd and then 6th Fleet readiness of these shipboard systems assigned as a member of the Admiral’s staff.  I received several letters of commendation for my services.  This success positioned me to go on to a very successful career in IT and Project Management to where I have managed projects and programs in the tens of millions of dollars and provide consulting services at the CXX level of corporations.  Ranken was the catalyst I needed to position me for success, and I believe to this day it continues to do so for so many of its graduates!” Lloyd is married and lives in South County. He and his wife, Mary, have 5 children and 13 grandchildren and both still work full time. They are members of the Patriot Guard Riders and enjoy many hobbies and Lloyd is learning to play the bugle so that he can play taps at military funerals. His favorite Ranken memories are building an operational radar system and watching his two sons, Lloyd, Automotive 2001, and Justin, IT 2002, graduate from Ranken.

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Video Profile

Amanda Blazer

Water Restoration Technician @ Woodard Cleaning & Restoration

For 2019 graduate Amanda Blazer, Ranken Technical College provided something she never received in high school. It was the confidence to do well in her work and know she was on the right track.

“My favorite memory is when I got an ‘A’ and didn’t have to study,” she says. “When I was in high school, tests were not my strong suit. I had to study a lot.”

It could be that Ranken is not a traditional school. For every hour students spend in the classroom, they receive three hours of hands-on training. Not only did Amanda gain the skills she needed for employment, she graduated Ranken Magna Cum Laude with a certificate in Carpentry.

And she’s still pushing forward. Amanda is currently enrolled in Ranken’s Facilities Technology Program, all while working as a Water Restoration Technician at Woodard Cleaning and Restoration Company. Her boss speaks highly of her.

“Amanda is a great employee with a pleasant disposition and admirable work ethic,” said Sean Dunlap, Crew Chief at Woodard. “She knows how to prioritize her work and is extremely timely and efficient when it comes to completing her projects.”

Sean says Amanda’s work with providing cleaning treatments to health businesses and residential businesses have been crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic, and is a skill she has mastered.

“Ranken gave me the confidence to be able to move forward in my dream job and it continues to do so the more I learn,” Amanda says. “It’s the best thing I’ve ever done for myself and I thank the program, the teachers, and the staff for being so kind and understanding, especially when I first walked in the doors.”

www.woodard247.com

https://www.facebook.com/Woodard247

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/

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Video Profile

Ryley Wallin

Plumbing Apprentice @ Beloman Services

According to David Munie, Ranken Plumbing Department Chair, “Ryley excelled at everything including all his projects. He competed in the 2019 SkillsUSA District Championship, taking 1st place in the plumbing contest. He then advanced to the SkillsUSA Missouri State Championship where he placed 1st again.  Next stop, the 2019 SkillsUSA National Conference where he took 4th place. Ryley possesses a great work ethic; he had a superb attendance record. He is making preparations to acquire and outfit his own work van as a 2nd-year apprentice.”

“I am truly loving my job at Beloman Heating & Cooling,” says Ryley.  “It’s all because I was so prepared and had great teachers. Ranken taught me to take responsibility, and to be a great plumber. I made the right decision to attend Ranken.  My fondest memories were coming back from winter break and seeing all the guys again. Everyone got along so well and always had a great time. I know I made lifelong friends that I can always count on.”  In 5 years, Ryley sees himself running a lot of remodels, both commercial and residential, along with the occasional new home.  He adds, “Someday, I’d love to come back and teach at Ranken.”

Ryley gets all high marks when it comes to his work with Beloman. “Ryley has a great attitude and impressive work ethic,” reports John Davinroy, Beloman Project Manager and Estimator. “He always wants to learn more and steps up for more responsibilities. While with Beloman for two years, Ryley does the work of 4th and 5th year apprentices, much like journeymen. He is a real team player and takes pride in his work.  We wish we had more like him.”

http://www.facebook.com/beloservice/

http://www.beloman.com

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/

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Video Profile

Chris Richardson

Plumbing Apprentice @ Grasse and Associates

Chris Richardson graduated from Ranken Technical College’s Plumbing program in May 2019.  “From the minute I took a tour of the plumbing department and met my future teachers I knew this was what I wanted to do in life,” Chris says.

