Electronics Instructor Stays On Cutting Edge

Jon Burman

Jon Burman started his career as an electronics instructor at Western in 1997. The first classes he taught were related to computer electronics and troubleshooting.

Times have changed for Burman, and his focus has shifted to a more sustainable approach to electronics. Bill Brendel, former dean of the Industrial Technologies division, knew of Burman’s interest in renewable energy and invited him to be involved with the college’s Hydro Power Station in Angelo, Wis. Burman knew this was a once in a lifetime chance he couldn’t turn down.

The Hydro Power Station is a sustainable and green project that will provide learning opportunities for students while simultaneously acting to reduce the college’s own carbon emissions and reliance on fossil fuels.

Burman’s role in the power station involved looking over the facility plans, numerous visits to the facility as it was being constructed, and keeping a photo log of the construction process. Now that the facility is complete, Burman has taken his students there for tours and to measure and calculate the power that the dam is producing.

Burman’s interest in renewable energy has inspired him to keep current with new and emerging technology. He subscribes to countless print and web-based technical journals, and he even tracks advancements that may not directly relate to his course teachings.

“There are other areas of developing technology that have the future potential of being controlled by or related to electronics,” said Burman. “A good example of that is nanocellulose, a product made from waste wood such as sawdust that can be used to make flexible electronics that can be worn without breaking.”

Burman also takes professional development courses that are offered nationally and has worked with companies to get hands-on experience with new practices in the field. He and his family also own an off-the-grid cabin, which he uses as a living lab.

“It has become a very interesting project to see how little energy we can use in a day, and by incorporating new lighting systems we can see how much more efficient they are,” explained Burman.

Burman is passionate about what he does and is someone who keeps himself educated and never stops learning. He has many ideas for programs and projects involving not only the electronics program, but the entire Industrial Technologies division.