You are currently viewing Four SGTC Diesel Technology Students Receive Caterpillar Excellence Scholarships – Americus Times-Recorder

Four SGTC Diesel Technology Students Receive Caterpillar Excellence Scholarships – Americus Times-Recorder

From staff reports

AMERICUS – Four students from South Georgia Technical College’s (SGTC) Diesel Equipment Technology program were recently awarded the South Georgia Technical College Foundation Caterpillar Merit Scholarships in recognition of their hard work, work ethic, and weighted averages.

Donald A. Gay and Jeremy Huiras of Leesburg, GA, along with Bernard M. Bryan, III of Buena Vista, GA, and Bo J. Snider of Mitchell, GA were the students selected to receive the Caterpillar Excellence Scholarships. Each student received over $1,660 to use to purchase tools for their chosen career field.

Gay is a recent graduate of the SGTC Diesel Technology program and the other students will be graduating over the next two semesters. Each of the students is already gainfully employed in the industry to hone their skills.

Donald A. Gay graduated from the Diesel Technology program in May and is currently employed with John Deere at Flint Equipment in Albany, GA. “During my job interview with John Deere, I was asked if I was going to a technical college. I said yes, South Georgia Technical College. The person who interviewed me was very impressed when I spoke about South Georgia Tech and agreed that SGTC was a good choice if you wanted to join the diesel career path.

Gay has always enjoyed working on his motorcycles, vehicles and small engines, but recognized that out of all three engine paths (small engine, petrol or diesel), diesel careers are the ones that are currently most in demand. Even though he had very limited knowledge in the field of diesel engines, he searched the internet and word of mouth for the best place to learn these skills, techniques and understanding of the equipment and the correct way to use these tools. Gay landed at South Georgia Technical College and the rest is history.

He enjoyed the “full college experience” at South Georgia Tech. Gay lived on campus, served as president of the Student Government Association, participated in SkillsUSA and other student activities, and graduated with honors. And above all, he was hired in his field before obtaining his diploma.

“I’m so grateful for this scholarship,” Gay said. “My experience at South Georgia Technical College was wonderful and I really enjoyed the hands-on classes as well as the mental aspects of learning how things work and solving problems. It will really help me complete my toolbox for my new job.

Another Leesburg student, Jeremy Huiras, is a sophomore in the Diesel program and is expected to graduate in December 2022. Before choosing South Georgia Technical College, he attended Lee County High School. “I struggled throughout middle and high school and often gave my teachers and administrators a hard time. Attending South Georgia Technical College’s Diesel Technology Program gave me another opportunity and taught me responsibility and what it will be like in the real world using hands-on learning,” Huiras said.

“If I hadn’t applied to South Georgia Tech, I don’t know where I would be today. This program has opened many new doors for me and provided me with many job opportunities,” Huiras added. .

The de Huiras family has a history of diesel mechanics. He helped his uncle work on big tractors and heavy machinery. “The more I worked on this type of machine, the more interesting and fun it became for me. Trying to figure out why something isn’t working right is what makes the job so much fun. You never know what will happen and it is very rewarding to be able to fix a problem.

Huiras plans to use his scholarship funds to buy tools that will help him land a job at Yancey Caterpillar or John Deere. “Having the right tools is very important in the area of ​​work I’m going to work in and it’s a big help,” added Huiras.

Bernard M. Bryan, III of Buena Vista is the third student to receive the CAT Excellence Scholarship this year. He is also expected to graduate in December 2022. “I have always had a passion for mechanical work from a young age. I started working on a small farm around equipment when I was in high school at the age of 16. Then later at age 22 I got a job at a local shop in Ellaville, GA working on equipment, irrigation motors and diesel trucks. After working there for a few months, I realized it was something I wanted to pursue as a career and started evaluating colleges,” Bryan said.

“I chose South Georgia Technical College because it had the best diesel program in the state and it was my home. I could continue to work full time during the day and attend classes in the evening. Bryan is now employed at Sun Belt Ford in Americus where he was able to learn the computer side of the diesel business as well as the mechanical side.

