Employee Spotlight: Paul Strother, Architectural Drafting & Design Senior Instructor

Where did you grow up?

I was born in St. Louis, Missouri. Soon after, I moved to Montreal, Canada, and again to Geneva, Switzerland, where I started elementary school. I moved to the Twin Cities for middle school and have been here ever since!

Where did you attend college? What is your degree in?

I attended college at the University of Minnesota, School of Architecture. I have a Bachelor of Architecture.

How long have you been working at Dunwoody?

Nine years!

What do you enjoy most about Dunwoody Architecture?

I have terrific colleagues and students. Dunwoody gives them what they need to be successful, and I like being a part of that.

What does it mean to you knowing the first class of Architecture students is about to graduate?

It tells me that the graduates had faith in us. I’m honored by that.

What are a few of your hobbies?

I love old cars. I have a ‘50 Chev, a ‘75 Citroen 2CV Camionette (the kind that looks like it was made in a shop class), a decaying ‘62 Fiat, and a ‘58 Isetta (one door in the front) in pieces in my family room.

What is your favorite Twin Cities restaurant or coffee shop?

Midori’s Floating World—I love Japanese food. For 20 years before that though, it was Mr. Q’s in Eden Prairie. Before the owner, Quyet, moved to Florida, he introduced me to Vietnamese food—another one of my favorite cuisines.

Where is the best place you have ever traveled to? Why?

Living in Geneva in the ’50s was a wonderful experience. It was so different than the U.S. or Canada. It broadened my thinking.

What are you most proud of?

My wife and I have three children, who are truly fine people and walk the talk of caring for others. They make terrific parents to my three grandchildren.

Please provide some fun facts about yourself.

I married an interesting woman, my wife Mary. Through her interest we have a photo darkroom, an art studio, 100+ geraniums, three dogs, a cat, 16 chickens, a blind rooster, a duck that wears a diaper around the house, and a maple syrup boiler in the front yard. Also at last count, something like 15 boats (she fixes old boats). Most are at our lake place in Northern Minnesota. In the summer, I office out of a 1966 Airstream we keep up there. Our main house is in Dahlgren Township west of Carver on 14 acres. I designed the house in 1981 before I had any idea what I was doing.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I’m happy to be here.

Dunwoody College Commencement Ceremony May 17

Your guide to Dunwoody’s Spring 2018 Graduation Ceremony

Dunwoody College of Technology’s Spring 2018 Commencement is just around the corner!

Whether you’re a graduate or an attendee, here’s what to expect:

Graduate Reception

Date: Wednesday, May 16
Time: 5-7:30 p.m.
Location: Dunwoody College of Technology

Dunwoody’s Graduate Reception is a free and casual event for students and their families and friends. During the reception, graduates are encouraged to show their friends and family their work, tour the campus, and introduce them to their instructors and classmates. Hors d’oeuvres will be served.

Commencement Ceremony

Date: Thursday, May 17
Time: 7-9 p.m.
Location: Minneapolis Convention Center, 1301 Second Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55403

Dunwoody’s Commencement Ceremony is a free and dressy event for students and their families and friends. During Commencement, graduates will be recognized by their degree earned, program in which they graduated from, expected honors (if any) and awards (if any).

Graduates will individually walk across the stage and receive a diploma cover. Official diplomas will be sent via first-class mail to the address graduates have on file.

Schedule of Events:

6 p.m. | Graduates must check-in on the ground level in M100. Doors to the Auditorium will open for guests.

6:40 p.m. | Graduates will begin lining up for the processional.

7 p.m. | Graduation processional begins.

About 8:30/9 p.m. | Commencement Ceremony will come to a close.

Parking and Driving Directions

The preferred parking ramp is the 3rd Avenue Convention Center (600) ramp. For more information on parking and driving directions, visit minneapolisconventioncenter.com.

Ticket Information

Tickets are not required for the event, and there is no limit to the number of guests you may bring. Large groups of guests wishing to sit together are encouraged to arrive early.

Graduates will have reserved seating. Family and friends will not be permitted in the graduate area.

Academic Attire

Every graduate must wear a cap and gown to participate in Commencement. The tassel should hang on the right side of your cap. Staff will be available to assist you in getting into your gown, cap, and hood. 

Special Accommodations

Dunwoody strives to accommodate participants or guests with special needs. Please note that wheelchair accessible seats are on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Wheelchairs and scooters may be rented for Commencement from The Mobility Shop. The Mobility Shop recommends reserving your equipment online at themobilityshop.com in advance to ensure its availability.

