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Alumni_Magazine_Spring2017

By 2013, Shawn took on his next challenge as the Dean of Business, Technology and Communication at Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College in Bemidji, MN. During his time there, he helped restructure and align the colleges (who had just newly merged under joint administration), assisted with the remodeling and renovation of some facilities and administered general program improvement. He stayed at this role for three years before Shawn decided that the timing was right for a new challenge. “Three years of cold in northern Minnesota was all I could handle,” jokes Shawn. Shawn became the President of State Technical College in Linn, MO in July 2016 and the role fits him like a glove. “I felt like a kid in the candy store,” states Shawn about assuming the President’s role. “The mission of the College, the facilities and overall atmosphere was a good fit from the start.” Shawn can see that his first alma mater has a lot of striking similarities to State Technical College. “We have a Powerline program, It’s all about your ability to make an impact. 13 “I looked at the dean of the Trade and Technology Division when I was attending classes. He was always out and about, making decisions and improving the College. I thought that would be a good job to have.” The dean of Trade and Technology that Shawn is referencing is Ron Robinson, who worked at Northwest Iowa Community College for 27 years. At the time Shawn observed Robinson, he was a Mechanical Construction Technology student at Northwest Iowa Technical College (later known as Northwest Iowa Community College) in 1993. He fondly remembers his instructors Bill Singer, Mark Bohnet and Bill Noack, and he loved the class environment. While attending classes, Shawn got first hand technical experience by working as a Maintenance Technician at Packerland Packing in Hospers, IA. Between his lab experiences, the impact of numerous members of the NCC staff, and his time working in the field, Shawn realized that his new goal was to become someone who taught valuable skills to an emerging workforce. That meant that upon graduation from NCC, he needed to continue his education. After graduating from NCC, Shawn married Amy Sterk from Sheldon and went on to achieve bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Wayne State College. He then received his doctoral degree through Iowa State University. While getting his degrees, Shawn was continuously working. He spent time as a maintenance technician at Heritage Industries in Wayne, NE, and taught as a graduate assistant while in Ames, IA. The further he got into his education, the more convinced he was that helping others achieve a quality education was his true passion. By Fall 1999, Shawn began a new role as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Technology and Construction Management at Missouri State University, where he taught technical courses in drafting, heating and air conditioning, and electricity. By 2004, Shawn moved into the role of Department Head of the Technology and Construction Management Department. This role was pivotal to his future success. The entire department was near closing due to low enrollment and financial struggles. Shawn built strong relationships with industry partners and began new student recruiting initiatives. Steadily the department began to flourish. Programs were doubling in size and industry partnerships were thriving. The success of turning this department around was one of his biggest accomplishments in his educational career and really sent Shawn’s ambitions skyrocketing. “I began to think that if I was just promoted one step higher in my career, I could do great things. I just needed the resources,” states Shawn. Heavy Equipment program and large Automotive and Health Care programs. We have around 1,400 students, with approximately 200 of them living on campus. Plus, the feeling of State Technical College reminds me of my time at NCC, especially from the faculty standpoint. The faculty at both institutions have the expertise, passion and commitment to make exceptional programs for their students,” states Shawn. Shawn’s favorite part about his current position is enabling and encouraging others to think outside the box and expand their abilities out of their usual educational styles. “Being able to empower a faculty member to try and stretch themselves a little bit more than they think they can is truly inspiring. I love enabling our staff to go over the top.” Between his hands-on experience in industry while he was pursuing higher education and his step-by-step growth in the academic world, he truly understands all sides of technical education. “It’s all about your ability to make an impact,” Shawn shares. Ron Robinson had no idea that his presence back in 1993 had such a profound influence on an aspiring educational leader. Robinson passed away in 2014, but his memory is solid in Shawn. And for those who knew Robinson, there is no doubt he would have been humbled to know he was an inspiration to someone who strived to be like him. Shawn’s Success is Our Story


Alumni_Magazine_Spring2017
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