Pictured is Jay Dureske with Larry Lundblad.

MSC Southeast honors Jay Dureske with 2018 Outstanding Alumni Award


Since graduating from the electronics technology program in 1992, Jay Dureske has advanced his career to a leadership role as an engineering supervisor at Benchmark Electronics and has become a valued supporter of Minnesota State College Southeast.

On Wednesday, May 9, he was honored with the Outstanding Alumni of the Year award at the college’s Winona campus graduation ceremony. The award recognizes outstanding personal and professional achievement and service to others.

“In my 35 years here, I have never seen a single community member do so much for our college behind the scenes,” said electronics technology instructor Mike Wadewitz in nominating Dureske for the award. “He has always graciously volunteered his time when working with current and future students.”

Dureske served in the Armed Forces Reserves for 12 years — six years in the Marines and six years in the Army. While enrolled at MSC Southeast, he was called up and served in Desert Storm. Despite the interruption to his education, he returned to college and graduated from the electronics technology program. “He was a great student,” remembered Wadewitz.

Benchmark’s Winona facility manufactures supercomputing, aerospace, and medical components. Dureske began his career at Benchmark in 2005 as a bench technician, and then moved into a supervisory/leadership role in 2008. He credits his education at MSC Southeast for setting him on the right path.

“The instructors do a really good job at setting us up with a base of knowledge and giving us the resources to learn more going forward,” Dureske said, noting that, “The technology I learned back in 1992 is long gone. The industry is continually evolving so you have to be ready to learn to keep up with it.”

In a similar vein, Dureske has helped arrange internships for MSC Southeast instructors to come to Benchmark and keep up with the latest technologies. “These opportunities have helped the college maintain a very well-known and highly respected electronics technology program,” said Wadewitz.

Dureske’s connections to MSC Southeast remain strong. He refers employees to the college for additional training and brings first-year electronics students to Benchmark for tours. He also comes to campus to present at high school and college career fairs. “I believe Benchmark’s partnership with the college is vital for us to be able to fill our new employee pipeline,” he said.

In addition to his service to the college, Dureske is very active in the Winona community. He has been involved in the EMS field for more than 20 years, volunteered on several community outreach mission trips, and serves as chairperson and head cook for a weekly free community meal at Central Lutheran Church.

“On behalf of the entire college community, I am happy to congratulate Jay Dureske for receiving the 2018 Outstanding Alumni - Winona Award,” said Interim President Larry Lundblad. “This is an honor well deserved.”

About Minnesota State College Southeast
Minnesota State College Southeast is a two-year technical and community college that prepares students for a lifetime of learning by providing education for employment, skill enhancement, retraining, and transfer, to meet the needs of students and the community. The Winona campus opened in 1949, merging with the Red Wing campus in 1992 and updating its name to Minnesota State College Southeast in 2016 with the change of mission to offer both technical training and the associate of arts degree. The college’s signature band instrument repair, violin repair, and guitar repair and building programs draw students from across the United States and around the world, many with advanced music education and performance degrees.

Minnesota State College Southeast is a member of Minnesota State. For more information, visit www.southeastmn.edu.


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