All equipment is picked up and returned on-site at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

Cameras and Video

Guests are welcome to bring cameras to Commencement. However, guests may only take pictures from their seats and should not disturb those around them. Only official photographers will be permitted in the graduates’ area and in the area around the stage.

Professional photos will be taken during the ceremony. Proofs can be viewed and photos ordered at gradimages.com or 1.800.424.3686. GradImages will send proofs to the graduates’ personal email.

Guests are welcome and encouraged to take photos following the ceremony. A Dunwoody backdrop will be available.

Additionally, be on the lookout for the full video of Commencement, which will be posted to youtube.com/DunwoodyCollege.

Friendly Reminders

A friendly reminder to turn off your cell phone ringer during the ceremony. Please also refrain from bringing balloons, banners, signs, noisemakers, or any other items that block the view of guests.

For more information on Commencement, visit dunwoody.edu. If you have any further questions, email the Registrar’s Office at registrar@dunwoody.edu.

Mortenson Senior VP/Dunwoody alum will give keynote address at Commencement

Dunwoody College of Technology is proud to announce that Mark Sherry will be this year’s keynote speaker during Commencement.

Sherry is a 1987 graduate of the Architectural Drafting & Estimating Technology program.

About Mark Sherry

President, Mortenson Development Inc.
Senior Vice President, Mortenson Construction

Mark Sherry is the President of Mortenson Development Inc. and Senior Vice President of Mortenson Construction Company. In these roles, Sherry oversees the Development Group and coordinates the construction company operating groups – the Milwaukee Office and Wind Operating Group – as well as select business service groups.

During his 30 years with Mortenson, Sherry has been instrumental in the growth of the company. Starting as an estimator in 1987, Sherry become a Vice President in 2001. He was promoted to Senior Vice President in 2015. A seasoned leader, Sherry is an expert at nearly every facet of the Mortenson Construction business and is widely regarded for his skills in relationship-building, business development, design-phase management, estimating, and contract negotiation.

Sherry has been active in many organizations throughout his career. He is Past President and Board Member of the Associated General Contractors of Greater Milwaukee and served on the Board of the Wisconsin Technology Council – the independent, non-partisan science and technology adviser to Wisconsin’s governor and the Legislature. He was an active member of the AGC of Greater Milwaukee’s Mentor Protégé Program and was recognized with the AGC’s Skill, Integrity, Responsibility (SIR) Award in 2013.

Sherry earned his degree at Dunwoody College of Technology in his hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he currently lives today. He is married with three children and enjoys spending time with his family, golfing, snow skiing, and fishing.

Dunwoody students compete, place in 2018 Construct*ium Pentathlon event

Dunwoody Construction Management, Construction Project Management students bring home eight awards from annual competition.

Congratulations to all of the Dunwoody students who participated in the 2018 Construct*ium Pentathlon event! Sponsored by Wells Concrete, the annual competition—which just celebrated its third year—brings together Construction Management students from 10 local schools.

At the event, students refine and showcase the communication, leadership, and management skills needed to succeed in today’s built environment.
 
This year’s competitions included:
  1. Negotiations;
  2. Pecha Kucha (timed, fast-paced presentations);
  3. Toastmaster table topics (public speaking);
  4. Job interviewing; and
  5. The Pursuit (students create and present a complete proposal to win the contract for a real project).
The award standings are:
 

Negotiations: Tyler Fish, 3rd Place
 
Pecha Kucha: Dana Maier, 1st Place
Toastmaster Table Topics: Tyler Fish, 1st Place; Nathan
Swanson, 2nd Place; Dana Maier, 3rd Place
Job Interview: Melysia Cha, 1st Place
Pursuit: Matt Hackman, 5th Place
(Additional Dunwoody competitors: Matt Dahlseng, Nathan Schmidt, Dan Stenzel, Nathan Swanson, and Shantel Volker)
Overall Pentathlon Winners: Dana Maier, 3rd Place; Tyler Fish, 4th Place

Construction Project Management senior instructors Matt Durand and Karie Johnson—who helped the students prepare for the competition—said they hope to make this competition an annual Dunwoody tradition.

Assistant Professor John Columbus talks workplace skills and software engineering education

Photo of Software Engineering Assistant Professor John ColumbusEarlier this year, John Columbus, Assistant Professor of Software Engineering, contributed a column to EdTech Digest titled “Teaching the Untaught,” which focused on how software engineers need to learn both practical and soft workplace skills while still in college, so they are prepared to contribute right away when they enter the workforce.

Here is a follow-up Q&A to that article:

What are some of the specific interpersonal and communication skills that are important for software engineers to have?

