Anthony Nighswander (right) accepts his plaque from Vantage Superintendent Rick Turner for being inducted into the Vantage Hall of Fame. (DHI Media/Kirsten Barnhart)
Anthony Nighswander (right) accepts his plaque from Vantage Superintendent Rick Turner for being inducted into the Vantage Hall of Fame. (DHI Media/Kirsten Barnhart)

VAN WERT – Three Vantage Career Center graduates were inducted into the Vantage Hall of Fame during Thursday’s 41st annual All Boards Dinner in which board members representing the schools Vantage serves were in attendance.

Anthony Nighswander, Jeffrey Schulte, and Shawn Herr were all inducted into the Vantage Hall of Fame Thursday.

“The Vantage Career Center Alumni Hall of Fame is to recognize graduates who have, through their performance and achievement, brought credit and honor to themselves and Vantage Career Center after their graduation,” said Vantage High School Director Tony Unverferth. “Their exemplary public, personal, and career achievements will serve to inspire and provide leadership to future graduates to achieve and serve in the same distinguished manner.”

The night’s first recipient, Anthony Nighswander, was a 1983 Auto Body Repair graduate from Antwerp who now owns APT Manufacturing in Hicksville, Ohio. Upon graduation, he went on to earn credentials in the adult education welding program. He currently employs 135 employees and serves customers around the globe.

“I’m not sure where I would be if I didn’t go to Vantage,” said Nighswander. “I was not college material; I see a lot of students who go to Vantage who aren’t college material and that’s okay.”

Nighswander said his company employees many students from Vantage and is always looking for those students who work hard like the students from Vantage.

Also honored was Jeffrey Schulte, a 2002 Machine Tool Technology graduate from Kalida. He now is the Plant Operations Manager for Unverferth Manufacturing in Kalida, Ohio. After attending Vantage Career Center, Schulte attended Owens Community College where he earned an Associates Degree of Applied Science in Manufacturing Technology and a Tool and Die certificate. He then transferred to Eastern Michigan University to further his skills in manufacturing where he earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Applied Technology followed by a Master’s in Business Administration at the University of Northwestern Ohio.

In his position at Unverferth Manufacturing he has led two plant expansions, supervised several departments, developed operations and work flow of product lines and more. He is also very active in his community.

“Vantage Career Center has provided me with the skills and the tools to be successful both professionally and personally,” said Schulte who noted that prior to attending Vantage he struggled in school and was not interested in education. “Once I started in the Machine Tool program I found a passionate drive for education and learning. I’m very grateful for that.”

The third Hall of Fame award was given to Shawn Herr, a 2004 Industrial Mechanics graduate from Continental. He is now a Chief, Recruit Division Commander in the U.S. Navy. Upon graduation and joining the Navy, Herr was deployed to Iraq for six months and has been deployed elsewhere in the world several times. He has been involved in many key Navy activities and for the last 18 months he has overseen the complete overhaul of the Navy’s boot camp scheduling. He has been awarded many medals for his service.

Herr has been actively serving in the U.S. Navy for the past 14 years and was not able to be at the ceremony. His mother, Shellie Moran, accepted his award on his behalf.

Herr did, however, send a video speech expressing gratitude for Vantage and the honor of being inducted into the Hall of Fame.

“Vantage taught me many things,” said Herr who explained that he had to find a job in the Navy that worked for him.

He signed up for a steel worker position and realized that the job was exactly what he did at Vantage. He was able to be comfortable in his work and able to “build off the foundation, building blocks and that technical experience” that Vantage had given him.

Herr also said that Vantage taught him initiative, accountability, and to work hard.

All honorees were given a plaque and will have their picture hung with past year’s honorees in the coming months.

Also during the diner, Precision Machining Instructor Larry Ray and students from the Vantage Precision Machining class presented cutouts of Ohio that they built to Senator Robert McColly and Representative Craig Riedel with their names cut into the piece. Vantage Superintendent Rick Turner was also surprised with his own cut-out of Ohio as well.