Anthony Gerasch to implement new marine technology program

by Vicki Heisser  |   

PWSC is excited to have Anthony Gerasch Jr. join the college team and begin building a new marine service technology program. Gerasch brings an incredible amount of expertise with him, and we recently had the opportunity to find out more about his background, his abundant enthusiasm for living in Alaska, and his plans for the marine tech program.

Even though Gerasch came to PWSC to work on the program, this was not his original path. He explains, “I graduated high school with a plan to go into music school. I did, I was actually a music major at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire for two years. I'm basically a piano test away from having a music minor, but you have to have a major to have a minor. I went to school with the intention of teaching music. I lost the passion for the music, but I still had the idea of teaching. I graduated with an Associate of Arts and Sciences (AAS). After graduation, I still had the teaching idea in my head.”

With music no longer the plan, Gerasch turned to something else he enjoyed.“I had always had a passion for the wrenching type of thing (auto mechanics often refer to wrenching as a general term for working on cars) I did in high school. I was fixing lawn mowers and stuff like that with my grandpa as a side gig. We had a go-kart that was always broken so I had to figure it out. Yeah, I had the passion for, you know, for the wrenching side of stuff. So I graduated from Eau Claire after two years and sought out a technical school, which is almost unheard of. Where I grew up, in a southwest suburb near Chicago, I always heard, “you're going to college.” As expected, I went to college. The idea of going to technical school was kind of unheard of. I convinced my parents to let me attend technical school. My mom found M-State [Minnesota Community and Technical College] and showed me their marine service program. I Went to tech school and did the first year. And it was great. I loved it! I did an internship between the first and second year. Then the second year I started realizing, you know, I could teach this. And that brought that teaching part of it into it. I was deeply supported by my instructor Mike Ullmer. He saw my passion for teaching and prompted me to tutor for his program. ”

During his program, Gerasch interned at a marina in Chetek, Wisconsin. It was an experience he found very rewarding. “Internships are such an invaluable component to someone's education because it gives them insight like, is that what I really want to do in a career? I did an internship, a formal internship at a marine dealership.”

It was shortly after his time in technical school that Gerasch learned about a job opportunity at PWSC. His former instructor Kent Reisnuar received an email about the PWSC job posting, shared it with him, and as he says, “That's how I found out about it, applied for it, and now I am here. I think everybody has that in the back of their head that they should live in Alaska or something.”

Living in Alaska has been enjoyable for Gerasch so far, and he’s really getting out into nature. “Some of my favorite hobbies are fishing, hunting, riding sleds, bikes and wheeling, being on the water - that kind of thing. Wrenching is kind of a hobby, too. Find that good deal on a project or make something cool out of nothing.” 

Gerasch gets to know more of Alaska as he works on the curriculum and development of the marine technology program. “We're working on that every day, where we're talking back and forth. And so right now, we have the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) curriculum, which is a sixteen-credit course that also has the intro to maritime and the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) core curriculum. Those 16-credits will provide students with basic knowledge and skills to service and repair marine equipment. So they would be able to then go work for a shop or dealership and continue to increase their skills and develop a career.”

Gerasch also indicated that they are working on other potential courses for the program.  “The program we're working on will eventually offer a second semester. We are working on creating that.”

As they develop the program, the hope is to begin in the Spring of 2021. As Gerasch shares, right now the focus is “getting everything set up, recruitment, and that kind of thing.” He continues, “In the meantime we want to offer week-long small engine and outboard maintenance intensive classes or something like that.”