News about Automated Manufacturing & Machining

Alumnus Endows a ‘Sweet’ Scholarship for Major

The past president of the nation’s largest independent honey company and his wife have endowed a scholarship for machining students at Pennsylvania College of Technology.

The Kitt and Bill Gamber Scholarship will benefit full-time students enrolled in the college’s machine tool technology associate-degree major. Typical careers for graduates of the program include toolmaker, machinist, CNC (Computer Numerical Control) technician, production technician and manufacturing assistant.

Gamber graduated from Penn College predecessor Williamsport Technical Institute in 1959 with a certificate in tool making. Married for more than 50 years, Gamber and his wife, Kitt, have two children and seven grandsons.

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Number of ‘Tech Scholars’ Grows at Penn College

Penn College Tech Scholars include (from left): Logan T. Beidleman, Hope Mills, N.C.; Nicholas C. Moore, Lock Haven; Kelsey L. Shaak, Quakertown; Brandon A. Biesecker, Waynesboro; Connor L. Winslow, Blanchard; Christopher R. Zimpelman, Reading; Alexander M. Barlow, Hanover; Ethan M. Yoder, Denver; and Colton A. Laughman, New Oxford. Not pictured: Rylee A. Butler, Bellefonte; Margot S. Rinehart, Downingtown; and Thomas P. Tyler, Vienna, Md. (Photo by David S. Richards, professor of physics)

With support from the National Science Foundation, the number of Tech Scholars at Pennsylvania College of Technology continues to grow. Eight new students in STEM majors have been awarded scholarships of up to $10,000 per year for a maximum of four years.

Those students join four returning scholarship recipients from 2014, the first year of a five-year grant designed to increase retention, degree completion and career preparation for students in the School of Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies.

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Federal Reserve Bank President Holds Briefing at Penn College

Instructor John M. Good leads a tour of Pennsylvania College of Technology’s automated manufacturing lab for a group that includes Patrick T. Harker, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. From left are Good; Erica R. Mulberger (hidden), executive director of the Central Pennsylvania Workforce Development Corp.; Shannon M. Munro, executive director of Workforce Development & Continuing Education at Penn College; Tracy L. Brundage, the college’s vice president of workforce development; Noelle S. Baldini, Federal Reserve community engagement associate; Harker; Elizabeth H. Lockwood (also hidden), SEDA-COG project development/grants manager and regional coordinator for Partnerships for Regional Economic Performance; and Theresa Y. Singleton, Federal Reserve vice president and community affairs officer.

The new president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia traveled with his team to Pennsylvania College of Technology for a special-invitation Community Development Briefing on Oct. 14.

Patrick T. Harker has held the position since July 2015 and is touring the Federal Reserve Bank’s region (which includes Lycoming County) to learn about the area and to understand the opportunities and constraints related to workforce, housing and energy.

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Every Day Is Manufacturing Day at Penn College

In honor of National Manufacturing Day, Penn College invited innovative companies Gilson Boards and Pneu-Dart to campus to interact with students, faculty and staff on Friday. The companies fit right in at the college, which features a number of manufacturing-related degrees and a new innovation leadership minor … although many potential students and their parents aren’t aware of the natural connection. “I think the perception of manufacturing still to a great length is that it’s dark, dirty, low-paying, expendable positions that you don’t need a lot of background, experience or training for,” says David R. Cotner, dean of industrial, computing and engineering technologies, in a video added to the college’s YouTube channel. “And that’s really just not accurate.”

State Legislator Gets to Know Penn College During Campus Visit

Sens. Vogel (center) and Yaw (right) talk with David R. Cotner, dean of industrial, computing and engineering technologies, in the college's welding laboratory.

Brass candlesticks pique the lawmakers' interest during a stop in the automated manufacturing lab.

Vogel gets behind the wheel of a 1929 Duesenberg Model J Victoria, powered by a Lycoming engine and being restored by Penn College students – including Ian M. Bachleda, of Schaefferstown – for the William E. Swigart Jr. Automobile Museum in Huntingdon.

