BUILDING ON TRADITION
HTC graduate Troy Rohach knows the value of good training in woodworking. As plant manager at Goebel Fixtures Company in Minnetonka, Minnesota, this 1989 graduate is in his third decade of putting those skills to work.
“I was always interested in woodworking, and it was very exciting to think I could make a living at it,” says Rohach in explaining how he chose to study woodworking at HTC. “The program had a great reputation then and now.” He adds that he was hired after graduation on the strength of the program he had completed.
“I was offered a job because I had graduated from HTC,” Rohach says simply. He first gained experience in office furniture manufacturing, and then he joined Environments, which was acquired by Goebel Fixtures about four years ago. As the plant manager since 2006, he believes that what he learned at HTC helps in his current role. “My skills make me a more effective manager, which really adds up to being a better trainer, teacher and coach for our team of employees.”
Goebel Fixtures produces high-end retail fixtures for companies such as Nordstrom, Louis Vuitton and Victoria’s Secret. The plant in Minnetonka has about 40 employees; the Hutchinson location has about 125.
A strong supporter of the college, Goebel Fixtures donated $10,000 to help the woodworking technology program purchase a new router, which will provide students with the advantage of working on the same equipment used by professionals on the job. The company also donates excess materials to the program at the end of the year, another way of helping to provide hands-on experience for students.
“What really struck me was the curriculum at HTC,” recalls Rohach. “It wasn’t just hammer and nails, but included furniture and machining, so students really learned about the industry.” Rohach is glad to maintain his ties to HTC by serving on the woodworking technology advisory committee. Having industry professionals connected to the college and providing input in developing curriculum helps the program meet industry needs and prepare students for success on the job. “All the companies that do this kind of work are interested in hiring the program graduates,” says Rohach, adding that it can be difficult to find enough workers to fill all the positions available.
“What I like best about my job is the sense of accomplishment when we exceed our clients’ expectations,” Rohach confides. “When someone tells us, ‘Well, it’s probably impossible, but…’ and we get it done, that’s a great feeling.”
What would he tell prospective students? “If they’re struggling with the choice of a career, consider woodworking,” recommends Rohach. “The demand is very high and there’s a good chance of finding jobs.”
For Troy Rohach, a good start in woodworking at HTC has helped him build a satisfying career.
Last updated by jhanson : 2015-02-21 13:51:12