Dave Munie, Plumbing Department Chair at Ranken, instructed Chris and remembers him well: “Chris was a great student, very smart and business savvy. . . I believe he’ll go on to bigger and better things, [a] top lead position in the field.”  Chris is thinking very much along these same lines, predicting that he “will be a journeyman in the trade and with any luck, be able to try running work as a foreman.”

Both his classmates and instructors bestowed a unique nickname on Chris reflecting his intelligence and recall – ‘the professor’.

Work ethic is graded as part of the experience at Ranken Technical College, including a vital component – teamwork.  This is one of the things that impressed Chris the most, as he recalls: “Even though my class was on the large side, we all became like one family. If anyone had a problem with something, either in the classwork or home life, we helped each other through it.”

Since he graduated, Chris Richardson has been employed with Grasse & Associates and is currently a 2nd year apprentice.  Grasse & Associates incorporated in 1992 but represents only the latest endeavor of the Grasse family, which has been synonymous with the local construction industry for nearly a century.  The company works with general contractors across the St. Louis metro area and Chris is currently working on sleeving a deck – preparing a permanent concrete installation for piping, a task which requires advanced surveying skills. “I have great benefits and pay” Chris proudly declares, “and can now support a future family of my own.”

Photos below taken Spring 2019

https://grasse.com/

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/

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Ranken Faculty
Ashis Gurung
Auto Body Technician @ Gapsch Carstar Collision Center
Ranken Faculty
Andrew Fields
Automotive Technician @ Rob Sight Ford
Ranken Faculty
Dale McCrackin
Controls Technician @ The CTS Group
Ranken Faculty
Earnestina Fields
Drafting Technician @ Wallace Architects
Video Profile

Ashis Gurung

Auto Body Technician @ Gapsch Carstar Collision Center

The relationships Ranken Technical College has been able to cultivate and nurture with employer partners has been invaluable to our students. Because of this, we love hearing positive feedback about graduates after they’ve entered jobs in their fields.

Ashis Gurung is one example. As a May 2020 graduate of the Automotive Collision Repair Technology program, Gurung has adjusted well to the demands of the workforce, and his employer at Gapsch CARSTAR Collision Center credits his training at Ranken.

“Ashis has been an immediate asset to the team,” said Rob Smith, Business Development & Community Relations at Gapsch. “As he trains closely with a lead technician, he continues to learn while improving his skillset on a daily basis.”

Gurung says his best memory of ranken was getting the hands-on training he needed, and that “Ranken gave me the background of basic skills that prepared me to succeed.”

Rob Smith agrees.
“The relationship between Gapsch CARSTAR and Ranken is WIN-WIN,” he said. “We LOVE to give back to the industry with time and training and it gets us great community exposure which leads to brand recognition. We get to meet technicians before they start applying and they get to meet us before they know what culture they are looking for in a work environment.”

https://www.facebook.com/gapschcarstar

https://www.carstar.com/locations/mo/st-louis-15057/

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/

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Video Profile

Andrew Fields

Automotive Technician @ Rob Sight Ford

As an institution, we know that our graduates will enter the workforce with the necessary skills to not only succeed, but thrive. As a result, we love hearing from employers that have hired our graduates. Andrew Fields graduated from the Ford ASSET program in 2017. Here’s what his employer had to say about him.

“Andy came to us as a young man eager to learn in the automotive industry and sought out the best education he could find in Ranken to help him do so. Sponsoring him in the Ford ASSET program was one of the greatest decisions we ever made. He shows up day in day out with a tremendous attitude and displays an advanced level of technical knowledge with every job he works on. More importantly, he shares that knowledge with any other individual (not just technicians) who needs help and wants to learn. That is perhaps the best part about Andy.

His growth is exactly what we want to see from young men and women in our dealership. It makes me proud that his success has provided him a great life, home and family.”—Robert Sight, Rob Sight Ford.

https://www.facebook.com/RobSightFord

https://www.robsightford.com/

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/

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Video Profile

Dale McCrackin

Controls Technician @ The CTS Group

Outside of the hands-on training that Dale McCrackin received during his time at Ranken, there was something else just as important Dale says helped his development.

