Military Family Day at DCTC

Afghan War Vet Jason Meszaros speaking Nov. 6

Military Family Day at DCTC

Veterans Day is Tuesday, Nov. 11, and Dakota County Technical College is celebrating the official United States holiday on Military Family Day Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014, with a number of events that recognize the service of U.S. Armed Forces veterans. Jason Meszaros, a veteran of the War in Afghanistan, will be a guest speaker that day from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Dakota Room on the college’s main campus in Rosemount, Minnesota. The Veterans Club will be hosting a social afterward in the Dakota Room from 1 to 3 p.m.

Katherine Bachman, South Metro Region Higher Education Veterans Program coordinator, reported that service providers will be on campus from 1 to 3 p.m. to assist anyone with questions regarding VA benefits.

As a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve, Meszaros was deployed to Afghanistan in 2004. He served eight months on a task force responsible for interrogating captured Taliban and al-Qaeda combatants. Meszaros wrote Interrogation of Morals as an autobiographical account of his experiences during the War in Afghanistan.

Military Family Day at DCTCWHO: Jason Meszaros

WHAT: Motivational and inspirational presentation

WHEN: Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014 • 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Military Family Day at DCTCWHERE:

Dakota Room
Main Campus
Dakota County Technical College
1300 145th Street East
Rosemount, MN 55068

For more information about the Veterans Resource Center at DCTC, contact:
  • Katherine Bachman
    South Metro Region Higher Education Veterans Program
For more information about Student Life at DCTC, contact:

DCTC Soccer Competing in Region 11 Tourney

Men face Iowa Western in first round; women face Scott

Blue Knights women's soccer

Match-ups are set for the upcoming women and men’s soccer tournaments for NJCAA Region 11. The Blue Knights women’s soccer team, seeded fifth, opens the tournament against the Scott Community College Eagles Wednesday, Oct. 29, at 3 p.m. in Bettendorf, Iowa. The DCTC women have not faced Scott this season.

The Region 11 winner moves on to the 2014 NJCAA DI Women’s Soccer District Championships, Nov. 9. District champions advance to the NJCAA DI Women’s Soccer National Championship in Melbourne, Florida.

The Blue Knights men, seeded eighth, play their first-round game against the top-seeded Iowa Western Community College Reivers Wednesday, Oct. 29, at 3 p.m. in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Earlier this year, DCTC lost to IWCC 1–5 at home at the Ames Soccer Complex in Rosemount, Minnesota. The Reivers are ranked #2 in the nation on the latest NJCAA Men’s Division I Soccer Poll; the Blue Knights are ranked #20.

The Region 11 winner moves on to the 2014 NJCAA DI Men’s Soccer Great Lakes District Final, Nov. 8. District champions advance to the NJCAA DI Men’s Soccer National Championship in Prescott, Arizona.

DCTC Athletic Coordinator and Men’s Soccer Head Coach Cam Stoltz is looking forward to the eleventh time the Blue Knights have competed in the Region 11 Tournament. “As the sole teams competing from Region 13, DCTC gets blind draws from the NJCAA in the Iowa tourney,” Stoltz said. “The men have excelled in the quarterfinals thus far, posting a 9–1 record—and we are ready to avenge this year’s loss to Iowa Western. The women have done well historically against Scott.”

NJCAA Region 11 (ICCAC) Final Standings: MEN

  1. Iowa Western CC
  2. Marshalltown CC
  3. Iowa Lakes CC
  4. Iowa Central CC
  5. NIACC
  6. Indian Hills CC
  7. Scott CC
  8. DCTC (seeded by NJCAA drawing)

First-round match-ups:

(1) Iowa Western vs. (8) DCTC in Council Bluffs, Iowa
(2) Marshalltown vs. (7) Scott in Marshalltown, Iowa
(3) Iowa Lakes vs. (6) Indian Hills in Estherville, Iowa
(4) Iowa Central vs. (5) NIACC in Fort Dodge, Iowa

NJCAA Region 11 (ICCAC) Final Standings: WOMEN

  1. Iowa Western CC
  2. Iowa Central CC
  3. Iowa Lakes CC
  4. Scott CC
  5. DCTC (seeded by NJCAA drawing)
  6. Indian Hills CC

First-round match-ups:

(4) Scott vs. (5) DCTC in Bettendorf, Iowa
Winner plays Iowa Western in semifinal game Nov. 1 at noon

