Mark Obarski Hired as Women’s Soccer Coach

Former Eagan High School girls soccer coach to lead Blue Knights

Mark Obarski

Dakota County Technical College has hired Mark Obarski, former head coach of girls soccer at Eagan High School in Eagan, Minn., as head coach of the Blue Knights women’s soccer team. Obarski will succeed Cam Stoltz as only the second coach in the program’s history. Stoltz started the program in 2003, serving as head coach for 11 seasons. He will continue to lead the men’s soccer program while serving as DCTC athletic coordinator.

Obarski brings ample soccer success and experience to DCTC, having been with the Eagan High girls soccer program for 19 years, the last 14 as head coach. Named state coach of the year twice and section coach of the year four times by the Minnesota State High School Soccer Coaches Association, Obarski served as MSHSSCA president for two years and has been involved with the MSHSSCA Board for several years. As head coach at Eagan, he compiled a record of 192–67–25.

“Cam has developed an outstanding program,” Obarski said. “It’s an honor to step in and continue that tradition. Coaching at DCTC is a tremendous opportunity that will be both a lot of hard work and a lot of fun.”

With extensive experience both as a coach and director of coaching at the Valley United and Eagan soccer clubs, Obarski has worked with a variety of age groups in youth soccer. He has a United Stated Soccer Federation “C” license.

“I can’t think of a better way to transition this program to a higher level,” Cam Stoltz said. “Mark has the perfect blend of expertise, leadership and knowledge of the recruiting market, especially in the soccer-rich south metro area. He is also well versed in soccer success. Mark is an educator first with coaching soccer a close second.”

A long-time resident of Apple Valley, Minn., Obarski grew up playing soccer at Apple Valley High School as well as with the Valley United Soccer Club. He played collegiate soccer for Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Ariz. This fall, he will be entering his 20th year as a teacher at Eagan High School. Obarski and his wife, Barb, have five children; all played soccer growing up in Apple Valley. Their daughter, Kelly, played soccer for the Blue Knights during the 2010–11 season.

Mark Obarski will begin his head coaching duties at DCTC July 1, 2014. He will be taking over a program that former coach, Cam Stoltz, provided with a sound foundation. In 11 seasons, the Blue Knights put together a 107–95–12 overall record that includes an NJCAA Region 13 championship (2003), two NJCAA Region 11 runner-up finishes (2009 and 2010), three NJCAA All-Americans and five NJCAA Academic All-Americans. Stoltz was twice recognized as NJCAA Region Coach of the Year, once for Region 13 in 2003 and once for Region 11 in 2009.

Obarski is excited about the future of Blue Knights soccer. “I’m looking forward to the challenges of recruiting and getting used to coaching at the collegiate level,” he said. “Our goal is to establish a nationally recognized women’s soccer program.”

To learn more about soccer at DCTC, visit GoBlueKnights.com. You can also read “Eleven Stars for 11 Years” in Real Magazine for a historic view of the women’s soccer program.
For more information about Blue Knights athletics, contact:
  • Cam Stoltz
    Athletic Coordinator
    Men’s Soccer Head Coach

Softball Player Makes DCTC History

Amanda Orrell named Blue Knights first softball All-American


Sophomore Amanda Orrell, an outfielder on the Blue Knights fastpitch softball team at Dakota County Technical College, was named a 2014 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II Second Team All-American by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA). Orrell is a 2012 graduate of Pioneer Valley High School in Santa Maria, Calif., and led the Blue Knights with a .531 batting average and .609 on-base average.

Head Coach Tom Cross (left) and Amanda Orrell (center) during 2013-2014 season.

Head Coach Tom Cross (left) and Amanda Orrell (center) during 2013-2014 season.

Blue Knights Fastpitch Softball Head Coach Tom Cross reported that Orrell is the first All-American in the history of the fastpitch softball program at DCTC and only the eighth All-American to come out of the college’s six athletics programs.

“Being named to the All-American Second Team by the NFCA is a very prestigious honor,” said Cross. “Amanda has been a steadfast member of our softball program’s rise at DCTC and in the region. There are about two thousand players at the NJCAA Division II two-year college level—and we had one of the best.”

