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Bringing the Future to You tour kicks off in Montrose

Sturm Family and ANB Bank officials celebrate enhanced rural education with launch of Mobile Learning Lab

On Thursday, October 17, Sue and Emily Sturm and ANB Bank officials will climb into the cab of a new Mobile Learning Lab that they generously invested more than $450,000 to build. The family and bank officials will join CMU and Western Colorado Community College on a tour that begins in Montrose and will end in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, during the course of two days.

“We believe CMU, WCCC and local employers can work together to better align higher education with job opportunities,” said Emily Sturm. “Our family, and ANB Bank, look forward to seeing the Mobile Learning Lab bring valuable skills to communities large and small along the Western Slope.”

The lab was funded with gifts from the Sturm Family and ANB Bank and features mechatronics training and high-tech learning equipment. The Bringing the Future to You tour will stop in Montrose, Grand Junction, Parachute and Glenwood Springs on October 17-18 and will visit additional rural communities in the coming spring.

“The commitment from WCCC is that this facility will deliver programing and training to every community in western Colorado who wants it,” said Vice President of Community College Affairs Brigitte Sündermann. “From the North Fork and Uncompahgre valleys to the Wyoming border and the Continental Divide, this lab has the capability to change how we think about delivery of education in our service area.” 

Sündermann is already scheduling additional trainings and demonstrations with local businesses in the region with numerous organizations interested in signing up. 

The new mobile facility came with external graphics that make the vehicle eye-catching from the outside, but the equipment inside is what really matters in terms of community benefit. The lab contains a host of advanced mechatronics equipment. Mechatronics is a manufacturing and technology discipline that integrates software, programmable electronic controls, sensors, robotics and mechanical systems into automated equipment and advanced manufacturing processes. The equipment inside the truck is state-of -the-art. 

During the midway point of The Bringing the Future to You tour, the mobile lab will stop at the ANB Bank’s location near CMU in Grand Junction. The event will include the Grand Junction Area Chamber, elected officials, university leaders and bank employees who will formally celebrate the grand opening of the facility.

“The fact that the launch of this educational milestone in our community happens to coincide in national manufacturing week is a testament to our partnerships and focus on manufacturing, and is why the Grand Junction Area Chamber will be on hand to help facilitate the ribbon cutting,” said Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce CEO Diane Schwenke. “Advanced Manufacturing continues to be a priority for our region’s economic future and this facility will play a meaningful role in preparing the workforce for that future.”

Event speakers will include ANB Bank Regional President Vance Wagner, CMU President Tim Foster, the Sturm Family, Grand Junction Chamber and WCCC officials.

Foster, also a western Colorado native and former rural legislator, remembers the challenges facing small communities when it comes to education infrastructure.

“This is the kind of project that communities like Gateway, Collbran, Mesa, DeBeque and Maybell, to name just a few, can benefit from. While we are in Grand Junction today, tomorrow this lab could easily be in Paonia, Colorado, delivering workforce training. That’s the versatility that mobility brings to CMU and WCCC and the communities we serve.” 

On Thursday, the lab will stop in Parachute, Colorado at Caerus Oil & Gas where students from Grand Valley High School plan to experience what the lab has to offer. The baking soda and energy industries based in Parachute stand to benefit from the lab's future programming. 

The Bringing the Future to You tour will end in Glenwood Springs in celebration with community leaders and Glenwood Springs Bank employees.


For business, schools and organization interested in training representatives should contact Brigitte Sündermann [email protected].



Written by David Ludlam