“I spent the first 10 years after graduation making air conditioning filters and working on government contracts. I got my next job because they only wanted to hire Ranken graduates. My career lasted for 43 years - thanks, Ranken!”
David G. Roeder, a Mechanical Drafting graduate from 1964 received the Distinguished Alumni Award at a ceremony of Ranken alumni held on May 11. Dave attended St. Mary's High School in south St. Louis for freshman and sophomore years and spent his final two years at Maryhurst, a private boarding school run by the Brothers of Mary in Kirkwood, Mo., graduating in 1962. He enrolled at Ranken immediately and graduated from the mechanical drafting/tool & die design program under the instruction of Clarence Lane in 1964. David later received formal certification as a manufacturing engineer.
David was first employed at Ridgewood Steel Fabrication, where he worked in the machine shop. He then moved to Stile-Craft Manufacturers, Inc., a screw machine job shop that also specialized in medical/hospital equipment where he worked as a designer for 15 years. Over the years at Stile-Craft, he advanced from designing screw machine tooling and press tools to designing special machines for the mass production of everything from 60mm mortar shell bases to brazed copper/brass medical fittings. Coming in on the ground floor in numerical control machining, he learned to write programs that were converted to paper tapes that actually controlled the machine functions.
Beginning in 1980, Dave spent the next 22 years at Sunnen Products Company as a manufacturing engineer and worked on tooling, machine design and plant layouts. Eventually, Dave was supervising seven people in the Process Engineering Department. In 1989 he was offered a position in International Sales and began traveling for Sunnen, working first with the distributors in England, Germany, France and other European countries, then in Canada, Mexico, Central America and South America. He traveled extensively, and in one year he traveled to Asia visiting Japan, Korea, Taiwan & Singapore. In the mid 1990s, he was traveling to South America (Argentina, Brazil, Peru and Chile), Central America and the Caribbean. David retired in 2002, earning over one million frequent flier miles on American Airlines.
Dave bought a sports car in 1970 which led him to serve as an officer in the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) St. Louis region. He spent 25 years in various volunteer positions in the SCCA as well as in the Porsche Club. He has held positions as board member (SCCA), regional president (Porsche Club, 1984-1986), announcer of SCCA events, and driving instructor for the Porsche and BMW clubs.
In 1987 Dave joined a group of volunteers who were restoring the 1926 Ballwin steam locomotive 1522 to operation. Because of this project (a 15-year involvement), Dave found himself serving on the Board of the Transport Museum Association as well as on the board of the St. Louis Steam Train Association. He served as the service crew supervisor for the 1522, overseeing the maintenance of the steam locomotive during trips to Omaha, Nebraska; Atlanta, Georgia; Galesburg, Illinois, and many others for railroad activities.
Dave's most vivid memory of Ranken is sitting in a class with Mr. Lane as the instructor when it was announced that President John F. Kennedy had been shot. He also remembers being taught how to do calculations using a slide rule. Under Mr. Lane he was required to communicate designs verbally by standing up in front of class and giving presentations-something that he really enjoyed. "The confidence I gained by learning to speak and communicate clearly has helped me achieve many career goals. I have fond memories of working on maintenance projects at Ranken during the summer months. We scraped and painted the iron fence and helped to remove the large steam engine generator that was in the main lobby where the Dining Hall is now."
Dave has been married to his wife Judy for 44 years. His hobbies include model railroading, contest modeling for local shows and for the National Model Railroad Association's Divisional and Regional events, and model car building. Dave enters his 1988 Porsche in local car shows including the Ranken Car Show. He recently participated in an eight-year restoration of a 1918 Dodge Brothers touring car and had an article on that restoration published in the Dodge Brothers Club magazine. Dave and Judy are members of the Ranken Legacy Society, have supported the Capital Campaign at the Museum of Transportation in St. Louis County, the YMCA of the Ozarks, YMCA of Greater St. Louis, and are annual donors to Ranken Technical College's Fund for Ranken.
Distinguished Young Alumnus Award
Kynal (Von) Hester, a Computer Technology graduate from 1993 received the Distinguished Young Alumni Award at a ceremony of Ranken alumni held on May 11. Upon receiving an associate degree from Ranken in the spring of 1993, Von applied to several local colleges to continue his education. To help with additional tuition costs, Von worked nights at UPS and enjoyed a partial scholarship for the performing arts playing the viola, which he still plays today to pass some time.