A key skill is the ability to interpret the customer’s comments and questions. The customer may have their own specific language just like we have our “technical” language. It’s up to us to understand the customer—not the other way around. Another key skill is writing. Engineers today write thousands of emails per year. We must be concise, understandable by all email recipients, and present our evidence/opinions correctly.

How do those skills come into play specifically in a software engineering context?

An example would be when a customer or business analyst informs the engineer they have a new idea to save time on invoice processing. The engineer needs to be able to understand the invoice process along with the requested changes. The engineer needs to examine the process and related software to determine possible options and their cost. This has to be conveyed accurately and effectively to the process/product owner so they can make an appropriate business decision. If the business leaders can’t understand the recommendations or why one choice would be better than another, they might make an incorrect decision or expensive mistake.

In the column, you mention teamwork in the context of graduates needing to enter the job market with a wide variety of skills—of not being “just” a coder. How does that kind of flexibility aid teamwork out in the real world?

Business is always changing. Keeping up with the demands for change has forced IT teams to be much more flexible. As a manager, I needed a team that could work on multiple projects where different people could play different roles to balance the work. A programmer would work on requirements on one project with the customer, code on a different project, and be the tester on a third project. With the concept of Agile, engineers may have to do different parts during the sprint, and the entire team must be flexible enough to complete the work. Engineers no longer have the luxury of doing just one piece of the entire software development life cycle.

How can students learn teamwork while still in college?

Many of us—me included—didn’t particularly enjoy group projects in college, yet they serve a critical role in helping us deal with the real problems at work. One of the main complaints we hear about group work is that someone doesn’t help out or is actually hindering the process. Unfortunately, that can be a common occurrence at work. Several real situations are that people may have several tasks to work on so something doesn’t get done. Workers may not understand the problem to solve or the process to fix it. And at times, people are simply overwhelmed. These issues happen during college group work and at work, so students need to learn how to effectively deal with it and still get the job done.

Your column mentions that the software engineering talent pool is global, and students need to be culturally sensitive in their interactions with colleagues and superiors. In what other ways can a global and culturally aware perspective benefit software engineers?

I’ve worked on projects with people from across the globe. Most people appreciate another co-worker who shows some interest in at least the basics of their background. Trying to understand a situation from their point of view will usually encourage others to be more flexible with you. This makes the teamwork go more smoothly. Also, you need to understand their point of view to see why they may be recommending a certain course of action or why they may be resistant to an idea. The days of working just with people that all grew up within 20 miles of where you grew up are fading fast.

I’ve also worked on projects where the members are scattered across the globe, and I may be the only person in Minnesota on the team. If I have team members in the rest of the U.S., I must also be aware of the different time zones. When working with a team in India, finding a time to chat online may require flexibility from all members. The internet has broken down the distance barrier so engineers must adapt to that new reality.

Dunwoody’s Software Engineering program launched the fall of 2017. Applications are still open for fall 2018. Learn more about Software Engineering.

Construction Management students benefit from sitting down with industry representatives

Mock interviews = real life lessons

The interviews may not have been “real,” but there was real benefit in the experience.

This April, representatives from 12 companies in the construction industry led mock interviews with 12 Dunwoody students in the Construction Management and Construction Project Management program areas. The students walked away with their questions answered and gained some tips and advice to keep in mind when applying for future positions.

Participating companies included: Prominent Construction, LLC; Constructive Builders; H&B Elevators; Kraus-Anderson Companies; Inside Edge CIS; Parsons; Mortenson Construction; Trex Commercial Products, Inc.; CliqStudios/Wayzata Home Products; David Weekley Homes; and Apex Construction & Tile.

Student takeaways

“What I learned from the mock interview was things to keep in mind about the company I interview with – finding out about a company’s values – especially as it relates to the employees.  The most helpful tip was how to focus on my strengths and relay this to a perspective employer and their Human Resources department.”

-Dana Maier, Construction Project Management, expected graduation May 2018

“The mock interview was a great opportunity to get in front of potential industry employers in a pressure-free environment with instant feedback to responses as the questions were asked.”

-Travis Northway, Construction Management, expected graduation May 2019

“What I learned from participating in the mock interview was that you should always come prepared with questions for the company. You want to know what they will do for you just as much as what you will do for them. What I found most helpful was that the recruiters helped us refine our resumes and helped us with how to answer questions.”

-Tyler Fish, Construction Project Management, expected graduation May 2019

“These types of mock interviews give students, such as myself, adequate exposure to what a real life interview is comprised of. You get a firsthand look into what verbal and mental skills may be required to succeed. All that paired with interviewers giving instantaneous, genuine feedback helps me build a platform for continuous growth in my field.”

