Manufacturing

Chad Wehrs
Western Technical College
Machine Tooling, 1997

Owner, Wehrs Machine & Racing Products

Chad Wehrs

Auto racing was Chad Wehrs’ destiny, but he needed some skills to realize his dream. The Wehrs family owned the West Salem racetrack and Chad started working in the concession stand when he was six years old. Eventually, he progressed to working in the body shop where he loved tinkering with auto parts.

The next step in Chad’s career path was enrolling in the Machine Tooling program at Western Technical College.

"My technical college experience was great! It is the perfect way to get hands-on training in a skilled trade like machining," he said. "I didn't have to travel very far to get the training I needed."

Western instructors added their experience to his own to give Chad the skills he needed. "Some tricks of the trade can't be taught in a book; they need to come from a seasoned worker and that is what you get with a technical college program," Chad said.

Soon after graduation, Chad started his business, Wehrs Machine & Racing Products. Now he has eight employees, but Chad still has his hands in every part of the business. The goal is to innovate and create new parts and tools for auto racing customers.

Ryan Guthrie
Fox Valley Technical College
Automated Manufacturing Systems Technician, 2005

TM Robotics (Europe) Ltd.

Ryan Guthrie

His technical education from Fox Valley Technical College (FVTC) has given Ryan global influence. TM Robotics (Europe) Ltd. is the sole distributor for Toshiba Machines line of Industrial robots in West/Central/Eastern Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Russia, and India.

"Without a doubt, I would not be here today if not for the support and training I received from FVTC," Ryan says. "When I mention that all the training I received was from a two-year technical school and not some ‘fancy’ or expensive four-year college or university, co-workers here in Europe are often shocked that I received so much quality training, in such a vast array of disciplines, in such a short time."

Ryan attributes his success to high quality training and learning how to analyze difficult situations, and approach them in a logical sequence to solve whatever difficult challenges he encounters. Fox Valley Tech gave him both.

Danielle Pakes
Blackhawk Technical College
Welding, 2009

J.P.Cullen & Sons

Danielle Pakes

Danielle grew up on a farm and became interested in welding in high school. She enrolled at Blackhawk Technical College (BTC) after completing every welding class available at her high school.

"The teachers were phenomenal," she says of Blackhawk. "They brought awesome things to the table to teach. And the students were really welcoming."

Danielle gained experience in welding structural steel, aluminum, stainless steel and other metals, as well as the ability to read blueprints, create welding sketches and layouts. Just two days after receiving her high school diploma, she landed her first job with a construction firm.

Margaret Welter
Southwest Wisconsin Technical College
Machine Tool Operation, 1998

Quality Control/Technical Gauge Coordinator, HyPro, Inc.

Margaret Welter


Since graduating from the Machine Tool Operation program at Southwest Wisconsin Technical College (Southwest Tech), Margaret has applied the skills she learned at Southwest Tech to progress in her career. Today, Margaret is the Technical Gauge Coordinator at HyPro, Inc. in Platteville.

"The instructors at Southwest Tech gave me all the one-on-one help I need to succeed," Margaret states. "I would recommend the Machine Tool Operation program to anyone, male or female, who wants a good job with a future."

Scott Stariha
Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College
Welding - 1977, Marketing - 1983, Transportation Distribution - 1983, Supervisory Management - 1989

Account Executive, Otis-Magie Insurance Agency
Owner, Jimmy John's sandwich shops

Scott Stariha


After completing a welding program at Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College (WITC), Scott took a job with the Burlington Northern Railroad. After a work accident cost him his left leg, Stariha went to WITC to seek retraining. He registered for the marketing program, and began a long journey of both professional and academic success.

"WITC was a very warm environment," Scott says. "I am very pleased with what WITC helped me accomplish monetarily. They gave me the tools to succeed both academically and financially."

Charles Beedlow
Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College
Machine Tool Operation, 2008

Manufacturing Engineer/CNC Programmer, World Class Precision Products

Charles Beedlow

Although he was accepted to Michigan Tech, Charles chose Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College (WITC) because it is affordable and takes less time to earn a degree. He found he could have a good career after only eight months in the WITC Machine Tool Operation program. He’d also be closer to home and graduate with less debt.

"My instructors are awesome," Charles states. "They really know what they are doing and can explain it so every student can understand. We were exposed to a lot of opportunities—the different directions we can take our career."

Wisconsin's Technical Colleges 2013-2014 Guidebook

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