NCC’s Electrical Programs Celebrated 50 Years

For over five decades, the Electrical programs at Northwest Iowa Community College have continued to grow and change alongside the highly technical electrical industry. NCC’s Electrical programs have been rated among the best in the State, and Nation, earning the ranking of #1 Electrical Programs in the Nation in 2018 from Schools.com. Just as impressive is the longevity of these successful programs, as they have now been offered in Northwest Iowa for over 50 years. This long-standing success deserved recognition. And so, in October of 2019, NCC held a celebration commemorating 50 successful years of the Industrial & Commercial Wiring and Electrical Technology programs.

On the rainy evening of Thursday, October 10, 2019 approximately 200 alumni, Industry supporters, College retirees and friends traveled to the campus of Northwest Iowa Community College to join in celebration of this milestone. The festivities, which included a catered meal, program memorabilia display, tours of campus and an Electrical history slideshow, carried on, despite the cold and rainy weather.

Alumni traveled from near and far to attend the evening’s events. Among these alumni were an array of gentlemen from the early years of these longstanding programs. Marvin Still, alum of 1972, had not been on campus in decades. He and his wife, Bette, were pleasantly surprised at the advancements the program had made and were shocked to see the vast changes on campus. Marvin and two of his classmates, Orville Van Roekel and Ronald Vander Ploeg, enjoyed reminiscing throughout the evening.

The program memorabilia display shared during the celebration was a popular conversation piece. Michael Doering, alum of 1971, was unable to attend the celebration, but he mailed memorabilia to share with his fellow alumni. Michael still had in his possession the first copy of the Northwest Iowa Vocational School Student Handbook. It was small and made to fit in a jeans pocket and was a total of 15 pages in length. In contrast, today’s student handbook measures 8″ x11″ and is 170 pages, just one example of the many changes on campus over the past five decades.

Other items on display included past commencement programs, jacket patches worn by the Electro-Specialist students, Vocational Industrial Clubs of America (now known as SkillsUSA) student competition medals and class photographs dating back to the 1970s. Ray Delp, alum of 1981, was proud to show his NCC diploma as well as his class photo to NCC President, Dr. Alethea Stubbe.

The current NCC Electrical instructors, Mark Bohnet, Troy Klein, Byron Krull, and Philip Louters are a significant factor in the program’s success and were instrumental in spearheading the formation of this event. The pride and passion that each of them have for the Electrical Industry is apparent through their instruction, but also through the demonstrated effort put into events outside of the classroom.

What makes the Electrical programs so successful? Troy Klein said, “We are not focused on one type of wiring. Our students complete the program with a well-rounded education that allows them to go several directions within the Electrical industry.”

Louters added, “We have outstanding alumni who encourage others to pursue careers in the Electrical industry and get their education from NCC. As a program, we not only teach what is in the curriculum, but we also teach students the importance of professionalism, showing up, being engaged in their learning and college experience. Most importantly, we teach students how to be problem-solvers so they are ready for any project or challenge that is thrown their way.”

The Electrical instructors should know as they are all proud graduates of NCC’s Electrical programs.

Electrical Instructor Mark Bohnet has his own long-standing success within the Electrical department, having been a faculty member at the College since 1990. Bohnet has been witness to vast changes throughout the years, being involved in a field that is dictated by constantly evolving technology. He predicts that the biggest change within the next 10 years will come with the continued advancement of automation equipment. Since the Electrical programs at NCC have always focused on teaching foundational material, Bohnet is confident that no matter the changes in industry, the program will continue to produce quality, job-ready graduates.

As if 2019 didn’t bring enough excitement for the Electrical division, NCC learned in late October that Electrical Instructor Byron Krull was nominated as one of Klein Tools’ six finalists for “Head of the Class” Electrician of the Year. Klein Tools conducts this search each year to find the finest electricians in the nation based on their commitment to quality, safety and integrity of their work, both on and off the jobsite. This nomination celebrates those who inspire and educate the next generation of skilled professionals and who are dedicated to their community. As a regional winner, Byron was awarded a Klein Tools prize package to be used in the Electrical programs at NCC.

What started as a program run out of the “Old Ford Garage” in downtown Sheldon is now ranked as the best in the nation. With state-of-the-art labs, strong curriculum, advanced technology, dedicated alumni and outstanding faculty who are extremely passionate in and out of the classroom, the Electrical programs at NCC will remain one of the best in the nation for decades to come.

To find out more call 800-352-4907, email admissions@nwicc.edu, or visit our website at nwicc.edu.  At NCC – Your Success is Our Story!