The Center for Applied Mechatronics at Alexandria Technical & Community College is the result of over 40 years of program evolution. The center began life in 1968 as the Fluid Power Technology Department of the Alexandria Area Vocational Technical Institute. One of the early missions of this department was the training of test technicians for the hydraulics industry. Because of the need for electronics skills in the area of instrumentation, the program has long had a "dual strength" in fluid power mechanics and motion control technology. The Fluid Power Technology program was the first in the state to introduce the use of PLCs (Programmable Logic Controllers) to its students for industrial automation. Since the mid-1980s we have taught digital control technology hand in hand with pneumatics and hydraulics.

In recognition of this comprehensive approach to industrial control the name of the department was changed to CAMC or the Center for Automation and Motion Control.

We are deeply rooted in our fluid power past and as such remain committed to fundamental and sound education of its principles. For the future we are also preparing our students to develop, deliver, and support the advanced automated control that helps harness that power. This dual strength is uniquely ours...we call it learning at the speed of technology.

The first instructor in the program was Mel Christenson. Ken Ryan was hired in 1996 and currently leads the core team of instructors.

Other instructors include:

  • Ron Gore (1969 - 1997)
  • Lyle Maack (1970 - 1971, the "diamond in the rough")
  • Rodney Ebbenga (1971 - 1972)
  • Wayne Jensen (1972 - 1973)
  • Orrin Miller (1973 - 1977)
  • John Seim (1979 - 200?)
  • Robert Hoover (1985 - 1994)
  • Al Husby (1994 - 1997)
  • Tom Midthun (1996 - 1997)
  • Ken Ryan (1996 - 2012)
  • Rob Auel (1997 - present)
  • Todd Zarbok (1997 - present)
  • Mark Sagedahl (2012 - present)


Center for Applied Mechatronics in 1980


Center for Applied Mechatronics in 1997


Center for Applied Mechatronics in 2003


Center for Applied Mechatronics in 2012