Born and raised in Coon Rapids, Minn., Scott Schulte has a passion and commitment to community. In 1958, his father started a service station, Hi Ten Service, that Scott owns and operates today. Starting at the age of 11, Schulte could be found helping around the shop and by the time he was in high school he was working full-time alongside his dad.
“I knew I wanted to be an auto mechanic,” said Schulte.
Schulte carried a 4.0 grade point average all through high school and felt pressure from parents, deans, counselors and others to consider a different path. But he knew his passion for cars would push him to follow in his father’s footsteps.
Right out of high school, Schulte attended an 18-month automotive technical program. After finishing the program, he immediately enrolled in the Automotive Technician program at Anoka Tech for more hands-on experience. While at Anoka Tech, he also took Business courses at Anoka-Ramsey Community College.
During this time, Schulte’s passion for technical education was solidified. Today, in his roles as Anoka County Commissioner and member of the Anoka Tech Advisory Board, Schulte has made it a priority that the colleges remain a vibrant part of the community.
“I love being part of the technical college and I am thrilled to be part of the organization and continue now politically to work to make sure that the colleges stay vibrant and have every opportunity to succeed,” said Schulte.
Hands-On Shop Experience
At the first college Schulte attended, the first year of the 18-month program was spent in the classroom. “There was no shop work at all, which was okay for me because I had the shop to come back home to. I could study in the classroom and then come to the shop and work and put into play everything I learned in the classroom,” Schulte reflected. “But I saw a lot of students it didn't work for and I thought a lot of these people need to be in the shop from day one, they need to implement what they're learning in order to remember.”
Though that was a while ago, and Schulte admittedly doesn’t know how the school operates today, he was always impressed by how Anoka Tech’s hands-on training starts at day one.
“It was a great education and a completely different atmosphere,” Schulte said.
From Student to Mechanic, Advisor and Commissioner
When Schulte finished college, auto mechanics were as in demand as they are today. With a shop to call his own, he has watched how the college and industry have evolved over the years, and yet stayed the same.
For decades, Schulte has hired Anoka Tech graduates or students from technical program high schools. As part of the advisory board for the Automotive program and eventually the entire college, he’s been able to share feedback with the college about how the local workforce can benefit from their programming and partnership.
“The industry demands good technicians,” said Schulte. “Anoka Tech has just produced really, really good technicians for us and a lot of that is, from my perspective, the work ethic that people in this area have. They know what's expected of them and they're willing to do the work.”
Schulte’s sees the benefit of the college beyond his role as an advisor and business owner. As an Anoka County commissioner and current chair of the board, Schulte sees the benefit to the local workforce and economy.
“When I look at students coming to the school and how the school has evolved, they've just done everything to embrace the change in the students and continue to focus on the important things like student success,” said Schulte. “The focus to get students educated to turn out a really good population that will be the next workers in our community, whether it's welding or nursing or a machinist, Anoka Tech knows what needs to be done in our neighborhoods, right here in Anoka County. It's pretty impressive; I’m really proud to be a part of it.”