According to Pat Klarecki, professor of Printing and Imaging Technology and director of the School of Fabrication and Design at Ferris, without the support of industry here in Michigan and around the country, Mujkic’s run for the gold would not have happened.
Dave Gilson, owner of Gilson Graphics in Grand Rapids and his employees have played an incredible role in providing training for Mujkic. Gilson opened his facility for the entire summer to allow her to train on the same equipment on which she will be competing.
Working on a daily basis with pressman Jerry White, Mujkic immediately fit in as if part of the team. “She has a good work ethic and is a go-getter,” said White.
Gilson Graphics is familiar with Ferris students. Sandy Corneillie (Printing Management ’00) interned and is still there today, according to Gilson. “We are always looking at other potential opportunities for students and the timing was right."
The training has paid off so far. White and Mujkic would have ongoing “competitions” since time is a factor in the WorldSkills competition. She must complete her task within four hours – currently she is at two and a half.
“I thought I would be watching over shoulders,” said Mujkic. “When Jerry was on vacation, Gilson hired me for the week.”
Mujkic started off her training earlier in the summer at the Print Media Academy training class at Heidelberg USA’s Print Media Demonstration Center in Kennesaw, Ga. Her time at Heidelberg was an impactful learning experience. “I didn’t have any experience on a large press,” said Mujkic. “I left knowing this is what I wanted to do.”
Being the first person to represent the U.S. in Printing at WorldSkills is an honor for Mujkic, and she is amazed with her situation. “I came from war torn Croatia to this,” she said.
She has absorbed all the instruction from her professors here at Ferris, said Klarecki. Thomas Oldfield, dean of Ferris’ College of Engineering Technology shared Klarecki’s assessment. “Her success demonstrates the quality of education the faculty provides at Ferris.”
While Gilson and Heidelberg donated their equipment, staff and businesses for the training, The Printing Industries of Michigan organization has helped financially to support Mujkic’s travel for the competitions and training. The Graphic Arts Education Foundation also sponsored the competition entry fees.
After the competition, Mujkic is looking forward to getting back to her studies to graduate in May 2010.