“I must first thank my instructors at Ranken, because without
them I would not be where I am today,” McCrackin says. “I truly felt like they were always looking out for me and my classmates during my time at Ranken. They also taught me interpersonal skills that I use every single day.”

McCrackin is a spring 2019 Ranken graduate, having completed both the HVAC-R and Major Appliance programs, with MAGNA honors. He now works as a Controls Technician at The CTS Group.

As a Ranken student, McCrackin says his favorite memory was of getting the opportunity to participate in a “How-to” video featuring an unreleased product with the company NIDEC.

“This was a great opportunity to meet some wonderful people from that company and get some insight into up and coming products in my industry,” he says.

https://www.facebook.com/CTSgroup.ESCO

https://www.veregy.com/about-us/

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/

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Video Profile

Earnestina Fields

Drafting Technician @ Wallace Architects

With an education from Ranken and a degree in Architectural Technology, Earnestina Fields was able to teach her coworkers a thing or two.

“Ranken has prepared me for the software I use in my field,” Earnestina says. “It also allowed me to bring in skills that my coworkers didn’t know, and I was able to teach them new things.”
Fields is now a drafting technician at Wallace Architects, where her boss speaks highly of Fields’ work ethic.

“Earnie has been a great addition to our drafting team since she started with Wallace Architects,” said Mike Kleffner, Project Manager and Co-founder of Wallace Architects. “She finishes her work with high quality and precision, time and time again, and is able to work on several different types of projects simultaneously without missing a beat. We are lucky to have her as part of our team and grateful for her solid drafting education that she received at Ranken.”

In addition to receiving her education from Ranken, Fields also made a meaningful connection to the St. Louis campus. In June of 2019, she married her sweetheart and fellow Ranken student Andrew Fields right on campus.

“All four years were great,” she says. “But my favorite memory was marrying my now husband on the St. Louis campus where we met.”

https://www.facebook.com/wallacearchitects
https://wallacearchitects.com/

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Ranken Faculty
Ashley Hammock
Drafting Technician @ Jeff Day & Associates
Ranken Faculty
Cody Henderson
Director of Science & Education @ Feeler S. Architects
Ranken Faculty
Nathaniel Turner
2013 Electrical Systems Design Technology
Ranken Faculty
Bridgett Turner
Designer @ Sargent & Lundy
Video Profile

Ashley Hammock

Drafting Technician @ Jeff Day & Associates

Meet Ashley Hammock, a 2018 Architecture Technology graduate, Magna Cum Laude, now employed at Jeff Day & Associates here in St. Louis.

When asked about the impact an education at Ranken Technical College has had on her life and professional development, Ashley says, “It has given me an edge over interns from other institutions that mainly focus on the design side of architecture, rather than the structure we learn at Ranken.”

Ashley says her fondest memory of Ranken was her first: attending the Shadow-A-Tech program, where she got her first glimpse at life as a student. Ranken is also where she met her now fiancé, a fellow Ranken graduate.

https://www.facebook.com/JEFF-DAY-ARCHITECT-44036946402

www.jeffdayhomes.com

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/

 

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Video Profile

Cody Henderson

Director of Science & Education @ Feeler S. Architects

Cody Henderson graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Architecture degree in 2006. He says, “Ranken gave me the tools so I could make an immediate impact . . . my first day on the job, I was able to dive into construction details with the knowledge to bring designs to life and make a lasting impression on the principals of the firm. Ranken fueled my curiosity for building technology which I constantly build upon to this day.” Kelley Raftery, Architecture Department Chair, says “Cody was without a doubt, a great student. More importantly, he has stayed connected with Ranken: taking students on job site visits, participating in project reviews, and serving on our advisory board for several years. I am excited to see where his career takes him because he is a rising star.”

Cody, Director of Science & Education for Feeler S. Architects (FAS), became president of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), St. Louis chapter in 2020. On March 10, he won the 2021 AIA Young Architects Award, an award honoring individuals demonstrating exceptional leadership who make significant contributions to the architecture profession early in their careers.

