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October 2023

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MSC Southeast Wins Trades Championship

MSC Southeast team members (l-r): Austyn Warren, Dakota, MN, Programmer; Ivey Wadman Vehrenkamp, Ettrick, WI, CNC Machinist; Bradley Bishop, Ettrick, WI, CNC Machinist; Ellery Kiesel, Winona, MN, Welder

Following months of preparation and three days of intense competition in Greenville, SC, the Minnesota State College Southeast (MSC Southeast) CNC Machine Tool Team edged out the competition in the Project MFG Advanced Manufacturing Championship to take home the national title and a $100,000 prize.

The competition took place in May, but the results were not announced until the July premiere of Season 3 of the reality web series, Clash of Trades. Having made it through a qualifying round in Minnesota and a regional round in Wichita, KS, MSC Southeast was one of top four teams in the country. The college was represented by Bradley Bishop, Ellery Kiesel, Ivey Wadman Vehrenkamp and Austyn Warren.

"MSC Southeast is very proud to have these students represent the college and the CNC Machine Tool program," said Alex Howell, Dean of Academic Innovation. "The teamwork needed to prepare for this competition embodies the spirt of Southeast."

In the competition, the team was faced with real-world scenarios and pressure tested to demonstrate the critical skills needed to succeed in modern advanced manufacturing.

The theme of the national championship round was medical manufacturing. The students were challenged to fabricate various metal parts that are used in a total hip replacement and weld a pressure vessel, in this case a small version of an autoclave, which is used to sterilize medical equipment.

The competitors demonstrated CNC and manual machining, programming, welding and metrology as well as team work, problem solving, time management and cost tracking.

At the end of the competition, the judges evaluated the parts produced, considering surface finish, damage and unfinished features, among other factors.

The prize money will be shared 50-50 between the students and the college. The college is planning to its use its $50,000 as seed money to add a 5-axis machine to the Advanced Manufacturing Lab.

"I am so proud of this team and their entrepreneurial spirit. Every time the team encountered an obstacle, they just looked for and found a solution," said Dr. Marsha Danielson, President of MSC Southeast. "I look forward to watching these students make a difference in the advanced manufacturing industry."

"Project MFG strives to promote the trades and people like you to really elevate what a trade professional is and highlight the importance these amazing people have in our communities," Project MFG Founder Ray Dick told the MSC Southeast Team. "You as a team came together, took the challenge and made a difference. You exemplify what Project MFG is aiming to achieve."

For more information contact:

Minnesota State College Southeast


Project MFG

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