Nat’l Robotics Challenge Results 2018

The 2018 National Robotics Challenge held on the Marion County Fairgrounds at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum April 12-14 was a huge success. More than 1,000 young people participated in the event.

Students from colleges, high schools, middle schools and elementary schools competed—more than 80 schools overall.

The event has been held in Marion since 2004. For more details on the National Robotics Challenge, visit:

Below are the Award recipients in each category. The team captain’s name is in parentheses. Read more

Career Exploration Workshop big success!

Construction Trades Academy & Automotive Technologies Career Exploration Workshop was AMAZING! The hands-on workshop, sponsored by Ohio 4-H Foundation, and held at Tri-Rivers was made possible thru a partnership with OSU Extension-Morrow County and Tri-Rivers Career Center. It was open to youth in grades 5-12.

Youth attending received hands-on training and learning in:

Construction Management
Basic Construction
CNC Router Usage
Equipment Demonstration—Operation & Safety
Small Tool Safety
Wall Framing

Automotive Technology
Auto Safety Inspections
Lube, Oil, and Filter Change
Tire Dismount, Mount, Balance and Rotation
Basic Electrical Circuit Diagnosis & Repair
Automotive Scan Tool Operation

Special thanks to Amanda Forquer, Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development, Morrow County Extension office.

More photos on facebook

State Testing, April 5-13, Read Details

Tri-Rivers Career Center will be following a 2-hour delay schedule beginning Thursday, April 5 through Friday, April 13 for state mandated testing. Any student who will be testing has received a schedule at school outlining which tests they need to take and on what days. Any students who did not receive a schedule do not need to arrive to school until 10:15. Home school busing will run as normal, so if you son/daughter rides the bus and has no other transportation, he or she will be provided time in their career technical labs while the other students are testing.

If you have questions please feel free to contact us.

Ohio 4-H Foundation sponsors Career Exploration Workshop at TRCC

The Ohio 4-H Foundation is sponsoring a Career Exploration Workshop for Tri-Rivers Construction Trades Academy and Automotive Technology careers for youth in grades 5-12 (limited to first 25 youth), April 14, 2018, 9am-4pm at Tri-Rivers Career Center.

“Take the guess work out of whether you would like to work in a construction trades or automotive technology career,” said Amanda Forquer of the Morrow County 4-H Extension office. “Youth will have the opportunity to try out some of the skills used in these trade fields.”

This will be a hands-on workshop:

Construction Management:
Basic Construction—build a toolbox to take home
CNC Router usage
Equipment Demo: operation & safety
Small Tool Safety
Wall Framing

Automotive Technology:
Automotive Safety Inspections
Lube, Oil, and Filter Change
Tire Dismount, Mount, Balance and Rotation
Basic Electrical Circuit Diagnosis and Repair
Automotive Scan Tool Operation

Career Exploration Workshop flyer

Career Exploration Workshop Registration Packet

Youth may register at

The cost is $10 for Morrow County Residents and $30 for Non-Morrow County Residents. This career exploration workshop is made possible through a partnership with OSU Extension-Morrow County and Tri-Rivers Career Center.

If you have questions, contact Forquer at 419-947-1070 or

2018 Outstanding Tri-Rivers Alumnus Honored at Board Dinner

Alivia Christian

Alivia Young Christian is a 2012 graduate of Elgin High School, who majored in Tri-Rivers Health Care Professionals, which is now our Health Careers Academy. As a high school student Alivia was a standout—she was an active member of SkillsUSA, earned membership into the National Technical Honor Society, was selected as an Ambassador and a Teen Board member, plus she received one of the coveted Director’s Awards during the Senior Recognition evening at the Palace.

During her Senior year at the Career Center she was also dual enrolled in Marion Technical College. While at Marion Tech she worked at McDonald’s and for a short time she cared for her former junior instructor, Chris Pemberton’s mom. Chris said she completely trusted Alivia who was so caring and compassionate.

She completed her Associate’s degree at Marion Tech and received her RN in June of 2016. Alivia then started working at Marion General Hospital in July of 2016. She started on a medical floor for 9 months, then moved to step-down and just recently accepted a position in the ICU.

