The PSU Pipeline - Feeding the shops

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Doug Hague, an adjunct instructor in the Wood Technology Department, graduated from PSU in 2003 and went to work as a manager at a high-end architectural millwork shop for the next four years. Hague says the hands-on nature of PSU's program allowed him to grasp estimating — the key to becoming a manager. Knowing how long it takes to set up a planer and run the material, for example, enables him to accurately put a cost figure on the work. But being in charge isn't always what it's cracked up to be.

"Here I was at 23, in a position of engineer, and I would have to go tell a 35-year-old shop foreman how I wanted something done," says Hague. "Yes, there was some animosity there."

Students clearly go through the department with differing goals. But all agree that PSU is one of the top post-secondary wood manufacturing schools in the nation.

Third-year student Jordan Backs, 20, says the best part of his experience thus far was learning AutoCAD and aspects of running a business, which he hopes to do soon after he graduates.

Senior Daniel Goran, 23, who anticipates working in the architectural millwork sector, says he is impressed at how quickly his graduating colleagues land jobs.

Caleb Galemore, 22, originally wanted to work in furniture design and residential millwork, but says his instructors have opened his eyes to the many options in the field. He completed his internship at Brochsteins Inc. in Houston, an architectural millwork manufacturer, where he might seek employment after graduation.

"If you're serious about coming into the wood industry, you're not going to get a much better option than what's at PSU. You're going to learn everything there is to know from wood science to building your own furniture," says Galemore.

Carl Stout graduated the wood technology program in 1998 and says the personal instruction he experienced enabled him to achieve his goals. He's now president of Martin Woodworking Machines Corp. in Charlotte, N.C., and attended PSU after earning a degree in German language from the University of Missouri.

"I was in the first class that David Miles ever taught at Pitt State, machine woodworking," says Stout. "Over the course of my instruction, he taught me many skills that prepared me to go into the supply sector of our industry. After all, David knows practically every woodworking machinery manufacturer out there. It is this experience that helped to prepare me for my future in the woodworking machinery industry."

The facility
The Kansas Technical Center houses the automotive, engineering, and graphics and imaging departments and the wood technology facilities, which include a computer lab, classroom, 2,400-sq.-ft. shop, and finishing room.