True Blue Gala 2014

True Blue Gala 2014
True Blue Gala 2014

3rd annual event showcases togetherness in the college community

The DCTC Foundation hosted the 3rd Annual True Blue Gala at Brackett’s Crossing Country Club in Lakeville, Minn., Thursday, April 24, 2014. The event, which was held to raise funds for student scholarships, attracted more than 200 guests and featured a silent auction, a live auction with Auctioneer Brent Lawrence, a Wall of Wine sponsored by Lakeville Liquors, fine dining, live music by DCTC Director of Student Success Patrick Lair, student stories presented by Neil Klein and Tracy Adamson, and a recognition program for four DCTC awardees, Renee Johnson, Maria Olson, Sharon LaComb and Ziegler CAT. Karen Filloon, a DCTC alumna, served as emcee. DCTC Interim President Tim Wynes, J.D., delivered the evening’s closing remarks.

“We are grateful to the sponsors of this year’s True Blue Gala as well as to the many donors who provided items for the silent and live auctions,” said DCTC Foundation Executive Director Tharan Leopold. “Thanks to you the DCTC Foundation continues to help students achieve their academic goals through scholarships.”

True Blue Gala 2014 event photos on Flickr

Students in the DCTC Visual Communications course, Event Photography, covered the True Blue Gala. Taught by photography instructor, Bill Eilers, Event Photography is an apprentice-style, collaborative course where students plan and take photographs at actual special events and then follow through with the editing and distribution process. Event Photography reinforces many concepts introduced in 1000-level photography courses and is open to students of all disciplines and levels of experience. Along with the True Blue Gala, students will photograph the college’s commencement ceremony at Grace Church in Eden Prairie, Minn., Friday, May 16, 2014.

Student Photographers at the True Blue Gala:
  • Ron McKeehen
  • Chris Fischbeck
  • Kim Christenson
  • Jessica Wisniewski






  • Bremer Bank
  • Dakota Law, P.L.L.C.
  • Flint Hills Resources
  • Merchant’s Bank, Rosemount
  • Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community
  • State Farm Insurance, Paul Eggen
  • Kerry and Laura Sutherland
  • Think Bank
  • TKDA Twin Cities Power
  • Fraternal Order of Eagles, Farmington


  • Brackett’s Crossing Country Club
  • Castle Rock Bank
  • Jeff Belzer’s Chevrolet Dodge Ram Kia
  • Minnesota Energy Resources
  • Northern Tool & Equipment
  • Pine Bend Paving
  • Uponor
TRUE BLUE GALA 2014 Auction Item Donors | TRUE BLUE GALA 2014 Live Auction Items

The DCTC Foundation
Established in 1983 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the DCTC Foundation is governed by a board of directors with up to 18 members. Since its inception, the Foundation has generated more than $3.2 million in financial assistance for students while building a general endowment fund and establishing private endowment funds.


For low-income individuals saving money for college, the cost of tuition can be a significant hurdle. The DCTC Foundation has an amazing opportunity for you to help students overcome this obstacle, achieve their goals and become self-sufficient. DCTC, along with a consortium of five metro technical and community colleges, is implementing the TuitionMatch-MN program to help low-income working students build their savings to better afford college tuition.

How It Works: Federal dollars for the program are secured. Now, we just need matching funds to begin utilizing these dollars and helping prospective students transform their lives with a college education. For every $1 deposited in a savings account by low and middle-income students, TuitionMatch-MN will match with $3 ($1.5 from federal funds and $1.5 from private funds).

Students can save up to $960 toward the match for a total of $3,840 that can be used only for college tuition. Participants of this program will also receive financial literacy classes and career planning to help them increase their success. — Tharan Leopold | Executive Director | DCTC Foundation | 651-423-8293

True Blue Gala Emcee | Karen Filloon

Many Twin Cities residents remember Karen Filloon from two decades of work on radio and television as a meteorologist for KSTP and WCCO. A 2003 graduate of the DCTC Landscape Horticulture program, Karen stands out as an exemplary alumna. Bringing her passion and aptitude for climate and weather into landscaping, she joined Southview Design in 2008 as a residential landscape designer—and she designs with climate in mind. Karen received a Certificate of Merit Award from the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association, or MNLA in January 2006. Her work for Southview Design covers marketing and business development.

