Business and industry professionals at an expo

Our Team

Washburn Tech’s Business & Industry Center team shares a vast wealth of knowledge and real-world experience. Team members come from varied sectors of the workforce including business, education and government. Together, we can combine our resources and expertise to optimize the skills of your employees and the success of your company.

Tim Clothier

Tim Clothier
Business & Industry Center Director
Washburn Tech

Tim earned a bachelor's degree from Emporia State University. He brings real-world business experience and leadership to Washburn Tech. He spent 27 years in management at one of the country's largest retailers, Payless ShoeSource. He and his wife, Lynn, also are independent business owners, operating Topeka's Cold Stone Creamery. Tim values community involvement and currently serves on the boards of directors of the Curriculum Leadership Institute and Capital Area Crime Stoppers. Prior to that, Tim spent 12 years on the Topeka Public Schools Board of Education and served as interim foundation president at Emporia State. Connect with Tim through LinkedIn.


Dwight Diederich

Dwight Diederich
Technical Instructor
Washburn Tech

Dwight earned a B.A. in management and human relations from MidAmerica Nazarene University. He spent 37 years working for a large manufacturing company, holding positions in production, maintenance, maintenance training and management. He spearheaded the first in-house maintenance training program for the company using mechanical, hydraulic and pneumatic training simulators. After serving in various positions, Dwight finshed his career as the truck shop maintenance manager.

As a farm kid, I've always been interested in all things mechanical. I've built, fabricated and repaired things most of my life. It's been not only my career but my hobby. The ability to pass on some of this knowledge to my students gives me a huge sense of satisfaction and pride. On top of that, it's just plain fun!


Ed Keating

Ed Keating
Technical Instructor
Washburn Tech

Ed earned a bachelor's degree from Kansas University and a Master of Business Administration from Washburn University. He holds professional engineering licenses in Kansas and Indiana in addition to a First Class FCC License with Ship Radar Endorsement and a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt. Ed spent 35 years in the workplace designing, implementing and troubleshooting industrial process control and power distribution systems. He also has management experience on large-scale projects and with industrial maintenance and engineering groups.


Karlen Peterson

Karlen Peterson
Technical Instructor
Washburn Tech

Karlen draws from years of experience as both a teacher and businessman. He spent 36 years as a journeyman electrician and has worked for the BNSF Railway and Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. Karlen has trained electrical apprentices and covered areas such as PLC's, circuit boards, electrical phases and general mechanical. Among his top accomplishments is the oversight of a complete plant expansion rewiring. Karlen also owned his own business, Peterson Motors & Cycles, for 34 years. In addition to his experience in building race engines, Karlen has extensive knowledge of marketing, accounting, training and sales.

My passion for racing and interest in "all things mechanical" have led me to the Washburn Tech classroom where I have the opportunity to teach future generations.


Robert Riddle

Robert Riddle
Technical Instructor
Washburn Tech

Robert brings decades of experience as an industrial electrician to Washburn Tech. He spent 37 years at Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company in Topeka working in electrical maintenance and construction. Robert served as electrical/electronics coordinator for Goodyear and also developed curriculum for the Goodyear/Washburn Tech co-op training program. He serves as the lead instructor for that program, as well.

Teaching technical education offers me the opportunity to pass on to others a career that keeps offering new technology and improvements. This training gives students the ability to achieve meaningful, financially rewarding careers. It has a positive impact on individuals, on the workplace and on the larger world outside the workplace.


Keven Ward

Keven Ward
Public Sector Consultant
Trane Corporation

Keven has worked at Trane since 2007 and is responsible for developing comprehensive client solutions utilizing statutory fiscal tool performance contracting for the Municipal, University, School, and Hospital (MUSH) market sector. In this role, he is responsible for educating building owners on financial solutions and State statutes available to improve building infrastructures. Keven works with business partners by applying comprehensive concepts to each building owner’s unique situation to develop programs that specifically identify the financial, technical and health benefits when this program is applied. Keven is responsible for client satisfaction from conceptual discussions to project completion to ongoing support, including developing team leadership, business and financial planning, compliance with State statutes and reporting, contract negotiations and compliance, staff dialogues and overall project development for performance contracts. 


Don Williams

Don Williams
Virtual College Coordinator
Washburn Tech

Don earned bachelor's degrees in biology/chemistry and computer information systems from Ottawa University. He also has a master's degree from Pittsburg State University in technical teacher education. Don is a technology specialist in the education field. For 14 years, he served as district technology coordinator for Auburn-Washburn USD 437. Prior to that, he was an instructor and eventually technology coordinator at Kaw Area Technical School (now Washburn Tech).


Teresa Vasquez

Teresa Vasquez
Senior Administrative Assistant
Washburn Tech

Teresa has worked at Washburn Tech since 2005, taking over as secretary of Business & Industry/Continuing Education in 2009. She assists with enrollment in all B&I /CE classes and also maintains student and class information.