Next Gen

24 May 2021


It was four years ago now. Doug Wickstrom had worked for over a decade in manufacturing, most of it spent at a custom machine company that serviced the cheese industry. He supervised projects ranging from four-figure tune-ups to multi-million-dollar expansions and construction. He was versatile, able to take on any role from installation and training to project management — and he soon opened his own company after reaching a comfortable six-figure salary. But he was also a family man and farmer seeking a life that included more time at home, and he was intrigued when he received the phone call from Pine Technical & Community College about a total career transformation.

The college’s president, Joe Mulford, says the school is always looking for innovative ways to expand its offerings. There was a hole in the manufacturing department, and three attempts to plug it had failed. To be competitive, the institution needed an automation program, and they had spotted Wickstrom as their man for the job.

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