(3) Iowa Lakes vs. (6) Indian Hills – Estherville, Iowa
Winner plays Iowa Central in semifinal game Nov. 1 at noon

For more information about NJCAA athletics and men’s soccer at DCTC, visit GoBlueKnights.com, or contact:
  • Cam Stoltz
    Athletic Coordinator
    Men’s Soccer Head Coach
For more information about Blue Knights women’s soccer at DCTC, contact:


Ziegler CAT and Caterpillar Foundation Support DCTC

DCTC Foundation receives $45,500 for HCET program

Ziegler CAT and Caterpillar Foundation Supports DCTC

Ziegler CAT, one of the largest and most successful Caterpillar dealers in the U.S., donated $22,750 to the DCTC Foundation for student scholarships, instructional equipment, faculty development, course upgrades and recruitment efforts in the  Heavy Construction Equipment Technology program at Dakota County Technical College. The Caterpillar Foundation Dealer Excellence Fund matched the grant, bringing the total donation to $45,500. Ziegler and the Caterpillar Foundation have a longstanding history of supporting the HCET program through generous donations to the DCTC Foundation.

“Through its Dealer Excellence Fund Program, the Caterpillar Foundation works with Caterpillar dealers across the nation to help colleges train highly-skilled technicians for the heavy equipment industry,” said Tharan Leopold, executive director of the DCTC Foundation. “When a CAT dealer makes a donation to support a program, the Caterpillar Foundation matches that donation with the goal to continue developing topflight curricula and educational opportunities. The idea is to create more high-paying technical jobs for graduates while augmenting the technician talent pool.”

According to ISEEK, Minnesota’s comprehensive career, education and job resource, the average pay for heavy construction equipment techs in Minnesota is more than $25 an hour. Top earners make nearly $32 an hour. Between 2012 and 2022, the demand for heavy equipment techs in the seven-county metro area is expected to grow 12.3 percent, which is above the statewide median.

Major employers include:

  • Heavy equipment dealers
  • Federal, state and local government agencies
  • Highway, street and bridge construction companies

Top photo: (left to right) DCTC Interim Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs Mike Opp, HCET Instructor Roger Gartner, DCTC Foundation Board Chair Bob Erickson, DCTC Foundation Executive Director Tharan Leopold, Ziegler CAT Human Resource Technical Recruiter Paul Anderson, HCET Instructor Joel Fogarty, DCTC Interim President and IHCC President Tim Wynes, DCTC Foundation Board Member Scott Manwarren, Ziegler CAT Employee and Organizational Development Manager Ralph Dupslaff

About Ziegler CAT…

With 21 locations in Minnesota and Iowa, Ziegler is one of the largest Cat dealers in North America. Ziegler sells and services Cat construction, paving, forestry, and mining equipment, as well as Cat trucks, generators, and industrial engines. In the agricultural market, Ziegler represents Challenger, AGCO application, and Lexion machinery in Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Missouri. — Courtesy of the Ziegler CAT website

Ziegler CAT and Caterpillar Foundation Supports DCTC

About the Caterpillar Foundation…

Making Sustainable Progress Possible

Since 1952, The Caterpillar Foundation has been dedicated to transforming lives in the communities where we live and work around the world. We champion programs that support education, environment and emergency relief.

Our mission is to turn the spiral of poverty into a path to prosperity by investing in those proven to yield the best results—women and girls.

Our strategic areas of focus are:

  • Education
  • Environment
  • Emergency Relief

— Courtesy of the Caterpillar Foundation website

For more information about Heavy Construction Equipment Technology at DCTC, contact:
  • Daniel Ruzicka
    Heavy Construction Equipment Technology Instructor
  • Roger Gartner
    Heavy Construction Equipment Technology Instructor
For more information about the DCTC Foundation, contact:
  • Tharan Leopold
    Executive Director of Foundation and Alumni

Welcome to the Hort Court

Fine gardening and landscape construction projects enhance campus life

DCTC fall campus

Students and faculty in the Landscape Horticulture program at Dakota County Technical College have been busy completing fine gardening and landscape construction projects that beautify the campus while creating sanctuaries designed for relaxation, contemplation, socializing, teaching and studying.

The Hort Court Garden, located adjacent to the Landscape Horticulture labs and classrooms in the southwest section of the main building, received recent upgrades, including a new water feature and flagstone patio. Jeff Kleinboehl, the instructor who teaches construction courses in the program, emphasizes the importance of real-world projects that not only give his students hands-on experience, but also produce enduring improvements to the campus that can be shared by everyone at the college.