State Sen. Elder Vogel Jr., whose 47th District encompasses Lawrence County and parts of Beaver and Butler counties, got acquainted with Penn College during a tour of main campus Wednesday afternoon. A legislator since 2009, Vogel chairs the Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee, and is a member of the Appropriations, Banking & Insurance, Communications & Technology, Environmental Resources & Energy, Local Government, and Majority Policy committees. Accompanied by state Sen. Gene Yaw (chairman of the college’s board of directors) and members of the administration, among others, Vogel got a close look at instructional areas for welding, automated manufacturing, collision repair, automotive restoration, and mechatronics. He also visited a natural gas wellhead used by ShaleNET U.S. in the Center for Business & Workforce Development.

DCED Gets Firsthand Look at College’s Responsiveness to Industry

Anne K. Soucy, assistant professor of plastics technology, and Gary E. McQuay, engineering manager for the Plastics Innovation & Resource Center, show visitors the afternoon project for students in the Blow Molding course.

Dave Cotner, dean of industrial, computing & engineering technologies, talks about the college’s automated manufacturing and machining majors.

Front row: Shannon M. Munro, executive director of Penn College Workforce Development & Continuing Education, and Carol Kilko, special assistant for DCED’s Agency Development Initiatives; second row: Neil Weaver, executive deputy secretary for DCED, Tracy L. Brundage, the college’s vice president for workforce development, and Steve D’Ettorre, director of policy for DCED; back row, David C. Pistner, director of special projects for Penn College Workforce Development & Continuing Education, and Tom Venditti, director of WEDnetPA.

Representatives of Pennsylvania’s Department of Community & Economic Development toured several areas of Penn College’s campuses Tuesday. The contingent was hosted by Workforce Development & Continuing Education at Penn College. Throughout their visit, they saw firsthand the hands-on learning taking place in the college’s labs and learned how the college works with industry, the college benefiting from industry input on curriculum as well as in-kind and monetary donations, and industry benefiting from knowledgeable graduates and customized training and product-development support. Tour stops included the Schneebeli Earth Science Center; Energy Technology & Education Center; Plastics Innovation & Resource Center; and the advanced manufacturing, rapid prototyping, welding, machining, mechatronics, well-trainer, plastics, and electronics and computer engineering labs.

Wondrous Welder Creates Ball-Glove Benchmark for Outdoor Art

A battery of helpers maneuvers the heavy handiwork into place.

Michael K. Patterson (left) with student assistant Jacob D. Poppel, of Burlington, Connecticut, a welding and fabrication engineering technology major.

A leathery look and Patterson's eye for detail lend realism to a larger-than-life enterprise.

Installed in timely fashion during the Little League Baseball World Series, the bench offers a picturesque perch.

A member of Penn College’s welding faculty, whose procession of “Student Bodies” continues to spark on-campus conversation, this week added another impressive page to his portfolio of community contributions. Michael K. Patterson worked all summer on a bench for Susquehanna Health, an oversized replica of a baseball glove he used in Little League (and has retained to this day). The welded bench weighs more than 600 pounds and swivels 360 degrees on a shaft and apparatus designed and produced by students in the college’s machining lab. It was installed Tuesday afternoon at the front entrance to the Hospitality Inn at Williamsport Regional Medical Center, which provides free accommodations to eligible patients’ families. The renovated/expanded facility, at 802 Campbell St., will be formally dedicated in mid-September. The glove accentuates the baseball theme inside and furthers the ties among Penn College, Little League and the health system. An anonymous donor provided funding for the materials and for the balance of Patterson’s time that he didn’t donate to the project. Although the bulk of the work occurred after spring classes ended, the faculty member had some assistance from students. Patterson’s civic presence also includes a sculpture on the South Williamsport side of the Susquehanna River Walk, near Maynard Street, and public artwork at West Fourth and Market streets.

Five Penn College Students Earn Gold Medals at SkillsUSA Nationals

Penn College's SkillsUSA contingent recently returned from national competition with five first-place medals. Front row, from left: Kyle T. Potts, of Colver; Randall J. Haynes, Julian; Ian M. Dorman, Mill Hall; and Bradley L. Hayden, Milton, Vermont. Second row, from left: Matthew R. Harman Jr., Sellersville; Jerome T. Czachor, Dickson City; Kenneth J. "Jeremy" Williams, Westminster, Maryland; and adviser James N. Colton II. Instructor Michael Damiani is in the back row.

