Tag Archives: automotive

Alumni to share their stories in September 26 panel

Tatum Kovach
Tatum Kovach

As part of a week of activities leading up to his September 29 investiture, President Bill Pink will welcome GRCC alumni who are participating in a panel discussion.

“Today and Tomorrow: The GRCC Alumni Journey — This Is How We Did It” is open to students and runs 11:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. September 26 in room 103 of Sneden Hall.

Tatum Kovach, director of external affairs for Student Alliance, will moderate the discussion.

Panel members are:

Tony Helmholdt, automotive technician for Tesla Motors.

Tony Helmholdt works on an electric car engine.
Tony Helmholdt

Helmholdt, a Forest Hills Central High School graduate, received an associate degree in automotive technology in 2008 while working part-time as an auto technician at Fox Ford Mazda. In 2009, he took a job rebuilding transmissions at O’Neill’s Transmission Service.

When he wasn’t working on motors on the job, he spent his time … working on motors. In 2007, he converted the family lawnmower to operate on compressed hydrogen gas. In 2008, he converted a motorcycle to operate on full battery electric power. He’s been building — and racing — electric motorcycles for a decade.

In 2010, he joined electric car maker Tesla Motors, working out of Chicago and San Jose, Calif., servicing its fleet of vehicles nationwide.

“Skills I learned at GRCC — combined with some passion — led to my success story, as it opened the eyes of prospective Tesla recruiters,” he said. “GRCC’s fantastic facilities, staff, and training have made a significant difference in my life, and I hope it continues to do so for others who enjoy the program as much as I did.”

Hilda Martinez-Gutierrez
Hilda Martinez-Gutierrez

Hilda Martinez-Gutierrez, coordinator of GRCC’s suicide prevention program.

After graduating from GRCC, Martinez-Gutierrez went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in family studies and a master’s degree in counselor education-family counseling, both from Western Michigan University.

Martinez-Gutierrez, who served an internship with GRCC’s TRIO program, is the coordinator of the college’s campus suicide prevention program. The program, funded by a three-year grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, includes activities on both the Main and Lakeshore campuses, training, and crisis response planning.

“GRCC means opportunity to access continuing education at a higher level —  exposure to discover the difference within people around me and the world,” she said. “It has provided the space for me to experience my journey, my story which has enhanced my love for working in higher education, most specifically with the college student population.”

Denavvia Mojét
Denavvia Mojét

Denavvia Mojét, political consultant and community organizer.

Mojét pursues her passion for educating and empowering vulnerable populations, bolstering civic engagement, and striving for workforce diversity.

Her first efforts were in Benton Harbor, where she observed first-hand the effects of underfunded municipalities, education inequality and the overreaching Emergency Management laws. She received the Key to the City of Benton Harbor for her efforts.

Upon moving to Grand Rapids, Mojét was named to the inaugural college cohort of Mayor George Heartwell’s Leadership, Employment, Achievement and Direction Initiative and began work in Downtown Grand Rapids Inc.‘s planning department. She has served on the Grand Rapids Housing Strategies Collaborative’s land use and zoning and workforce and economic development teams, the Creston Neighborhood Association‘s board, Kent County Young Leaders Against Violence, the Model United Nations Grand Rapids Chapter, and Well House.

She managed the successful 2016 state House campaign for the 75th District. She hosts the weekly radio segment, “Political Pulse” on Grand Rapids’ 97.3. She recently co-founded Equity PAC, a political action committee that advocates for low-income populations and works to eliminate socioeconomic disparities.

“GRCC gave me groundbreaking experiences, life-changing lessons and a dynamic network that empowered me to succeed in my career and impact my community,” she said. “I’m a better mother, teacher, student and professional because of my time at GRCC and I am proud to be an alumna.”

Sammy Puebles
Sammy Puebles

Sammy A. Puebles, performer and founder of the Mixed Roots Collective and One World Diversity LLC.

Puebles emigrated from Cuba with his family as a political refugee in 1988. He received an Associate in Liberal Arts from GRCC and a Bachelor of Arts, with a concentration in theater and Spanish, from Western Michigan University.

“I was an immigrant child who didn’t know the first thing about college and how to navigate those waters,” he said. “Thanks to my professors and lifelong mentors like Fred Sebulske, Tom Kaechele and Michelle Urbane from the Theater Department, I was able to prepare myself, discover my passion and eventually pursue my dream of being an actor.”

