Kirkwood Advanced Manufacturing student Alex Holtz
First, Alex–tell us about your family and growing-up years.: I turned 18 in May, and am the youngest of two. Our parents are Gary and Carol Holtz. My brother, Chris attended Kirkwood Community College in the Auto Body Collision program. He now works at Bob Stephens Motors in Manchester. My dad also attended Kirkwood for computer programming, and now works at ACT in Iowa City. My mom Carol works in the lunchroom at Xavier High School. When I was growing up I started playing soccer when I was 5. I enjoyed riding ATVs with my family. In 2001 my brother was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Every year we participate in the local fund-raising walk to cure diabetes.
What have been your interests and activities at Kennedy High School?: In sports, I have been in soccer and swimming. I was a part of Kennedy’s literary magazine, the “Plain Brown Wrapper” for a year. Some of the other activities I was part of at Kennedy were woodworking, photography, auto tech, food and nutrition, and computer graphics. While taking wood tech, I was able to design and build my computer desk using CAD software.
How did you get interested in the Advanced Manufacturing Academy?: I first started taking Kirkwood’s KICK camp classes in the summer and found out that I really enjoyed creating rims in CAD while taking the Race Car camp. I began looking for more things to do with that. During my junior year, I started talking with my counselor at Kennedy. She suggested that I look into the Advanced Manufacturing Academy at the Kirkwood Linn County Regional Center.
Are there any aspects of the academy that are most interesting or surprising to you?: The whole academy has been really interesting. It has allowed me to do things I never though I would do, such as operating a CNC mill and lathe, as well as operating a manual press brake. The academy surprised me by showing me how much there actually is in making and producing parts, and how much time goes into the whole process.
What are your plans for your time at Kirkwood?: As of now my plans are to take the two year CAD/MET (Computer Aided Design/ Mechanical Engineering Technology) program to get my Associate’s degree.
Imagine it’s the summer of 2019–five years from now. Where do you think you will be, and what would you be doing?: Five years from now, I think I will be living in Wisconsin or Chicago, working for a manufacturing company designing and prototyping products. Eventually I would also like to open my own business designing parts for vehicles.