Southern Cruzers Donate $2,500 to DCTC

(left to right) Gerry Rainford, ABCT faculty, Jerry Forness, Cruzers president, Duane Barclay, Cruzers secretary, Amy Eppen, foundation development director, Chris Hinrichs, foundation accounting and business coordinator
(left to right) Gerry Rainford, ABCT faculty, Jerry Forness, Cruzers president, Duane Barclay, Cruzers secretary, Amy Eppen, foundation development director, Chris Hinrichs, foundation accounting and business coordinator

Twin Cities car club supports ABCT and Automotive Tech programs

The Southern Cruzers Car Club donated $2,500 to the Auto Body Collision Technology (ABCT) and Automotive Technician programs at Dakota County Technical College. Mostly from the southern suburbs of the Twin Cities, Southern Cruzers members range in ages and have cars of all makes, models and years. Cruzers “enjoy cool cars, fun times, good food, great friends and doing things to give something back to the community.”

Jerry Forness, Cruzers president, and Duane Barclay, Cruzers secretary, visited the DCTC ABCT lab area on campus Thursday morning, December 6, 2018. Jerry and Duane met with Gerry Rainford, ABCT faculty, Amy Eppen, foundation development director, and Chris Hinrichs, foundation accounting and business coordinator. They were joined by several ABCT students.

“We greatly appreciate this donation from the Southern Cruzers Car Club. Our students take their college education seriously and many work while going to school. Donations like this help make our programs stronger for them.”
— Gerry Rainford, ABCT Faculty, Dakota County Technical College

“During our annual September meeting, club members submit the names of worthy organizations they would like to support,” said Jerry Forness, adding that the Southern Cruzers Car Club is a 501(c)(3) organization and all club profits go to charity. To date, the club has donated nearly $110,000 toward charities and scholarships. “This year, the club had $5,000 set aside for donations and we received six submissions. DCTC took first place and was awarded $2,500.”

Jerry reported that the Southern Cruzers hold a Summer Spectacular car show every summer at the Dakota County Fair Grounds. “Last summer marked our thirtieth year and the weather cooperated,” he said. “More than three hundred cars joined us for the event.”

Jerry owns three cars he shows, a 1947 Ford Super Deluxe convertible, a 1940 Ford F1 pickup, and a 1940 Buick 46C convertible, the latter restored by an ABCT graduate. The 2019 Summer Spectacular takes place Saturday, August 19, 2019.

“Cars are our hobby,” Jerry said. “DCTC Transportation programs do such a great job. What you guys do matches up with our charter.”

Southern Cruzers donation gallery

Automotive Body Repairers

Restore and replace parts of automobile frames.


Above the statewide median of $20.07/hour


Median: $21.52/hour
High: $28.96/hour

Seven-county Twin Cities metro

Median: $25.98/hour
High: $33.04/hour


This career is seeing high growth compared to other careers.

This career is currently in high demand. Growth rate is 6.5 percent, or the statewide average.There will be a need for about 2,937 new Automotive Body Repairers to meet market demand between 2016–2026. This includes the demand due to replacement (workers leaving the occupation or retiring) as well as growth.

— Minnesota State CAREERwise Education

Student Spotlight: Kyle Bratsch

Kyle Bratsch

Kyle Bratsch

A 2017 graduate of Farmington High School, Kyle Bratsch, 19, is earning an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Auto Body Collision Technology at DCTC. Kyle works while attending college, putting in 25 hours a week as a body tech at Jeff Belzer’s Auto Group in Lakeville, Minnesota.

Kyle’s interest in collision technology stems from his father, who is an auto body professional. Kyle believes getting a college education is a smart way to achieve career success. He has plans to own his own body shop some day.

When he’s not working or studying, Kyle enjoys deer, elk and bear hunting. He also likes ice-fishing for walleye.

Three words that describe you as a college student:

Kyle Bratsch | Q & A

What’s one thing every technical college student should know?
Stick with it and never give up.

What do you like best about the ABCT program?
The instructors.

What one word best describes your experience at DCTC?

Kyle Bratsch | 12 Answers

  1. Favorite sport or physical activity: NFL football
  2. Place you would most like to visit: Canada
  3. The most exciting thing you’ve ever done: Restoring a 1956 Ford Thunderbird
  4. Your personal motto if you had to have one: “Stick with it.”
  5. Favorite all-time TV show: N/A
  6. Favorite all-time movie: Lone Survivor
  7. One thing you most want to accomplish in life: Own my own shop
  8. Most valuable material possession: My tools
  9. Dream occupation: Body tech
  10. Person you would most like to meet: Mark Walberg
  11. Skill you would most like to learn and master: Paintless dent repair
  12. Most important issue or problem facing humankind: Climate change
Learn more about the Automotive Technician program at DCTC by contacting:

Jeffrey Copeland
Automotive Technology Faculty

Learn more about the DCTC Foundation and Alumni Association by contacting:

Michelle Boe, JD
Executive Director of Foundation

Amy Eppen
Foundation Development Director

Learn more about Auto Body Collision Technology at DCTC by contacting:

Scott Logan
Auto Body Collision Technology Faculty

Gerry Rainford
Auto Body Collision Technology Faculty