Cross explained that Orrell started last season driving the ball and hitting with power. “In my opinion, Amanda was the best leadoff hitter in the country,” he said. “She raised havoc on the bases from the very beginning.”

amanda-orrellThe Blue Knights fastpitch softball team just completed their second season at DII. They won the regional championship in 2013 and finished as runner-up in May 2014. Read more about the team’s success in the Real Magazine article Softball Posts 2nd Consecutive 21-Win Season.

In fall 2014, Amanda Orrell is transferring to Hamline University in St. Paul, Minn., and will play softball for the Pipers.

For more information about Blue Knights fastpitch softball at Dakota County Technical College, contact:
  • Tom Cross
    Fastpitch Softball Head Coach
DCTC Blue Knights Fastpitch Softball Team 2013-2014

DCTC Blue Knights Fastpitch Softball Team 2013-2014

Do You Robot?

DCTC Hosts Robotics Teams to Advance CAD Experience

It is a sport. Not of running, jumping, or throwing, but of the mind. FIRST Robotics Competition, or FRC, means For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology. It is a sport that encompasses sound engineering principles, strategic problem solving, and team-building skills. And it is rapidly growing: in 2006 there were only two teams. By 2014, that grew to 207 teams. FIRST is designed to help high-school-aged young people discover how interesting and rewarding the lives of engineers and scientists can be.

Why is FIRST unique?

It is a sport where participants can learn from the pros.

PrintDesigning and building a robot is a fascinating real-world professional experience.

Competing brings participants as much excitement and adrenaline rush as conventional varsity tournaments.

The game rules are a surprise every year.

FIRST consists of short games that are played by robots. The robots are designed and built in six weeks from a common set of parts by a team of students and a handful of engineers that are mentors. They design, then program and remotely control the robots in several rounds of competition.

During the summer of 2013, the Eagan High School FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Team, Team 2220 – Blue Twilight, was at Dakota County Technical College to do a robotics demo for DCTC’s Teens eXperiencing Technology (TXT) event. The team’s faculty advisor, Jim Lynch, was impressed by DCTC’s computer lab capacity and began planning an event for Computer Aided Design (CAD) training with Creo by PTC. Creo is specialized 3D design software that has been revolutionizing the way engineers and designers develop products.

creo_main_banner“The large training session hosted at DCTC and taught by PTC CAD experts helped us train a much larger group of students. It then led to greater buy-in and support for using CAD modeling in our design process,” said Lynch.

Students involved in the training at DCTC compete in two different levels of the FIRST Robotics program. Middle school and early high school students make up the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) Teams. They design and build smaller robots using a platform from Legos called Tetrix, which looks much like old building sets.

The other level of robotics is the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) for grades 9-12. Students at this level are challenged to design and build robots starting with totes of motors, sensors and other parts, but no framework. Each team only has 6 weeks to design and build a competition-ready robot.

Lynch hopes to hold CAD training at DCTC every year. “We trained over 70 young people that day. The facilities at DCTC were perfect to provide this large scale training.”

Nathan Chapdelaine, senior student on Team 2220, explained how incorporating CAD into the design phase helped them see how their robot would look before spending considerable time and money to construct it. “It helped us work out the design flaws early in the process before building,” Chapdelaine said. This past season during week four out of the six week build process, they discovered there was no space for the battery. “Although the situation was not ideal, we were able to catch this issue before the robot was constructed, thanks to our CAD model,” he explained. “After a bit of modification to the model, we fixed it and began machining.” Without CAD, that critical problem would not have been discovered until the final week, causing the team to do some major rebuilding late in the season.

“We have only scratched the surface of what CAD can do,” said Chapdelaine.

Another important benefit of the CAD training at DCTC was that the team developed an engineering mindset. “As FIRST Robotics Competition was created to teach engineering to high school students, this benefit has been crucial,” said Chapdelaine. “Using PTC’s Creo software has given all of us, freshman through seniors, an invaluable insight into what we can do. Our build season reflected it.”

“The change in our team throughout the year has been astonishing,” said Lynch. “Our students have learned to engineer a robot instead of just throwing together parts and seeing if it works.”

The season may be over for FIRST Robotics Team 2220 from Eagan High School, but the benefits are long lasting.

Chapdelaine said, “Although I will be in college this fall, I hope that the team can continue this training at DCTC so that our surrounding teams can have all the benefits of CAD that we experienced this season while furthering our own teams’ knowledge and experience.”


FIRST was founded in 1989 to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology. Based in Manchester, NH, the 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit public charity designs accessible, innovative programs that motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math, while building self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills

“To transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology leaders.”

