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Blaess Finds Success in Robotics Program

    Emilie Jenson, Public Information Office
    6/4/2024


Alexander Blaess, Humboldt, IA

Robotics, Class of 2024

Alexander Blaess was first introduced to the world of robotics and machinery through an CNC/industrial machinist course taught by Joel Collins, coordinator of the Computer Integrated Fabrication Program at Iowa Central Community College.

Through those first courses, he became acquainted with Fisher Hydraulics, a manufacturer of industrial hydraulic cylinders in Laurens where he later accepted a job.

While at Fisher, Blaess worked and became familiar with several types of equipment with automated and robotic parts.

“We had a lathe with robotic parts,” said Blaess. “It was at Fisher that I got a great side by side look into what we did manually and what is done automatically. We had one guy who could work with and program all the robotics and I had the opportunity to work with him.”

Blaess soon had a stronger interest in the interworkings of robotic equipment as well as a desire to advance his career and began considering returning to school.

When looking at schools, he discovered the Robotics and Automation program at Iowa Central.

“I knew I wanted to move up in my career and going back to school was the best way to do it,” Blaess said. “As I checked around the program at Iowa Central really stood out to me.”

Blaess said he enrolled with the desire to succeed, but limited experience with robotics. Iowa Central’s program and instructors quickly put him on a path to success.

“I came in with limited experience,” said Blaess. “All of the instructors have different teaching styles and give different perspectives, but they are all so interactive and willing to help you succeed.”

He appreciated the robotics lab and its wide variety of equipment which helped him learn and gain the hands-on experience necessary to succeed in the world of automation and robotics.

“We have an awesome lab and equipment at Iowa Central,” said Blaess. “As I went through the program, I discovered that there are unfathomable opportunities to use and work with robots when you know how to go about it.”

One of the highlights of the from his final semester was working with and programming “Zeus,” the program’s Stokes Robotics “Unitree” robotic dog.

“It’s been fun to have Zeus around and learn how he works,” said Blaess. “Zeus has so many capabilities that I would love to be around longer to see what else he can be programmed to do.”

Blaess said he enjoyed the “trial and error” processes of making robots work.

“Troubleshooting and de-bugging was my favorite part,” he said. “You work with it and retry to get things working if it doesn’t go the first time. It is all a learning process.”

A non-traditional student, husband, and father of five, Blaess, who now resides in Humboldt, appreciated being able to continue his education with a state-of-the-art program close to home while working full-time as a maintenance technician at CTI Foods. He balanced school and work while also participating in Student Senate and graduated with academic honors.

“I appreciated the benefits of having such a great program close to home,” he said. “I was able to work full-time and go to school full-time. I get to apply the skills I have learned, and it has paid off. With the knowledge I now have there are more opportunities for good paying jobs and opportunities to move up in the workforce.”

Blaess Finds Success in Robotics Program

I found a program at Iowa Central that fit exactly what I was looking to do for a career.

Alexis Neese
Engineering & Design Technology
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