The TCOE Awards are meant to publicly and meaningfully recognize great people and organizations who have the most tremendous impact on our state’s high quality transportation-related education programs. We are proud to sponsor these awards to educators, advocates, supporters, and industry partners, for their outstanding contributions to the field of transportation education.
Please help us in congratulating this year’s outstanding recipients!
Academic Professional of the Year
Andrea Thiner is seasoned professional with more than 20 years of education experience, Andrea is well versed in educational administration, teaching, youth development, community involvement, program development, coordination and management. Andrea is well known for being an advocate for students and working to provide opportunities for students to engage in hands-on learning especially through Career and Technical Education. As an Assistant Principal in Moorhead she was responsible for the development, management and opening of the Moorhead High School Career Academy. Prior to being an Assistant Principal, Andrea provided students the opportunity to experience engineering and computer applications as a Career and Technology Education instructor in West Fargo Schools and acted as a science curriculum specialist in Fargo Schools while also teaching biology classes.
Andrea is an Innovative thinking self-starter and perpetual learner recognized as an outstanding and inspiring school practitioner and teacher of all age and ability levels. She is poised and competent with demonstrated ability to transcend cultural differences, curriculum, district and organizational challenges. Andrea is a motivated leader and team player with diverse experience in Project Based Learning (PBL), 21st Century skills needs, assessment analysis, and relationship building. Andrea holds an Educational Specialist from North Dakota State University, a Master’s of Arts in Education from the University of St. Thomas and a Bachelor of Science degree in Botany from the University of Wisconsin in Madison.
Hall of Fame
In 1978, Tom graduated from MSC Southeast – then called the Winona Area Vocational Technical Institute – with a certificate in Auto Body. He worked in the field until 1986, when he returned to Southeast as an instructor. In 2021, Tom was honored with an employee service award for 35 years at the college.
Tom is a lifelong learner. He continued his own education at Winona State University and has continuously taken industry courses and seminars covering all aspects of collision repair, safety practices, new product usage, teaching techniques, and student evaluation.
He is also a lifelong teacher. Besides teaching the college, he has served as an instructor and curriculum writer for I-CAR — the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Repair. He has presented at state, national, and international conferences as far away as New Zealand. In 2014, Tom visited Quzhou, China, for two and a half weeks to provide input, recommendations, and direction on the emerging automotive program at Quzhou College of Technology.
At Minnesota State College Southeast, Tom has served as the SkillsUSA student advisor and is a long-time donor to Minnesota State College Southeast Foundation. In the wider community, he has been involved in coaching and leadership roles in youth and high school sports, including soccer, Nordic skiing, and Cross Country. He has also been a Sunday school teacher and superintendent of the Sunday school at Redeemer Lutheran.
Outstanding Educator of the Year
Olle came to Riverland Community College with a diverse and varied experience from many different fields which he has incorporated into his role as facilitator of student learning. Olle believes that his role is more of a mentor and a coach for students than as a traditional teacher.
His background includes growing up in Norway and working there as an intelligence officer for over ten years. Olle has lived with his wife here in the US since 1987 and attended college here as well. Having worked in proprietary schools before coming to Riverland, he firmly believes in the community college’s role and function in local communities. Olle also believes that we cannot solve today’s transportation related problems, such as resource usage and pollution, using yesterday’s technology and that he is a strong proponent of newer technologies such as electric vehicles.
Being a strong believer in sharing knowledge, Olle has written and co-authored several articles for trade magazines involving unique diagnostic methods and equipment as well as how to effectively and efficiently use them. Following the belief that knowledge should be shared he has been a frequent contributor to websites for professional technicians.
Outstanding New Educator of the Year
John Clancy is a first year teacher plucked right out of industry. John has a strong mechanical background, and a desire to share the world of aviation with others. Prior to teaching, John was an aviation mechanic for nearly 10 years, working at Odegaard Wings in Kindred, ND, and Fargo Jet Center in Fargo, ND.
John enjoys working on projects at home, and has a desire to teach students how to repair small engine equipment. He believes giving students the knowledge needed to repair equipment on their own will set them up for success in the future.
