Matt Kolarik started at a four-year university in engineering, but was eager to get his career in motion. He made the switch to Stark State College, graduating in 1983 with associate degrees in both electrical and electronic engineering.
“At Stark State I learned a lot of very practical information, things I could use right away,” he said. “It was hands-on experience I put right to work on the job.”
After 20 years as an electronics technician, the North Canton resident is now a development analyst at The Timken Company. It’s a position he came to six years ago after working four years part-time on a Timken venture in engineered oxides and two years as a Timken development technician. His work with Timken took him to China twice to study bearings and sensors.
He brings that experience to the new Test and Technology Center, a joint project of The Timken Company and Stark State College, located on Stark State’s Emerging Technologies Campus near the Akron-Canton Airport.
Stark State offers a one-year certificate in wind turbine maintenance technology and an associate degree in electrical maintenance technology with a wind turbine major.
Students will get the same kind of hands-on experience as Kolarik did when he earned his degrees. Their education includes skills such as designing, building, testing, evaluating and improving wind tunnel experiments and, thanks to the Lotus Creative Wind Turbine Trainer, proficiency in industry standards of basic electro-mechanical aspects of automation and controls, signals and analysis, systems integration and more.
“You get a lot of opportunity you won’t see in a normal classroom,” Kolarik said. “There’s nothing that prepares you better for the day-in and day-out challenges than this kind of education.”