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Work Ethic Scholarship Recipient – Eric Kovacevich has set his sights on Manufacturing Engineer Technology

eric-kovacevich-1When Eric Kovacevich was 4-years old, he and his brother and sister were sent to live with their grandparents on a 2,500-acre dairy farm for the summer. There were a thousand cows and rows and rows of corn and grain. It was a great adventure for the siblings – until they learned the reason why.

“The first time I visited mom in the hospital is when I realized she was really sick.”

Eric’s mom, Linda had a brain tumor, and her prognosis was not good – four months. Linda fought her battle while she and the rest of the family tried to give her kids as normal a life as possible under the circumstances.

When summer turned to fall, Linda was out of the hospital. Eric’s grandmother came over every day to help the kids get ready for school. She would stay there until they went to bed at night. During the weekends it was back to the farm with grandma while Linda rested and Eric’s dad looked after her.

As each year passed Linda kept fighting and beat the odds. Life slowly got back to normal. Eric continued to go to his grandparent’s farm on the weekends. He learned all about farming but took a special interest in the mechanical equipment. He helped with everything from replacing sickles on a combine to rebuilding a dump truck. He took an interest in motorbikes and cars, helping his dad and uncle perform maintenance on all their vehicles.

By the time he got to Mayville High School he thought for sure he would wind up as either a diesel or aviation mechanic. Then he met Mr. Seiler.

Dave Seiler taught welding class Eric’s senior year. “He exposed me to different types of manufacturing. He really went above and beyond to give me a push to explore, setting up factory tours and teaching me how to use different programs and equipment in his free time.” By Eric’s second semester Mr. Seiler invited him to participate in Cardinal Industries.  According to their Facebook page, “Cardinal Industries is a student run manufacturing business rueric-kovacevich-3n out of the Technology and Engineering Education shop at Mayville High School.”

People from all around Wisconsin bring their ideas to Cardinal, and the students design and manufacture their products. It’s a working business where the students handle everything. Eric got to use a laser engraver and a computer numerical control router, or CNC, and he loved it. “It was really intriguing for me, eight of us working fluidly on projects. That’s when I knew this was something I wanted to do.”

Eric set his sights on attending Fox Valley Technical College with the goal to graduate as a Manufacturing Engineer Technician. He started looking for scholarships. “I’ve always followed the Mike Rowe Facebook page, and noticed the previous year he was giving out scholarships. I made sure to look into it when I was eligible to apply.” Eric received a #mikeroweWORKS scholarship as well as several others, including from the Mayville Rotary Club and Future Farmers of America. National FFA Organization

When asked about the prospects of getting hired after graduation Eric said, “That should not be a problem. I’ve watched the graduating students get hired left and right, and they are getting options.”

When Eric receives his Manufacturing Engineering Technology certificate in the spring of 2018 he wants his mom to be there to see it. Linda has been cancer free for 8 years.


PS. Applicants for the mikeroweWORKS work ethic scholarship are encouraged to make a video to submit with their application. I was so impressed with Eric’s that I wanted to share it with you all. I asked Eric for his permission and he agreed.

mikeroweWORKS Facebook Page

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