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Focus on Training: Walker Forge

Focus on Training: Walker Forge

Spring 2011

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When Walker Forge needed specialized software training for its designers, the company knew exactly who to call. 

It wasn’t the first time the folks at Walker Forge had turned to Fox Valley Technical College for help in providing specialized training for its employees. And, given the success of the most recent training program, along with those provided in the past, it won’t be the last time.

Walker Forge has been making hot forged carbon and alloy steel products for numerous industries since 1950. The company’s Clintonville facility—not far from one of FVTC’s regional centers—is the site of its manufacturing operations. That is where 370 employees design and manufacture parts for use in the oil/gas, heavy construction, automotive, recreational, and agricultural industries, as well as for the military.

When Walker Forge decided to use a new computer-aided program called Pro Engineer to design its dies, that decision brought a need to train its team of designers. “That’s when we turned to Fox Valley Technical College,” says Rick Recktenwald, vice president of manufacturing for Walker Forge and a member of the college’s Board of Trustees. “We had been working with Fox Valley Technical College for decades in setting up training programs. In fact, our entire die design team is made up of FVTC graduates.”

Recktenwald met with Steve Dreger, a key account manager on FVTC’s Business & Industry Services team, to discuss his company’s needs. “We’re the college’s training arm that works with clients to identify and resolve an endless variety of workplace issues and needs,” Dreger says. “Once we identify all the business challenges, a customized plan can be developed to achieve the organization’s training goals.”

In this case, Walker Forge was sending its designer group out of the area for Pro Engineer training every time it was needed. The company gave FVTC an opportunity to provide the training locally. Dreger made arrangements for Walker Forge to receive the training at FVTC’s Clintonville Regional Center, utilizing an adjunct instructor.

FVTC will provide training whenever and wherever the client desires. In the case of Walker Forge, the college saved the company the cost of travel and lodging. “It went very well,” Recktenwald says, noting that the program delivered precisely what the company’s designers needed. “FVTC has the talent and the resources to build a program for anyone.” 

That is exactly what Dreger and his team do. “We like to be innovative,” he says, adding that the college has been offering customized training for nearly 30 years, and on average, serves about 1,400 employers and more than 21,000 employees annually.

“We have a wealth of professional resources ready to meet the training needs of customers, with both technical knowledge and real-world work experience,” states Dreger.

“In many cases, participants can earn college credits for the training, which typically occurs at the main campus in Appleton, at one of our regional centers, or at the client’s location—when, where, and how they want it.” 

Going Digital

Accessibility to expert resources and specialized equipment make Fox Valley Technical College a top choice for workplace solutions of virtually any kind.

One piece of innovation that is impacting FVTC’s workplace partners is digital printing technology with state-of-the-art Kodak brand equipment. Paper companies, for instance, work with the college’s Printing Technologies department to test a gamut of paper substrates for optimized resolution, ink quality, and adherence properties.

“Research and development departments from the paper industry look to us for ways to increase their bottom lines,” notes Shana Farrell, manager of Printing Services at FVTC. “Our digital printing technology is the first of its kind in the area.”

Internally, the college also uses digital printing technology as part of its sustainability efforts by implementing document output management systems, resulting in enhanced efficiency and cost savings.


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