Dean Kamen, FIRST Founder

Photo on top: Model of Team 2220′s Robot for the 2014 season, courtesy of Nathan Chapdelaine

For more information about Continuing Education and Customized Training at Dakota County Technical College, contact:
  • Larry Lewis
    Manufacturing & Technology Coordinator
For more information about Eagan High School FRC, contact:
  • James Lynch
    Faculty Advisor
    Eagan High School Robotics Team
    2220 – Blue Twilight

Perennial Collaboration for Learning, Economic Development and Prosperity

Business Management Instructor Harold Torrence building long-term relationship with LEDC

Harold Torrence, Ed.D, a business management and multicultural supervision instructor at Dakota County Technical College, is advancing a long-range, civic-outreach strategy that focuses on small business development in the Latino community. Harold began articulating his strategy some years ago when he met Ramón León, founding executive director of the Latino Economic Development Center, and Mario Hernández, LEDC vice president and COO.

Harold is currently working with the LEDC on a project that helps the center achieve its mission to transform the Latino community through economic development. Harold’s goal is to expand collaborations between DCTC and organizations like LEDC to create more opportunities to deliver advanced business training to small business owners and entrepreneurs in diverse communities.

“Collaborations between colleges and communities need to be ongoing and long-term,” said Harold, whose volunteer work includes teaching LEDC staffers how to better engage with members of their communities. “Building relationships is the key. I am working with the LEDC on a project that unites Latino restaurant owners on Lake Street. The upcoming Lake Street Taco Tour is a perfect example of how competing businesses can work together for a mutual goal—in this case transforming Lake Street into a go-to destination for Latino food.”

LEDCHarold recently met with more than a dozen business owners at one of the two LEDC locations on Lake Street. “We had an hour of intense concentration, covering such topics as getting to know your customers, enhancing customer loyalty by exceeding expectations, and creating sustainability through repeat business,” he said. “I was impressed by the knowledge sharing between the business owners. Learning from each other is essential.”

Earlier in May 2013, LEDC Vice President Mario Hernández attended the Multicultural Student Leadership Association Cinco de Mayo celebration in the college’s Student Life Center. Mario spoke about how the college and Latino communities can collaborate to expand higher education opportunities while advancing diversity on campus. He later met with DCTC administrators, including Mike Opp, interim vice president of academic and student affairs, and Gayle Larson, dean of business, technology and general education.

“Harold Torrence has been supporting LEDC in multiple capacity building roles,” Mario said. “He’s advised us on how to design trainings so they can count for college credit and has provided trainings for staff and LEDC business members on topics such as sales and customer service. Harold is a vital connection for us and our members to DCTC.”

Harold is excited about continuing his work with the LEDC. “Collaborations between colleges like DCTC and economic development organizations like the LEDC are mutually beneficial,” he said. “The ultimate benefactors are our students as well as businesses and individuals in our communities.”

Collaboration with LEDC

The Art of Persuasion Seminar


More about Harold Torrence

Harold Torrence | Business Management InstructorHarold Torrence, Ed.D, is an instructor in the Business Management department at Dakota County Technical College. He is the college’s new Business & Services chair and also chairs the DCTC Diversity Council. He serves as faculty advisor to the Multicultural Student Leadership Association, or MSLA. Harold’s areas of focus are:

Harold holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from UNITEC, or Universidad Tecnológica del Centro. He also holds both a Masters of Arts in Management and a Master in Public Administration from Hamline University. In 2012, he earned a Doctorate in Education from Hamline University.

Bringing an extensive background in international business to his teaching position, Harold has a passion for thoroughly understanding the multicultural dimensions of today’s organizations. He began his career in Venezuela, where he spent several years supporting the consumer sales and marketing departments for a large oil corporation. In the United States, Harold spent three years developing an international distribution network with a human resources consulting firm. He sold software, training and consulting products throughout 13 Latin American countries.

Harold joined DCTC in early 2005. He enjoys working with businesses and individuals by applying his experience and passion for business and education through his role as a DCTC instructor. Over the last nine years, he has taught the following courses at DCTC:

  • International Business
  • Managing Diversity
  • Multicultural Mentoring
  • Multicultural Conflict Resolutions
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Management Effectiveness
  • Foundations of Management
  • Quality Management
  • Effective Business Communication
  • Project Management
  • Spanish

In 2009, Harold was named to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Minnesota 25 on the Rise, an award that recognizes 25 Latino men and women under the age of 40 from around the state who have contributed immensely to their communities across a wide range of areas, including business, government, law, finance, entrepreneurship and education. He resides with his wife, Liliana, in Woodbury, Minn. Both are both musicians. Harold sings and plays guitar; Liliana sings and plays piano. They have two children, Jonathan, 12, and Susana, 7.

