Welcome to the Lawrence County Vocational & Technical Center (VoTech). Located in Lawrenceville, Illinois, VoTech is a registered, 501(c)(3) non-profit educational and career training facility.
Vocational courses in Lawrence County previously were available through the Ambraw Valley Area Vocational Center (AVAVC), a program operating in three locations throughout Lawrenceville. In July 1988, because of state budget cuts, the board of local school district No. 20 voted to discontinue the AVAVC. While the Twin Rivers Vocational System in Crawford County absorbed most of the program, automotive training continued at LHS until the mid-1990s.
The concept of bringing vocational training back to the area surfaced in the summer of 2008 with the efforts of local community leaders. The founding group, led by area businessmen Mr. Frank Ladner and Mr. Mark Bowler, proposed to open a facility dedicated to improving educational and training opportunities for area citizens. Their organization spent the next year purchasing and converting building space into an educational center. Their creation was the Lawrence County Vocational & Technical Center (VoTech), with the innovative "Auto Lab" as its cornerstone feature.
(left to right) Mr. Kent Lankford - General Manager, WAKO Radio; Ms. Marva Green - Industrial Development Council, Lawrence County; Mr. Charles Gillespie - Chairman, Lawrence County Board; Mr. Brian Straub - Mayor, Lawrenceville; Mr. Pete Peterson - Executive Director, VoTech; Mr. Mark Bowler - Owner, Bowler Performance Transmissions; Mrs. Julia Ladner - Frank & Julia Ladner Family Foundation; Mr. Gilbert Gauger - IT Administrator, VoTech; Ms. Ann Emken - University of Illinois Extension, Lawrence County; Mr. William McGavic - Instructor, VoTech; Ms. Lori Waggoner - Director, Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce; Mr. Josh Weger - Southeast Region Manager, Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity.
A native of Worthington, Minnesota, Pete Peterson has been a well-known educator in this area for over forty years. He began his teaching career at Vincennes University, serving on the faculty for five years. In 1972, he was offered the position of leading automotive instruction at the Ambraw Valley Area Vocational Center, located just across the river in Lawrenceville. Soon after his retirement in 1993, he was appointed as an automotive consultant to work in conjunction with the United Nations and the United States Environmental Protection Agency. During the next several years he traveled to 15 different countries, training local mechanics on more efficient practices for automotive air conditioning repair. Working in Asia and throughout Central and South America, his favorite visits were Beijing, China; Cartagena, Colombia; and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Since 2008, he has served as Executive Director of the Lawrence County Vocational & Technical Center (VoTech), where he has been instrumental in its foundation and continued success. In his free time, Pete enjoys working with his two vintage cars, (1932 Ford Coach, and 1940 Ford pickup) both of which he displays annually at the Frog Follies in Evansville, Indiana.
Born in Delevan, Wisconsin, Gil came to the Vincennes–Lawrenceville area as a middle schooler and graduated from North Knox High School. He majored in Physics at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and Secondary Education at Indiana State University. Gil spent 35 years in commercial/ industrial electrical contracting before joining LCVTC as IT Administrator and an instructor in basic computing skills and industrial applications. He holds a Master Electricians license, as well as certifications in network cabling, power quality, and communications technologies. A lifelong musician and sound system tech, Gil serves as an installation consultant and offers seminars in sound system operation. Gil also is an avid Radio Controlled Soaring enthusiast and currently serves as Treasurer of the League of Silent Flight and is a Contest Director for the Academy of Model Aeronautics.