Pioneer Tech team members receive award at PACE Conference

May 16, 2022 | Featured|Headlines

PONCA CITY —  Johnny Thornburgh, Industrial Coordinator for Pioneer Technology Center, and Janet Schwabe, Business Incubator Manager, received the Post Secondary Adult Career Education Economic Development Award at the annual conference at Shangri, La. 

The award recognizes an outstanding individual or collaborative team who contributes to economic development growth.  

The nomination was submitted for a collaborative project with a current incubator business, Triune Industries, LLC. Other partners included in the award nomination were Ponca City Development Authority, the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance, and PTC Precision Machining students. 

Triune Industries was started by two friends, one who had a need and the other who had the skills.

The pair were introduced to Pioneer Tech Business and Industry Services after hearing about our Incubator through a team member while applying for a loan. 

Triune’s first patented product was Bunkr, a dunnage rack accessory for tractor trailer beds. 

An integral part for the rack was extremely labor intensive to manually form and this slowed the building process. In anticipation of a large inventory order, they were looking for a new process to speed up the turn-around time.

Triune met with Thornburgh and Schwabe to explain the process for manufacturing the part and seek possible alternatives, including machining or casting the part. It was determined engineering services were needed to evaluate the best solution.

An application engineer from the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance assisted with the process by creating a drawing of the part. Thornburgh used a 3D printer to make the part and the team met with a local manufacturer for a more efficient way to produce the labor-intensive part for the Bunkr. The engineer’s expertise and drawings were provided with no cost to the client.

To further decrease turn-around time for the Bunkr, PCDA worked hand-in-hand with Thornburgh to select a Cobot welder for use with district clients, including Triune, and assisted with troubleshooting the weldment fixtures needed to stabilize materials for welding large parts.  

Building the fixtures also provided an opportunity for Precision Machining students to use their skills on a “real” project bringing great value to the client.

By participating in our Business Incubator program, Triune utilized the expertise of not only the Pioneer Tech team, but also the services of the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance to move from manually forming metal into developing an investment casting that is ready to weld to the Bunkr. 

This partnership and success story have a very happy ending and Thornburgh and Schwabe were excited to receive recognition for the collaboration.

Pioneer Tech has been assisting students and businesses in Kay County since 1973.  For more about the programs provided at Pioneer Tech visit