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DCTC Basketball Looks Strong for Upcoming Season

Five returning players and excellent recruits bring stacks of talent

Blue Knights Basketball

The men’s basketball program at Dakota County Technical College is geared up for the 2014–2015 season with a core unit of returning players plus a solid recruiting class that includes exceptionally skilled local and out-of-state players.

“We have a great group of incoming players with a lot of talent and athleticism at all positions,” said Head Coach Ben Davis. “We are also returning five guys from last year’s team who all work hard and have a good understanding of what we want to accomplish on and off the court. The returners will set the tone and lead the way for the upcoming season.”

One returning player is Andrew Aakre, a 5’11 guard from Champlin Park who led the Blue Knights in scoring last year with 12 points per game. Aakre also led the team in steals and minutes played. He was named to the NJCAA All-Region 13 Team and is a candidate for NJCAA DII All American honors. A polished outside shooter, Aakre knocked down 61 three-pointers during the 2013–2014 season—a school record.

“There are very few guys who shoot the ball like Andrew,” Davis said. “He consistently knocks down shots and is a great ball handler. He has worked very hard this summer in the weight room and on the court. We are counting on Andrew to be a big part of our success this season.”

In the off-season, Coach Davis challenged his returners to step up as leaders. Sophomores Jamar Kelly and Tim Lott met the challenge. Lott is a 6’5 guard/forward from A&M Consolidated in College Station, Texas; Kelly is a 6’3 guard/forward from Cretin Derham Hall in St. Paul.

“Tim and Jamar have both developed into strong leaders,” Davis said. “They took the initiative during the off-season, leading by example to make sure everyone is working extremely hard to improve their game. They’ve also gone out of their way to make connections with our incoming players—a very talented group, but young. It’s a great feeling knowing that we’ve got great leadership in players like Tim and Jamar.”

(left to right) Andrew Aakre, Tim Lott, Jamar Kelly, Cole Piepkorn, Brandon Drexl-Strickland

Cole Piepkorn, a 5’11 sophomore guard from Christ’s Household of Faith in St. Paul, is another Blue Knights success story. Piepkorn didn’t get much playing time in the first half of last year due to injuries, but returned to the lineup in December against Vermilion Community College, scoring 23 points with four assists. He started the rest of the season and stood out as one of the team’s top players. Piepkorn also did well in the classroom, finishing spring semester 2014 with a 4.0 GPA.

“Cole has a simple formula of working hard every day and never complaining,” Davis said. “As a result, he improved more in one season than any player I’ve ever been around. Watching Cole excel during the second half of the season was a lot of fun—and we are looking forward to making him a big part of this year’s team.”

Sophomore Brandon Drexl-Strickland, a 6’3 guard from South St. Paul, missed much of the 2013–2014 season due to ankle injuries. Despite his injuries, Drexl-Strickland stayed committed to the DCTC basketball program, worked very hard during rehab, and continued to build on his talent. He is expected to be an essential contributor to the Blue Knights this season.

“Brandon has worked through multiple injuries,” Davis said. “After the second and third setback, I think a lot of guys would have given up. Brandon was usually the first player in the gym at practice whether he was healthy enough to participate or not. Now that he’s healthy, we are very excited to see what he can do this season.”

Davis went on to mention two promising freshman, Noble Fahnbulleh, a 6’2 guard from Hopkins, and Rajon Herbert, a 6’8 forward from Cherry Creek, Colo. “We recruited players with height in mind,” Davis said. “Our incoming class has a number of players in the six-eight range.”

Player spotlights…

Tim Lott

Tim Lott

Tim Lott

Sophomore guard/forward

  • Tim LottAge: 21
  • High school: A&M Consolidated, College Station, Texas
  • Hometown: Chicago, Ill.
  • Current residence: Eagan, Minn.
  • Academic program area: Individualized Studies
  • Degree: A.S.
  • Jersey number: 24
  • Height & weight: 6’5, 195 pounds
  • Playing experience: Played varsity senior year at A&M Consolidated; streetball; freshman year at DCTC
  • Favorite part of basketball: Going on the road and hanging out with teammates; it’s like a brotherhood
  • Favorite NBA team: Chicago Bulls
  • Favorite NCAA DI team: UCLA Bruins
  • Career plans: Radiologist
  • Family: Four sisters in Chicago and Texas
  • Pastimes and hobbies: Listening to all types of music, from country to hip hop to gospel; helping out homeless people in Apple Valley, Minn.

What brought you to DCTC?
“My friends C.J. Goodman and Truman Sweed told me I was too good for streetball. They told me I needed to play college ball and get an education. I chose DCTC for both reasons.”

What do you like about the college?
“I’m playing a sport I love while focusing on the classroom and getting good grades.”

What do you like about the Individualized Studies program?
“All my instructors are ready to help. I’ll ask a question and they’ll take twenty minutes out of their day to give me the answer I need.”

Quote about upcoming season:
“Can’t wait to start playing. It’s going to be a great season. Our goal is to go all the way to the NJCAA DII championship game in New York.”

Andrew Aakre

Andrew Aakre

Andrew Aakre

Sophomore guard

  • Andrew AakreAge: 19
  • High school: Champlin Park, Champlin, Minn.
  • Hometown: Champlin, Minn.
  • Current residence: Champlin, Minn.
  • Academic program area: Individualized Studies
  • Degree: A.S.
  • Jersey number: 0
  • Height & weight: 5’11, 160 pounds
  • Playing experience: Played varsity senior year at Champlin Park; freshman year at DCTC
  • Favorite part of basketball: Winning
  • Favorite NBA team: Portland Trail Blazers
  • Favorite NCAA DI team: University of Wyoming Cowboys; best friend plays on team
  • Career plans: Start own business with dad
  • Family: Four brothers and one sister; closest 14 years older
  • Pastimes and hobbies: Playing NBA 2K on PlayStation; lifting and staying in shape

What brought you to DCTC?
“The opportunity to play college basketball.”

What do you like about the college?
“DCTC is a smaller school. Players on different sports teams all support each other.”

What do you like about the Individualized Studies program?
“The program is a good start toward reaching my goals of playing NCAA ball and getting a business management degree at a four-year.”

Quote about upcoming season:
“I’m looking forward to building a strong bond with my teammates. We are aiming for a national championship.”

About the coach…

Head Coach Ben DavisBen Davis is entering his second year as head coach. Davis came to DCTC from Clarke University in Dubuque, Iowa, where he was the head assistant coach and head of recruiting for the men’s basketball team. Prior to Clarke, Davis served as assistant basketball coach at Macalester and Carleton colleges. Davis received his bachelor of science in child psychology with a minor in coaching education from the University of Minnesota in 2007. He received his master’s in coaching education from the University of Ohio in 2010. You can learn more about Coach Davis by reading his bio on GoBlueKnights.com.

Blue Knights basketball competes in Region 13 at the NJCAA Division II level. The Knights went 6–20 in the 2013–2014 season. The 2014–2015 season opens Nov. 1 at 8 p.m. at North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton, N.D. The team plays the first home game of the season against Western Technical College Nov. 8 at 1 p.m. at Hutton Arena on the Hamline University campus in St. Paul. Home games are played at Hamline and at Clark Danielson College Life Center Gymnasium on the North Central University campus in Minneapolis.

Blue Knights practicing at High Performance Academy

For more information about the men’s basketball team at DCTC, contact:
  • Ben Davis
    Men’s Basketball Head Coach
    651-423-8675
For more information about NJCAA athletics at DCTC, visit GoBlueKnights.com, or contact:
  • Cam Stoltz
    Athletic Coordinator
    Men’s Soccer Head Coach
    651-423-8462

Civil Engineering Tech Grad Working in Alaska

Matt Miller lands dream job in nation’s largest state

Matt Miller CET grad in Alaska

Matt Miller graduated from the Civil Engineering Technology program at Dakota County Technical College in May 2014 with a range of career options and a strong desire to work outdoors, applying his new knowledge and skills on actual job sites. He probably could not be more outdoors than the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska, working on a highway project in an area too remote for cell or Internet service.

Kenai Peninsual, Alaska“I had a bunch of job offers before school was over,” said Matt, who worked as a civil tech for Atlas Foundation in Rogers, Minn., when he first graduated. “The opportunity in Alaska came up and I went for it. I wanted to get out of the office and out in the field.”

A native of Lakeville, Minn., Matt, 25, graduated from Lakeville North High School in 2007. He is also an Iraq War veteran, having served as a recovery mechanic with the 34th Red Bulls Infantry Division. “We were deployed in Basra,” Matt said. “I look back on the experience as an adventure. I used the GI Bill to pay for my education at DCTC.”

Matt Miller | CET grad in Alaska

Matt Miller in Alaska

When he accepted the job as a construction inspector for EDGE Survey & Design out of Anchorage, Ala., Matt was following in the footsteps of Justin Winter, a 2013 graduate of the CET program. Justin, a St. Paul native, set his sights on moving to Alaska while still in college. During his time in the program, he was impressed by the adjunct instructors who teach the curriculum.

“They are straight from the engineering industry,” Justin said, “and are more than current with the technology students need to know.”

Alan Hancock, the program’s full-time instructor, remembers Justin as a student focused on landing a job. “He was bound and determined to go to Alaska, ” Alan said. “His whole second year he applied with companies in the state. Matt went to Alaska on a whim after Justin invited anyone from the class of 2014. Justin told Matt about life working in Alaska and helped him with the logistics of the move.”

Matt Miller • CET grad in Alaska

Even though they both work for EDGE, Matt rarely sees Justin. “We’re with the same company,” said Matt, who has an apartment in Anchorage, “but we work on different projects. I work as the company’s liaison with Alaska and I’ve traveled all over the state. I’m currently working on the Seward Highway project on the Kenai Peninsula. My duties include surveying, testing, documenting and checking on work progress at the site. I’m doing exactly what I learned in college. As a construction inspector for EDGE Survey & Design, I’m the eyes and ears of Alaska.”

Matt spends his free time hiking, mountain biking, and fishing for rainbow trout and salmon. He misses his family—he has three brothers and three sisters, but the scenery of Alaska is hard to beat.

“I’m so spoiled,” Matt said. “It’s ridiculous how beautiful it is.”

For more information about Civil Engineering Technology at DCTC, contact:
  • Alan Hancock
    Civil Engineering Technology Instructor
    651-423-8308

Matt Miller | CET grad in Alaska

TXT2014

Five days of fun with learning

Photography

Dakota County Technical College hosted the 4th annual Teens eXperiencing Technical Education event July 28 through Aug. 1, 2014, on the college’s main campus in Rosemount, Minn. Linda Foster, DCTC instructional technology director as well as the creator and organizer of TXT, reported that the week-long workshop series gave about 200 girls in grades 5–7 the chance to explore programs in the DCTC Business & Management, Design & Technology, Health & Human Services, Industry Careers and Transportation departments. Dakota County 4H and six area robotics teams also provided experiential learning workshops during TXT.

“TXT is a fun, hands-on way for girls to gain a new appreciation for opportunities in technical career fields,” Foster said. “We get the chance to showcase DCTC programs and faculty—and the girls always have a great time.”

TXT2014 Day 1

Auto Body Collision Technology
Civil Engineering Technology
Heavy Duty Truck Technology
Heavy Construction Equipment Technology
Railroad Conductor Technology
Welding Technology

TXT2014 Day 2

Architectural Technology
Biomedical Equipment Technology
Computer Hardware, Networking and Programming
Electrical Construction & Maintenance Technology
Interior Design
VCOM

VCOM photos courtesy of Leah Dwinnell

TXT2014 Day 3

Accounting
Automotive Technician
Biology
Exercise & Sport Science
Medical Assistant
Nanoscience Technology
Photography

Photography photos courtesy of Leah Dwinnell

Photos from a studio photography workshop taught by Photography Instructor Bill Eilers

All above photos courtesy of Bill Eilers

TXT2014 Day 4

Dakota County 4-H

TXT2014 Day 5

KING TeC–Prior Lake High School
Robotics Blaze–Burnsville High School Robotics
Cobalt Catalysts–Eastview High School Robotics
High Tech Kids
St. Michael Catholic School Robotics
Thomson Reuters

Robotics photos courtesy of Leah Dwinnell

For more photos of TXT2014, visit DCTC on Flickr:

Top photo courtesy of Bill Eilers

For more information about TXT2014, contact:
  • Linda Foster
    Instructional Technology Director
    651-423-8439

Men’s Soccer Ranked #11 in Nation

NJCAA Division I Fall 2014 poll released Aug. 6

Blue Knights

The men’s soccer team at Dakota County Technical College is ranked #11 in the nation by the NJCAA Division I Fall 2014 Top 20 poll. Last season, 2013–2014, the Blue Knights turned in an overall record of 16–3–1, winning all nine of their home games at the Ames Soccer Complex on college’s main campus in Rosemount, Minn. The team lost the last game of the season, falling 1–3 to eventual NJCAA DI national champion, Iowa Western Community College, in the NJCAA Region XI championship. DCTC was ranked #14 on the Top 20 poll in November 2013.

Head Coach Cam Stoltz reported that the upcoming season is possibly the most promising in Blue Knights history. “This team is more than a decade in the building,” Stoltz said. “Our schedule has been top ten, getting stronger and stronger each year from playing teams like Yavapai and Iowa Western. This year we connected on all recruiting cylinders, signing great players locally and nationally. Our goal is to rise higher in the rankings and ultimately compete for a national championship.”

Two outstanding freshman are Jhony Blanco, a midfielder from Prior Lake High School, and Adolfo Barrera-Gonzalez, a midfielder from North St. Paul High School, the 2013 Class 2A soccer champion. As a senior, Blanco scored 11 regular-season goals for the Lakers; Barrera-Gonzalez nailed the shootout kick that beat Eastview 5–4 in the 2A championship game.

DCTC opens this season Aug. 23 at noon playing a home game against Western Wyoming Community College. The Knights host a rematch with Iowa Western Oct. 1 at 7 p.m.

Top image (left to right): Adolfo Barrera-Gonzalez, Jhony Blanco, Jose Andriano, Clifford Adams, Nathan Schram

Player spotlights

Jose Andriano

Jose Andriano

Jose Andriano
  • Age: 20
  • Hometown: Mexico City, Mexico
  • Residence today: Bloomington, Minn.
  • High School: Bloomington Kennedy; four years playing varsity soccer; team captain
  • Program: Business Management
  • Best aspects of soccer: communication between players and overall culture
  • Upcoming season: “We will work hard. Our goal is to be national champions. We came close last year.”

Sophomore Jose Andriano was an NSCAA/Continental Tire Junior College Division I Men’s Second Team All-American last season. The 5’8, 175-pound attacking midfielder led the team in assists with 16. Andriano holds a full-time job while playing soccer and earning a degree. His career goals include transferring to UC Irvine as a business major after graduating from DCTC. He plans to pursue a pro soccer career and eventually start his own business.

Clifford Adams

Clifford Adams

Clifford Adams
  • Age: 20
  • Hometown: Santurce, San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Residence today: Eagan, Minn.
  • High School: St. Croix Country Day in the U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Program: General education courses
  • Best aspect of soccer: universal language of the sport
  • Upcoming season: “We will be back with a vengeance.”

