The Van Wert County Courthouse

Thursday, Jun. 21, 2018

Vantage inducts 3 grads into Hall of Fame

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Vantage Career Center held its 41st annual All Boards Dinner Thursday evening in the school commons area.

In addition to board members and administrators from Vantage’s member school districts, guests included State Representative Craig Riedel (R-82nd District) and State Senator Rob McColley (R-1st District), who each received a large metal cutout of Ohio with their names etched on it from instructor Larry Ray and two students in Vantage’s Precision Machining program. The students also presented Superintendent Rick Turner with a similar gift.

Vantage Alumni Hall of Fame inductee Anthony Nighswander, owner of APT Manufacturing, speaks during Vantage’s All Boards Dinner. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

In addition to the lawmakers, three former Vantage students, Anthony Nighswander, Jeffrey Schulte, and Shawn Herr, were inducted into the school’s Alumni Hall of Fame during the banquet.

Nighswander, an Antwerp native and 1983 graduate of Vantage’s Auto Body Repair program, now owns APT Manufacturing in Hicksville. Following his graduation, Nighswander returned to Vantage to earn a welding certificate in Vantage’s Adult Education program before going on to found APT Manufacturing in 1996.

The company, which uses state-of-the-art manufacturing methods, software, and processes in its machining, automation, fixture gauge, and fabrication businesses, employs approximately 135 people and also has an employee training center that Nighswander established.

“I don’t know where I would be if I didn’t go to Vantage,” Nighswander noted. “I was not college material. I see a lot of students who go to Vantage who aren’t college material and that’s okay.”

Although his company has a training center, Nighswander said he stills hires a large number of Vantage graduates, who he said usually have great work ethics and knowledge.

Schulte, a Kalida native who graduated in 2002 from Vantage’s Machine Tool Technology program, is now the plant operations manager for Unverferth Manufacturing in Kalida. Following his graduation, Schulte went on to earn an associate’s degree in applied science in manufacturing technology and a tool-and-die certificate from Owens Community College, then went on to Eastern Michigan University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in applied technology, and later earned an MBA from the University of Northwestern Ohio.

Vantage Alumni Hall of Fame inductee Jeffrey Schulte (right) receives a plaque from Vantage Superintendent Rick Turner. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

Schulte has overseen two plant expansions at Unverferth Manufacturing, as well as developed a number of manufacturing processes and training programs. He is also a volunteer firefighter and is involved in a number of other community organizations.

Schulte said that, prior to going to Vantage, he was not very interested in education.

“Once I started in the Machine Tool program, I found a passionate drive for education and learning,” he noted. “I’m very grateful for that.”

Herr, a Continental native who earned his diploma in 2004 in the Industrial Mechanics program, is currently a chief petty officer in the United States Navy and a Recruit Division commander who currently oversees the complete overhaul of the Navy’s boot camp scheduling process. A 14-year Navy veteran, Herr has had deployment to Iraq, as well as a number of other countries. He was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal and several other honors during his career.

Herr, who couldn’t attend the dinner, sent a video instead noting the debt he owes to Vantage for the education he received there, as well as being inducted into the Alumni Hall of Fame.

Herr said his first job in the Navy as a metal worker was pretty much what he had done as a Vantage student.

Prior to the banquet, the Crestview Fifth Grade Choir, under the direction of Lindsay Moore, entertained those attending the dinner.

During the Vantage Board of Education meeting that also preceded the dinner, the board welcomed new Interim Ohio Technical Center Director Kathleen “Kit” Tyler. Tyler, who has more than four decades in education, with 21 of those years as an adult education director, said she was impressed with Vantage.

“This is a beautiful school,” added Tyler, a northwest Ohio native. “This is like coming home to me.”

During her first report, Tyler, whose interim contract runs through June 30, talked about the upcoming LPN program and the current CDL program at Vantage.

During his report, Turner noted that Vantage has received 14 applicants for the position vacated by Pete Prichard, while 31 applicants have applied for the community relations position currently held by MaryJo Wilhelm, who is retiring at the end of the school year.

Vantage High School Director Tony Unverferth said Vantage has been working to update its safety and security procedures in the wake of school shootings and local threats. He and Turner will be meeting with local law enforcement officials to ensure Vantage is current on its security measures, as well as with Van Wert Fire Chief Jon Jones to make sure all fire codes are being followed.

Vantage also approved the following employee contracts: Continuing contract: Jill DeWert, Interactive Media instructor; four-year contract: Gerald Robinson, Carpentry instructor; two-year contracts: Diane Font, Medical Office Management instructor; Ray Gibson, social studies teacher; one-year contracts: Heather Brickner, intervention specialist; Darrell Miller, attendance discipline officer; and Zacharia Miller, Criminal Justice instructor.

The board also approved a number of overnight and out-of-state trips for students and advisors, as well as a 25-percent, 15-year Tax Increment Financing (TIF) agreement with Cooper Farms Inc. for property improvements in Monroe Township in Paulding County. Vantage will receive an annual payment of $238.59 as part of the agreement. The remainder of the property taxes will be channeled into a fund to pay for infrastructure needs related to the project.

New Vantage board member Michele Gorman was also sworn in during the meeting. Gorman, who is currently the Lincolnview Local Board of Education president, replaces Eric Germann, who was forced to resign because of work conflicts.

The next meeting of the Vantage Career Center Board of Education will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 3, in the district conference room.

POSTED: 04/06/18 at 8:42 am. FILED UNDER: News