While living in Chicago, he performed with the Steppenwolf Theater Company, Healthworks Theater, Teatro Vista, Apple Tree Theater, Second City and Lookingglass Theater. He has appeared in the films “Batman Vs. Superman” and “Stone” and on the TV shows “Chicago Fire,” Chicago PD,” “Shameless” and “Empire.”

He has started his own theater company, Mixed Roots Collective, to address inequality of representation in local theater and film. Along with Urbane and Todd Lewis, he has formed One World Diversity in an attempt to address issues of disparity and inclusion and equality in society.

 

GRCC In the News, 9-18-17

Anxiety and uncertainty: Fallout from Trump administration’s plan to rescind DACA

Sept. 17, 2017; mibiz.com

West Michigan educators and at least one business group say the Trump administration’s plan to rescind the Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals program already is leading to anxiety and uncertainty.

… Universities and colleges across Michigan including Western Michigan University, Michigan State University, Grand Valley State University, Ferris State University, Grand Rapids Community College, Kalamazoo College and Kalamazoo Valley Community College have responded with resolutions of support for their DACA students and called for a legislative fix from Congress.
GRCCs Faculty Council recently passed a resolution opposing the DACA decision and supporting the positions of the GRCC administration and Board of Trustees.

Call to action issued on Challenge Scholars

Sept. 15, 2017; MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – The president of the Grand Rapids Community Foundation says Challenge Scholars is more than about giving families money to pay for college, but preparing and guiding teenagers through the transition from high school to college for a successful career and life.

… Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) announced that all incoming freshman to Union, starting with the class of 2020, will have at least a two-year, tuition-free option for college or career training at the college. GRCC has also committed Success Coaches to work with students to identify college and career goals.

Women in Auto Care Announce 2017 Scholarship Winners

Sept. 15, 2017; Tire Review

Women in Auto Care awarded $65,000 in scholarships this year to 22 female students who are studying to enter the auto care industry.

… The 2017 scholarship winners are listed below:

Post-Secondary Students

… $2,500 Brooke Peckham, Grand Rapids Community College

In Trump era, politics are more visible than ever at Grand Rapids’ ArtPrize

Sept. 17, 2017; The Detroit Free Press

GRAND RAPIDS — When Donald Trump stumbled into last year’s ArtPrize competition, he was still a long-shot presidential candidate running what looked like a losing campaign.

… Her (Patricia Constantine) entry, “Sineater,” on display at Grand Rapids Community College’s Collins Art Gallery, is a mixed-media triptych. Presented using carnivalesque imagery, its middle panel is a self-portrait that conveys the artist’s guilt about teaching within a system that buries students in debt. Images of Trump and Betsy DeVos also appear with the phrases “I want to build a wall” and “No free lunch,” respectively.

Graduation to be held June 13 for Job Training students

GRCC is celebrating the 76 students who have completed Job Training programs with a graduation ceremony tonight!

These students have completed 18 weeks of training in programs for:

Many of tonight’s graduates already have jobs: Area employers frequently hold interviews right in GRCC classrooms! The placement rate for Job Training programs is 84 percent!

Programs begin every few months, so you don’t have to wait. Information sessions on Job Training offerings are held 10 a.m. every Monday at Tassell M-TEC, 622 Godfrey Ave. SW. Registration is not required but is appreciated. If this is not convenient for you, call (616) 234-3800 to set up an appointment.

 

 

GRCC In the News, 5-19-17

MAPA Announces 2017 MAPA Educational Development Scholarship Fund Recipients

May 18, 2017; aftermarketnews.com

The Michigan Automotive Parts Association (MAPA) has announced the recipients of MAPA’s 2017 Educational Development Scholarship Fund, chosen by Lansing’s Capital Region Community Foundation. Three $1,000 scholarships were awarded, in addition to a $500 scholarship for the recipient of the 2017 Jud Morrison Memorial Achievement of Excellence Award.

The recipients include:

… Brooke Peckham Sponsored by Auto-Wares Group of Companies located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Peckham will be a junior enrolled at Grand Rapids Community College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in the fall of 2017 majoring in human resources management to support the growing car care Industry. Peckham’s MAPA Educational Development Scholarship Fund scholarship is in conjunction with the University of the Aftermarket Foundation, which supports careers within the automotive aftermarket industry field.