Alivia is the perfect nurse. Even in high school she always wanted to do her best. Unless she received a 100% on a test, it wasn’t good enough. She was and is a goal-oriented person and never happy with second best.

Alivia exemplifies our slogan of “A School Where You are ALLOWED to, INSPIRED, and EXPECTED to BE AMAZING!” At Tri-Rivers we truly expect our students to do amazing things. And Alivia with her attention to detail and desire to continually grow as a person and a professional is an AMAZING nurse. In a few weeks she will complete her BSN.


Robert Zwink

Robert Zwink is a 1996 graduate of Marion Harding High School, who majored in Tri-Rivers Electronics program.

Rob was nominated by his friend Joshua Simpkins who also graduated from Harding. Josh had this to say about his longtime friend:

I think Rob demonstrates that kids from modest backgrounds can still be very successful if they are willing to work hard and build a skill set that employers value.

I attended Marion Harding with Rob and then roomed with him when we both lived in Columbus in the late 90s. When I think of a self-made man, Rob is always the first person who comes to mind. After graduating from Tri-Rivers, he moved to Columbus with absolutely nothing—no money, no college degree—although he later earned a Bachelors of Computer Science from Franklin University—and no contacts beyond a few Marion people.

Rob initially got an entry-level job in tech support at Micro Center. Through hard work and determination, he worked his way up through various technology positions in the Columbus area including tech analyst for Lucent Technologies, Lead Software Engineer for Micro Electronics, Inc, and executive director for JPMorgan Chase & Co. He is currently the Chief Technical Officer (CTO) and co-founder of SafeChain Financial, Inc.

SafeChain provides executive leadership, architecture strategy and engineering solutions in support of blockchain backed title software devices.

Also, Rob is just a thoroughly decent guy. He’s a committed husband and father of two sons. He’s always willing to help people who need it. He’s never forgotten his roots and for a guy like him—who marches to the beat of a different drummer—Tri-Rivers opened the door to what has become an exceptionally successful career and life.

We at Tri-Rivers share Josh’s sentiments. Rob represents everything an Outstanding Alumni should. He is extremely successful in his field, a good citizen, a committed family person and an active volunteer with Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Central Ohio for over a decade.


Billie Fields-Baer

Billie Fields-Baer is not only a graduate of Tri-Rivers Practical Nursing and LPN to RN nursing programs but also a long-time employee of Tri-Rivers. From the beginning of her career journey to several graduations—LPN, RN, and BSN) and licensure, she has grown into the profession as a nurse educator and leader.

Through education and mentoring, Billie has touched the lives of many students. She has a passion for teaching and understands the role of Tri-Rivers in adult students’ lives. She goes above and beyond to ensure that her students have a good understanding of topics and how they affect their everyday practice. She is always on the sideline coaching, cheering and encouraging students to stay positive and believe in themselves. She doesn’t know how to say “no.” She will always find a way to help or accommodate people in need. Her creativity has always provided solutions to any problems encountered.

Billie started her career as a Medical Assistant and Office Manager in one of the local physician’s practice. While working full-time and raising five children, she enrolled in Tri-Rivers first Evening Practical Nursing program. She graduated in 2004 with honors and received the highest award in the Practical Nursing program—the Margaret Helen Gast Award.

In 2012, she made the decision to further her nursing career by enrolling into the Tri-Rivers LPN to RN program. Again, she graduated with honors and received the Judith Ryan Higel award. Soon after graduating from the RN program, she enrolled at Ohio University where she earned her Baccalaureate of Science in Nursing and graduated Cum Laude.

This year she continued her nursing career journey by enrolling in a graduate program at Grand Canyon University with the goal of earning a Masters in Nursing Science.

In addition to her educational accomplishments, Billie has made multiple contributions to Tri-Rivers. Beginning in 2005, she has served as the instructor for the nursing prerequisite programs, Nurse Aide instructor and the Patient Care Technician Program Coordinator. Also, because of Billie’s caring personality and ability to connect and build rapport with students, she was chosen to serve as the success center’s academic and life coach. This year she also served as a clinical instructor in Tri-Rivers LPN to RN Program. It is obvious that Billie is involved in all healthcare programs; however, her main responsibility is being the Patient Tech Program Coordinator.