Five students from Pennsylvania College of Technology earned first-place medals during the 51st annual National SkillsUSA Conference, held recently in Louisville, Kentucky.

Bringing home the gold – and bringing to 40 the number of top Penn College winners in national competition over the years – were Matthew R. Harman Jr., of Sellersville; Randall J. Haynes, of Julian; and Ian M. Dorman, of Mill Hall, who competed as a team in the Automated Manufacturing Technology category; Kyle T. Potts, of Colver, Technical Drafting; and Bradley L. Hayden, of Milton, Vermont, Welding.

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CPWDC Supports Penn College’s SMART Girls Camp

At Penn College’s SMART Girls summer camp, Amanda Kelly – of Holy Spirit High School, Absecon, New Jersey – shows the 3-D-printed project she and her teammates developed. The girls pitched their fictitious business (Sirens of Sound) and product, a non-electrical amplifier for smartphones, to camp mentors as part of a “Shark Tank”-like showcase.

The Central Pennsylvania Workforce Development Corp. recently provided financial support to a Pennsylvania College of Technology initiative that helps connect teen girls with potential careers.

Penn College’s SMART (Science and Math Applications in Real World Technologies) Girls program is a four-day summer camp that provides an opportunity for girls in grades 9-11 to experience math and science as a foundation for careers in technology.

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Manufacturing Alum Featured Among Magazine’s Industry All-Stars

David M. Huston

David M. Huston, who graduated from Penn College in May 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in manufacturing engineering technology, has been chosen among the country’s future leaders in manufacturing by a national publication. Manufacturing Engineering magazine included Huston in its recent third annual “30 Under 30” issue, which celebrates 30 people under the age of 30 who “have demonstrated exceptional talent and leadership in Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics – fields that are essential underpinnings to a career in manufacturing.” Huston provided the news to the college’s Alumni Relations Office, asking that it be shared with the faculty in his major “who had such a positive influence on my schooling and career.” He also noted that the industry is putting higher demand and focus on hiring young people to replace a retiring workforce. “Penn College has given me the skill-set and knowledge to get my career off to a great start,” he wrote. “It is my firm belief that (the college) graduates premier talent with the hands-on ‘know-how’ that other colleges/universities can’t compete with.”

Automated Manufacturing, Machining Majors Renew Accreditation

National Institute for Metalworking Skills

The National Institute for Metalworking Skills has recognized the excellence of the manufacturing and machining curriculum at Pennsylvania College of Technology by renewing the college’s accreditation.

Majors covered by the accreditation are a bachelor’s degree in manufacturing engineering technology, associate degrees in automated manufacturing technology and machine tool technology, and a certificate in machinist general.

“In receiving this national recognition, the college and its faculty demonstrate their continued commitment to excellence in metalworking training within the state of Pennsylvania and for the greater good of the U.S. manufacturing industry,” said Catherine L. Ross, director of accreditation for NIMS.

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SMART Money’s on Problem-Solvers at Innovative Summer Camp

A participant checks progress on a 3-D printed elephant toy.

A member of the business Sirens of Sound explains to mentors a smartphone speaker developed by her company during the Wildcat Den Showcase.

Cell phone kickstands and charms were among team Copy, Paste, Print’s products.

A participant shows her team’s solution to a broken camera tripod.

A team shows off samples of 3-D printed toys, part of its week’s work.