Client Matthew Conlon, Director for Capital Projects at Washington University in St. Louis, wrote, “Cody is very detail oriented and customer focused. He works diligently with the research scientists on the design of their laboratories, asking probing questions, defining and documenting their needs, and in some cases, educating the researcher on improved laboratory layout and functionality.”

Cody recalls, “As a junior we had a group project to design what would eventually become Walker Hall. Our team took over one of the projectors in the department for our group meetings and made design changes ‘on the fly’. We signed our drawings with the firm name ‘Team Projector.’”

    

Photos taken pre-pandemic. 1) 2021 AIA Showcase, 2) Cody volunteering for Habitat for Humanity, 3) Cody presenting to Ranken Summer Adventure Academy students

https://www.aia.org/showcases/6357065-cody-henderson-aia
Feeler, S. Architects (fsastl.com)
Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/

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Video Profile

Nathaniel Turner

2013 Electrical Systems Design Technology

Ranken’s Electrical Systems Design Technology program provides hands-on training using Computer-Aided Drafting, Building Information Modeling, and REVIT software to design electrical wiring, industrial controls, circuitry, machinery, and power distribution to create intelligent 3D models to produce construction documentation for large-scale projects. Zippia.com, the career expert, reports finding a job with an electrical design engineering degree will not be an issue. Working in one of the many branches of this profession, you can earn between $65,000 to $110,000 a year. The career is expected to grow 2% by 2028, producing 8,000 job opportunities in the U.S.

Nathaniel Turner graduated from the Electrical Systems Design Technology program in May 2013. He is an electrical designer in the Physical Department at Sargent & Lundy in Chicago, IL. Nathaniel creates blueprints and schematics, showing the physical layout of the equipment. He explains, “My experience at Ranken taught me how to loosen up a bit and how to properly communicate. I learned how to be patient with myself and others to assure precision and accuracy. I also learned to ask questions, and more questions!”

Nathaniel values the mentoring and encouragement he received from Ranken staff. “My first year, I was constantly in the Student Achievement Center getting help with math. There was always someone there when I needed help. Dr. Mottert, a Mathematics professor who tutored students, was extremely helpful; he made me more confident in myself and my abilities,” says Nathaniel.

Dr. Les Mottert recalls Nathaniel as “one of the finest young men to attend Ranken. Like many students, he struggled in algebra, but I saw his desire to succeed. By asking questions in class and seeking robust tutoring he made progress very quickly. His grades improved as well as his self-esteem. Nathaniel was a real pleasure to have in class and work with daily.”

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://sargentlundy.com/
https://www.facebook.com/sargentlundy

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Video Profile

Bridgett Turner

Designer @ Sargent & Lundy

Bridgett Wings began her journey at Ranken Technical College as a high school senior in the Dual Enrollment program, where students begin college while finalizing their secondary education.  Bridgett explains, “There were people there to help me, but it was a BIG risk for my last semester of high school. I had prom, I was valedictorian, and had to keep up my grades . . . [with] the strict attendance requirements and hard work at Ranken, it was incredibly difficult to do.”

Bridgett attended Construction Careers Center High School. Crystal Herron, then Dean of Student Affairs, recalls “Bridgett was working, attending Ranken, and responsible for her siblings . . . she was not willing to fail at any of those competing priorities. Moved by her tenacity, Ranken gifted her a Buick Century Wagon to remedy her lack of transportation.” Prior to graduation, Bridgett accepted a position with Sargent & Lundy, a global engineering and energy business that provides full-service power delivery systems for fossil-fueled, nuclear power, and renewable energy plants. Bridgett was excited but preoccupied with leaving her folks and siblings behind. “I pleaded with her several times to get established in Chicago before trying to remedy her family situation,” added Dean Herron.

