Conversations with a new pro-tech professor

Sarah Widener–Staff Writer

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Photo by Sarah Widener

Dordt welcomes Mr. Tim Floen to the Pro-Tech program. Floen is a dynamic individual full of enthusiasm for the Pro Tech industry. He is a teacher at heart and enjoys investing in his students.

Q: Who influenced you the most in life and why?

A: My father influenced me the most due to the fact that I grew up on a farm and was working with him every day. I did chores and watched him try to figure out and fix different things. I admire that about him. He could figure out almost anything that was broken and cobble it back together. We didn’t have a lot of money back in the 70’s and early 80’s so if we could fix something and limp it by for a little bit we would.

I’ve bought that mentality to Dordt as well. Instead of buying a bunch of new equipment for the program, I talked with local industries and we have received very, very, highly discounted rates. These discounts are due to the fact that Dordt is an educational institute and because I have good relationships from my time in the industry with these companies. We have saved over $100,000 in discounts already.

Q: What has been your greatest challenge in life?

A: My family moved Sioux Center in 1980 when I was a sophomore in High School. I grew up in a non-Christian home, so that made life here a challenge. The Sioux Center community was reclusive and not welcoming to outsiders. If I wanted to fit in and be like them, (Sioux Center locals) I had two go to church twice every Sunday and act more like the people that were excluding and being mean to me. I didn’t want to be like them. It was about a six year period that I struggled with this. Eventually I met my wife’s family and got to see what a real Christian family was like. I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for this challenge.

fullsizeoutput_b14.jpegQ: How did you end up at Northwest Iowa Technical (now community) College?

A: Growing up on a farm, I planned on farming for all of my life. I had a little wrench thrown in this plan in my late teens early twenties that ended up being a roadblock to this plan. I had a genetic defect in my lower back that caused me to have two of my vertebrae fused together. After this surgery, my doctor told me I couldn’t do repetitive or heavy work and should look into other career options. I found myself at 24 married with two kids signing up for college not sure what I was going for.

Q: How did you become interested in the manufacturing industry?

A: I took a survey at Northwest Iowa Technical College to try to figure out what industry I was best suited for. I knew I wanted to get a higher education but I didn’t know what in. It turned out that I had high math and mechanical skills and manufacturing fits nicely between these two disciplines. I graduated with an Industrial Instrumentation and Control associate’s degree.

Q: Where did you go after graduation?

A: I went into the industry at Interstate Control Systems, where I was a control system programmer. While I was here, one of my instructors from college retired and the school asked me to go back and teach. I turned the job down three times but finally gave in and said, “Okay I think this might be what God is telling me to do because it just keeps coming back to me.” I remember thinking “Maybe this isn’t about me but what God wants me to do.” I ended up teaching for twelve years and getting my Bachelor’s Degree at Bellevue College. I found a love for teaching and realized I love serving others. It’s not just a job – it’s a calling and a gifting given by God. After teaching, I went back to the industry for five years. During these years I was always thinking, “I gotta get back and teach somewhere.” That’s when I started meeting with Dordt as the school was framing the new Pro-Tech program to add my input, since I had already been around the block a time or two. Then, the program structure and teaching style was not a good fit for me so I turned down a job offer to teach here. This spring, I sat down with faculty again and because of how the program has been changing over the last few years, I took the job.

fullsizeoutput_b1e.jpegQ: What are your goals as a pro tech teacher?

A: To make the program more hands on.

How does your religion influence your work at Dordt and the manufacturing industry?
I believe that this field in general is all about serving as an employee. I’m trying to help people. I’m trying to help my employer manufacturer get more products for less money and I’m trying to be a good steward. So there’s two things I focus on: serving well, and being a good steward. I think these go hand in hand in Pro-Tech manufacturing.

Q: What are your hobbies?

A:My family is full of die-hard outdoors men. We’re hunters: we do archery, fishing, hiking and really anything outside.

Q: What’s your favorite part about this job right now?

A: The students. You know that Dordt has got some really great students. They have some incredibly attractive convictions and faith. I just love that about them. They’re nice people, period. Kind, polite, and respectful. I love my students.

Q: How do you see God working at Dordt?

A: I see God working in the fact that Dordt is reaching out and trying to get into the more technical fields, where God can really use people.

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