“The little old pond we had out there was a maintenance problem,” said Jeff, whose students also installed the flagstone patio in the spot once occupied by the pond. “I bought a medium-size, pondless waterfall kit last spring with the intent of having my Construction II students install the waterfall this fall. Lot of digging and rock work, but I have been getting rave reviews from students, staff and faculty. We spent a total of nine hours working on the project.”

Hort Court Garden

Michelle Wells, a sophomore in the Landscape Horticulture program, worked on the waterfall and patio projects. Michelle is taking advantage of the program’s broad curriculum. She’s earning an A.A.S. degree as well the Professional Gardening and Sustainable Food Systems certificates. She welcomed the opportunity to participate in landscape projects that will be enjoyed by people for years to come.

“We watched videos about waterfall installations,” Michelle said, “and designed how we wanted the waterfall to look. We then dug a hole for the pump and brought in the big rocks for the project. I’m looking forward to a career in a municipal parks department—and projects like this provide great work experience.”

Catherine Grant teaches the Professional Gardening courses in the program. Her students will install the planting around the waterfall yet this fall. They also just installed 550 grasses and perennials around the DCTC electronic sign on County Road 42 and Akron. “We love doing fine gardening work on campus,” Catherine said. “We’ve done several projects over the last year or so, including new plantings by the main front entrance, the east entrance, the west parking lot median and the monument signs out front. Beautifying the campus benefits everyone at DCTC—and fine gardens do not depreciate, but become more beautiful every year.”

DCTC campus fall 2014

The Landscape Horticulture program also operates a sizable sustainable garden on the south side of the campus that serves as a lab area for the Sustainable Food Systems certificate. Matt Brooks teaches courses for the certificate as well as courses focused on landscape design.

“Sustainable living appeals to a population that ranges from urban gardeners to organic framers to lifelong learners seeking a more healthful lifestyle,” Matt said. “The Sustainable Food Systems certificate provides leading-edge information on a mode of agriculture that is gaining popularity in Minnesota and around the world.”

The upside of campus gardens…

Gardens, both botanical and edible, create several advantages for the college and its surrounding communities. Significant objectives for any college can be achieved through the serenity, beauty and scientific wealth provided by fine gardens, including:

  • Enhancing student recruitment and retention
  • Strengthening faculty and staff morale
  • Attracting area residents to the campus
  • Creating welcoming and peaceful meeting places and study areas
  • Producing local produce through an urban agriculture program with a focus on landscape design aesthetics
  • Partnering with a local farmers’ market to bring community members on campus
  • Providing an interpretive teaching center on the natural world to inform and inspire students in DCTC science classes, students from area schools and community members
  • Forging partnerships with area businesses, particularly landscape design firms, retail garden centers and wholesale nurseries, but other corporations as well
  • Forging partnerships with other arboretums to expand knowledge and professional networks
  • Engaging national and regional foundations focused on environmental enrichment and community outreach
  • Building powerful bonds with alumni
  • Providing educational opportunities through access to a master-planned sustainable landscape
  • Creating revenue streams as a desirable site for weddings, business meetings, anniversaries, family reunions and more
  • Serving as an attractive outdoor location for spring commencement
  • Boosting the status of the existing Landscape Horticulture program by offering strong learning and professional opportunities
  • Establishing a growable resource that only gains value over time to ultimately emerge as a priceless gift to posterity
DCTC campus fall 2014

For more photos: Visit DCTC on Flickr

For more information about Landscape Horticulture at DCTC, contact:

Photography Grad Earns B.S. at Brooks Institute

Tadeo Tebandeke works as freelance photographer in Southern California

Tadeo Tebandeke

Originally from Ggaba, a fishing hub on the south side Kampala, the capital city of Uganda, Tadeo Tebandeke, 26, moved to the U.S. when he was a junior in high school. Tadeo’s mother sent her youngest child nearly 8,000 miles away to find a better life and ultimately pursue his dream of becoming a professional photographer. After graduating from Century High School in Rochester, Minnesota, in 2003, Tadeo found his ideal career path in the Photography program at Dakota County Technical College.

Blue Knights: 2005 season

Blue Knights: 2005-2006 season

While at DCTC, Tadeo played two seasons of NJCAA Division I soccer for the Blue Knights, covering the right defender and right midfielder positions. He credits soccer for opening the door to a college education.