Graduating from Ranken’s Electrical Systems Design Technology (ESDT) program in 2012, Bridgett became a designer for Sargent & Lundy in Chicago until 2016. While on a visit home, she spoke to students in the ESDT program about her Ranken experience and career prospects for Electrical graduates. Her husband-to-be, Nathaniel Turner, was in that class. A year later they crossed paths at Sargent & Lundy where Nathaniel was also employed as a design engineer. They struck up a conversation, fostered a friendship, and later married. Bridgett Wings Turner is now a stay-at-home wife, mother of three beautiful girls, and traditional homeschooler. Once their youngest begins pre-school, Bridgett plans to return to her field of expertise.

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://www.facebook.com/sargentlundy
https://sargentlundy.com

 

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Ranken Faculty
John Hicks
Ranken Faculty
Riley Riehn
Engineering Technician @ TG Missouri Corporation
Ranken Faculty
Eric Bowman
Numerical Control Electrician @ Boeing and Anheuser-Busch
Ranken Faculty
Zach Darr
Service Technician 3 @ CBRE
Video Profile

John Hicks

John served in the military for three years prior to coming to Ranken. While in the military he performed maintenance on Hawk missile radar systems. At Ranken he studied Communication Electronics and then went to work for his Dad at his TV and appliance repair shop. When his Dad passed away, he inherited the business and his mother worked for the business until she passed away. John retired in 2012 and sold the business to his nephew who still runs it under the name John Hicks Maytag. John remembers two of his instructors from his Ranken days, Mr. Underwood and Mr. Gilkey. John has been a volunteer fireman and is currently in his eighth year as Mayor of Gillespie, IL. He recently oversaw a $13 Million water improvement project. John has been married to his wife for 53 years and has three daughters and five grandchildren. He has one grandson in the Navy and one in the marines. He has a grandson who is a Ranken Grad and is currently an electrician. The other two are in school, one at Columbia University and the other is a high school senior.

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Video Profile

Riley Riehn

Engineering Technician @ TG Missouri Corporation

Riley Riehn, a 2019 graduate of the Industrial Engineering Technology Internship, is now employed full time at TG Missouri Corporation. During his time at Ranken, Riley says he enjoyed “getting to work hands-on and apply my skills that I learned in the classroom.”

Those skills led to gaining full time employment directly out of his program at TG MIssouri, with whom Ranken Technical College partners with in Perryville, MO.

“Having my Ranken degree allowed me to obtain full time employment as an Engineering Technician, with a reputable company,” Riley says.

To learn more about the Industrial Engineering Technology Internship, please visit our website.

https://www.facebook.com/TG-Missouri-382090481825836

http://www.tgmissouri.com/index.html

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/

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Video Profile

Eric Bowman

Numerical Control Electrician @ Boeing and Anheuser-Busch

 

Ranken Technical College is a premier destination for many wishing to enter one of dozens of skilled technical professions. But the college is also a valuable method of course correction: a way for adults to change careers and steer themselves onto a more satisfying or sustainable path. One such story, and an extraordinary one, is Eric Bowman.

In 2008, Eric felt himself at a crossroads. “I lost my job and only had a high school diploma,” he says. “I decided to attend Ranken in hopes of starting a new career that paid well and provided good benefits.” Industrial Technology Department Chair Greg Presley remembers Eric well: “Very smart and [in the] top percentage of his class. . . He was a mentor to other students and a great problem solver.”

Eric’s course changed dramatically. He is now an NC (Numerical Control) Electrician working with two global leaders: Boeing and Anheuser-Busch. His fellow co-workers continually deliver accolades about his job performance, whether it’s leadership that promotes workplace safety, developing and verifying complex procedures for a Final Paint Oven, making an impact across an entire tooling center by ensuring 777x robots function correctly, or skillfully identifying deficiencies that result in cost avoidance. A reliability engineer co-worker stated that “Eric deserves commendations for his thorough efforts.”

Eric’s academic performance has been equally outstanding. At Ranken, he repeatedly returned to the well of knowledge to further his skills and career options. From 2009 to 2016, he earned Associate degrees in Electrical Construction Design & Management, Industrial Technology, and Electrical Maintenance; finally, Eric earned a Bachelor of Science in Applied Management in 2020. Eric achieved Magna Cum Laude or Cum Laude status in each case! He is one of many students who has reengaged in higher education at Ranken Technical College and found their true calling.

