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Crafting a Career: Wood Manufacturing Technology

Crafting a Career: Wood Manufacturing Technology

Spring 2014

Pat Salm believes there is a great future in what some see as an old-fashioned career. “Today, professional craftsmanship requires a strong high-tech skill base as well as an artistic dedication to quality,” says the 32-year-old co-owner of Ideal Cabinetry in Appleton. “As the older pros begin to retire, there is going to be a greater need for qualified people.”

An Appleton native, Salm built his skills through Fox Valley Technical College’s one-year Wood Manufacturing Technology program. “The instructors do an excellent job of giving students a full range of skills,” he states. “The best cabinetmakers make the best designers. Fox Valley Tech grads are ready to take on everything from programming and designing to staining and installing.”

The proud father of two daughters, Salm encourages women to consider careers in his field as well. “In my opinion, women have a better eye for detail than men do,” he says. “Most of them currently work in the design end of the business, but I encourage them to consider other aspects of the trade as well.”

Salm and his co-owner wife Jenny, along with his cousin, Ben, work hard to make customers happy. “We can produce exactly what our customers want at a price that’s extremely competitive to what they’d receive at a corporate or chain store,” he says.

Ideal Cabinetry currently employs nine professionals, four of whom are FVTC grads. “We work as a team on both residential and commercial projects,” notes Salm. “We’ll do everything from original measurements right through to final installation. A lot of our business comes from word of mouth. Our customers appreciate working with people who care.”

Spotlight on Woodworking

Fox Valley Technical College’s Wood Manufacturing Technology program, housed at the S.J. Spanbauer Center in Oshkosh, was recently highlighted in the national publication, Wood Products (February 2014). Read article >>

94% placement for graduates of FVTC’s Wood Manufacturing Technology program over the past 5 years (FVTC’s Graduate Employment Research Reports, 2009-2013)


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