Penn College’s annual SMART Girls summer camp attracted 34 high schoolers from across Pennsylvania, some with a strong interest in science, math, engineering or technology, and others just beginning to explore those options. During the four-day camp, the girls used additive manufacturing to solve problems – like creating replacement parts for broken consumer products and designing connectors to build structures out of plastic straws. They also used their newly honed computer-aided design and 3-D printing skills to develop a product line, supported by a business plan, resume and trade-show booth. All were used to pitch “investors,” the camp’s mentors, during the “Wildcat Den Showcase,” a SMART Girls take on television’s “Shark Tank.” SMART Girls – Science and Math Applications in Real-World Technologies for Girls – was implemented by Penn College to reverse the trend of girls to shy away from math and science courses and the rewarding, family-sustaining careers that use those skills. The camp, which also included career interest assessments and company tours, was facilitated by the college’s Outreach for K-12 Office. Mentors were Eric K. Albert, associate professor of machine tool technology/automated manufacturing at Penn College; Tom Gill, a science teacher at Central Columbia High School; Christina L. Herman, director of student services and career development for Loyalsock Township School District; and Alice S. Justice, school counselor at Central Columbia Middle School. Camp director was Tanya Berfield, project and data reporting technician in Outreach for K-12.

Penn College Students Earn Industry Certifications

Pennsylvania College of Technology students representing seven different majors recently proved their mastery of computer aided drafting and design software programs by passing certification exams.

Fifty-two students successfully completed the Certified SolidWorks Associate exam and one student earned Autodesk Inventor Professional certification. SolidWorks and Autodesk Inventor are industry-standard 3-D parametric software programs used primarily within the engineering drafting and design profession.

“Two years ago, we completely revised our curriculum to closely align with current industry standards and technology,” said J.D. Mather, assistant professor of engineering design technology. “Our enrollment in the engineering design program has substantially increased since these changes were made. This year, we more than doubled the number of students who successfully completed the exams. I am very pleased with the increase in certified users. The certification is an external validation that our curriculum is meeting industry standards.”

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Benton Foundry Endows Scholarship at Penn College

From left, Elizabeth A. Biddle, director of corporate relations at Penn College, and members of the Hall family who have owned Benton Foundry for nearly 60 years: Kimberly Kindler, JoAnn Hall and Jeff Hall, company president.

A family-owned business spanning three generations is making a financial commitment to the next generation of Pennsylvania College of Technology students.

Benton Foundry Inc. recently endowed a scholarship, mainly for students in the School of Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies.

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Students ‘Ramp Up’ Production, Delivering in Advance of Derby Day

Myers, Matson-Warner and Mullner (from left) attach the ramp's trigger mechanism Thursday morning.

Surveying with pride their know-how and craftsmanship, the students are joined by faculty member Troup (second from right).

Matson-Warner demonstrates the starting ramp's ease of use, sending two cars on a brief parking-lot jaunt. (The maiden run was coincidentally witnessed by school dean David R. Cotner, who readily expressed his pride in the project results.)

When competitors in Saturday’s Williamsport Soap Box Derby are launched down Market Street, precision Penn College handiwork will ensure a consistent start in their dash to the finish. Answering a request from event organizers, four students from the School of Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies formulated and built the ramp that will send racers on their speedy descent from Brandon Park to Little League Boulevard. “I supervised and answered questions when they had them,” said Howard W. Troup, maintenance mechanic/millwright, “but this was entirely designed and custom-made by students.” After the college (a derby co-sponsor) was provided with official specifications, which mainly asked that the ramp’s release and reset mechanism be handily operated by a seated volunteer, Troup turned the project over to Matthew J. Horner, of Marion, an automated manufacturing technology major who earned an associate degree in automotive technology last year. Working from Horner’s blueprints and making modifications as appropriate, three others – Robert W. Myers, of Montoursville, a manufacturing engineering technology major; Michael B. Mullner, of Kendall, New Jersey, enrolled in machine tool technology; and John I. Matson-Warner, of South Williamsport, who majors in welding and fabrication engineering technology – fashioned a nearly 7-foot-wide aluminum ramp that is as aesthetic as it is functional. More lightweight and portable than its rigid steel predecessor, the ramp includes bubble levels and scissor jacks on both sides to avoid misalignment and to effect a uniform start in the scores of head-to-head races throughout the day. “And we used bronze bushings, so it should last 100 years,” Troup added. (Two winners in the weekend race, a local tradition revived in 2010, will go on to compete at the national level in Akron, Ohio.) Soap Box Derby officials are picking up the ramp on Friday morning, and, with a commendable nod toward quality control and customer service, the students plan to be at the starting line at 6 a.m. Saturday for installation and to make sure that volunteers understand its operation.