2013 Outstanding Alumni named
Southeast Technical is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2013 Outstanding Alumni Awards, Michelle Finholdt for the Red Wing campus and Roger Holland for the Winona campus. The Outstanding Alumni Awards honors alumni who have reached significant achievements in their careers or made significant contributions to their communities and Southeast Technical.
Michelle Finholdt, Red Wing Outstanding Alumna
Michelle Finholdt graduated in 1994 from the Southeast Technical Professional Nanny program, now a division of the Early Childhood Education program. Upon graduation she created the non-profit childcare center, Under the Rainbow. They have grown from four children enrolled on day one when it was located on the Southeast Technical campus, to now, 180 enrolled in their new and expanded building on Technology Drive in Red Wing.
Finholdt says that there is always room for improvement. She is never satisfied with just maintaining the program. "It doesn't matter how long you've been in the business, you are always learning," said Finholdt. Each of her classrooms has an education plan suited for those students. The four to five year old program’s primary focus is to prepare the students for kindergarten. "Every year expectations are a little higher to enter kindergarten," says Finholdt. "All these little ones learn in a different way." In addition to preparing the children for kindergarten, Under the Rainbow focuses on language enrichment and literacy development.
Besides running a growing daycare center, Finholdt is very active in the early education community. Under the Rainbow serves as an intern site for Early Childhood and Nursing students from Southeast Technical; she served for six years on the Board of Directors for Child Care Resource and Referral which serves all of Southeast Minnesota; and currently serves on Southeast Technical's Early Childhood program advisory council.
Roger Holland, Winona Outstanding Alumnus
Roger Holland graduated in 1976 from the Winona Area Technical Institute (Southeast Technical) Tool and Die Program, now known as CNC. After 22 successful years in the industry and during a recession he was laid off. After finding new work, the following year he was laid off again. This time his employer told him why he was being laid off: his computer skills were not up to the level of new graduates coming out of technical colleges. This was the push he needed to return to school for an update. With two children in college and two in high school, his wife, Arlene (who is also an alumna of Southeast Technical) kept the family going while he returned to school and received an Associate of Applied Science degree in Mechanical Design and Drafting. While in school he worked for Trane Company in La Crosse. After completing his degree he took on the role of Machinist Trainer at Trane Company for four years.
When he found out that Southeast Technical (his alma mater) was looking for an instructor in the Machine Tool and Die program (now CNC) he knew it was meant for him. Over the years at Southeast Technical Holland has served on a variety of committees; volunteered to speak and present at various events; is active with MSCF; worked with the Custom Training department to provide ongoing training to area industry; provided continuing education courses for high school Industrial Technology teachers; often made recruiting visits to area high schools; helped move the CNC program to the Airport campus in 2005 and back again in 2012; and used his drafting and design skills to design the floor plan for the new computerized precision machining technology lab at the main campus.
"I like to help. I get a good feeling knowing my efforts have helped someone," said Holland. In addition to an active education and career, he is active in the community through his church, serving on a variety of city boards, booster clubs and as a youth coach. "I've been coaching since 1985," said Holland, adding, "I learned of my love for teaching through coaching."
Holland began working towards his bachelor’s degree in 2003. In 2012, at the age of 56, he completed his coursework and received a Bachelor of Science in Career and Technical Education from Bemidji State University. Most of Holland’s adult life has been dedicated to education in one form or another, either as a student or a teacher. "There is always something to learn, in everything you do," said Holland.
View past Outstanding Alumni Awards Recipients.