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/

https://www.facebook.com/Boeing

https://www.facebook.com/AnheuserBusch

Pictured (left to right): Tim Nixon, electrical lead man, Nathan Wegener, NC electrician, and Eric Bowman @ Boeing. Photo taken prior to Covid pandemic.

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Video Profile

Zach Darr

Service Technician 3 @ CBRE

Zack Darr graduated in May 2015 from Ranken’s Precision Machining Technology program. Zack is deservedly proud of the path he has taken and the skills he’s acquired in the field. “The machinist certificate gave me a foundational skill set that got my foot in the door. My on-the-job training has led to an excellent career in the industrial maintenance mechanic field,” he says. “Before coming to CBRE (Coldwell Banker Richard Ellis group) I was a machinist apprentice for Hydromat, building, installing, and servicing machinery. I’m currently a Service Technician 3 for facilities, robotics, and machinery at CBRE St. Louis. I’m a millwright, experienced in electrical, fabrication and control systems, and this all began with making the decision to have a trade skill as my foundation.”

Wayne Perkins, Maintenance Manager STL 9, CBRE, explains “I have been working with Zach for about 6 months. He is one of my Tech 3’s, which is a Lead. Zach loves challenges and does a great job. He learns very fast and picks up skills very quickly. Zach has been a great asset to the team and works well with others. I am very pleased to have Zach as one of my Team Leads and see him advancing into management.”

Zach tells us one of his favorite memories while at Ranken was “Seeing the CNC machines generate their own tool paths for high-speed machining profiles. That was really awesome.”

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://www.cbre.us/people-and-offices/corporate-offices/st-louis

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Ranken Faculty
Frank Roth IV
Owner, Elite Tool, Moscow Mills, Missouri
Ranken Faculty
Jay Washington
Energy Services Consultant @ Ameren Missouri
Ranken Faculty
Michael Landolt
Project Manager, Aramark Technical & Energy @ Baylor University
Ranken Faculty
Victor Moore
Video Profile

Frank Roth IV

Owner, Elite Tool, Moscow Mills, Missouri

Frank was a very good student in high school and when he decided to go to Ranken his college counselors tried to dissuade him, but he knew what he wanted to do. It is clear that Frank made the right choice. After graduating from Ranken he went to work for a St. Louis based machine shop and after a time started working at the shop he now owns, Elite Tool in Moscow Mills, MO. “I firmly believe in the Ranken Model,” says Roth. “With the skills I’ve learned and the opportunities I’ve had in industry to further my training, I was able to run a machine and fabrication shop and become the plant manager of Elite Tool when I was just 26 years old. We purchased the business and have owned Elite Tool since 2008.” In 2020 Frank gave a generous gift to the Ranken West Endowed Scholarship. “I received scholarships when I went to Ranken,” says Roth IV. “The money that I was awarded paid for my entire first year and part of my second and I ultimately graduated with zero debt for my education.”

He added, “I’ve been very successful in my career, thanks to the start I got at Ranken. It’s time to give back — to Ranken and to the community in which I live.  As the demand continues to rise for more skilled workers in the region, we all need to step up and support this collaborative partnership in the community and help students on their way to successful tech careers.”

Roth’s father, Frank III (pictured with Frank IV), is also a Ranken graduate, earning his associate degree in Gas and Diesel engines in 1974. He now works for his son at Elite Tool.

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://elite-tool.com/
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Elite%20Tool%20&%20Machinery/151127868262324/

 

 

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Video Profile

Jay Washington

Energy Services Consultant @ Ameren Missouri

Jay Washington tells us, “Ranken Technical College has opened doors to me that would have been closed. I have had the opportunity to work in safety, through calibrating/repairing gas detection equipment, electronic design by building remote boxes with resistors/diodes and soldering, and electric design and power grid development and growth.” Jay’s career soared after graduating from Ranken’s Electronics Engineering Technology program in 2004. He now holds the position of Energy Services Consultant for Ameren Missouri.

