New dean of transportation, construction and manufacturing
Jason Wetzel, 44, started his new job as dean of transportation, construction and manufacturing at Dakota County Technical College in May 2019. Over the summer, Jason got acclimated to his role overseeing 16 programs at the college, six in the Transportation department and 10 in the Construction & Manufacturing department.
“I’m excited that school has started for fall semester, and students are back on campus,” Jason said. “I enjoy working with students. That will be one of the highlights of my job.”
Before coming to DCTC, Jason served as president of the Tulsa Welding School & Technology Center in Houston, Texas. TWS is the largest welding school in the U.S. He grew up around family members who worked in the trades. His father, Leonard, worked as a machinist and tool-and-die maker before joining Delta Airlines as an aircraft mechanic. Jason’s Uncle Henry worked as the operations supervisor at the Archer House River Inn in Northfield, Minnesota, for more than a decade.
Jason himself is an experienced craftsman who buys and renovates homes and then puts them on the market as rental properties. The DIY projects motivate him to find entrepreneurial solutions to problems that invariably develop on any job.
“I owned two small businesses,” Jason said. “I love working with property—and I admire the attitude entrepreneurs bring to their work.”
More about Jason…
Originally from Bloomington, Minnesota, Jason attended both private and public schools and eventually graduated from Bethany Academy. He went on to earn a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Business Administration from Metropolitan State University and them his Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) from Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Jason’s wife, Tracy, works at a public housing agency and led a project aimed at reducing veteran homelessness.
“My father worked as a machinist for thirteen years at Continental Machine in Savage, and we later found out that Tracy’s father worked there as well for four years with him,” Jason said. “We didn’t put that together until after we had been dating for a while.”
Jason and Tracy have two daughters, Brielle, 6, and Jocelyn, 3. The family has one dog, a 5-year-old yellow Lab named Bernie.
When he’s not working at the college or renovating homes, Jason enjoys playing golf. He has a 12 handicap and plays at an assortment of courses. Jason and his family reside in Lakeville, Minnesota.
Jason Wetzel • Q & A
What is your most important role as the dean of transportation, construction and manufacturing?
Understanding the business needs of our local industry and positioning the programs within that framework. Knowing what is needed and helping our terrific faculty get the tools they need to build their programs to satisfy the industry staffing.
What is your administrative philosophy?
Building strong relationships with faculty, students and the community is crucial to advancing quality programs that benefit students and the workforce.
What do you like best about working in higher education?
Working with students and helping alleviate the stress that goes with achieving academic success. My college days were one of the most challenging and happiest times of my life. College is a big transition—and hopefully you grow a little from the experience.
Three words that describe you as a dean:
ENGAGING. RELIABLE. LIGHT-HEARTED.
What do students need to know about pursuing a career in transportation?
You are going to take difficult classes, but you can’t sway from your goal. Technological advancements make transportation a constantly changing industry. Your education will continue throughout your career.
What do students need to know about pursuing a career in construction?
Construction is an economy-based industry. Students need to be cognizant of that fact and be prepared to adapt to workforce demands.
What do students need to know about pursuing a career in manufacturing?
Technology drives manufacturing trends. Workers in the manufacturing sector need to be forward-thinking and attuned to ecological factors in the production process.
One word that best describes your experience at DCTC:
Jason Wetzel • 12 Answers
- Favorite sport or physical activity: Running
- Place you would most like to visit: Austria
- The most exciting thing you’ve ever done: Raising our two daughters, Brielle and Jocelyn
- Three things you would do if you won a $1 billion lottery: 1) Buy a massive farm/ranch 2) Take my family to Austria on vacation 3) Work with startups as an angel investor
- Favorite TV show you’re watching now: Game of Thrones
- Best movie you’ve seen lately: Sing
- One thing you most want to accomplish in life: Be content
- Your national bird if you were your own country: Peregrine falcon
- Dream occupation: Entrepreneur
- Person you would most like to meet: Amelia Earhart
- Skill you would most like to learn and master: Golf
- Most important issue or problem facing humankind: Polarized people
Learn more about enrolling at Dakota County Technical College by contacting:
Enrollment Services Room 2-110