Upon receiving a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems, Von acquired his first job in the information technology field. By getting word that a friend who worked for Station Casinos in the IT division was leaving in the fall of 1998 to work for Boeing, Von applied and was hired. By first working as a valet from the spring of 1998 through the fall, he was able to transfer to the IT department as a junior operations specialist. Five years later he was promoted to systems analyst and three years later to senior systems analyst, a position he holds today with Ameristar Casinos. Since Ranken and SLU, Von has increased his skillset to include SQL/Database Administration, Cisco Routing and Switching, AS400, "Block" Phone Switches/IP Telephony, and recently, Virtualization.
Von has found himself on several internal and external committees within Ameristar which is active in the communities of its employees. Von has been part of several active committees including Habitat for Humanity as a member of the committee that funds and assists in building housing for residents unable to afford accommodations; Ameristar Cares, an internal committee that coordinates various events around St. Louis and St. Charles Counties; Charitable Giving which determines where to allocate company funds to assist with programs around St. Louis and St. Charles Counties (i.e. Angel Wings, Our Little Haven, Youth in Need, etc.); Ameristar Green which promotes ways to encourage team members to recycle and run the company operations more efficiently; and member of Ameristar's Peer Review designed to give team members a mediated option to settle grievances within the organization.
"The expression says 'if you love what you do, then you'll never work a day in your life'. It's been 15 years now, and I still enjoy coming to work. I love the people around me. I love my eternally-evolving job. I knew exactly what I would become since I was a preteen playing missile command on an Atari 2600. Attending Ranken was the catalyst in my life that helped me obtain that goal. To the institution, instructors and staff, I am eternally grateful. It's well known that a building is only as strong as the weakest point of its foundation, and Ranken has put underneath me a foundation bred on a hard work ethic, personal maturity (remember the shaving and uniforms?) and skillset which has allowed me to sustain and grow year after year, all while continuing to be successful within such a broad field. Every person has several 'turning points' in their lives, where a decision is made that plays an immeasurable part on where their lives lead. The day I showed up for orientation at Ranken was one of those 'turning points' what I believe to be a right turn in my life."
To try and balance his professional life with the life of a single parent with a teenage daughter, Von follows her school activities, participating in the Parents of Student Athletes board, assisting as a statistician and scorekeeper at school sporting events, as well as volunteering for transportation assistance to and from extracurricular activities. During his down time, Von recently enrolled in Spanish classes to start this summer, discovering new places to eat around St. Louis/St. Charles, and (as the weather gets warmer) riding his motorcycle.
Taken from his nomination form, "Von demonstrates every core value that a great trade school like Ranken Technical College instills in an individual that makes them successful. Von demonstrates characteristics of a professional in all his daily tasks. Leading by example, Von will do everything possible to make sure each issue is resolved. Von is well respected in the company and looked upon favorably by fellow team members as noted by the compliments, positive feedback from surveys and job completion ratings he receives after each task is completed. Von is very hands-on and has no issues showing others how to do the task at hand, thus being a great role model and teacher guiding the next generation of IT professionals to the high standards that Ameristar Casinos, Inc. looks for in all their employees. Ranken Technical College has graduated another fine individual that will leave an everlasting impression of excellence in the community."
Nominations are being accepted for the 2014 awards that will be presented in May 2014.
The Information Technology reunion held on campus during the fall Open House brought a diverse group of graduates back to campus. Graduates from several departments within the division and and varied career backgrounds in IT attended. Kynal Hester (Computer Technology 1993) made his first visit back since graduation. Kynal is currently an IT Technician at Ameristar Casino in St. Charles.
Other career updates from a few of our guests: Robert Hamm (IWT 2010) gave this update, "I work as a web developer at Scott Air Force Base for the Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC), a branch of the Army. I single handedly operate and develop the Defense Table of Official Distances (DTOD), which is the website used by all of the US government and military to calculate distance between locations. In addition, I am a contractor working from home doing web development for numerous companies in the St. Louis area."
Kyle Kinder (IT 2007) emailed these remarks, "I'm glad I came to the event. It was great to see all the changes and progress being made in the department. I'm excited for all the new things you have going on! I know the president mentioned that you are looking into starting a healthcare information path. I'm currently working at BJC, and although I'm no expert, I'd be happy to share some of the technologies I'm using and some of the things I see at BJC. My project is very closely related to the transition in healthcare from paper to digital."