GRCC In the News, 5-15-17

Change Ups: Allen named Catholic Charities CEO

May 12, 2017; Grand Rapids Business Journal

… EDUCATION

… Grand Rapids Community College automotive technology students Bentley Streling and Adam VanPortfliet placed second and third, respectively, in the recent SkillsUSA state championship.

Perpetual growth fuels Switch

May 12, 2017; Grand Rapids Business Journal

More than 1,000 contractors have had a hand in the Switch Pyramid campus in Gaines Township since legislation passed in December 2015 to bring the data center company to West Michigan.

… Switch has multiple partnerships in the works with Michigan companies, including a renewable energy initiative set to be released soon. (Adam) Kramer confirmed a second year of its partnership with ArtPrize and talked about its workforce development with Grand Rapids Community College.

Clothing line founders get creative

May 12, 2017; Grand Rapids Business Journal

Last year, Jack VanGessel and three of his friends launched Southern Hound, a clothing line inspired by popular styles and culture originating from the South.

But a couple of months after the start of their new venture, the four business partners were beginning to feel dissatisfied with the amount of money they were paying for creative services. VanGessel, a student at Grand Rapids Community College, and co-founder Conor Conaboy, a student at Michigan State University, brainstormed ideas and concluded one day, it might be a fun endeavor to start their own creative agency. That day came sooner than they expected.

Inside Track: Dentist seizes business opportunity

May 12, 2017; Grand Rapids Business Journal

John Bruinsma never would have guessed the artificial taste of a sugar-free lollipop would one day lead to the taste of a $2,000 bottle of scotch.

… Growing up in Grand Rapids, Bruinsma always had a passion for science. After graduating from high school ahead of schedule, he went on to continue his education at Grand Rapids Community College.

Our LGBT Fund raises $520,000 to support services in West Michigan

May 14, 2017; MiBiz

GRAND RAPIDS — The growth of a fund established three years ago by a same-sex couple from Grand Rapids proves there’s interest in addressing issues the LGBT community faces in West Michigan.

… (Simon) Kittok, who works for Grand Rapids Community College, said the fund was created to offer more opportunities for transgender individuals to make good lives for themselves.

Bentley Streling, Adam VanPortfliet win 2nd, 3rd places in automotive competition

Bentley Streling
Bentley Streling

Students in GRCC’s Automotive Technology program won second and third places in the recent SkillsUSA state championship.

First-time competitor Bentley Streling placed second, and Adam VanPortfliet won third place. VanPortfliet placed first last year.

The automotive mechanical service competition included nine timed work stations that tested the participants’ skills in engine mechanical; suspension, steering and alignment; brakes; electrical systems; engine performance; drive train; environmental, health and safety; electronic service information; and new vehicle prep. Competitors also had to demonstrate endurance and the ability to work under pressure during the five-hour event.

Adam VanPortfliet
Adam VanPortfliet

Streling has studied automotive technology in high school and college for three years. After finishing the GRCC program, he plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in automotive management at Ferris State University.

“GRCC’s automotive program has given me confidence in my ability, and placing second in the state is proof that my commitment to education has paid off,” said Streling, who plans to try for first in next year’s SkillsUSA competition.

VanPortfliet also plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in automotive management at Ferris after completing GRCC’s program. He eventually wants to pursue a master’s degree in technical education.

“The automotive program at GRCC has been instrumental in preparing me for not only SkillsUSA, but also my career as an automotive technician,” he said.

Those interested in GRCC’s Automotive Technology Program may contact Benjamin Smith at bsmith@grcc.edu or Chad Lodenstein at clodenst@grcc.edu for more information.

GRCC In the News, 4-13-17

Morning News

April 13, 2017; WZZM

Family and friends of a man killed in an assault will be honoring his memory tonight. … Julius Vinson was a student at Grand Rapids Community College hoping for a career in real estate.

Tomorrow’s automobile: Grand Rapids is shaping the future of transportation in the United States

April 13, 2017; rapidgrowthmedia.com

Grand Rapids may have made a name for itself years ago in furniture, but today there’s an equally impressive technological revolution happening on its streets.

… A distance from the tire plants on the east side of the state, Lacks Enterprises is designing and rolling out rims and new interior finishes in West Michigan. Engines are being built throughout the state, but many of them will be powered by the technology researched by Johnson Controls, in Holland. And when the industry calls for more talent, students in the advanced automotive department at Grand Rapids Community College will be available to work.