-Kyle Bliss, Construction Management, expected graduation May 2018

 

Dunwoody names two Distinguished Teachers for 2018

Tom Larson & Richard Thomson honored for their commitment to students

Excellence in teaching and a commitment to lifelong learning are two of the reasons Machine Tool Technology Assistant Professor Tom Larson and Applied Management Adjunct Instructor Richard Thomson were awarded the 2018 Distinguished Teacher Award by Dunwoody College of Technology.

Larson and Thomson were presented with the awards during the April All-Employee Meeting, and both instructors were given medallions to wear during the College’s commencement ceremony this May.

The award is presented annually to a faculty member who has committed a significant portion of their career to the art of teaching and who demonstrates a consistent ability to instill critical and creative thinking skills in their students. In addition, they have demonstrated a commitment to the field of education and building effective relationships within secondary education and industry.

2018 Distinguished Teacher Award Tom Larson

Pictured (from left): Dean of Robotics & Manufacturing Programs E.J. Daigle, Machine Tool Technology Assistant Professor Tom Larson, Provost Jeff Ylinen, and President Rich Wagner.

Tom Larson: Dedicated to his craft and his students

For more than 28 years, Larson has been educating future machinists and manufacturing technicians in his roll as an educator at Dunwoody College of Technology.

“Tom is an outstanding instructor, and his students appreciate his meticulous attention to detail and extensive explanations of CNC programming,” said E.J. Daigle, Dean of Robotics & Manufacturing Programs.

Larson was instrumental in the concept and creation of Dunwoody’s program Right Skills Now for Manufacturing in 2011, and since then he has worked with his students to obtain more than 600 National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) credentials.

“Combining all of this with his willingness to work after hours, including most Saturdays, to maintain and repair equipment makes Tom a crucial resource to the success of a machine shop,” Daigle said. “Tom’s role at Dunwoody cannot be discounted.”

“Receiving the award, which was totally unexpected, was a very gratifying experience,” Larson said. “If you pursue vocationally what you enjoy, and work at perpetuating the craft, the end result will undoubtedly be a satisfying one.”

2018 Distinguished Teacher Award

Pictured (from left): President Rich Wagner, Applied Management Adjunct Instructor Richard Thomson, and Provost Jeff Ylinen.

Richard Thomson: Putting students first

As both a faculty member and an administrator, Thomson has spent the majority of his career dedicating himself to ensuring that all students get the best education possible.

“His selfless, servant leader attitude is demonstrated on a daily basis,” said Michael White, Dean of Applied Management. “His dedication to his students is commendable and goes way above the expectations for any faculty member.”

Thomson holds his students to a high standard, but works proactively and fairly with them so they can be successful.

“He always believes in his students, even when his students do not believe in themselves,” White said. “There are countless success stories found in his students, who would not be successful without the incredible dedication, caring, and teaching excellence exemplified by Richard.”

Always willing to adapt new technologies, Thomson took on the challenge of finding a new way to deliver distance learning. In a short timeframe, he worked to create a webcasting option that delivered an outstanding class to his students. The Applied Management program now uses this as the standard delivery method for the program. ­

Computer Technology students build gaming desktop for Make-A-Wish recipient

Dunwoody partners with Make-A-Wish Minnesota

Photo of two students with a computer case

Dunwoody Computer Technology students preparing the case of the computer before installing all of the components. Note the three fans on the unit. Those, plus the water-cooling system, will keep the computer from overheating when playing graphically demanding video games.

A group of six Computer Technology students volunteered on a Saturday last month to grant a wish for a teenager with a critical illness by building him a high-end gaming desktop. The effort was coordinated by Make-A-Wish Minnesota.

In order to maximize the computing power, Dunwoody students and faculty sourced individual components for the desktop. The students guided the wish recipient through the assembly of the computer, which included the installation and configuration of Windows 10 Pro.

The desktop build included:

  • Intel Core i7 7800X X-series Processor (water cooled)
  • 16GB RAM
  • GTX1070 Graphics card (8GB DDR5)
  • 250GB SSD
  • 4TB Hard Drive
  • 1000 watt power supply
  • CORSAIR Gaming K95 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
  • CORSAIR – M65 PRO RGB Optical Gaming Mouse

All students in Dunwoody’s Computer Technology degree programs—including Computer Networking Systems and Web Programming & Database Development—take a course their first semester that introduces them to the basics of computer systems, including hardware and operating systems.