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Anode Systems builds Mesa County Scholarship Initiative

Classroom dedication reveals unique community partner

New beginnings, creativity, upward mobility and inclusivity were company attributes on display during a dedication ceremony at CMU honoring Anode Systems. The company invested $100,000 in Mesa County scholarships through the CMU Foundation. The investment was made by President and Owner Hans Schmoldt and employees who gathered inside a Houston Hall lecture room that now bears the company name.

At the gathering, Anode Systems employees were identifiable by their matching shirts and hats, but also by a shared additional common identifier — their last name.

“At Anode Systems, we don’t say our employees are like a family,” said Schmoldt. “That’s because our business literally is made up of extended family. The heart and soul of Anode Systems is comprised of a large extended family who immigrated to western Colorado from Mexico and make for a wonderful, diverse team of extraordinary people.”

Schmoldt’s wife Kathy was also present during the event and was introduced as a mother figure for the Anode Systems family. He explained that Kathy is engaged with the company by creating a culture that supports and strengthens family. In addition to his spouse, Schmoldt introduced 70-year-old Reinaldo Fuentes, who in addition to

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Schmoldt & wife Kathy with President Tim Foster

working at Anode Systems, also represents the first of three generations of Fuentes family members who work with Schmoldt. Fuentes speaks almost no English and doesn’t carry a formal education. His children have only some primary school education. The grandchildren of Fuentes, however, are currently attending CMU, WCCC and/or occupy leadership positions throughout the community. Fuentes has five grandsons who work for Anode systems, and one who is the current student body president at Central High School.

“The story of Anode Systems seems to align with the values of CMU because we seek to serve and employ many first -generation students as well as those from minority populations,” said CMU Student Trustee Amara Hobbs. “Anode Systems’ scholarship investment will support future Mesa County students who aspire to higher education.”

Naming ceremonies that occur because of investments in CMU typically include a single company or family representative. In the case of Anode Systems, Schmoldt invited his more than twenty employees, who each received a personal photograph with President Tim Foster. Schmoldt believes because the money contributed by the company was earned by all those who work for Anode Systems that all employees should take part of the celebration. Additionally, the entire team attended because there are already four children from the Anode Systems family attending CMU. Schmoldt hopes that there are many more to come.

“Anode Systems is making an investment in CMU so that we can hire local, train local and create the American dream for local people,” said Schmoldt. “In fewer than three generations, my employees and their families have started with no formal education and are now students, coaches and leaders in the community. This is made possible with hard work and education and I hope our scholarship funds now invested at CMU will make the American Dream of upward mobility possible for others in Mesa County.”

In the years to come, Anode Systems anticipates needing new engineers, administrative support, internet technology support, computer programming, sales and managerial expertise. Schmoldt has in the past considered looking to his own alma mater in Missouri, but today he sees the progress at CMU and believes in the institution. Anode Systems also believes investing in CMU, and then hiring employees from CMU, will be better for the community and better for Anode Systems because the company can build relationships with its future employees.
These relationships are formed through internships, volunteering and advising on campus. Schmoldt noted that it was his volunteering efforts on campus that ultimately led to his investment in CMU.

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Schmoldt is a believer in Greek life and is himself a former leader of Delta Sigma Phi. In 2019, he was an active supporter and advisor to CMU’s Greek life hosting barbecues, river float trips and organizing support for the college students who belong to Delta Sigma Phi.

“I was on campus one day helping young people learn about how Greek life can develop community when I wandered into Dominquez Hall. It was in the halls of this building that I noticed many of the classrooms were named for companies and individuals,” said Schmoldt. “I walked to the CMU Foundation and decided right then and there: CMU was a place worthy of our company’s support.”

In many ways the affinity shared between Anode Systems’ employees and CMU is not a surprise to Foster.
“CMU is a place where we go above and beyond to welcome minority students, first-generation college students and people for whom higher education might be a new consideration,” said Foster. “I was pleased to learn that a number of people who work at Anode Systems have children who are attending CMU right now and are first-generation students. Their attendance affirms that CMU is an education vehicle for those who want to change their future through education.”

Anode Systems employees expressed excitement to be on campus and were pleased that Schmoldt made the event one that all employees were invited to attend. One team member explained that the devices made at Anode Systems are buried underground with utilities, pipelines and tanks and are not seen again once they are installed. They expressed appreciation that the room naming plaque will be a permanent visible reminder that gives meaning to the fruits of their labor.

In addition to Foster, additional CMU leaders joined the naming ceremony including the CMU Student Trustee Amara Hobbs and the CMU Faculty Trustee Suzanne Owens. The contribution from Anode Systems supports the Mesa County Scholarship Initiative. The effort was launched in 2018 by CMU and is an effort to build on the City of Grand Junction’s investment in Mesa County students. With full funding, the initiative will allow all underserved Mesa County high school students to attend CMU with some form of scholarship support.

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Written by David Ludlam