Robert (Bobby) Chapman (IT 2007) is an engineer in data modeling for MasterCard and is responsible for designing conceptual, logical, and physical relational data models for applications and performs data analysis to ensure the integrity of Enterprise data. Chapman remarked, "Thanks for inviting me to the alumni IT reunion. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed being back at Ranken and seeing everyone again. I'd be interested in attending a Ranken homecoming if you offered one."
Other updates received from IT grads who were unable to attend:
Andrew Fouse (IT 2007) in a recent email exchange with the Alumni Office sent this career update, "After graduating Ranken, I found a job with a local consulting company and quickly started taking on wireless projects. I began traveling the nation assisting in the design and roll out of multiple large scale wireless deployments. In 2008, I'd heard that a company named FusionStorm was opening an office in St. Louis and needed a wireless expert. I soon found myself building out FusionStorm's wireless practice and growing the wireless opportunities with enterprise level customers, most notably Apple. For the past 4 years I have been designing and deploying wireless networks for Apple, around the world. Just over a year ago, I was promoted to engineering management. I now manage a team of about 25 engineers who all travel globally to support all of our enterprise customers. I am proud to say that I have been able to hire three other Ranken graduates, who have all proven to be amazing additions to the team and am I working diligently to increase that number."
Alumni reunions are held throughout the year. The next alumni reunion is scheduled from 12:00 to 1:00 during the April 21, 2013 campus car show that runs from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. All graduates are invited to attend. This is a great day to meet up with old friends, enjoy family time and check out the classic cars on display.
Its that time of year where all seniors and faculty start counting the days in celebration of graduation. All December 2011, May 2012 and August 2012 seniors are eligible to walk in the May exercise held at the Chaifetz on the St. Louis University campus. To celebrate, seniors pick up their caps and gowns, have light refreshments, and are provided with information about the alumni association, continuing education, class rings, and Bachelor programs.
250 seniors participated in the celbration event. Class pictures were taken and attendance prizes awarded. Thanks to Herff Jones for providing a $25.00 gas card, a scrapbook portfolio, book and book bag. Other prizes include tickets donated by the Gateway Grizzlies, St. Louis Renaissance Faire tickets and alumni polo shirts and other alumni items.The day was all about seniors and good wishes for a bright future!
This year, veterans are being honored with red, white, and blue chords like the traditional chords for Magna, Summa and Cum Laude grade point averages. Thanks to other Ranken departments Career Services, Trio Services, BSAM, Lois Ingram's photography class and Herff Jones for joining in and making this day EXTRA special for the graduates!
Pictures of the event and class pictures will be posted on Flickr.
Alumni and students are invited to participate in the national Rebuilding Day sponsored by St. Louis' Rebuilding Together organization. This day of giving back to the community by repairing, rebuilding and upgrading homes of the elderly, handicapped and low income in the St. Louis area will be held on Saturday, May 5 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Groups all over the country will be joining together to help others on this national day of service. This is the 3rd year for Ranken's involvement in this event and is a fun day supporting a good cause. Only a helping attitude, 25 workers and a house captain are required. Personal tools are a plus! Join us as we assist a homeowner near the Ranken campus and continue support of our neighbors.
It is time again for annual nominations for the Distinguished Alumni and Distinguished Young Alumni Award to be presented at Ranken's May 12 graduation celebration at the Chaifetz Arena. These awards honor Ranken graduates who have excelled in their career and given back to their community. The deadline for nominations is January 31, 2012.
Photo L-R: Janet Ray, admissions counselor, Charles Corrigan, IT department head and Tom McCraken, Winfield High School principal.
Pike-Lincoln Technical Center (PLTC), located in Eolia, Mo., is an educational institution designed to offer career, technical, and community education to residents of Pike, Lincoln and surrounding counties.
The Technical Center began as an outgrowth of the need for vocational training in Northeast Missouri in the late 1960’s. PLTC is considered a showcase for technical training across the state and region. The Pike County R-III (Clopton) School District is the fiscal agent of PLTC but students attend from seven area schools including: Bowling Green R-I, Louisiana R-II, Clopton, Silex R-I, Elsberry R-II, Troy R-III, and Winfield R-IV. Adult students from the surrounding counties also take courses at PLTC in the day and evening.
On the evening of December 2, tragedy struck when a fire engulfed the main building of the school. Thankfully classes had ended and no one was in the building at the time of the fire. The schools newer Diesel and Automotive Technology Building was also undamaged.
