Penn College Honors Four Alumni at Commencement Ceremonies
Pennsylvania College of Technology presented awards to four alumni of the institution during Spring 2011 commencement ceremonies held May 13-14 at the Community Arts Center in Williamsport.
Edward J. McCabe was presented with a Distinguished Alumni Award on May 13.
Justin H. Bentz, Travis M. Breininger and Anthony J. Piccari were presented with Alumni Achievement Awards in two ceremonies held on May 14.
McCabe, who received an associate degree in electronics technology from Williamsport Area Community College (Penn College’s immediate predecessor) in 1967, is employed at Penn College as an instructor of electrical technology/occupations.
Bentz and Breininger both received associate degrees in landscape/nursery technology from Penn College in 2001. After graduation, they established, and continue to operate, Nature’s Accents Landscape Services Inc., Hamburg.
Piccari received a bachelor’s degree in automotive technology management from Penn College in 2008. The Philadelphia native is employed as a fixed operations manager for the Infiniti Division, Nissan North America Inc.
The Distinguished Alumni Award is given to those who have made significant contributions in their chosen fields, demonstrated the importance of their education at Penn College, participated in leadership roles within the community, and demonstrated a commitment to the college and community relations.
McCabe and a business partner established Mek-Tronix Laboratories Corp. In the 1970s, he generated five patents for the corporation, including those for several prominent technologies: caller ID, the fax “handshake” protocol and the telephone memory dialer. McCabe worked more than 35 years in the electronics industry in product management, marketing, quality control, and research and development. He also worked on projects related to semiconductors and computerization, helping to bring the first computer-operated phototypesetter (used in the printing industry) from prototype to production.
During his years in business, McCabe hired a number of Penn College graduates. Two of them now teach at Penn College. McCabe has been employed at the college since 2001, teaching courses related to electrical technology, electronics and computer networking.
The Alumni Achievement Award is presented to graduates from the past 10 years who have demonstrated achievement in at least one area, including noteworthy professional or career accomplishments or dedicated volunteer service to the college or community. Recipients also must demonstrate the importance of their Penn College education and continually support the mission of the college.
In their business, Bentz and Breininger provide landscape design, hardscape installation and property maintenance to commercial and residential properties in Berks, Schuylkill and surrounding counties. Both are Pennsylvania Certified Horticulturists and have also been certified by the Interlocking Concrete Paver Institute and the National Concrete Management Association. Bentz is also a certified pesticide applicator.
Under their leadership, Nature’s Accents has received multiple awards from the Pennsylvania Landscape & Nursery Association and a 2009 Landscape Contractor Partner of the Year for the East Coast region. Their work also has been featured in a number of magazines and catalogs within the industry.
In 2010, Bentz and Breininger volunteered their services for an episode of the Emmy award- winning TV program “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” Nature’s Accents was the staging site for hundreds of plants used in a makeover. The firm partnered with others from Pennsylvania to complete the project’s landscaping in 24 hours.
Bentz and Breininger return to campus each year as alumni volunteers, sharing their professional and personal experiences. Both have served as judges for the Pennsylvania Landscape & Nursery Association and the Professional Landcare Network.
Breininger serves on the PLNA board of directors and is chairman of its professional development committee. He also received the group’s Green Achiever award in 2010. Bentz is a Strausstown borough councilman, a volunteer firefighter and a Pennsylvania forest fire warden.
In his position with the Infiniti Division of Nissan North America, Piccari oversees 14 dealerships in the Northeast. A strong advocate for Penn College, he has recommended the college’s graduates for positions within the company.
Piccari worked with Nissan/Infiniti’s Technical Training Office to secure the donation of three vehicles for instructional use in the college’s School of Transportation Technology. He also serves on a program advisory committee at the college.
He credits much of his success to his Penn College education and experiences. Piccari participates annually in the Lance Armstrong Livestrong Challenge Philly event in Philadelphia.
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