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Logos photo by Eric Debner NIACC student Jon Trunkhill works on a project in the Computer Assisted Design (CAD) lab.

Talk about making learning relevant

Trunkhill will earn multiple degrees before leaving NIACC

Eric Debner
Assistant Editor

Every weekday morning at 8:30, small groups of NIACC Tool and Die students can be found spread out amongst the tables in the Activity Center food court.

Most of them had just gotten out of the course lecture that began two hours prior for a short thirty-minute break to eat breakfast and relax before heading back to class.

Among these students is Jon Trunkhill, a sophomore from Titonka, Iowa.

He’s no stranger to the NIACC campus.

“I started taking classes in NIACC’s automotive program during my senior year in Woden-Crystal Lake High School,” Jon said. “I finished that degree in May 2010.”

His college learning experience was just getting started.

In the following fall semester, he set to work on another degree in NIACC’s Tool and Die program.

“I like to learn and build and make stuff,” Jon said.

Currently a sophomore in the program, Jon works in the second-year tool and die shop in the Murphy Manufacturing section of the Buettner Careers Building.

According to Randy Bonde, NIACC Manufacturing Technology instructor, tool and die students create designs and build two major projects during the program: a die set in the first year and a mold in the second.

“Die sets made by the students consist of two main parts,” Bonde said. “The upper shoe that holds the punch press and the die block that sits on the lower shoe.”

Twelve foot long strips of metal feed into the die set and the punch press stamps it into parts such as keychains.

During his freshman year in the program, Jon made a die set that stamps out fire department badges.

“I plan to give these badges to the Titonka Fire Department and all the other surrounding fire departments,” Jon said.

For his sophomore project, Jon designed and is in the process of building a rebar mold for making rebar lifters.

“They’re plastic stands that hold up rebar for concrete work and road construction,” Jon said.

Jon said that after completing his 0degree in tool and die, he plans to return to NIACC and work towards obtaining two more.

“Next year I want to start on the ag program, and then the diesel program a few years later when it comes out,” Jon said.

Outside of his academic obligations, Jon takes an active role in his community back home.

According to David Trunkhill, NIACC Custodial supervisor and Titonka fire chief, his son serves Titonka and the surrounding communities as a nationally certified firefighter.

“My dad’s the fire chief of Titonka and I’ve wanted to be a firefighter since I was little,” Jon said.

During his service, he has been to one house fire and one car accident where he helped use the Jaws of Life to rescue the occupants.

“We need all the volunteers we can get,” David said. “Jon has done a fine job during the time he’s worked on the department.”

After the dust has settled and he has earned every degree he needs, Jon said he ultimately wants find a job and apply his skills in Titonka.

“After college, I really want to find work at a maintenance shop or grain elevator back home,” Jon said. “These jobs would use all the skills I gained at NIACC in automotive, tool and die, agriculture, and diesel, and I would also be able to stay on the Titonka Fire Department.”