“Jay is a pleasure to work with,” says Tim Callahan, Supervisor Distribution Services, Gateway Division, Ameren Missouri. “We serve in a fast-paced environment that requires a lot of customer interaction. While this can be challenging, Jay is very responsive to both our external customers and internal customers (such as our construction supervisors and our call center employees). Jay takes pride in his work, doing everything in his power to make sure projects go smoothly, working evenings and weekends to insure he’s ready when his customers are ready to move forward. Jay leads his team by example, bringing up moral when they face frustration and encouraging good practices, particularly related to safety. Being one of the more experienced members of our Team, he answers the call to better himself and develop our team members. Jay has a strong work ethic; his example has a positive influence on our entire team.”

Jay has countless good memories of his Ranken experience: daily labs, touring a police station and radio stations to see real life applications, and, of course, the annual softball games. He’s proud to have obtained his BSBA and MBA degrees from Webster University following his stint at Ranken.

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/
https://www.ameren.com/
https://www.facebook.com/AmerenCorp

Photo with family & friends @ Ameren, taken pre-pandemic.

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Video Profile

Michael Landolt

Project Manager, Aramark Technical & Energy @ Baylor University

Michael Landolt graduated Summa Cum Laude from Ranken’s Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning program in 2011. He tells us, “Ranken instilled strong, practical knowledge in an evolving industry allowing me to be effective in the industry as technology advances. The core concepts I learned from the various courses set me up for success in my future career.”

His favorite memory of his time spent at Ranken is, “The various ages of equipment in the shop were an excellent representation of the real-world environment of performing service work. There was a very old residential furnace with ribbon burners and a natural draft flue. I had lots of fun working on the relay logic of the system.”

Michael has been recognized for his leadership and dedication to the energy industry on several occasions. He won the Association of Energy Engineering’s Corporate Energy Management Award and Region IV Group Award, and Aramark’s Service Star Volunteer and Campus of Excellence Awards. His project management skills have proven paramount according to Michael Heroux, Aramark Technical & Energy Director at Baylor University (BU). Mr. Heroux explains, “Michael’s oversight and diligent management of planning and implementing work and operational assignments over Baylor Energy Complex has been exceptional. His work on the Aramark Baylor University Energy team was instrumental in achieving energy savings of over $1.25M over the last four years. Michael set up and implemented over five plant tours and energy discussions with BU Engineering students.  We received multiple thank you’s and appreciation from both faculty and students, ‘A Great Education Experience’.”

Photo taken pre-pandemic, Michael Landolt pictured far-right.

Learn more at https://ranken.edu/find-your-career-path/

https://www.facebook.com/BaylorUniversity1845/about/?ref=page_internal

https://www.baylor.edu/facilities_management/index.php?id=950265

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Video Profile

Victor Moore

Working for Allied Services in Dayton, Ohio, Victor met some people who had attended Ranken and he decided to come here to learn the trade. After graduating he returned to work for Allied Services and worked for a couple of other businesses before being hired to work as a pipefitter at International Harvester Truck Plant where he worked for 35 years before retiring. Victor says, “Ranken helped me a lot. The drafting class we took was very helpful and having learned pipefitting in our plumbing program helped me get my job at International Harvester.” While in St. Louis he rented a room for $10 a week on Forest Park Parkway which he shared with a few classmates.

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Ranken Faculty
Bruce Bruening
Ranken Faculty
Dale Niemeier
Ranken Faculty
Everett West
Ranken Faculty
Dave Rogers
Video Profile

Bruce Bruening

Bruce used the GI Bill to pay for his education and worked on campus over the summer painting fences to help cover expenses. He also worked on campus at night answering phone calls and keeping track of tuition payments. After graduating from Ranken, Bruce and his classmate, Terry Chance, took jobs in Baton Rouge, Louisiana working for JF Nailer. He was there for less than a year when they went on strike, so he moved back home to Quincy, IL. There he worked as a maintenance man for Motorola for six months and then for Meyer Heating and AC where he worked for two and a half years. Bruce then decided to open his own business.  Bruening Heating and Air Conditioning has been in business for 46 years and has two locations. Bruce has been joined in the business by Sandra, his wife of 50 years, and all three of his children. Chad, 44, learned the trade on the job and was later joined by his wife who is now the secretary. Mary, 42, went to college and then decided to learn the trade and join the family business. Kelly, 36, started out as a secretary and then moved into sales and now heads up the fireplace and grill side of the business. Bruce’s favorite memories are his classmates and teachers, “Mr. Groves was a character and told us how it was.” He remembers. Bruce also remembers his classmate Paul Mueller who became a Ranken teacher, “One day while Paul was teaching, I snuck into his class while he was writing on the board. When he turned around and saw me, we both had a good laugh.”

