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October 13, 2013 | Tom Ballard

Andy Pokelwaldt brings military, education and mentoring experience to Roane State’s ACE program

(EDITOR’S NOTE: The following article was submitted by Roane State Community College and describes a program on whose advisory board the Editor of serves.) 

As the leader of Roane State Community College’s Advanced Composites Employment (ACE) accelerator, Andy Pokelwaldt can blend his experience as a military trainer, an educator and a mentor.

“I enjoy teaching, and I understand what having skills in composite materials will mean in the marketplace,” Pokelwaldt said. “Learning about composite materials will make people more employable, and that’s what this job is all about.”

The ACE program, based at the Halcyon Center at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, provides three introductory courses in composite materials. People with two- or four-year degrees can take the courses at no cost because ACE is grant-funded.

The program includes instruction in:

  • Polymer chemistry required for manufacturing composite materials products
  • Methods used to manufacture composite materials
  • The role of automation in composite materials manufacturing
  • How to safely handle hazardous materials
  • Hands-on application of composite materials manufacturing processes

“ACE is a great option for businesses who want their employees to learn about composite materials,” Pokelwaldt said.

With Pokelwaldt, businesses have a contact who understands training.

Pokelwaldt was a senior noncommissioned officer, active Army, at Army Forces Command Headquarters, Fort McPherson/Fort Bragg, N.C.; an administrative chief in the United States Marine Corps Reserve; and a supervisor/trainer with the Tennessee Army National Guard. During his service in Iraq, Pokelwaldt trained more than 1,000 Iraqi soldiers in tactics, administrative operations and logistics.

Pokelwaldt’s military education and experience includes human resources management, lean six sigma, consulting, personnel management, training program development, IT security, project management and contractor relations.

Pokelwaldt is also a seasoned educator. He spent nearly a decade as a teacher and case manager at Maryville Middle School/Junior High School where he worked with multidisabled and behaviorally challenged seventh- and eighth-grade students.

Pokelwaldt earned his bachelor’s degree in education from State University of New York College at Fredonia, his master’s in education from the University of Tennessee and his Ed.S. in administration and supervision from Lincoln Memorial University.

“Throughout my career, an enjoyment of teaching others has been a common thread,” Pokelwaldt said. “I am excited to be a part of the ACE program to help train people for jobs in this growing field.”

For more information about ACE, email, call (865) 354-3000 ext. 4865 or visit To contact Pokelwaldt, call (865) 354-3000 ext. 4923 or email

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