News Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: Kim Schmelz, External Relations & Alumni Development
Phone: 608.822.2379
Mail: 1800 Bronson Blvd., Fennimore, WI 53809
Date: May 16, 2017

Southwest Tech Cuts the Ribbon on Two New Innovations at the College

Fennimore -

Southwest Tech hosted two ribbon cutting ceremonies on Thursday, May 11 to commemorate the new Mobile Welding Lab and the newly built student housing duplex.

Derek Dachelet, Dean of Industry, Trades and Agriculture, welcomed the group to the event in front of the Mobile Welding Lab and showed a photo of the very first Mobile Welding Lab that was built in the 1970’s for Southwest Tech. Dachelet expressed that he was disappointed that the lab wasn’t an original idea but is pleased that the new lab, a 53-foot long lab equipped with eight welding stations, is top quality. The lab will be used as an alternative delivery source of the welding program for those in the workforce, high school students, incumbent workers and the prison population.

Jason Wood, President of Southwest Tech, thanked the Wisconsin Technical College System for a lead grant, business sponsors including Cummins Emission Solutions, Mobile Track Solutions, Universal Silencer, Dillman Equipment, Caterpillar, Sielaff Corp and the Southwest Tech District Board for their support of the mobile lab.

In true welding style, a steel ribbon was cut by Welding student Matt Leeser with a plasma cutter. A representative from Cummins Emmission stated, “the Mobile Welding Lab is a very innovative idea that will help bring industry professionals and standards to area students.  The lab will certainly help to spark our area student’s interest in the welding trade while giving them hands on experience.  Cummins Mineral Point is very excited to be associated with this project and is looking forward to seeing the lab up and running. ”

The crowd then walked across the street to the new student housing duplex, built by the Building Trades-Carpentry program and financed by the Southwest Tech Real Estate Foundation. Holly Clendenen, Executive Director of the Foundation and Real Estate Foundation, welcomed the crowd and highlighted the new Real Estate Foundation and the proud partnership between the Real Estate Foundation and the Carpentry program to build student housing. This is the third student housing duplex built by Carpentry program in three years to increase student housing capacity by 24 beds.

Jim Broihahn, Building Trades-Carpentry Instructor, talked about the benefits of building the duplex with his students and the hands-on learning experience they can take away from the project.

The Mobile Welding Lab and the student housing duplex reflect the college’s values of innovation, partnerships and learning.


Connor Wittrig, a current student in the carpentry program, cut the ribbon on the duplex with the Building Trades-Carpentry class and members of the Southwest Tech Real Estate Foundation board. Guests were invited inside to look at the duplex, expected to be ready for students to move into this fall.

The ceremonial photo in front of the Mobile Welding Lab includes from left to right: Kim Schmelz, Foundation staff member; Chris Prange, District Board member; Darlene Mickelson, District Board member; President Jason Wood, Roger Bahr of Universal Silencer; Derek Dachelet, Dean; Mike Schumacher of Cummins; Ed Anderson, Welding instructor; Bobby Lee of Cummins; Jeff Midtlien, Welding instructor; Mike Murray of MTS; Brandon Kobliska of MTS; Matt Leeser, current Welding student; Callie Palan, Welding alumna; current Welding student; and Holly Clendenen, Executive Director of the Foundation.

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