When she took over that role in 2016, she was able to make great improvements to the program and achieve record high outcomes, according to Dr. Emeline Kelly, the Nursing Director. Tri-Rivers received notification from the National Healthcareer Association commending the PCT program’s 2017 pass rates being above the national averages. It was reported that our 2017 pass rate currently sits at 97%, that is 19 points above the national average of 78%. The agency has requested to use the Tri-Rivers’ PCT program as a model curriculum because of these great outcomes.

Billie serves on the advisory committee for secondary’s Vet Science program and for the Health program at Marion Harding.




Steve McFarland

Steve McFarland is an electrician with over 25 years of commercial and residential experience. He’s a 1987 graduate of Mt. Gilead High School. In 1988 he entered the United States Army where he served as a 31 N 10 Communication System Circuit Controller. Steve served in Germany, was stationed in Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War and was honorably discharged in 1992.

In 2010 Steve enrolled in our Adult Education Industrial Maintenance program. He graduated from the program in May of 2011—a 600-hour program with perfect attendance.

In August of 2011 Steve started Steve McFarland Electric LLC which continues to operate today. In October 2011 he began to give back his talents and expertise to Tri-Rivers, when he was hired as a part-time instructor for the Industrial Maintenance program he had previously completed.

Steve is an excellent instructor. He has competed the training and is a NCCER Certified Instructor for Core Curriculum and Electrical. He has not only been a very enthusiastic and reliable instructor for Tri-Rivers, he has  hired some of our students to work for his company!

Steve has always received very high evaluations from his students at Tri-Rivers. One of the questions that is asked on the evaluation is, “What did you like best about the course?” Here is just a small sampling of what Steve’s student’s say: “The Instructor, hands on and demonstrations.” “Inside knowledge from master electrician.” “The theory and knowledge and knowledge that our instructor brought to the classroom.” “Hands on. The excitement of Steve, to teach and his first-hand experiences.”

This past winter, in Steve’s Electrical Control classes it was amazing to see our adult students volunteer to come up front, diagram what they were learning and interact with the class. That just doesn’t happen by itself,  it’s instructors like Steve, who earn the classes’ respect for their knowledge and their ability to share their expertise with students who want to advance in their careers. It’s his passion for teaching  that makes Steve an Tri-Rivers Outstanding Alumni award winner.










Marion CAN DO! receives Tri-Rivers/Lautenslager Distinguished Service 2018 award


At Tri-Rivers we take great pride in providing the most up-to-date training opportunities. We could not do that without Advisory Committee Members and the support and input from area organizations and business groups. Tonight we recognize Marion CAN DO!. Their support has helped us move forward at the pace of business in order to meet the skills training needs of our area. For this we honor them with a coveted Tri-Rivers/Lautenslager Distinguished Service Award.

CAN DO! has been an important partner in the development of the Tri-Rivers RAMTEC program. We are privileged to have their staff helping to lead the way in recruiting strong manufacturing partners to our community. CAN DO!’s continuous support of manufacturing collaboration in our community has helped RAMTEC and Tri-Rivers grow strong Welding, Advanced Machining and Engineering Technologies programs.

The Marion CAN DO! team and board is made up of business leaders and innovators. When businesses come to town, CAN DO! connects with Tri-Rivers and works with us to find solutions to these companies’ skills training needs. CAN DO!’s Director Gus Comstock took over the leadership of the group in 2014. He came to Marion with an extensive background in economic development experience from his work in Chillicothe and Delaware. His guidance and experience has been invaluable to the area in general and to Tri-Rivers specifically. Gus and Executive Assistant Denny Ferguson have assisted us and supported us on numerous occasions.


Marion CAN DO! has helped to get Marion County into the Central Ohio mix of places to locate companies—emphasizing that we are not only an industrial and rail town, but that we have an educational corridor with Tri-Rivers, Marion Technical College, and Ohio State at Marion being integral parts of that corridor. At Tri-Rivers we are thankful for this support and promotion.