Outstanding Alumni Award | Renee Johnson

The Outstanding Alumni Award recognizes an individual who has shown exceptional leadership, work ethic and dedication as a part of the DCTC community.

Renee Johnson came to DCTC in the fall of 1998 to pursue a degree in Graphic Design Technology. Shortly after she began her college career, Renee accepted a student worker position in the college’s Marketing and Communications department. A year later, that position led to a full-time role as a marketing assistant. Renee took on additional responsibilities and eventually began serving as the department’s design specialist. Over the next seven years, Renee provided direct support to the college’s marketing, communication and brand initiatives. In 2010, she earned a B.A. in Marketing Management and Innovation from Concordia University, St. Paul, graduating with distinction. Renee then became director of marketing and communications at the college, serving in that role until November 2013 when she accepted a marketing position with the University of Wisconsin–River Falls, which is much closer to her home in Ellsworth, Wis. DCTC is proud to recognize Renee Johnson as the 2014 Alumni of the Year. Renee was a dedicated and accomplished student and employee who championed the college’s mission on a personal and professional level.

Rising Star Award | Maria Olson

The Rising Star Award recognizes a young alumnus who is making significant contributions to society through professional or philanthropic work.

Maria Olson is a proud DCTC graduate, earning a Graphic Design Technology A.A.S. degree in 2010. Maria also holds a degree in music education from the University of Wisconsin–River Falls, where she is currently employed as a freelance graphic designer. Her portfolio contains a vast array of materials, including PowerPoint presentations, programs, posters, brochures, postcards and research posters. Since graduating from DCTC, Maria has combined her love of music with graphic design to write, compile and design a book outlining the history and development of the wind band in the United States. She designed an accompanying timeline and is currently working on a series of educational posters featuring prominent wind band conductors and composers. Maria’s plans for the future include production and publication of the materials mentioned above, as well as the development of a website with additional resources for band aficionados. When Maria is not spending time with her beloved MacBook, she is busy playing percussion in a community band and singing in a choir.

Spirit of DCTC Award | Sharon LaComb

The Spirit of DCTC Award recognizes an individual who has contributed selflessly to the college mission while showing boundless support for student success in the classroom and beyond.

Sharon LaComb served as vice president of DCTC for 25 years until her retirement in September 2011. Sharon was instrumental in the success of the DCTC Foundation and the Continuing Education and Customized Training division. In 2010, Sharon raised more than $1 million for emergency grants for DCTC students. These funds help students overcome financial obstacles they may encounter while achieving their educational goals. Sharon’s role as a leader in Dakota County strengthened the bonds between education, industry and local communities. Her passion for higher education and her continued commitment to the DCTC campus community make Sharon LaComb an excellent choice for the 2014 Spirit of DCTC Award.

DCTC Advocacy Award | Ziegler CAT

The DCTC Advocacy Award recognizes an individual or business that has displayed extraordinary support for the college mission through partnerships, community engagement and the promotion of technical education as a pivotal component in the quest for economic prosperity.

Ziegler CAT, one of the country’s largest and most successful Caterpillar dealers, was founded in 1914 with a simple, yet lasting corporate philosophy: “Sell the best equipment, provide the best service.” The company’s storied history with Caterpillar dates to 1919 when Ziegler became a dealer for the C. L. Best Tractor Co., which absorbed the Holt Tractor Company in 1925 to form Caterpillar. Ziegler represents the full line of Caterpillar construction equipment, generators, and trucks and employs 1,600 people in 21 communities throughout Minnesota and Iowa. Ziegler—since 1914 the commitment stands strong.

For more information about the True Blue Gala and the DCTC Foundation, contact:
  • Tharan Leopold
    Executive Director
    DCTC Foundation
  • Barb Seleski
    Administrative Assistant
    DCTC Foundation