For more information about Business Management programs at DCTC, contact:

Patch Management Safeguards DCTC Network

Mac specialist Matt Nohava helps shore up IT security

by Jason Lachowsky

In an era where high-profile, high-cost security breaches seem all too frequent, network security is of principle importance. Dakota County Technical College is not immune to these threats and is taking proactive action to plug any potential security holes. In some ways, a college campus is uniquely vulnerable because students bring their own devices to campus and connect them to the wireless network. You can’t assume those devices are up to date. DCTC’s wireless network was designed with this in mind.

Matt Nohava, a Macintosh systems administrator in the DCTC IT department, noted that the college’s wireless networks do not have access to the college’s internal networks. “We don’t want some form of malware to infect the rest of campus,” he said.

Although DCTC uses a number of methods to protect its network and computers, a crucial step in prevention is patching—a patch is a small piece of software used to correct an identified issue with software or an operating system. Almost all software companies will periodically release patches to correct discovered issues, including security risks, in their programs.

“You might not see the effects of patched software, but in the background there are bug fixes and security updates,” Matt pointed out. “We want to make sure that our first line of defense is taken care of.”

Keeping on top of frequently released patches and making sure they are applied as needed is known as patch management. The SANS Institute, an Internet security training firm, identifies patch management as one of their Critical Security Controls. Matt agrees: “Patch remediation is one of the first steps in making sure you have secure machines.”

Matt Nohava, DCTC IT Macintosh Systems Administrator“Working in the IT department makes for an interesting day. At one point, you could be down supporting automotive, and the next you’re fixing a broken server. I like working as a part of a small IT staff. While we all have our specialties, everyone is ready to jump in as needed.” — Matt Nohava, Macintosh Systems Administrator

If patches are managed computer by computer, keeping an environment updated can be very time-consuming. Inevitably, some computers will be missed. “That’s how we used to do it,” Matt recalled. “We would manually install patches on every single machine. If we wanted to update a lab, for instance, we would have to unlock the entire lab and then push out the patches. It took quite a bit of extra time, and it was very possible to miss certain updates.” Matt added that if patching occurred during the workday, employees could be temporarily prevented from accessing their computers. Worse still, students could be stopped from using lab computers.

The college has decided to choose Lumension® as their patch management system solution. Matt reported that Lumension is very helpful in determining what needs to be updated, which means unnecessary updates are not applied. “With Lumension, a piece of software is installed and it scans the hardware and software to check the version,” he summarized. “Lumension not only updates, it checks for vulnerability and holes as well.” Another plus for Lumension is that the solution is cross-platform. DCTC is a mix of Mac and Windows PCs. Many machines even have the ability to dual boot to either operating system.

Matt also likes that Lumension has a lightweight client. The DCTC IT department looks for software that does not intrude during a staff member or  instructor’s day. At this time, IT has deployed Lumension to a significant portion of the campus, including labs and smart rooms. The software is receiving some real-world testing before being deployed on staff and faculty computers, but that is the next step. Keeping to a schedule is one challenge Matt envisions for certain computers. Since lab computers are frozen to a certain state and return to that state on reboot, IT needs to manually go in and thaw the machines before they can be updated.

Ultimately, Matt believes that Lumension, once fully implemented, will save the department time and allow IT staff to focus on other priorities. He enjoys his job at DCTC. “Working in the IT department makes for an interesting day,” he said. “At one point, you could be down supporting automotive, and the next you’re fixing a broken server. I like working as a part of a small IT staff. While we all have our specialties, everyone is ready to jump in as needed.”

Matt Nohava grew up in Webster, Minn., which he described as a “town with a mill and that’s about it.” During the summer, he enjoys camping at his parent’s seasonal campsite near Zumbrota. He and his wife, Lindsay, reside in Farmington, Minn., and have two dogs, a golden doodle and a Shih Tzu-poodle mix. Matt and Lindsay are expecting their first child in October.

For more information about the DCTC IT department, contact: