Fluid Power Journal

2016 Skills Competition


Hosted by Alexandria Technical and Community College

2016 Student of the Year Awards

At the skills competition, the instructors chose one student from each school to receive the Student of the Year Award. Each recipient received a check for $100.00 donated by Chapter 5.

  • Zachary Zink – Alexandria Technical and Community College
  • Brandon Benson, CFPS – Minnesota West Granite Falls
  • Jesse Lucking, CFPS – Hennepin Technical College – Eden Prairie
  • Henry Timmer, CFPS – Hennepin Technical College – Brooklyn Park


2016 Skills Competition Awards

  • 1st Place $600.00 – Brandon Benson, CFPS, Minnesota West Technical and
    Community College
  • 2nd Place $400.00 – Jesse Lucking, CFPS, Hennepin Technical College – Eden Prairie
  • 3rd Place $200.00 – Lucas Schoen, CFPS, Hennepin Technical College – Eden Prairie
  • 4th Place $100.00 – Steven Hoium, CFPS, Hennepin Technical College – Eden Prairie
  • 5th Place $50.00 – Bryan Kaeter, Alexandria Technical and Community College


Past Presidents Scholarship

A Past Presidents Scholarship is awarded to one student each year. This scholarship pays for one full year of tuition for the selected student. This year’s check was for $6,100.90. The scholarship rotates yearly between the four colleges: Alexandria Technical and Community College, Hennepin Technical College-Brooklyn Park, Hennepin Technical College-Eden Prairie, and Minnesota West Granite Falls. The IFPS Chapter 5 past presidents generate funding for the scholarship. This year’s winner is Zachary Zink from Alexandria Technical and Community College.


  • Mark Sagedahl – Alexandria Technical and Community College (Host)
  • Rob Auel, CFPAI – Alexandria Technical and Community College (Host)
  • Bill Martin, CFPAI – Hennepin Technical College, Brooklyn Park
  • Jeannine Uehling, CFPAI – Hennepin Technical College, Brooklyn Park
  • Bob Yund, CFPAI – Hennepin Technical College, Eden Prairie
  • Ernie Parker, CFPAI – Hennepin Technical College, Eden Prairie
  • Tom Midthun, CFPS – Minnesota West, Granite Falls



The judges have the task of constructing the various tests, providing testing supplies, as well as administering and grading the tests. The judges are the backbone to the competition, and their efforts and commitment keep the competition on track.



Every year, the International Fluid Power Society (IFPS) supports the skills competition. Donna Pollander, ACA, IFPS executive director, attended this year’s competition and presented a check to Chapter 5 for $2,000.00 supporting the 2016 skills competition. In addition, The IFPS awarded the 1st through 5th-place winners and the Students of the Year will all receive a one-year paid membership to the IFPS. The continued support from IFPS is essential to Chapter 5 and is greatly appreciated by all members. Chapter 5 used the donation by distributing the funds to the contestants, awards, dinner, and other costs associated with the contest.


IFPS Chapter 5 would like to thank the following companies for new products and major monetary support for the Alexandria Technical and Community College Mechatronics Program:

  • 3M Foundation
  • Rexroth via Motion Tech Automation, Inc.
  • Eaton via Air Hydraulics & Applied Industrial Tech
  • Force America
  • SMC
  • Beckhoff Automation

Additional contributors include:

  • Festo 
  • Innotek Engineering Products
  • Hartfiel Automation 
  • Pro-Mach/Brenton Douglas Machine
  • Massman Automation
  • KLN Enterprises, Inc.
  • Parker Mobile Hydraulics
  • Ritter Sensors Inc.
  • The Aagard Group 
  • Rob Auel
  • Mechatronic Solutions 
  • Graco, Inc
  • John Henry Foster 
  • John and Michelle Stenz
  • Joseph Hanson PMMI
  • Alexandria Awake the Lakes’ Ribfest
  • Stoen’s Hydraulics
  • R.E. Purvis & Associates
  • JEM Technical

Dear Minnesota-St.Paul Chapter 5 Fluid Power Society Past and Present Presidents,

skills15My name is Zachary Zink. I am the student who received the Past Presidents Scholarship from the Society this year, and I cannot even put into words how grateful I am for the effort that was put forth by such a generous group of individuals like yourselves.

I am from Melrose, which is right in the middle of Stearns County on I-94. I grew up with my three brothers and both parents who have molded and shaped me into the man I am today. My mother and father always stressed that hard work and the willingness to learn was all I needed to succeed in life, and I’d say because of them I’m on my way. Looking back on all of the hours I spent picking rocks and working on my grandparents’ farm turned out to be beneficial to me, even if I wanted to leave every rock in the field. It nearly drove me insane staring at dirt all day trying to find rocks. In my adolescence, I grew up tinkering with electronic kits from Radio Shack that I would beg my father to buy me for Christmas or my birthday. As I grew up, I started to help my father perform maintenance on robotic milking equipment, our farm equipment, and other kinds of equipment used in the agriculture industry.

To be completely honest, my interest in hydraulics was only sparked once I started school here at ATCC. Within a few weeks of school, I realized that I was absolutely horrible at hydraulics and proceeded to seek help simply so I could pass school. It was then that I started working as a lab assistant for Rob Auel, my hydraulics instructor. From that point on, my interest grew exponentially in the industry. I knew if I had a question, Rob would be there to answer it or find the answer for me, and that’s when I realized that pursuing a career in hydraulics was in my near future. If it weren’t for Rob Auel, I would never be where I am today. In fact, I competed in both MN State Fluid Power Competitions and in USA SKILLS competitions both of my years in school! I also was able to assist with recruiting, helping my old high school get a mechatronics program and money for new equipment. With all the running I was doing, I still managed to keep a 3.5 GPA, and I plan to graduate with honors this year.

After school I have quite the plan already! I have accepted a job at Force America in Burnsville as an assembler with plans of working my way up to sales or management. Since I’ll be working in Burnsville, I am moving to the cities. The convenient part of my housing situation is the location of it. I am a few blocks away from the U of M, and I plan on furthering my education once I become settled in.

With all of the talk of me starting my future, I am brought back to the scholarship I received. This will help me get on my feet as I leave school and start my career. I simply cannot thank all of you enough. I am filled with excitement every time I think about it. Again, thank you for your support.


Zachary Zink

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