MHTA — Uponor recently hosted a group of students from Tartan High School for an excellent Tech Experience Tour. MHTA provides these unique Tech Experience Tours for students interested in learning more about STEM careers and the high tech business world.

Tartan students visited Uponor and learned about different STEM careers that are employed there. The Uponor employees offered students advice for the future, and gave them real life examples of what their daily tasks entail, and how they work with technology throughout the day.

Uponor employees demonstrated how their PEX tubing was designed from the molecular level, how they were able to color the tubing, and how they developed a way to piece the tubing back together when cut. The tour of the PEX manufacturing process was impressive to the students by the technology used to run each machine, and by how few employees it took to run the many machines. Selected students were also allowed to make their own Hula hoops from small sections of tubing!

The visit was organized by Erin Woodword (Uponor), Tim Barrett (MHTA) and Vicki Kapaun (Tartan High School).

After the students had time with each demo station, they participated in a Q & A session over a box lunch provided by Uponor. Discussion topics included:

  • STEM Career-specific information, including education needed for that career,
  • Average starting salary for that position at Uponor and the number of employees in that area at Uponor,
  • Work and life balance, including the number of hours worked per week, and
  • What a normal day would entail in different departments and some of the science behind the creation of the PEX tubing.

Tartan’s Web Page Design teacher, Vicki Kapaun said, “The tour to Uponor was very interesting and a great way to show my students how one company can employ so many different technology careers. Having employees from the help desk, mobile app and Web Development, software development and other STEM departments all present about their jobs, was a great way to show the students how important technology is in a business.  The tour, the hands-on experience and the Q&A with individual STEM employees made for a really great day!”

A number of Uponor employees participated:

  • Jennifer Hauschildt, CIO
  • Diana Smirnova, Manager, Polymer Research and Technology
  • James Quinn, IT Operations Manager
  • Jennifer Martinson, IT Web Master
  • Cale Coughlan, IT Senior .NET Developer
  • Scott Kies, IT Enterprise Architect
  • Mike Hackett, IT Director
  • Bryan Baxter, Process Engineer
  • Stephanie Radel, Design Services Supervisor
  • Dan Hubbard, Trainer

For more information on Tech Experience Tours, visit If you’re interested in hosting a future tour, please contact Tim Barrett, MHTA’s Director of STEM Education and Workforce Development at

If you’re a STEM educator looking to connect with a business, be sure to also visit our get STEM Minnesota website at