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Monday, February 23, 2015

Intellicom Computer Consulitng, UNK relationship benefits both

By JOSH MOODY Hub Staff Writer

KEARNEY — Close ties between Intellicom Computer Consulting and the University of Nebraska at Kearney have created a reciprocal relationship between the two organizations — Intellicom has provided UNK with resources, and UNK has provided Intellicom with employees.

According to staff bios, 20 of the 30 Intellicom employees listed on its website are UNK products.

The partnership is a “win, win, win,” said Intellicom Vice President of Operations Bryan Kuntz, a UNK graduate, said.

“It helps our business, helps the university and, ultimately, helps the student,” Kuntz said. “I can say with complete confidence that our business wouldn’t be where it is today without the relationship we have with UNK and having UNK in our backyard.”

That’s why Intellicom donated $150,000 in financial support, talent-sharing and equipment to UNK and its information networking and telecommunications program in October.

“The gift was in the form of cash, equipment and talent,” said Tim Obermier, department chair of the UNK industrial technology department. “A big chunk of that is they’re going to be coming to our campus.”

Angela Hollman, an industrial technology professor who teaches technical networking skills, said that the equipment has been a boon in the classroom.

“Oftentimes, it’s hard to support a hands-on lab environment,” she said. The networking equipment Intellicom donated helped give graduates an advantage when they seek work.

“It’s the skill-set that they get in this program that matches Intellicom’s business plan most closely,” Obermier said of his students.

Obermier said industrial technology students have no trouble finding work. He said job placement is 100 percent for dedicated students. “We’ve put students in many companies across this country, big companies.”

Obermier and Hollman hope the industrial technology department grows, which may require an expansion of the Otto Olson Building that houses the department.

“We have more companies that want our students than we have students. We need more students,” Obermier said.

Hollman added that with industrial technology constantly growing and expanding, “The sky is the limit.”

Kuntz echoed that notion: “The technology industry is definitely expanding and growing, and I think it’s a byproduct of everybody’s reliance on technology. Businesses are more reliant on technology today than they were 10 years ago.”

He said unemployment rates for industrial technology graduates are almost zero, and skilled workers are in high demand.

“The bottom line is that we need more students interested in technology; we’re just not producing enough graduates across the board,” Kuntz said.

Obermier said Intellicom has realized that it can benefit by working with UNK to provide financial support, personnel and equipment.

“They realize that they are providing such a tremendous benefit to their bottom line; those are the people that make that company work,” Obermier said. “It’s not only a benefit to them, but it’s a benefit so that we can keep growing the program.”

Intellicom has also been a regular source of internships for IT students looking to complete a required 480-hour internship. Kuntz estimated that Intellicom has brought in about 30 interns over the course of 20 years.

Obermier added that other technology companies have also supported the IT program. Frontier Communications has contributed scholarship funds and equipment to the department; Aruba Networks has donated wireless equipment; and students take facility tours of Educational Service Unit 10, Cash-Wa Distributing Co., CHI Health Good Samaritan and the 911 Communications Center.

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