“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!”
Eric is fulfilling his dream and paving the way for others - he is a Fund for Ranken donor. Join Eric this year and every year in the annual campaign. Please return the Fund for Ranken letter in your mailbox with a gift designation.
“I was happy to give to Ranken as a student, and even now as a graduate, I donate to show my gratitude for all that my education has done for me. I give every year, so Ranken can continue to help others achieve their goals and instill positive, professional values like it did for me. Ranken helped me be the person I am today, and I'm honored to do my part in return.”
Eric Struckmann (Industrial Technology 2007, Electrical Maintenance 2011)
A procession of alumni dressed in white and gold led the 2013 class dressed in red and black regalia on May 11 when Ranken Technical College honored their graduates at the Chaifetz Arena. Graduates from 1963 and earlier were gathered to share in the honor and relive their Ranken experience from years earlier. During an annual celebration, fifty and seventy five year graduates were dressed in gold caps and gowns and received a pin and certificate commemorating their anniversary. Classmates were joined together, many for the first time since leaving campus. Tom Giovanni, a 1962 graduate, postponed his celebration so that he could be honored along with his grandson John Tindall, who graduated from the electrical program. Tom walked on stage along with his grandson when he was called for his diploma. Bruno Corradi celebrated his 79th year as a Ranken alumnus by wearing white celebrating as a Diamond graduate, a 75-year anniversary color. Bruno turns 98 this year.
Tom Gieseking, an Automotive Maintenance Technology alumnus, who graduated in 1984, delivered the commencement address, providing advice about making the right choices.
Graduates who participated in the event are: Bruno A. Corradi 1934 Industrial Electricity/Electronics
Dean H. Alinder 1962 Automotive Maintenance Thomas C. Giovanni 1962 Automotive Maintenance Don F. Hardin 1963 Industrial Electricity/Electronics Robert (Bob) Heine 1951 Industrial Electricity/Electronics Charles (Terry) Jackson 1963 Machine Shop William (Bill) James 1963 Mechanical Drafting Jack Kuchar 1963 Electrical Bruce Markwardt 1963 Machine Shop David M. Murguia 1963 Plumbing Dennis J. Murphy 1963 Electrical Urban (Irv) Naeger 1963 Industrial Electricity/Electronics Ralph C. Neubert 1963 Plumbing Dennis A. Newman 1963 Plumbing Richard D. Nichols 1963 Industrial Electricity/Electronics Roy E. Nottingham 1963 Automotive Maintenance Walter M. Pumfrey 1963 Machine Shop Melvin L. Sutton 1963 Machine Shop Clarence J. Vohsen Jr. 1963 Electrical James E. Wilton 1963 Machine Shop Robert A. Zagar 1963 Refrigeration, Air Conditioning, Heating
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.
Use RANKEN as the promo code to recieve tickets at a discounted price for 10 home games for tickets purchased online only. A small portion of your ticket price will be donated to the Alumni Association Scholarship Fund by the Blues organization. Taxes and handling fee will be assessed as usual.
Games available for discounts are:
Saturday, February 23 - Columbus
Friday, March 1 - Edmonton
Tuesday, March 12 - San Jose
Thursday, March 28 - Los Angeles
Sunday, April 14 - Chicago (11:30 a.m. televised)
Friday, April 19 - Dallas
Thursday, April 25 - Calgary
All games start at 7:00 p.m. unless otherwise noted. Go Blues!
by Ed Collier, Graduate of Mechanical Drafting 1962
(L-R) 1962 Classmates Jim Thornhill, Phil Freeman, Larry Leuck, Ed Collier and Delmer Williams in St. Genevieve, Mo.
Fifty years after graduating from David Ranken Jr. School of Mechanical Trades, I stood on the street corner on November 16, 2012 in St. Genevieve, Missouri, awaiting the arrival of four of my 1962 Mechanical Drafting classmates. I hadn't seen these guys for almost 50 years and was anxious to see them again after so long.
Jim Thornhill, one of my classmates, had contacted me to see if I could attend a reunion he was planning. Out of a class of thirty-two students enrolled in 1960, eleven graduated in 1962. He was trying to get as many classmates together as possible. Living in Amarillo, Texas, since 1974, I saw this 800 mile trip as a great opportunity to see my classmates and exchange stories of how all of our lives had unfolded. One by one, vehicles drove up with familiar faces but with a bit more maturity than I had remembered in the past. Five of us out of the eleven graduates travelling from Illinois and from all over Missouri were able to meet and spend some time together. I was happy to see Jim, Phil Freeman, Larry Leuck and Delmer Williams again.
We fell in conversation together again just like we had only left for the weekend. After a couple of hours swapping student life stories, memories of campus and our drafting instructor, Mr. Lane and lots of other stories of our everyday experiences, we began discussing our post-Ranken lives. It seems we all had similar experiences before and after Ranken. But what brought us together was that we had realized that we would need more than a high school education for a successful career. Each of us chose Ranken at a time in our lives when we were beginning to mature and take life seriously. It was this commonality of needs and similar interests that created our close student friendships. From the stories that were told, we learned that most of us had successful careers stemming from a broad range of academic courses, maturity, self-esteem and confidence we had all gained during our time at Ranken.
Larry Leuck attributes his career opportunities and flexibility to his Ranken training. He says, "The respect that local industry has for Ranken afforded me the flexibility to make job changes, and my Ranken trade skills extended in some fashion or another across my entire career." Larry retired from Shell Oil in Hartford, Illinois.
Delmer Williams noted that his education had opened doors for his first assignment as he moved through areas of tool design, plumbing design and fire protection work. Del continued use of his mechanical skills to build a successful career in engineering consulting.
