Tag Archives: featured

Racing Toward a Bright Future

Parkland graduate Kyle Bemount is going places, FAST! Bemount, who earned his associate’s degree in Industrial Technology in 2011, is making a name for himself, both in racing circles and through the efforts of his business, Bemount Performance. I recently caught up with him and we talked about his experiences at Parkland, including his role as a part-time instructor, in addition to his ventures outside of school.

 

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T: What did you study at Parkland?
K: I originally enrolled in the Industrial Technology program at Parkland in the fall of 2008, right after I got out of the Marine Corps. I wanted to do welding and fabricating and that sort of thing. I had some hands-on experience and liked it, so I wanted to further educate myself.

T:  Thank you for your service! Where did your degree in Industrial Technology lead you?
K: While I was earning that degree, I also worked pretty much full time at my stepdad’s shop, painting and fabricating. When I graduated, I used the tools I learned and kept heading in that direction. I had never really given motorsports a chance to reach out and grab me. Then, Parkland built the new facility, and I was here for a car show and thought maybe it was worth checking out. I scheduled a meeting with Jon (Ross, director of the automotive program) and he gave me all the information I needed. I liked what he had to say, so I decided to try for another degree in Automotive Motorsport technology.

T: Where did your interests outside of Parkland take you?
K: I finished the motorsport classes, and it was a year ago, almost to the day, that I made the decision to open my own business. I do have a passion for working on cars and making them go faster, and working on FRIENDS’ cars especially is what has led me to this! Last October, I moved to a shop in Champaign, at 4102 Colleen Drive off of Staley Road.

T: Did your Industrial Technology training come together with the auto training?
K: It all kind of pieced the puzzle together. You might have previous car experience or have a relationship with someone who taught you about cars, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I had it too; I was already into cars and I had a fast vehicle, but there were a lot of gaps. I would be in class with Jon going over wheels and tires or brakes and suspension or something, and I would think I knew it, but by the end of class, I’d be like, “I didn’t know ANYTHING about that!” Parkland’s instruction bridges a lot of gaps for people who haven’t been taught in a structured manner like a classroom environment. You aren’t going to get that know-how by working on one specific vehicle. Here, you’re taught that this is how they all work and the situation dictates which one you can use it on.

T: You get a good, broad understanding of why this works, and that can help you diagnose whatever rolls into your shop?
K: Exactly. You need to crawl before you can walk. A lot of times, I ran before I even walked! I went right into it and did it. I got lucky and made it work, but if someone asked me a generic question about it, I might know the answer. Now, I try to be more able to find you a basic answer.

T: Was your Marine Corps training related to mechanics at all?
K: In no way, shape or form! I was an infantry marine.

T: You were a ground pounder?
K: I did infantry and security work. I had an option to become a police officer when I got out, but I really didn’t want to do it. I wanted to do something I was really passionate about.

T: You’ve started Bemount Performance, and from that the race car came about?
K: I actually bought that car when I was still stationed in Okinawa. I had my mom go to Missouri and pick it up. I had it for months before I even saw it! I had it all through industrial tech school, all through my motorsport classes.

T: What car are we talking about here?
K: It’s a 2000 Trans Am with a WS6. It has undergone multiple surgeries to become what it is now! Every winter, it gets some new “go fast” parts. It’s a 4-way LS motor with a Garrett 5594 turbo. It’s a pretty quick car. It’s been as fast as 8.35 in the quarter mile, at 168 miles an hour.

T: Is it a pro stock drag car? What classification is it?
K: It drives on the road more than it is on the track, so it’s a street class.

T: What advice would you give someone interested in chasing the dream of opening their own business?
K: To be honest with you, it was totally terrifying. I went from having a 40-hour-a-week job that makes decent money and was very secure and we had a certain living standard, and we realized that it was all about to change. I had a good feeling about it and I had backing from a couple of friends, so I didn’t have that concern.

T: What do you think about a nontraditional student coming back to Parkland? What sort of advice would you give that person?
K: You can always come back to Parkland. I’ve wanted to come back and do the upholstery class. It’s not really a part of what I do, I consider myself a go-fast guy, but nevertheless it’s a part of the world that I know zero about and that bothers me. You’re never too good to come back and learn. Technology evolves. I’m always wanting to learn.

T: Where did you go to high school?
K: I went to Rantoul. I had a fantastic shop teacher named Bill Wiley. Mr. Wiley actually made me interested in automotive. He was hands down the best shop teacher ever. He was very straightforward, but not by the book at all. He helped me out a ton.