CAN DO! is dedicated to using the vast educational and technical training assets in our area to provide businesses with the most qualified workforce to fit the needs of new and expanding industries. Tri-Rivers welcomes the challenge to provide needed skills training and thanks CAN DO! for the opportunities they have facilitated.

All three of the counties served by Tri-Rivers—Marion, Morrow and Union counties—are part of the Marion Columbus Region. The 11-county Columbus Region is one of the largest and fastest growing economies in the United States. The Columbus Region is known for its competitively priced real estate and rents, top-ranked market access, and strong workforce. CAN DO! is instrumental in this regional partnership.

On CAN DO!’s website you’ll find this quote: Marion is an innovative evolving community composed of multiple educational institutions and organizations collaborating to make Marion, Ohio, America’s Workforce Development Capital.

Tri-Rivers is honored to be part of this initiative and we are profoundly thankful for CAN DO!’s support, guidance and partnership.


MT Schwartz named a 2018 Tri-Rivers/Lautenslager Distinguished Service winner

Sometimes people quietly slip in and out of our school, volunteering their time and expertise. MT Schwartz is one of those people. Carrie Heimlich. Our Veterinary Science Instructor Carrie Heimlich had this to say about MT:

I was blessed to be put in contact with MT during my first-year teaching through a mutual friend. MT was instrumental in starting the reptile breeding program at the Marion Correctional Institution and is an undeniable figure in reptile education and rescue groups in Ohio. She has also been a breeder of quality bearded dragons for over 30 years and is the public relations spokesperson for the All Ohio Reptile Show. When I contacted her during those first few crazy months of starting this program, I was looking for guidance and suggestions on types of animals to house, general husbandry, and treatment suggestions—I had no idea what I was in for by asking for help!

I had little previous experience with reptiles, other than handling the few that had come through the doors at the veterinary clinics in which I had worked. And to be honest, they were not my favorite. MT was more than excited to hear about our Vet Science program and wanted to be involved in giving my students exposure and experience with reptiles and amphibians. She didn’t care whether I knew anything about them or even wanted to learn—she was happy to teach me.

She has been a lifelong advocate for all animals but has had a soft spot for her ‘furless babies.’ And when I say she loves educating people about reptiles and reptile care, that is an understatement! I can’t begin to tell you how much time and energy she has put into this program. She has come in every year to give her husbandry talk to the junior students—explaining that many health issues can be avoided with proper housing, light, temperature, and diet. The students love that she is so animated in her discussions and prompts conversations and questions with ease. She has given us animals that needed specialized care so that my students could learn on real case scenarios. From rescued, malnourished lizards and snakes to a wide variety of animals just needing new homes. She has given supplies and donated items without hesitation.

MT has mentored students and guided them when they perform community service hours by volunteering their time at the All Ohio Reptile Show. She has trained them on reptile maintenance as well as how to communicate with customers and educate the public. She has even been a judge for our Senior Capstone research projects and presentations for the past four years.

It is harder for me to tell you what she means to me. She is only a phone call or text away with reptile health questions and concerns. She has stayed after hours to offer healing to my personal animals and has made connections for my students in the reptile world so that they may learn and feed a passion that is near and dear to her heart. This friendship with her has been a journey in which I have learned just as much as my students. MT has made an impact on my program by showing compassion, patience, and enthusiasm and has offered real-world knowledge and understanding.


For all of this, MT Schwartz is more than deserving of the Tri-Rivers Distinguished Service Award.


Tri-Rivers/RAMTEC Advanced Robotics Summer Camp

Tri-Rivers/RAMTEC Summer Advanced Robotics Camp is June 11-14, 10am-3pm each day.

This camp is intended for students from the 24 RAMTEC sites in Ohio who have had some exposure on Motoman and FANUC Robots, but would like more hands-on experience and exposure to advanced robotic projects.  “They can receive this more advanced training at Tri-Rivers’ RAMTEC. Their instructors are also welcome to attend,” said Ritch Ramey, RAMTEC Engineering Coordinator.