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Video Profile

Dale Niemeier

After graduating from the Machining program Dale worked for 47 years in a variety of positions and for a variety of companies. He was a tool room machinist, a tool and die maker, and built die casts and plastic molds. He spent twenty years with Mueller Machine and also worked at Standard Machine along with a few other shops. Dale said that “Ranken opened doors for me. If I mentioned that I graduated from Ranken in an interview it definitely helped.” He also met his wife through a friend at Ranken and has been married for 46 years. Dale has one son who is a Ranken alumnus as well and two grandkids. Now Dale and his wife spend their time collecting antiques and like to take long trips in their RV. His favorite memory of Ranken is his classmates.

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Video Profile

Everett West

Before enrolling at Ranken, Everett spent four years in the Navy from 1964-1968. He used the GI Bill to attend Ranken and worked evenings while attending classes. When he graduated, he worked for Mac’s Plumbing and Heating in East St. Louis. While in East St. Louis, where he lived for twenty years, he also worked for the City of East St. Louis and the East St. Louis School District. He also taught HVAC at State Community College. Everett was in East St. Louis for 20 years and then moved back to Columbia, MO, his hometown. For much of his career, he was self-employed servicing and installing. Everett remembers some valuable lessons that he learned while a student at Ranken, “Ranken helped me tremendously. We had to follow rules and regulations, which I was used to from the Navy. Some people have a hard time with this, but this is what makes Ranken special. Ranken also taught us to treat people right and to do what is in the best interest of the customer. Some companies just want to install new equipment, but we learned to repair equipment so that we could save customers money.” Everett still works part-time.

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Video Profile

Dave Rogers

As a student in the Machining program, Dave worked in the tool crib for the evening program and as a night watchman. One of the classmates he remembers being friends with was Bill Flanigan from Automotive. After graduating, Dave went to work for American Railcar Industries where he was employed for 45 years. The company was located on The Hill before moving to St. Charles. For his first 35 years, he was a machinist then switched to Environmental Health Safety for his last ten years. The safety training, he coordinated for employees came in handy when one of the secretaries had a heart attack and Dave used CPR to save her life. “I never thought I would need to use that stuff,” Dave said, “but I am glad I knew what to do.” Dave was honored by the City of St. Charles for this selfless act. Dave says, “I highly recommend Ranken” and remembers it “being very strict and challenging which was good [for building character].” Dave has three kids, Kia, Kurt, and Holly, and six grandkids.

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Ranken Faculty
Charles Riechers
Video Profile

Charles Riechers

Charles has embraced a variety of roles since graduating from Ranken. He started working as a drafter and did that for seven years. He has sold lumber, worked for Miceli Custom Homes as a Construction Superintendent and later promoted to VP of Construction building subdivisions and apartments. Charles also worked for Fred Weber building bridges and roads, and the Missouri Housing Development Commission as an inspector before retiring in 2017. Retirement did not last long as he went back to work for MODOT as a construction technician. He plans to retire again at the end of March. Charles has been married for 31 years, has three kids and 8 grand kids ranging in age from 3 to 22 years old. His Nephew Matt Sadler is an evening Automotive teacher at Ranken and his brother in law Jim Sadler also graduated from Ranken in Automotive. Charles remembers taking classes with his friend Rob Wirth and doing custodial work for the school in the evenings. “Ranken helped me hone my drafting skills which I still use in my leather business making belts, purses, and other products. It also helped prepare me for the workplace as it was more like going to a job because we were always designing and drawing something,” he recalls.

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