Sophomore Cliff Adams grew up in the Virgin Islands. The 6’2, 188-pound fullback likes that DCTC is a small college with classes that offer one-on-one interaction with his instructors and a campus that lets him to see his friends and teammates often during the day. Adams is taking general education courses with plans to become an RN or nurse practitioner. His favorite pastime is meeting new people.

Nathan Schram

Nathan Schram

Nathan Schram
  • Age: 23
  • Hometown: Inver Grove Heights, Minn.
  • Residence today: Inver Grove Heights, Minn.
  • High School: Simley; four years playing varsity soccer
  • Program: Individualized Studies
  • Best aspects of soccer: competition and camaraderie
  • Upcoming season: “We are ready to compete for a national title.”

Sophomore Nathan Schram chose DCTC because he wanted a solid education and the opportunity to play collegiate soccer. Last season, the 5’10, 185-pound midfielder was selected for the NSCAA/Continental Tire Men’s Junior College Division I All-North Region Second Team. Schram enjoys online classes and is considering earning an M.B.A. with the prospect of working in finance. His sister, Nicole, 21, a student in the college’s Early Childhood & Youth Development program, inspired him to attend DCTC.

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
    651-423-8462

CPWD Celebrates Shutterfly Day in Shakopee

New facility represents strong partnership with customized training

Shutterfly Ribbon Cutting

Staff from the Center for Professional and Workforce Development at Inver Hills Community College and Dakota County Technical College attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Shutterfly, Inc., $60 million facility in Shakopee, Minn, Friday, Aug. 1, 2014 (Shutterfly Day by gubernatorial proclamation). In March of this year, Inver Hills received a $307,955 grant from the Minnesota Job Skills Partnership (MJSP) to fund training for more than 1,000 employees at the facility, which is located off Highway 169 and Canterbury Boulevard. The grant period runs from March 4, 2014, to Feb. 28, 2016. Training emphasis is on computers and technology, and organizational improvements.

CPWD Dean Pat McQuillan

CPWD Dean Pat McQuillan

Pat McQuillan, CPWD dean, reported that the MJSP grant was developed through a collaboration with DEED, Shutterfly and CPWD. “This grant took eight months to establish,” McQuillan said. “We worked with Shutterfly’s California office via webinars to design a comprehensive workforce training program. We’ve already trained close to one hundred Shutterfly employees with plans to train another two hundred over the next three months.”

McQuillan attended the ceremony with four CPWD staff, Peter Hoch, Phil Zuidema, Chris Hinrichs and Marlo Miller, the latter serving as project manager for the MJSP grant. Also in attendance from the colleges were Tim Wynes, J.D., IHCC president and DCTC interim president, and Erin Edlund, DCTC institutional advancement director, IHCC and DCTC marketing director, and Charting the Future team member, as well as Tharan Leopold, executive director of the DCTC Foundation. Speakers at the ribbon cutting included DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben, Shakopee Mayor Brad Tabke, Shakopee Chamber of Commerce President Angie Whitcomb, Scott County Commissioner Tom Wolf and Shutterfly Senior Vice President of Operations Dwayne Black.

Shutterfly Shakopee facility ribbon cutting

From the MJSP Funded Projects and Grant Management Web page:

Founded in 1999, Shutterfly has become a well-known supplier of customized photo albums and other personalized stationary products ordered online. Their line of goods, sold direct to the consumer through ecommerce, includes a wide range of products, such as digital photographic prints, greeting cards, calendars, and wedding products. Shutterfly employs more than 1,500 employees, spread across 11 locations worldwide. Shutterfly is preparing to launch their new $60 million facility in Shakopee which is expected to create more than 1,084 jobs during the next two years, including 227 new permanent jobs, and at least 857 seasonal workers annually (who will be hired during the fourth quarter/holiday season).
(read more…)

For more information about the Center for Professional and Workforce Development at Inver Hills and DCTC contact: