WNC students receive internationally recognized Siemens credential

Courtesy Steve Yingling, Western Nevada College

Different life journeys brought nine Nevadans together to celebrate a shared accomplishment; earning an internationally recognized manufacturing certification. Emily Howarth’s advanced manufacturing and mechatronics students were honored on Wednesday at Western Nevada College. In as little as two semesters, the nine students, one who lives in Fernley, earned the Siemens Certified Mechatronic Systems certification.

The Siemens Mechatronic Systems Certification Program (SMSCP) is a comprehensive industry skills certification offered in partnership with professional education institutions worldwide. The technical program of study covers electrical, mechanical, fluid power, and PLC (programmable logic controller) control systems intertwined to form modern automation, as found in high-tech Northern Nevada manufacturing, logistics, and distribution facilities. WNC is the only partner school in the Western United States to offer this special set of teaching and learning methods developed over 25 years through Siemens technical schools in Germany.

Consequently, the students are finding employment in the region’s expanding technology sectors with companies such as Tesla, Panasonic, GE Bently, Bruce Aerospace, Click Bond, Renown Regional Medical Center, AnC Precision Engineering and Bently Heritage Distillery.

Photo courtesy WNC
Western Nevada College President Chet Burton (left) and WNC Electronics and Industrial Technology Professor Emily Howarth (middle back row) celebrate students receiving the Siemens Mechatronic Systems Certification on Wednesday during a presentation ceremony in the college’s Reynolds Center. Students pictured receiving the certificate include Lindsay Moore, Manuel Lara, David Russell, Tanya Garland, Maricela Segura and Danielle Reich. Also receiving the certificate but not pictured are Johnny Key, Conor McKay and Joseph Weigel.

Danielle Reich, Manuel Lara, David Russell, Lindsay Moore, Maricela Segura, Johnny Key, Tanya Garland, Joseph Weigel and Conor McKay were recognized for their hard work and success in earning their certificates.

“I hope you reflect on what you’ve accomplished and that the future is out there — and you get to design it,” said WNC Career and Technical Education director Georgia White.

As Siemens recipients, the students are certified technical workers in the areas of manufacturing and distribution. The classes that prepare the students for the certification are one pathway toward a WNC Associate of Applied Science degree in Technology. This course of study ensures that students have the skills and knowledge to install, configure, and maintain devices and documentation for complex systems. With this expertise, they can oversee processes and operate equipment efficiently, with little down time, and can solve problems as they arise.

The students benefited from City National Bank of Carson City and the Minden Rotary Club generously covering the cost of their certification exams.

Reich is pursuing an associate degree in while fulfilling her obligations as a mother and employment with AnC Precision in Gardnerville.

“I’ll graduate, but I’ll probably never leave WNC because the technology keeps coming in and I want to stay up on it,” Reich said.

Photo Courtesy WNC
Western Nevada College Electronics and Industrial Technology Professor Emily Howarth presents Johnny Key with a Siemens Mechatronic Systems Certification on Wednesday during a ceremony in the college’s Reynolds Center.

Lara has worked for GE Bently for 15 years. The Minden company sent him back to school to learn about WNC’s Mechatronics training program and help GE solve an issue with finding qualified technicians. What he found at WNC was a respect for his peers and the WNC program.

“For five years I was the team lead for the maintenance department, so I have a lot of leadership experience, and one of the first things I noticed is that these guys were asking the right questions. That really stuck out with me because it’s not very common with veterans in the field who are set in their ways,” Lara said. “I would recommend any one of them.”

Segura utilized WNC’s Jump Start College program to pay for part of her education and launch her professional career at 18. She earned 28 credits toward an associate degree during her senior year at Carson High School.

Segura will earn her degree in the fall of 2017 and will soon be interning with GE. Part of her internship will focus on maintaining and troubleshooting machinery, then she’ll learn more about the engineering design of GE’s equipment.

“I’m really excited about starting there and seeing where it goes,” Segura said. “For those in high school, I’d tell them to join the program. See what it is all about and maybe you’ll like it.”

Russell worked in maintenance at UC Davis Medical Center and Renown Regional Medical Center before deciding to make a career change. Focused on plant maintenance, Russell, who lives in Fernley, discovered that WNC was the only college that offered plant maintenance and Mechatronics training.

Garland saw an advertisement about the program and was soon back in school. With a background in environmental technology and computer science, Garland found what she really wanted to do at WNC. She’ll graduate this spring and currently is interning with Bruce Aerospace in Dayton.

“Both Tanya and Maricela are being paid well above entry level due to their coursework and certifications earned at WNC, with the expectation that they will soon complete their two-year degrees,” Howarth said.

Moore, a single parent, came back to school after working in banking. Through determination, self-motivation and the excitement to learn, Moore earned an Associate of Applied Science degree from WNC along with a handful of Applied Industrial Technology certifications. Moore earned a Platinum Level on the National Career Readiness Certification, which is achieved by less than 1% nationwide. Click Bond scooped her up and she’s doing exactly what she learned in Howarth’s classes.

“What I work on all day at Click Bond, that’s exactly what the students are doing in these labs,” Moore said.

Weigel (Tesla), McKay (Panasonic) and Key (Bently’s project to become a fully automated facility) are also reaping the benefits of coming through WNC’s program.

WNC offers many opportunities to individuals interested in manufacturing to advance their education and employability. Two eight-week courses are available this spring. The next series of Mechatronics classes begin March 27.

To learn more about Applied Industrial Technology, Mechatronics and KUKA (robotics) programs, contact Howarth at


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