Phil Freeman got his start working as a draftsman advancing to project manager/designer at National Vendors where he worked for seventeen years. Moving to another company in Missouri, he took a position as Chief Engineer. Phil commented, "I feel that not only the education, but the philosophy we received from our schooling at Ranken taught us that knowing just enough to get by on whatever we were doing wasn't enough. We should want to know more and acquire a greater knowledge. The David Ranken School of Mechanical Trades and faculty were no-nonsense educators, you were there to get an education and a job in your chosen field and they wouldn't put up with anything else."
Jim Thornhill started his career working with Phil Freeman at National Vendors where he also had a long successful career in drafting and tool design before moving on to other areas of opportunity.
My post-graduate career began as a technical illustrator at McDonnell Aircraft drawing for air and spacecraft parts catalogs and maintenance manuals. I moved to Emerson Electric in their Air and Space Division illustrating weapons systems. I retired as a systems analyst from Bell Helicopter Textron in Texas. I can also say that "The first fifteen years of my fifty-year career was worked in fields directly related to my Ranken training and the educational experience itself continued helping me throughout my long and interesting career."
Ranken training helped each of us find entry level jobs which we turned into long successful and varied careers. We all benefited from an improved sense of confidence and skills used to face our uncertain future, and as this reunion has shown us, helped us form some long lasting friendships. We are planning to meet again as time permits continuing our Ranken friendships but won't lose touch with each other again.
Lucian C. Haney, on record as Ranken's oldest living alumnus, passed away at the age of 97. Lu, a 1936 graduate of the Refrigeration program, participated in a 75-year Diamond anniversary celebration of his graduation in 2011. When he attended Ranken, Lu lived in one of the boarding houses surrounding campus at that time, and paid $2 a week and $.25 a meal. He was one of the first graduates of the first refrigeration class started in 1934.
Prior to attending Ranken, Lu worked in a shoe factory nailing heels to women's shoes. After his graduation in 1936, he took his first refrigeration job at Quality Dairy in 1937 paying $14 a week. He was referred to the dairy by his Ranken instructor and all of his classmates were also able to go to work after graduation. He later moved to Pevely Dairy in 1938 making $21 a week with every other Sunday off. He worked on milk boxes and ice cream cabinets. He paid $10 to join the Steamfitter's Union, which later became the Pipefitter's Union and became a service technician. After becoming a union fitter, he received $6 a day but had to work around the clock and rotate call on weekends. He remained a member of the Plumbing and Pipefitter's Union Local #562 and retired after 40 years. Lu continued his membership in Local #562 after his retirement for a total of 75 years in the union.
Surviving Lu is his wife, Eileen, four children, eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Steven Ule, Lu's son-in-law, is a 1992 Electrical alumnus and his grandson, Zach Ule, Steve's son, is a student in automotive set to graduate in 2013.
U.S. Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade
Francisco J. Sanchez visited Ranken Technical College today, to tour our technical
programs and commemorate Manufacturing Day. Manufacturing Day is an annual
event, designed to expand knowledge about and improve general public perception
of manufacturing careers and manufacturing's value to the U.S. economy.
Mr. Sanchez enjoyed breakfast with the Ranken President Stan
Shoun and then set off on a whirlwind tour of the campus, learning more about
Ranken’s educational methods, our pipeline initiative, and our commitment to micro-enterprises.
After the tour Mr. Sanchez held a
round-table discussion with local area business and community leaders, to
discuss current trends in manufacturing, with an emphasis on increasing exports.
The group discussed the perception of manufacturing by the public, as well as
in the educational system, and ways in which involvement in manufacturing could
Other topics included current tariff and non-tariff barriers
to trade, ways to work with other countries to standardize regulations allowing
for freer trade, as well as the importance of emerging new trade partners such
as Brazil, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. He also pointed out how immigration reform
can help to attract and retain new talent and entrepreneurs to the U.S., and help
to grow the economy by creating new jobs.
Mr. Sanchez was impressed with Ranken’s facility, saying he
was “blown away” by what he had seen. He particularly praised Ranken’s close
industry ties, which help Ranken train students in exactly the skills employers
were looking for.
“Why don’t we have Rankens in every state in America?” he
asked, stating that he’d love to see the Ranken model applied nation-wide.
For each ticket purchased, a donation will be made to Ranken's Alumni Association Scholarship Fund by the Blues organization. This season give a gift of education by having fun with the Blues! Discounted tickets are available for these game nights only:
Tuesday, October 23 - Chicago
Saturday, November 17 - Nashville
Thursday, November 29 - Columbus
Wednesday, December 12 - Minnesota
Saturday, December 29 - Philadelphia
Sunday, January 13 - Montreal
Friday, January 18 - Vancouver
Sunday, February 10 - Detroit
Tuesday, March 12 - Edmonton
Thursday, March 28 - Los Angeles
Anyone with questions should contact the Alumni Relations office (314) 286-4895.
Ranken students, alumni and staff participated in Rebuilding Together (RT) working to upgrade a home on Euclid just West of the Ranken campus. Led by alumnus, Nick Wiltse (INT 2011) 30 volunteers painted, trimmed, cleaned and installed cabinets for two elderly women who met the guidelines for the Rebuilding Together project.
Joining Team Ranken were members of a Christian fraternity fellowship group who assisted with a home in South City. Members of each group worked to fulfill scholarship and grant service hours or out of kindness to others. Through corporate sponsorship and private donations, 50 homes requiring over 1,200 volunteers were serviced in the St. Louis area. RT will hold two more service days in July and September.
Thanks to all the volunteers who gave up their Saturday to help in this project. We hope you will join us again next year!