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.

June 21, 2017

Students in several of Kishwaukee College Career Technologies programs collaborated to create an end-loader bucket this spring. 

Dave Gommel, Coordinator of Maintenance Services at the College, wanted to duplicate a specific end-loader bucket design and asked the Career Tech division if the students could re-create it. Gommel supplied the materials and the students gained real-life experience in design and manufacturing collaboration.

Students in Computer-Assisted Design (CAD) 153/253 Advanced CAD/Mechanical Design took measurements of the original end-loader. The students divided up the design components to give each student an opportunity to participate and also to learn to collaborate in the design process, a skill that they will need when they enter the workforce. Participating CAD students were Max Garcia, Genoa; Patrick Stevens, Rochelle; Jacob Felz, DeKalb; Kevin Wolfe, Crystal Lake; and Mike Walsh, Genoa. 

When the design was complete, students in Welding Technology and Automated Engineering Tech built the end loader from raw material.  The Welding students created the larger parts, using a variety of equipment to shear the metal and form the curved design prior to welding. Participating Welding students were Andrew Dirienzo, Sycamore; DJ Dirienzo, Sycamore; and Matt Cornell, Genoa. 

To create the smaller components to meet the specification required the use of both Computer Numerical Control (CNC) and traditional Tool and Die processes. Jim Gavin, Genoa, in MT 216, Fabrication Processes, and instructor Pete Campbell, created the bushings for the pins to hold the bucket to the tractor. The two turned them on the lathe and drilled the holes using the CNC machine.

The result is an end-loader bucket that was exactly what Dave Gommel had wanted, with the addition of the signature Kishwaukee College initials and the Career Tech division name!

For more information on Career Technologies programs, visit https://kishwaukeecollege.edu/division/career-technologies or call the Career Technologies division at 815-825-9303. Registration for Fall 2017 is currently in progress; classes begin August 21.

Pictured with the finished end-loader project are, L to R, Kevin Wolfe, Crystal Lake, CAD student; Matt Cornell, Genoa, Welding student; Mike Walsh, Genoa, CAD student; Patrick Stevens, Rochelle, CAD student; and Max Garcia, Genoa, CAD student.

March 8, 2017

In June 2016, the DeKalb County Community Foundation donated funding to the Kishwaukee College Welding Technology program towards the purchase of a metal shear. On March 2, Anita Zurbrugg, Program Director for DCCF, toured the facilities with Dr. Laurie Borowicz, Kishwaukee College President, Bill Nicklas, Executive Director of the Kishwaukee College Foundation, and Dr. Joanne Kantner, Interim Executive Dean of Learning Services, to see the metal shear in use.

Dr. Borowicz said, “This is an excellent example of the community partnerships working together to train and educate our future workforce. DCCF stepped in to help our program have the equipment required for faculty to teach these skills to our students and meet the needs of local business and industry. We are very grateful for their generosity.”

A metal shear can cut large sheets of metal up to ¼-inch thick into the size necessary for a specific project. The shear helps students to better develop their welding and fabrication skills on larger scale projects. Larger scale projects are more the norm in the workplace.

Zach Caccia, Welding Tech faculty at Kishwaukee College, stated, “The Welding Technology program has grown significantly to meet the local employer demand for welders and fabricators. This shear has helped our students learn to fabricate actual parts like they will have to do on the job. We are grateful to DCCF for the grant that helped us purchase this addition to our program equipment.”

The complete purchase of the metal shear was made possible by the DCCF grant as well as donations from the Kishwaukee College Foundation and Perkins federal vocational grant funding. 

For more information on the Welding Technology Program at Kishwaukee College, contact Zach Caccia at 815-825-9703 or at zachery.caccia@kishwaukeecollege.edu. For more information on the DeKalb County Community Foundation, visit http://dekalbccf.org/.

Pictured in front of the shear, L to R, are: Bill Nicklas, Executive Director of the Kishwaukee College Foundation; Dr. Laurie Borowiz, President of Kishwaukee College; Zach Caccia, Welding Tech instructor; Anita Zurbrugg, Program Director for DCCF; and Matt Feuerborn, Dean of Career Technologies.

Categories: Welding
January 13, 2017

Kishwaukee College has been accredited as a test site for certifications by the American Welding Society (AWS). Zachery Caccia, Kish Welding faculty, stated, “Area businesses have been requesting a local test site for their employees to receive AWS certifications so we pursued accreditation. We are excited to receive accreditation to serve the needs of local business and industry.”

AWS is the internationally accepted standard for welding professionals and it took Caccia, the Kish Welding Tech department and Career Technologies division nearly a year to complete the accreditation process, which included an on-site audit of facilities. Kishwaukee is one of only six AWS accredited testing facilities in Illinois – the other five are Carpenters’ J.T.F. of St Louis in Belleville; ETI School of Skilled Trades in Willowbrook; Illinois Valley Community College in Oglesby; Rock Valley College in Rockford; and Valley Fabrication, Inc. in La Salle.

AWS Test Facilities test and qualify welders to receive certification in a variety of welding and fabrication skills. Caccia noted, “Many workplace contracts will specify that only certified welders can work on projects. Now local business and industry can contact Kish and we can test their employees either on campus or on-site.”

According to the AWS website, business and industry that use AWS accredited test facilities to test and qualify their welders will save money, improve productivity, and reduce liability. The result has been an increase in businesses that use AWS test sites for employee certification.

Caccia added, “This is also a great addition to the Kishwaukee College Welding Tech program, too. Our students are better prepared to receive their certifications having learned to weld in a AWS facility.”

For more information on the Welding program at Kishwaukee College or AWS certification testing, contact Zach Caccia at 815-825-9703 or at zachery.caccia@kishwaukeecollege.edu.

Categories: Welding
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.