It took a few days to assess the damage and create a game plan, but PLTC bounced back quickly and classes resumed on December 9 using the recently closed Clopton Middle School which is now the new site for the technical center.
On December 8, Tom McCracken, the principal of Winfield High School brought a group of students from PLTC to tour Ranken. During their tour they met Charles Corrigan, Ranken’s IT department head who presented them with several Cisco switches donated by the department.
"We have had a good relationship with Pike-Lincoln for several years," said Corrigan. "They are starting from scratch and this was the least we could do to help them get back on their feet."
On November 16, the Information Technology S-STEM students took a trip to Datotel located at 710 N. Tucker in downtown Saint Louis. Datotel was founded in 2004 with the sole mission of reducing IT costs through optimal resource allocation, Datotel empowers companies with the services they need when they need it to keep their networks operational with 100% uptime. This is accomplished through expertise and service which generally consists of a combination of the following services:
» Cloud Computing
» Green Technology
While there, students met with Greg Daniels, a current Ranken student, who works in the Network Operations Center. Darin Warren, manager of sales engineering, Christian Tragesser an engineer and Adam Bundren a facility engineer also spent time with the students discussing Datotel’s history, the direction it is going and how work ethic is an important factor in hiring. The students were also given the opportunity to tour the entire facility.
"This was by far the best trip I have been on," said Andrew Varble, an S-STEM student.
Roger Mudd, another S-STEM student stated, "I really enjoyed the ability to see the inner workings of the company and not have someone just tell me about them. I also enjoyed when Adam showed us the equipment and what it was used for. By far the most fun I have had."
S-STEM is a grant funded by the National Science foundation, which awards scholarships to students majoring in INT, ART, IT and PMT. Part of the program includes funding for enhanced programs to help prepare students for careers in these high-tech fields, which include field trips, professional development activities and career services and counseling.
On Tuesday, November 15, Ranken’s Information Technology department hosted the Second Annual Graduation Summit given by Help Desk International (HDI). HDI is the world’s largest IT service and technical support membership association and the industry’s premier certification and training body. Guided by an international panel of industry experts and practitioners, HDI is the leading resource for help desk/support center emerging trends and best practices. HDI was started as a way for local businesses to share information and increase productivity. They provide members with a vast repository of resources and networking opportunities.
"Our local HDI chapter is made up of a lot of businesses who hire Ranken graduates," said Charles Corrigan, IT division chair. "So it makes a lot of sense for us to collaborate with them and host this event on campus."
The event consisted of several speakers who represented various local businesses such as Apex, Mastercard, Technisource and Enterprise. Presentations covered subjects like how to build a good resume, interview techniques, "selling yourself" to potential employers, working in the IT "real world", being a contractor versus an employee and current IT trends.
The event also included a question and answer session with a panel of IT professionals as well as a student testimonial by 2010 Ranken graduate Robert Johnston who is currently a contractor with Enterprise.
"This is such a great opportunity for our students," said Corrigan. "These are great companies looking to hire quality employees and they are taking the time to give our students insight as to what they look for when hiring. They are also getting "heads up" information about which companies have positions open and how to apply. We feel really lucky to have formed this partnership with HDI."
In today’s world, education and technology are constantly changing. In order to keep up and stay ahead of the curve, teachers are trying to find innovative ways to teach their students more effectively. One Ranken Information Technology (IT) instructor has done just that. Ashley Reddick who teaches the Operating System (OS) classes, is now using YouTube to upload videos that his students can use to practice what they have learned in class.
"With more people expanding their education and returning to school, our classes are really full," said Reddick. "It was becoming difficult to make sure I was giving all of the students the time they needed and answering all of their questions."
Students can now go to Reddick’s youtube page (www.youtube.com/user/Arreddick?blend=8&ob=5#p/u) to watch videos that walk them through lessons that have been covered in class.
"It helps students keep pace with the class at their own speed and it helps me focus more on the students who may be struggling in the class," said Reddick. "Not all people learn the same way. Some are kinesthetic learners, auditory learners, visual learners and some hybrids in the mix. As teachers we need to try our best to meet the needs of not just one type but all of them and I really think these videos do that."
Reddick graduated from Ranken’s IT program in 2008 and has been an instructor at the College for about two years. He and his wife have set up a scholarship fund called the Ashley and Destiny Reddick Scholarship which is a $1,500 scholarship awarded to a new IT student each year.