August 14, 2017

When Andrew Dirienzo graduated from Kishwaukee College with a certificate in Welding Technology, he figured he would find a job as a welder in a local industry. He never imagined that he would land a position that would take him to northern Italy for training. But that is exactly what happened. 

Andrew graduated from Sycamore High School in 2011 and enlisted in the Air Force National Guard right out of school. “I signed up on my 18th birthday,” he said. “I was an Aerospace Ground Equipment Mechanic and did a tour of duty in Afghanistan.” 

When he returned from deployment in 2014, he signed up for classes at Kish. He took a few General Education courses and realized that he would rather work with his hands. He signed up for a couple of welding classes and found his path. “I really liked that you can take raw material and build something from it,” he explained. “My favorite types of welding are stick and TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) welding. We built trailers with [instructor] Steve Durin. Instructor Zach Caccia is really an excellent welder – I was his student assistant in the welding lab.”

Everything was going in a usual direction, until Brett Cole from Cole Pallet in Sycamore called Bernie Pupino, Coordinator of Career Technologies at Kish, with an unusual request: a company in Italy was manufacturing line equipment for Cole and wanted a local rep to install and train the Cole employees on the new line when it was ready to be delivered. Their preference was for a military veteran. Andrew fit the bill, perfectly.

The Corali company makes their home in Bergamo, Italy. The company builds manufacturing lines for industries that glue, stitch or use similar procedures to build their products, industries like Cole Pallet. After accepting the position, Andrew found himself training in northern Italy at Corali’s headquarters. “I actually use all the skills I learned in the military plus the welding,” he explained. “I do pneumatics, electrical, and hydraulics.”

Andrew returned to the Corali plant in Italy with Brett Cole this summer. It gave Cole an opportunity to see the equipment in action and running product. After Cole approved it, Andrew and the Corali team dismantled the line and prepared it to ship to Sycamore where Andrew will spend the next year installing it, calibrating it, and then training employees on running and maintaining it on site at Cole Pallet.

Andrew Dirienzo never expected that his decision to pursue welding at Kishwaukee College would line him up with the kind of job everyone dreams of. “I really thought I would get a local job, doing the same welds every day,” he said. “I never thought I would have a position where I travel to Europe!”

Pictured in front of Corali manufacturing equipment at a Pallet Manufacturing Conference in Germany this summer, is the Corali USA team, L to R: Alain Clicet, Sales; Andrew Dirienzo; Jeff Jenson, Corali USA President; and Rosely Rosa, Corali Parts Manager.

November 17, 2015

Kishwaukee College students in the Welding Technology program under instructor Zach Caccia and Collision Repair Technology program under instructor Greg Brink collaborated to build bike racks for campus. During warmer weather, several students, faculty and staff ride their bicycles to campus. The new bike racks will be placed on campus next year to give the health and environmentally conscious a place to park and lock their bikes. Bernie Pupino, Coordinator of INAM Manufacturing Programs, spearheaded the effort. “This is a great exercise in fabricating to meet a need, just like you would do on the job in the workforce,” he said.  “Students got the experience and the College gets equipment it needs.” The Welding students fabricated the racks and the Collision Repair students painted the racks.  Pictured with one of the bike racks on campus are Mickey Engelhart, Welding student, Sycamore; Zach Caccia, Welding Instructor; Bernie Pupino; and Zach Miller, Welding student, Kirkland. Not pictured are CRT students Dominque Betts, DeKalb, and Eliseo Leon, DeKalb. For more information on the Welding Tech or Collision Repair Tech programs at Kishwaukee College, contact the Career Technologies division at 815-825-2086, ext. 2030. Registration for Spring 2016 at Kishwaukee College is currently in progress. For information on enrollment and registration, contact Admissions, Registration and Records at ext. 2740 or email arr@kishwaukeecollege.edu.