Last Friday evening I attended a very special awards program in Rice Lake, WI. It was the summer meeting of the trustees from all 16 technical colleges in the state, the District Boards Association. This association presented its annual TECh Award (technical education champion) to one of our outstanding local partners and good friend of FVTC, Mr. Mike Weller.
It was a pleasure to nominate Mike for this prestigious award. Mike serves as the President of Miller Electric Manufacturing Co. and ITW North America. I shared with the audience that evening that I’ve known Mike for 30 years, having first crossed paths with him when he was teaching an evening course for FVTC as an adjunct instructor and I was managing our evening school operations. So, 30 years ago he was already heavily involved with the College and giving back to his community by sharing his knowledge and experience with students.
Mike’s contributions to technical education and our college have only grown over the years and we greatly value the wonderful working relationship between our organizations. He is without question a champion for technical education, the career opportunities it offers young people, and the essential role that high-quality post-secondary education and training plays in growing our economy.
Let me share one other really wonderful glimpse into who Mike Weller is. Mike wasn’t able to attend this awards presentation as he had made a commitment to attend his 3-year old grandson’s birthday party. Now here’s a leader who has his priorities straight and I’m delighted that he kept his commitment to his grandson. We were pleased to have Mike’s colleague, Tim Swanson, attend and accept this award on Mike’s behalf. It was a great opportunity to share this occasion with Tim as he serves on the FVTC Foundation Board of Directors.
On a final note, the TECh Award can be made to an individual or an organization. In 1997 Miller Electric Mfg. Co. was the recipient of this award. Now, its leader Mike Weller has been honored by our System’s district boards with this award in 2013. Both have clearly been technical education champions, our champions, for many years.