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Speaking at KCC’s graduation will be one of Tim Wilhem’s final acts as a full-time faculty member before retirement from the college.

Professor Wilhelm teaches KCC Electrical Technology and Renewable Energy courses, and serves as the program coordinator. But his history at the college goes back to 1980, when he taught a bio-energy/fuel alcohol course.

To go with degrees from KCC and Kent State University, Wilhelm’s credentials also include 

  • Registered professional engineer in Illinois.
  • Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Class "A" public water supply operator.
  • North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners certified solar-photovoltaic professional.
  • Communications Industry Training & Certification Academy certified wind tower nacelle rescue instructor.
  • Interstate Renewable Energy Council certified solar-photovoltaic master trainer
  • Instructor for the Midwest Solar Training Network.

Under Wilhelm’s guidance, KCC has been recognized for its top renewable energy program.
In 2013, Wilhelm was named IREC Clean Energy Trainer of the Year. Then in 2014, KCC received the national award as Accredited Clean Energy Training Provider of the Year, a first for a community college.

The Illinois Green Economy Network honored Wilhelm with its Lifetime Achievement Award earlier this year.

For Wilhelm, though, the highest praise is when students get jobs in the field. They do. Wind technicians, solar installers and related professions are among the fastest growing careers.
Beyond his accomplishments at KCC, Wilhelm played a major role in creating several U.S. “firsts”: the first solar-powered digital telephone exchange (Stelle, Ill.), first solar-powered internet service provider (Stelle, Ill.) and first solar-powered Amtrak station (Bloomington, Ill.).

Not one to shy away from trips to celebrity-owned islands, Wilhelm also completed a solar maintenance, inventory and planning project on Johnny Depp's private Bahamian island, Little Hall's Pond.