Automation Nation

Automation Nation

Spring 2017

| By: Britten, Casey

HiTech Automation provides rewarding careers in manufacturing for FVTC graduates.

IN PHOTO: Jason Vosters (left) department chair of automation technology, joins Steve Betchner, HiTech, in one of FVTC's manufacturing labs.

HiTech Automation, a division of Pieper Electric, provides industrial automation systems and services that have transformed modern manufacturing. As part of the company’s long-term growth strategy, it not only hires Fox Valley Technical College graduates but works to ensure that the college’s curriculum prepares students for success.

Steve Betchner, lead engineer and department manager for HiTech, serves on the Automation Technology advisory committee at FVTC. “The college connects with manufacturers and equipment suppliers twice a year to advise its leaders about current and future job skill requirements,” he says.

HiTech hires FVTC grads from both its Automated Manufacturing Systems Technology and Electro-Mechanical Technology programs. “These graduates begin as design engineers,” states Betchner, “and can work their way up to engineer, lead engineer and technical leadership positions.”

Based on advisory committee input, the curriculum is constantly adapting so FVTC students graduate with current and relevant expertise in a wide range of hard and soft skills. “We’re looking for proficiency in vision inspection systems, industrial controls, operator interfaces, PLCs, motion controllers and communications,” Betchner says. “We also use robotic controls, and Fox Valley Tech has a wonderful robotics lab.”

Betchner is pleased with FVTC graduates and is always looking for employees with the right skills. Meanwhile, he’s currently working with the college to encourage more high school students to consider careers in manufacturing. “You earn a good salary and can gain long-term job security working in manufacturing today with the right skills,” he adds. 

Quick Facts

  • $74,000 = average annual salary after five years for graduates of FVTC’s Automated Manufacturing Systems Technology program
  • $50,000 = average annual starting salary for graduates of FVTC’s Electro-Mechanical Technology program

2016 FVTC Graduate Employment Research Report