Mark Le Feber grew up in Lombard, a suburb of Chicago. Outside of the Windy City, he had 60 acres of woods to play in and build tree forts. Le Feber’s grandfather was a master cabinet maker, and his mother said he inherited his eye for detail from him.
Le Feber’s industrious creativity led him to UW-Stout’s industrial education program, now technology education. After graduating in 1988, he worked as a graduate assistant for six years and received his master’s in technology education in 1992.
He taught at Mahtomedi (Minn.) High School for 12 years, and for the past 11 years he has been the career and technical education instructor at Washburn High School in Minneapolis.
“I love the feeling I get in building things and seeing them work,” he said. “I enjoy helping students find that part of their soul and see their pride in their own work.”
Pushing for innovation and ingenuity, Le Feber also focuses on preparing his students for life after Washburn. Many times, this means advocating for them to attend UW-Stout.
Nurturing his students’ passions for communications, construction, engineering, manufacturing and bio-related fields, he knows his alma mater is a gateway to many related careers.
“I think I’ve sent more than 70 students to Stout,” Le Feber said. “I try to send students that I think will benefit from the Stout way and Stout will benefit from who the students will become.”
Washburn alumna Elizabeth Saly graduated from UW-Stout on May 9 in plastics engineering with a minor in mathematics. She remembers “Feebs” as a teacher who had a great impact on his students’ lives and helped spark her passion for STEM.
“Feebs makes you a better person and expects you to be a better person. He holds you to standards that make you proud to strive to uphold,” Saly said. “He taught me more about myself as a student and person than any other teacher.”
In her senior year in high school, Saly talked with Le Feber about area STEM schools, including UW-Stout. Now, reflecting back, Saly said, “Stout was everything Feebs said it was. Stout gave me a path to a promising future in engineering. I would not be as confident, driven and content with my present and future without Feebs and without him leading me to Stout.”
Saly secured her career before graduation, during the Stout Career Conference last fall. She is an engineer in the emerging leader program at Sonoco in Franklin Park, Ill. Saly is one of four UW-Stout alumni at the plant, focusing on product quality and customer satisfaction.
"I'm busy with a lot of projects, working with every functional group at the plant. I have a project in the extrusion department and thermoforming operations as well," she said. "It's challenging work but it's been very rewarding. I am glad for the background that Stout has given me, which has made taking on all these projects a little easier."
Saly is earning several certifications, including HACCP for hazard analysis and internal auditing certification. She's also starting her Blue Belt project and will move on to her Six Sigma Green Belt certification next summer.
"I'm finding a place for myself in the Chicago area and am really excited for the future. If my first 90 days at Sonoco have shown me anything, it is that I can expect a lot of opportunities and growth," Saly said.
Le Feber praised his former student. “Erzsi has a good foundation because she plays an active part in her own learning. She will change the world,” he said.
To his students seeking a degree and more, he added, “You get out of college, relationships and life what you put into it. There’s no better place to start than Stout. Stout helps students find the next step in life.”