Dr. Feltham began the week in the Dental Assisting program lab where he learned how to place a dental dam on a mannequin working with two students (and under the guidance of instructor Joanann Bowen).
The dam, which is cut to fit around teeth needing treatment, isolates the tooth – blocking the tongue, preventing debris from entering the throat, and keeping a clean workspace for the dentist.
One of the challenges in making a dental dam is cutting holes in the proper location on the dam to correspond with the arch of the mouth and location of the teeth.
"I was amazed by the complexity of this task and the skills required to do something this elaborate and to do it well," says Dr. Feltham. "It was really quite humbling as I tried to do it myself."
The other challenge is fitting the dam in the mannequin’s mouth. As Dr. Feltham stretched the rubber gums and lips of the mannequin to fit the dam, Bowen says, "You have to be aggressive enough for the dam to stay put, but gentle enough not to cause discomfort."
Next, Dr. Feltham moved to the Dental Technology program where associate chair Jason Lohr taught him how to fabricate a dental crown.
They cast a molar by melting an alloy (silver, copper, zinc) that resembles and acts like gold using a very hot torch (1400ºC). After they cooled it, they used an air blaster to remove the mould residue. Dr. Feltham enjoyed using the tools and couldn’t wait to finish making the molar (which is sitting on his desk).
Next, a student taught Dr. Feltham how to prepare a porcelain crown. “There’s a lot of science involved in this program. Once you take an impression of a tooth, you can use the computer to create the new tooth,” says Dr. Feltham. This new technology scans the tooth and uses software to design an implant, which serves as the underlying structure for the porcelain crown.
“In both dental programs, the level of technology that we provide means that our students are learning not just for today, but they are learning the techniques and the tools that are going to take them well into their career,” says Dr. Feltham.
Auto Body Technician
In the Auto Body Technician program Dr. Feltham learned about auto body painting, spot welding and airbag deployment working with apprentices and instructors Bryce Nelson, Ryan Poledni and James Foss.
Dr. Feltham continued his competition with School of Trades dean Peter Lawlor in a paint-off. They each spray-painted car hoods using the latest waterborne paint technology combined with the advanced blower systems in the paint booths.
Two apprentices did a blind judging of the paint jobs, giving Lawlor 75% and Dr. Feltham 60% (his paint job, they said, was blotchy).
“To say I lost would be the world’s greatest understatement, despite what the apprentices and instructors say. I think everyone tried to assure me that it was a good effort,” says Dr. Feltham.
The highlight of visiting the Auto Body Technician program was learning about airbag deployment. “I got to blow off two airbags by igniting them with a car battery, which blew out the windshield. It was way too cool for words,” says Dr. Feltham.
One thing that stood out to Dr. Feltham was the technology that allows apprentices to check the frame of the vehicle after an accident to see if it has been affected.
Dr. Feltham learned about measuring damage to an automotive frame using a laser measuring system that provides pinpoint accuracy and shows the actual dimensions, which are displayed on an iPad the technician can use while underneath the vehicle.
Dr. Feltham was impressed to find that less than 5% of auto body shops will have equipment this advanced.
“These young individuals will be bringing best practices to their workplaces when they graduate,” says Dr. Feltham. “NAIT is an accelerator of best practice. We are bringing Alberta forward and we’re creating wealth and future prosperity.”
Sheet Metal Worker
Dr. Feltham also visited the Sheet Metal Worker program in his tour of Patricia Campus and worked with instructor Grant Craplewe and apprentices to learn how to make a dustpan and create an air duct.
Dr. Feltham and Lawlor’s assignment was to learn some basic sheet metal skills by creating a dustpan. Dr. Feltham finished his dustpan before Lawlor and, according to the apprentices, his was the best. “I won my first contest against Peter,” says Dr. Feltham. “And now I have a gift for my mother for Christmas.”
Dr. Feltham was amazed by the skill necessary to complete this task and the different equipment that had to be used. “The number of folds I had to make in the metal and the amount of equipment I had to use, and use appropriately, to make this dustpan surprised me. I wouldn’t have thought it would be so complex.”
The biggest learning in the sheet metal program for Dr. Feltham was the amount of mathematics involved. “You don’t realize the mathematics behind making a dustpan. One of the first things we had to do to was determine how we were going to lay this out and there was a fair degree of geometry involved in doing that.”
Radio & Television - Television
His task was to create a story, research it and work with a student videographer to film interviews and b-roll footage. He then wrote the story, edited it and presented it on the April 1 NAIT NewsWatch show.
Dr. Feltham decided to do a story about Project President, how it’s progressing and the impact it is having. Dr. Feltham developed the interview questions and then conducted an interview on camera with Dallas Stoesz, senior manager of Marketing and Digital Media.
Dr. Feltham also talked to students on camera in the bytes cafeteria asking about their NAIT experiences and why they came to school here. He also asked students if they knew NAIT had a new president. He batted about 50%.
Dr. Feltham returned to the Television program at the end of the week to shoot his on-camera interview for NAIT NewsWatch.
To prepare for the live newscast which was shot over the noon hour, Dr. Feltham sat in on the production meeting with the students. With assistance from instructor Jeannette Cable, one student led the meeting, running through everyone’s parts for the entire newscast.
Dr. Feltham learned the different production aspects involved to bring a segment together for television. “The use of technology in this program is great,” says Dr. Feltham.
Radio & Television - Radio
One of the first songs playing while Dr. Feltham was in the radio booth for his visit with the Radio & Television - Radio program was Madonna’s “Like a Virgin.”
After the song wound down, Dr. Feltham went on air, introducing himself as Glenn ‘Freight Train’ Feltham, president and CEO of NAIT. He then delivered a smooth introduction of the next song – Pat Benetar’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.”
Dr. Feltham was fascinated with the process of being on the radio and the number of buttons he was required to push. “It was all pretty neat, but actually kind of stressful because it has to move along so quickly,” he says.
Most of all he was impressed with the high level of comfort the students had in talking on the radio. The students led him through the whole process, with Patrick Galenza, chair of the Radio program, poking his head in every so often to offer any assistance.
“I got to try my hand at radio. I think I am probably better at radio than television. To have to concentrate on looking good and speaking well is a lot. I think I do best at just speaking. I really enjoyed the radio side of the Radio and Television program.”
Thinking about everything he did in the past week Dr. Feltham says, “The more programs I visit, the more I find that people really find their calling at NAIT. They match their passions and competencies to a career.”