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CVCC's Power Equipment Program Fills the Employment Void
The former CVCC marine mechanics student could not stay away from the program. After graduating in 1983, he worked as a mechanic for six years then did a four-year stint serving in the Navy as an aircraft engine mechanic/safe for flight inspector. He's been teaching here for the past 22 years, expanding the mechanics department to cover all types of power equipment.

CVCC offers one of only two programs in Ohio that teaches everything about repairing and maintaining power equipment from a string trimmer to a diesel truck. Students master the workings of recreational vehicles from boats to motorcycles and jet skis, to semi-trucks and trailers and light duty pick-ups, and construction equipment such as bulldozers, forklifts, and excavators.

"My teaching style is to impart to the student a systematic approach to trouble-shooting problems, more than just a basic understanding of mechanics," he says.

The big man (he stands just a hair over 6' 6") is known for big real-life initiatives. Acting as the "shop manager," he has his students communicate with customers on the phone, fill out a service ticket for each job, and oversee the progress, following up with the client.

"I teach differently than most people," he says. "Instead of giving assignments for the kids to do at home and turn in, we review everything together. I like to pick on different students each day for answers as it helps build confidence and engage them."

Koenig feels there is a key difference between technical education and regular ed.

"In this setting, we spend more time with the students, getting to know their strengths and ambitions and sharing life experiences. We act as true mentors," he says.

Presently there are many more jobs in the market than students in his shop, so Koenig makes sure to find the right fit when students leave. "I am concerned with fostering real employability skills, making sure that when an employer asks me for 'a worker who can think on his or her feet,' my students can fit that bill," he notes.

This master mechanic and talented teacher becomes suddenly soft-spoken and a little choked up when mentioning the letters on his office wall from former students, thanking him for the difference he made in their lives.

"The only reason I feel like a success is because so many of my students have become successful themselves," he says.

By Patricia Nugent, Writer for Mimi Vanderhaven
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Brecksville, OH 44141
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