Program Supporter of the Year
Bill Bartholomay has lived in the Fargo Moorhead area for most of his life. Throughout his career he has worked in corrections for the Cass County Sheriff’s department as well as working for Gateway Chevrolet in Fargo, North Dakota. He attended college at M-State for Sales and Marketing and graduated in the early 90’s. Bill now works for Wurth USA as a Territory Sales Manager for the state of North Dakota and part of Minnesota and has anywhere between 70 to 80 dealerships, body shops, and trucking firms that he works with.
Bill is married and has two daughters that are in the Fargo-Moorhead area. His wife has been a teacher in the Moorhead school system for over 30 years. Bill believes that being involved in the community is important and took the initiative to start the Moorhead Cruise Night last year which has averaged 250-300 cars from May-September. A big part of his life has been working on classic cars with his kids and doing car shows. He also works with M-State as a volunteer and says that being with these kids is a great part of his life and that he will do what he can to get these kids to succeed in what they want to do in life.
Exemplary College Program of the Year
Faculty and Program Coordinator Bios:
Andy Anderson says his own education at CLC has led him to several opportunities, including serving as training director for IUOE Local 49. As a graduate of the Heavy Equipment Program, Anderson enjoys sharing his own experiences so his students can learn and grow from them. His sense of humor is just an added bonus to each class. Anderson is a member of IUOE Local 49 and has a wide variety of field experience including: logging operations, grading and paving, site work, demolition, crane operation and he even did a brief stint on the Alberta clipper pipeline project. He has also done consulting work throughout North America on safe and efficient heavy equipment operations.
From early on in life Mike Kuklok knew he wanted to be an operator. Growing up on a dairy farm exposed him to the beginning of his operating journey. He did not bypass any opportunity to climb on any tractor, or to do any type of field work. After graduating high school Kuklok’s dad introduced him to the construction industry where he then labored for the next four years. During that time, he worked with some of the best operators in the industry, who mentored him throughout their daily tasks.
Kuklok’s next step in his career was when he became a member of the operating engineers Local 49. This year will mark 29 years as an operating engineer, performing excavation and grading projects, all over the state and surrounding states, traveling as far south as Texas installing transmission water and sewer lines. He is grateful to now have the opportunity to give back to our industry as we help educate and prepare our next generation operators.
John Maleski’s passion for the construction trade first ignited as a child, watching his father & uncles as heavy equipment operators. Before starting at CLC, Maleski managed a semi truck repair shop and later worked as an operator and mechanic at an excavation and aggregate contractor. Today, he still stays connected with the industry by working part-time as an MSHA trainer and equipment operator. In that position he helps contractors connect with CLC students who are looking for a career in the trade. Maleski graduated from CLC’s Heavy Equipment Diesel Technician program, so he holds a great pride in coming back to the college to teach.
Mike Sams, carpentry, HVAC, plumbing, water and sewer, main line pipeline, grading and excavation, demolition, hydro-electric, footings, residential and commercial, civilian and military all contribute to his background. Sounds like a guy who can’t stay in one place too long, on the contrary. Instead of drawing unemployment he would work at other trades in his off season from dirt, learning the others but always back to the ground. Now after 21 years of teaching at CLC, and over 24 years as a member of International Union of Operating Engineers member he’s looking forward towards retirement in the not too distant future. Mike has made a large portion of his living working on the road, from Minnesota to Ohio, North Dakota, Wisconsin, South Dakota and places as far away as Honduras, Guatemala, Kuwait and Iraq. Mike enjoys sharing his experience as his mentors shared with him with high hopes that the next generation of graduates will share the same. He’s not afraid to take on challenges and is willing to push the students beyond what the student believes is their boundary.
Brandon Schneider is a 2010 graduate of the Heavy Equipment program at Central Lakes College. He started working at Tri-City Paving and then worked with Morrison County Public Works. He got to see all sides of the trade from working in the shop, paving, grading, excavating, site work, culverts, and working with the crushing and wash plants. Schneider still works with Landwerx, a small excavation company, to stay connected and up to date with the industry. Schneider is now back teaching students the knowledge and skills he learned from college and out in the industry. Schneider takes a lot of pride in coming back to where his career all started.
Anji Mousseau has been the Program Coordinator for the Heavy Equipment program at CLC for just over 3 years. She enjoys the variety of roles the position is tasked with, but her favorite is being the “mom” to all the students (and faculty)! When she’s not at work, Anji loves spending time with her family, fishing and relaxing at home.