Faculty and Administration

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/

Alumni Information Technology

Ranken Faculty
James Green
Director of Field Services @ Verve Industrial Protection
Ranken Faculty
Brandon Wheeler
Level II Technician @ Core & Main
Ranken Faculty
Dalton Nichols
Software Developer @ UNCOMN
Ranken Faculty
Graham Miller
Application Development @ Mercy Virtual Care Center
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

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

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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Ranken Faculty
Ermin Velagic
Computer Support Specialist @ IMPACT Strategies
Ranken Faculty
Hope Brasseur
IT Service Desk Analyst @ Stifel Financial Corporation
Ranken Faculty
Neal S
Mid-Level Versatile Technologist @ Boeing
Ranken Faculty
Bill Kindig
Software Engineer @ National General Insurance
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

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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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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Ranken Faculty
Joshua Bradley
Lead Developer/Project Manager @ Engage Software
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
Tom Kasprovich
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

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

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
John Hicks
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

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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