“Soccer was my ticket to DCTC,” Tadeo said. “The soccer team created a sense of community and belonging that made my days at DCTC very enjoyable. For a long time, I thought I was going to play soccer for life until photography got hold of me.”

Tadeo looks back on the Photography program at DCTC with pride and fondness. “The program helped me achieve success for a number of reasons,” he said. “The hands-on experience was the best way for me to learn.”

Tadeo TebandekeHe recognizes the teaching method of Bill Eilers, one of his instructors, for getting him fully prepared for the next phase of his photography career. “Bill gave us creative and professional assignments that made us learn,” Tadeo said. “He kept on pushing my class to make professional images and products, not just memorize technical facts. After DCTC, my career’s life success is all about my portfolio.”

Bill Eilers remembers Tadeo as a remarkably motivated and talented student. “When Tadeo came to our program, he could barely speak English,” Bill said, “but he had an incredible social intelligence, personal drive and an infectious smile. He probably could have continued his soccer career, but photography became his first passion.

Bill added that Tadeo has a knack for capturing special moments—his natural goal putting a smile on the face of everyone he photographs. “Tadeo is living proof that determination and drive can take a person as far as they want to go.”

In 2009, Tadeo graduated from DCTC with an Associate of Science in Photography. That degree and the knowledge he acquired in the program led him to the School of Photography at the Brooks Institute, which has campuses in Southern California in both Santa Barbara and Ventura. In 2014, Tadeo graduated from Brooks, ranked by Photo.net as one of the top three photography schools in the U.S., with a Bachelor of Science in Photography.

“I loved my time at Brooks,” said Tadeo, who now works as a professional freelance photographer based out of Santa Barbara. He specializes in studio and outdoor portraits,weddings, music and sports events, and behind-the-scenes shoots. His work has taken him to several countries (Tadeo is well traveled; he’s visited England, Australia, Egypt, Tanzania, Eritrea, the Sudan, Kenya and South Africa). An upcoming job is a fashion shoot in New York City. “Earning my bachelor’s degree at Brooks was one of the biggest challenges and greatest achievements in my life so far.”

Lake Victoria

Lake Victoria

Ggaba is located on the shores of Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake and the largest tropical lake in the world. Only seven miles from the central business district of Kampala, Uganda’s capital and largest city with a population topping 1.6 million, Ggaba is home to the main campus of Kampala University. Uganda is a landlocked country in East Africa known for its national parks (10) and protected areas (60). English is Uganda’s official language with Swahili approved as the second official language in 2005. Luganda is the country’s most widely spoken language.

Tadeo’s personality, inner momentum, know-how and talent allow him to thrive as a freelance photographer. “Some people think of a full-time job as stability, but there are other ways to work and live,” he said. “When you work as a freelancer, you don’t have to worry about getting laid off, re-classified and all that, so in a way it’s more stable. What you have to be concerned about is networking and filling your calendar with the kind of work you want to do—not just the jobs that pay the bills.”

As for settling down and starting a family, Tadeo is just too busy working. “Oh, man, I’m not married,” he said, “and I’m not thinking about it right now. Only after I get myself established and accomplished.”

When he doesn’t have a camera in his hands, Tadeo still loves to play soccer, aka football. He also enjoys music and kicking it with friends. “I never get tired of the beach life in Santa Barbara,” he said, referring to the Mediterranean climate of his current residence, which is often called the “American Riviera.”

He gets back to Minnesota a couple times a year and makes a point of seeing his old classmates and favorite teachers at DCTC. He considers the state a great place, but isn’t too fired up about snow.

“I make sure I visit between April and September,” he said. “I love it here in California, the warm weather, beaches and the ocean—especially in December when it’s fifteen below in Minnesota. I’m okay with that.”

  • Marlene Dietrich photo by Cecil BeatonFavorite camera brand: Nikon and Hasselblad (he shoots with both)
  • Favorite lens: 80mm and 24-70mm
  • Favorite style of photography: Studio and outdoor portrait
  • Favorite photographer: “I like too many, but here are few of my favorites, Gordon Parks, Annie Liebovitz and Richard Avedon.”
  • Favorite photo: “I’m gonna say the Marlene Dietrich photo by Cecil Beaton from 1937; that’s one of the old-school portraits I like.”

Tadeo Tebandeke gallery *

* All photos ©TadeoPhotography

Top photo and black-and-white shot of Tadeo courtesy of Bill Eilers
For more information about Photography at DCTC, contact: