Weekly Feature

2018-06-07 / Business

Wendel Companies hires Engineering Academy students to design promotional sign

Williamsville-based company Wendel was looking to create a product to display at trade shows and recently commissioned Engineering Academy students from the West Seneca Central School District to build it.

“I reached out to their teacher, Dave Kutina, and asked if this is something we could have the kids work on as a woodworking or engineering project,” said Adam Beyer, senior energy engineer and an alumnus of East Senior, Class of 2000.

“It was a really neat opportunity for the kids,” Kutina added. “Adam would supply the students with a dimension sketch showing them what he needed. Then they modeled it out [and] asked if it was what he had in mind.”

Kutina said Beyer signed off on the model and then the students made it.

Many of the students involved in crafting the display for the company are enrolled in the district’s Engineering Academy, a program in which Beyer serves as chairperson.

“I grew up in West Seneca and I like coming back and seeing what programs have developed,” he said. “I am always impressed with the students that come out of the academies. Even if they don’t pursue a job in engineering, the skills they get from problem solving and presenting are valuable in their life.”

Beyer recently visited East Senior with fellow East alum and Wendel employee Keith Krug to deliver a check for $500 to the Engineering Academy. They said it was more than providing a real-world work opportunity for the students. It was giving back to a school that helped them get to where they are today.

“I’ve always leaned towards science and technology,” said Krug, senior associate principal at the company. “Going through the program here set me up to go to college and focus in the engineering and technical side. Some of the hands-on applications that are practiced here in the district as well as the on-paper theoretical side really gave Adam and I a balance between hands-on and theoretical, which for us is proven to be valuable in our careers.”

The pair said they enjoyed walking around their alma mater.

“We were laughing on the way in. This is my first time back in a long time,” said Krug, who graduated in 1989. “It seems like there is a Class of ’89 photo up [on the wall], which we’re going to take a look at and laugh at my picture from that long ago. It’s weird walking through the halls you spent a lot of time in for a good part of your childhood.”

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