Learn from the Best: Ben Meyering shares decades of manufacturing experience with his students

Ben Meyering, an adjunct faculty member in the Manufacturing Department.

Come to GRCC and learn from the best! Meet Ben Meyering, an adjunct faculty member in the Manufacturing Department is sharing his expertise with students to get them ready for a rewarding career.

GRCC’s manufacturing degree and certificate programs focus on teaching students the application of high-tech production equipment, software and techniques to achieve cost savings and quality in the manufacturing, service and distribution industries.

Ben values his position as an adjunct faculty member in the department because of the great communication he has with his colleagues, and the professional development programs they all have access to.

Ben teaches MN 218 Pneumatics, MN 217 Hydraulics, TE 103 Intermediate Technical Mathematics and TE 104 Advanced Technical Mathematics. He connects with students to teach them critical thinking and hands-on skills to prepare them for careers in manufacturing, plastics, tooling and welding.

Though he has found success, Ben did not plan to work in manufacturing when he graduated high school.

“I failed out of four-year college and then got an internship that led me to this type of work,” he said. “The rest is history.” 

Looking back, Ben thinks there might have been an easier path to his career and teaching, but doesn’t regret his journey.

“It’s easier to go to college and get your degree when you are right out of high school,” he said. “Although work did pay for my college tuition.” 

Ben has two decades of on-the-job experience in manufacturing to share with his students. He earned his associate degree in industrial maintenance technology and a bachelor’s in management.

He began his career working at Bil-Mar foods in security, then as a maintenance technician and refrigeration technician. He spent some time operating his own business, then began moving up the career ladder at Mead Johnson Nutrition –  working as a reliability technician, senior reliability technician, then associate manager of reliability. Ben worked as a maintenance manager at Keurig Dr Pepper Inc. in Holland, before he stepped into his current position, maintenance and reliability manager at Vertellus in Zeeland.

Jerad Berkenpas’ pitching, Ryan Dykstra’s hitting power GRCC baseball to victory over Kellogg in NJCAA Region 12 tournament

Jerad Berkenpas pitching.

Jerad Berkenpas pitched a complete game and Ryan Dykstra went four-for-four to lead the Grand Rapids Community College baseball team to victory over Kellogg Community College and advance in the NJCAA Region 12 tournament.

GRCC, which has won 17 games in a row, defeated Kellogg, which finished in first place in the conference, 8-2. GRCC now plays Lansing Community College, the top team in the state and one of the best in the nation, on Friday.

After going just 1-for-10 to start the game, the GRCC bats came alive in the top of the fourth inning, scoring three runs on four hits to pull in front 3-2.

Cam Keatley hit the go-ahead single and Berkenpas didn’t allow a run for the remainder of the game.

Keatley finished the day 3-for-5 while Berkenpas threw his fourth complete game of the season – and first career nine-inning complete game – improving his record to 9-2.  The right-hander from South Christian High School also leads the team with a 1.41 ERA and 71 strikeouts in 74.1 innings.

Berkenpas praised his catcher, Dylan Chargo after the win.

“It was a great team win, and I couldn’t be more thankful for my catcher after such an excellent performance today,” he said.

MCCAA Western Conference Player of the Week Ryan Dykstra increased his batting average to .425 after going a perfect 4-for-4 from the plate with a sacrifice fly.

GRCC totaled 16 hits in all, and every one of them were singles. The Bruins scattered 7 hits, but just one after the third inning.  Berkenpas retired 14 consecutive batters.

GRCC also was the first team this year to hand Kellogg ace Ashton Potts a loss.  Last week’s Western Conference Pitcher of the Week is now 8-1 this season.

GRCC, 31-20-1 on the season, will now face eighth-ranked Lansing Community College on May 20 at 1 p.m. in the winners bracket final.  If defeated, the team will play Kellogg again at 5 p.m. If GRCC wins, it advances to the championship game on Saturday at 1 p.m. 

Take GRCC with you this summer: Second summer semester classes starting soon, with online options accessible from anywhere you go

Student typing on a computer.

Pack your laptop and notebook with your flip-flops and sunscreen so you can take Grand Rapids Community College with you on summer vacation this year to save money and get ahead on your education. 

About 1,600 seats are available in classes during GRCC’s second summer semester, providing opportunities for students to start earning credits for a new credential or to stay on track for graduation.

The second seven-week summer semester starts on June 28, with many classes available in person on the Main Campus in Grand Rapids and at the GRCC Lakeshore Campus.

And about half of the classes are offered in an online format, making it convenient to take classes with you this summer whether you are headed Up North, to the lake or staying around town. It’s also easy to schedule around home and work responsibilities.

“The second summer semester provides many opportunities for students to get a head start on their education, especially those just graduating from high school,” GRCC President Bill Pink said. “These classes also are ideal for summer guest students looking to save money while earning credits.”

Classes are available in a wide variety of subjects, including math, English, social sciences, biology, chemistry, computer information systems and others.

Summer classes are popular with students who attend four-year colleges and universities because they can transfer credits from GRCC’s more affordable courses back to their home school. Additional information is at grcc.edu/guest, and students should always check with their home institution’s course equivalency guide.

Eligible students are able to use Grand Rapids Promise Zone scholarships to attend GRCC, including enrolling as guest students. The Promise Zone covers tuition and expenses. Additional information is at grcc.edu/promisezone.

Residents 25 and older with a college degree can attend through the Michigan Reconnect program, which covers the cost of in-district tuition. Additional information is available at grcc.edu/reconnect.

Potential students can start the enrollment process at grcc.edu/apply and can contact the Enrollment Center by phone at (616) 234-3300 and by email at enroll@grcc.edu and be connected to their personal enrollment specialist.