T: Do you to build race cars for other people?
K: I do turbo kits, exhaust work, plumbing work, brake kits, and brake lines. I do almost anything, even build motors. My business is almost 100 percent building race cars. When I was starting out, I was as nervous as I could be and I took in jobs that had nothing to do with performance, just because I had to pay bills. Now, I don’t take in a job that doesn’t at least spark my interest or is a specialty of mine in the performance world. I very much try to stay to my field. I don’t want someone bringing their hundred-thousand-dollar race car into my shop and seeing a minivan on one of my racks.

T: What you would like to add?
K: I can’t emphasize taking classes enough. I love helping people out. This past fall, we took nine students to the track for the first time and after they had run down the track, they were grinning from ear to ear. To bring nine new guys into the thing you love is big to me. I want to show students that this is the right way to do it. That’s the big payoff.

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[To get started finishing your degree, contact Tony Hooker with the Parkland College Adult Re-entry Center at ahooker@parkland.edu or 217/351-2462.]

Why Parkland Land Surveying is Top Trainer

If you’re looking for one of the nation’s top land surveying educators, look no further than Parkland College. We recently earned the 2016 NCEES Surveying Education Award from the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying. Just 10 universities or technical institutes across the country won this inaugural award, and Parkland was the sole Illinois school earning the distinction.

So what makes our Construction Design Management: Land Surveying program an important choice for those pursuing professional licensure in surveying? I asked 2014 program graduate and Army veteran Jim Harpole, now project manager at JLH Land Surveying Inc. in Plainfield, to share his perspective on that. Here’s what Jim had to say.

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Strong foundation, ideal environment. The Land Surveying AAS program gave me the strong foundation I needed to succeed in my surveying career. Thanks to the wide range of topics and challenging curriculum, I was given an opportunity to experience different survey applications and an insight into the possibilities that a career in land surveying offers. The Parkland College campus is well-suited for the application and practice of land surveying.

Parkland Land Surveying students work on equipment.
Parkland Land Surveying students work on equipment.

Real-world experience. I especially benefited from the many off-campus projects that the program undertakes, projects like creating topographic surveys for the Monticello Railway Museum and establishing the photogrammetric control network for Champaign and Piatt counties. We even did the property boundaries for a few Habitat for Humanity projects in Monticello.

Students in the program also work with various types of software platforms and surveying equipment in current use. The experience that Parkland graduates possess greatly improves their marketability and brings recruiters from all over the Great Lakes region.

Reaching out, giving back. With the average age of licensed surveyors somewhere in the upper 50s, the land surveying profession is currently facing a large age gap, due to both the increase in educational requirements and a lack of public outreach to bring in more young people. The Parkland College Land Surveying program continues to play a vital and leading role in Illinois and the surrounding area by reaching out to high school programs; supporting the Boy Scouts of America by hosting a surveying merit badge; and assisting with logistics and judging for Illinois FFA sectional and state agricultural mechanics competitions, hosted annually on the Parkland campus.

Parkland also works with the University of Illinois’ Engineering program, which accepts CIT 255 Engineering Surveying course credit from Parkland as junior/senior engineering credit.

Helpful faculty and staff. I had such a great experience while at Parkland. Every instructor I had during the two years I spent on campus was always approachable and willing to set aside their time to assist me in understanding the coursework. As a student veteran, I was especially pleased with the service I received from the Financial Aid and Veteran Services office.

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***For more about the Construction Design and Management: Land Surveying AAS degree and certificates visit parkland.edu/academics/departments/est/construction.aspx***

[Todd Horton is program director for the Construction Design and Management programs at Parkland College.]

Parkland, U of Cinti Sign Int’l Transfer Accord

The start of another academic year at Parkland College brings a new crop of international students arriving from all over the globe to begin or continue their studies in the United States. New for fall 2016, Parkland has recently concluded a transfer partnership agreement with the University of Cincinnati specifically for international students.

The UC International Transfer Degree program gives international students the opportunity to begin working towards a bachelor’s degree from the University of Cincinnati as soon as they arrive at Parkland College, with the guarantee of future admission and scholarships.

So how does the transfer partnership work?  Any international Parkland student can sign up for the partnership at any point during their studies and receive information about fulfilling the transfer requirements. Although the UC College of Engineering and the Art and Design programs are excluded from the direct-transfer partnership, students can seek transfer into more than 300 different UC academic programs. Once interest is indicated, the student(s) will be contacted by a transfer advisor from the University of Cincinnati, who will advise them in required coursework, regularly check in on students’ progress, and even facilitate a campus visit to UC!

Upon successful completion of the Parkland associate’s degree, the student will then be guaranteed admission to the University of Cincinnati, main campus. What is more, those students will automatically be eligible for a scholarship between $5,000 and $15,000, renewable for three years!

Transfer students from Parkland are also eligible to participate in UC’s Cooperative Education Program, ranked among the best in the nation by U.S. News and World Report. As a part of this program, students have the opportunity to take a paid job for a year as part of their academic program, gaining valuable experience while expanding and completing their education. In addition to positions in Cincinnati and all around the United States, the Cooperative Education Program places students in jobs around the world, including India, Germany, and Chile!

About the UC
Ranking among the top 150 National Universities by U.S. News and World Report, the University of Cincinnati has made clear strides, under Jon Weller, towards increasing its value among international students. More than 3,000 international students from 110 different countries around the globe call UC home.

Cincinnati itself possesses unique international flavor and celebrates a strong German heritage. Restaurants and nightlife drawing inspiration from all around the world are found in downtown, near campus, and along the Ohio River. Major international companies such as Procter & Gamble, General Electric Aviation, and Macy’s are also headquartered around the city.

Be on the lookout for upcoming events for international Parkland College students with the University of Cincinnati!

For more information about events or the UC International Transfer Degree, contact Chris Jackson (cjackson@parkland.edu) or visit the International Admissions Office, U234.

Drones for Business: Big Option in Small Package

If you use drones (or have thought of using them) for your business, you may not be aware of recently established federal regulations, known as Part 107, that could benefit you. These FAA UAS rules allow businesses to operate drones for commercial purposes.

What does Part 107 mean for you and your drone?

  • Drone operators must be certified under the new UAS Operator certification.
  • Drone operators no longer need to file a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM)
  • All aircraft must weigh less than 55 lbs.
  • Flight is allowed under 400 feet above ground level. If flying within 400 feet of a structure, flight can be up to 400 feet above the height of that structure.
  • Flight must take place within visual line of sight of the operator.
  • Approval is required from specific airports to fly within their airspace boundary.
  • Flight must only take place during daytime and twilight hours: flight is allowed 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset.
  • Single-person operations are now allowed; a visual observer is no longer needed.
  • Drones must be registered with the FAA, a process that can be done online in about five minutes
  • Drones can carry an external load and transport property for compensation, allowing for package delivery.

To help residents comply with the new standards, Parkland College Business Training and Community Education is pleased to bring the UAS Certification Exam Prep to our area September 15–16.

Discover what commercial drone/UAS operators will need to know in order to pass the certification test.  Learn pertinent information regarding regulations, airspace, weather, and more with Mandy Briggs, Certified Flight Instructor at the Institute of Aviation at Parkland College.

The UAS Certification Exam, available directly after the second day of class, is being handled by the Parkland College Assessment Center.  Testing will occur on a first come, first served basis at the center.  The certification exam is $150.  Click here for all testing and registration information.

[Jessie McClusky-Gilbert is a program manager with Parkland Business Training and Community Education.]

 

Pantry Produce Plot: More than Honors Work

To complete an A with Honors project for her Hospitality degree, Parkland College sophomore Del Jacobs has been working with Parkland Horticulture faculty this summer to plant a garden for the Wesley Food Pantry at Parkland.  She shares the process and her progress below. As a student, Del’s exemplary efforts in sustainability and feeding the hungry are well documented; the garden project is a continuation of her drive to serve. Parkland is proud to train those with a heart to help.

 

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I approached Theresa mid-spring about getting help from the Horticulture students to plan and plant a garden to feed 30 families. The Wesley Food Pantry at Parkland feeds an average of 30 families at each distribution.

Theresa’s class ran the numbers and figured out what to plant and how much to plant. In May, before my trip to Morocco, I helped Theresa and her staff plant the garden. Unfortunately, I was unable to monitor the garden for the first six weeks, and the weeds got very large and deep. Therefore, the garden doesn’t look pretty, which is why there are no pictures of it.

I began to coordinate volunteers to help me weed. We began by meeting every Saturday from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. to pull weeds. We weren’t making much progress, so I added another day. We now also meet on Tuesdays from 4:45 to 5:45 p.m.  So far, I have had nine volunteers; most have joined me once. My most faithful volunteer is Thor Peterson, sustainability coordinator at Parkland.

In spite of the problems, I have been able to harvest approximately 450 pounds of produce!

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I am also providing recipes to the pantry clients. I try to furnish recipes that use more than one vegetable from the garden along with nonperishable
items available at the pantry.

As the season moves on and the summer vegetables are harvested, we will be planting vegetables to harvest in the fall.

Lastly, I began working with Dawn Longfellow, Wesley Food Pantry’s operations manager, on a name and graphic for the garden. Dawn is still working on the graphic, but we have decided on the name: “Parkland’s Pantry Produce Plot.” I’m hoping this project will continue for many years, and I plan to be involved past the end of my A w/Honors project.

[Theresa  Meers is an associate professor of ag/horticulture at Parkland.]