Q&A: ILA Great Lakes Chapter President Pete Dinschel

Pete Dinschel answers Locksmith Ledger’s questions about his job and the access control system used at his workplace, the Carpenters Training Center.


In addition to serving as a full-time instructor at the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters Carpenter Training Center (CTC), Pete Dinschel holds numerous professional distinctions and is active in many trade associations that serve the locksmith industry. Along with colleague Art Urbano, he handles all CTC architectural hardware, mechanical keying, and electronic access control.

Following are the Ledger’s questions and Dinschel’s answers.

What is your background?

I’m a 33-year union carpenter with an early career building houses, moving to installing cabinets/trim in houses, later to commercial cabinets/trim, which just included installing more and more hardware in various quantities, types, and manufacturers.

Prior to carpentry, I obtained an architectural degree and for seven years worked for two well-respected architecture firms. For 14 years, while working daily as a union carpenter, I taught architectural classes at a local junior college in the evenings.

I’m a long-time member of CSI (the Construction Specifications Institute), DHI (the Door and Hardware Institute), NFPA (the National Fire Protection Association), AWI (the Architectural Woodwork Institute), and ICC (the International Code Council).

What is your job now?

For the last 17 years, I have been a full-time instructor at the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters, Carpenter Training Center (CTC). The CTC serves 35,000 union carpenters with apprentice training and approximately 300 skill advancement courses, growing to over 500,000 square feet in six buildings spread throughout the Chicago metropolitan area.

I specialize in several architectural hardware classes at the CTC. We have 12 installation classes, and all except one are heavily hands-on. We have both an Ingersoll Rand and a DORMA Certified Installer program, and are talking with Detex about a CI as well as ASSA ABLOY about a SARGENT, Yale, and Corbin-Russwin CI. These are factory certified classes for our union carpenter members taught by our factory certified in-house staff. The CTC also has several lock maintenance classes covering change keys, master keys, interchangeable core keying, and battery operated electronic access control. (For information on Skill Advancement Program, visit the web site www. chicap.org.) In 1994, I took over the Schlage 5-pin master key system in our building and replaced it with a 64-page Schlage 6-pin Primus system. I handle all CTC architectural hardware, mechanical keying, and electronic access control.

Are you a licensed commercial locksmith?

No. Both Art and I are Certified Institutional Locksmiths (CIL), a certification from the Institutional Locksmiths’ Association. An institutional locksmith is an in-house locksmith. Illinois allows in-house employees of a contractor or facility to perform limited locksmithing tasks if the person performing the service does not hold himself or herself out as a locksmith to the public.

Are you active in the ILA?

Yes. For nine years, I have been a member of the Great Lakes Chapter with a five-year stint as Chapter Secretary and currently a three-year stint as Chapter President (pdinschel@ilaglc.org). I also participate heavily in the ILA national organization on several committees overseeing the ILA conferences and institutional locksmith certification. I have been awarded two of the highest ILA national awards: the 2009 President’s Award and the 2007 Mentor Award.

How did you get interested in locksmithing?

It started with my first installations of architectural hardware. I kept getting cylinders to install that would not operate properly. In the 1970’s I found a locksmithing book that explained enough for me to tweak the tailpiece end cap into operation. I started to take apart extra cylinders to see how they worked. In 1979, I rekeyed my apartment building while sitting with the tenants at a picnic table in the back yard. My pin kit consisted of pins and springs from many hand-me-down cylinders. I have my own real LAB pin kits now, won as raffle prizes at ILA functions over the years.

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