Ramey said “we will cover advanced topics such as Collaborative robotics, Inputs/Output, iRVision and Virtual Simulations on FANUC, Motoman and Universal Robots. These robots are heavily used in Ohio industries and are the most popular robots used in this country.”

ramtec home

The new training on Collaborative Robotics is unique to Tri-Rivers, explained Ramey. “We look to help students throughout the Buckeye state to gain exposure to the latest robotic technology. Students will also get to interact daily with Ohio Industries looking for robotic and engineering technicians.”

The group rotations will include: Yaskawa Motoman Robotics; FANUC Advanced Programming & Operations; FANUC, Motoman & Universal Collabortive Robot “Cobot” Operations and Introduction to iR Vision, RoboGuide and MotoSim.

The class is limited to the first 24 applicants so get your camp registration in soon!   RAMTEC Advanced Summer Camp Registration 2018

For more information, contact Ramey at or 740-389-8590.


Tri-Rivers RAMTEC Summer Robotics Camp Sign Up

Tri-Rivers Career Center/RAMTEC is holding a unique 4-day Robotics & Automation Summer Camp, June 4-7, 2018. “Participants of our 4-day Robotics Summer Camp, hosted in our RAMTEC Robotics and Automation facility, will get the unique opportunity to operate and program FANUC and Motoman Industrial Robots. These are the two most popular industrial robotics companies in the world,” said Ritch Ramey, RAMTEC engineering coordinator. “They are used in 90% of all automotive factories in the United States.”

“Along with operating real industrial robots, participants will interact with our NAO Humanoid robot, experience the latest Industrial Cobots, create and print their own 3D projects and gain exposure to

coding electronic devices,” said Ramey.

“Tri-Rivers RAMTEC has hosted more than 20 STEM and robotics camps since 2012,” said Ramey. “These camps expose our area students to the thousands of potential exciting and high paying 21st Century careers in manufacturing and engineering throughout Ohio.”

Ramey said this Summer Camp builds upon the Vex Robotics experiences that many of the RAMTEC/Tri-Rivers camps provide, and allows participants to get hands-on, real world, exposure to the latest robotic platforms.

The camp participation fee is $100, or discounted to $80 if paid by May 22, 2018. The fee includes a T-shirt and lunch each day. The camp appStudents can sign up by visiting our RAMTEC website at www.ramtecohio to download the camp application. “Camps fill up fast, so I encourage students to apply now to reserve their spot in the camp,” said Ramey. For more information contact Ramey at 740-389-8590 or

RAMTEC Summer Camp Registration form 2018

RAMTEC (Robotics & Advanced Manufacturing Technology Educational Collaborative) is part of the Tri-Rivers Career Center Main Campus, 2222 Marion-Mt. Gilead Rd., Marion, OH 43302.

Tri-Rivers receives Auditor of State Award

Congratulations to Tri-Rivers’ Treasurer Steve Earnest and his department for receiving an Auditor of State Award from the office of Auditor of State Dave Yost.

Tri-Rivers was one of six entities to receive the Auditor of State Award for their clean audit reports:

  • Bowling Green City School District (Wood County)
  • City of Twinsburg (Summit County)
  • Copley-Fairlawn City School District (Summit County)
  • Ontario Local School District (Richland County)
  • Tri-Rivers Joint Vocational School District (Marion County)
  • Tuscarawas Valley Local School District (Tuscarawas County)

The Auditor of State Award is presented to local governments and school districts upon the completion of a financial audit.  Entities that receive the award meet the following criteria of a “clean” audit report:

  • The entity must file timely financial reports with the Auditor of State’s office in accordance with GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles);
  • The audit report does not contain any findings for recovery, material citations, material weaknesses, significant deficiencies, Single Audit findings or questioned costs;
  • The entity’s management letter contains no comments related to:
    • Ethics referrals
    • Questioned costs less than $10,000
    • Lack of timely report submission
    • Reconciliation
    • Failure to obtain a timely Single Audit
    • Findings for recovery less than $100
    • Public meetings or public records
  • No other financial or other concerns exist that involve eligible entity.