“I’ve been in the field for a little over a year now and had to borrow tools from colleagues to complete jobs in a timely manner. Thanks to this scholarship, I will be able to expand my tools to improve my mechanical abilities in the field. I am so grateful for this opportunity,” added Bryan.

The fourth student to receive the Caterpillar Excellence Scholarship is Bowen J. Snider of Mitchell, GA. “I travel three and a half hours each week to the South Georgia Technical College campus. But I found a diesel program where I can work on equipment in a workshop environment and not just on a computer simulator. I learn best by doing, not just by myself, but in a troubleshooting situation with others. This program gives me that opportunity and my instructor, Chase Shannon, is very encouraging and gives me the opportunity to experience engine repair, both in theoretical and practical applications,” said Snider.

Snider is a 2021 graduate of Glascock County High School. He was involved in the Future Farmers of America and participated in activities and competitions related to agriculture, forestry and diesel engines. “I took a huge interest in diesel engines, especially those associated with the timber industry. During my work-based apprenticeship course, I worked with a local logging company to learn how to maintain, operate, and manage diesel-related logging equipment. »

Snider was a dual enrollment student at Oconee Fall Line and Athens Technical College. But he wanted more opportunities to pursue diesel engines and welding. And he discovered it at South Georgia Technical College.

At the end of each school week, Snider returns home to work a long weekend maintaining equipment for a local forestry company. Then on Monday, he returns to campus where he stays in university residences. “Even though it’s a lot of work, I know the importance of completing this degree program because it has the potential to change my life.”

The four Diesel Equipment Technology students praised instructor Chase Shannon and the diesel repair industry. “We have the opportunity to learn on a wide range of equipment and we always learn something different. Mr. Shannon emphasizes troubleshooting skills, patience and getting the job done right the first time,” said Donald Gay.

“There’s something about taking an engine apart and putting it back together and it runs better. It’s a sense of accomplishment that no one can take away from you,” Bryan said.

The four students agreed that another positive aspect of their careers is knowing that their jobs will never be exported overseas. “There will always be machines to fix and that’s good for diesel mechanics,” laughed the students. They also said sometimes that there was a misunderstanding about this area. “You have to be smart. It’s not just about mechanical skills, although that’s part of it,” Gay said. “There is also the diagnostic part of the work. You connect the laptop to the motor to see what to do and why. Then you use the practical skills to make the repairs. In this area, it is necessary to be quite complete.

The currently estimated starting salary for entry-level diesel technicians is approximately $46,000 per year and employment prospects for the next five years are expected to increase by almost 10%.

“These students exemplify and personify all the qualities we look for in a scholar,” said Su Ann Bird, executive director of the South Georgia Technical College Foundation and vice president of institutional advancement. “We appreciate Caterpillar for the funds that allow us to award these scholarships to these outstanding diesel technicians.”

SGTC Diesel Equipment Technology Instructor Chase Shannon also congratulated the students. “These students are hard workers. They have a good work ethic, they like challenges and they are very observant. They are never content to reconstruct something as they found it. If something isn’t working properly, they always investigate why it isn’t working and then look at what might need to be fixed while they’re there. That can be big savings in real life,” Shannon said.

Each student thanked Caterpillar and the South Georgia Technical College Foundation for the scholarship. Students were selected for this scholarship based on instructor recommendation, academic achievement, test scores, and interview. Funding for these scholarships is made available by the SGTC Foundation through donations made by the Caterpillar Excellence Fund. The partnership with Caterpillar fills the need for qualified diesel equipment technicians and helps students who have made achievements in the field of diesel.

South Georgia Technical College is currently accepting new students for the fall semester. Those interested in the Diesel Equipment Technology program can contact Chase Shannon at cshannon@southgatech.edu. Classes start August 18and, 2022 and individuals can apply online at www.southgatech.edu. SGTC has waived testing requirements for the fall semester. Registration will take place on July 19and and August 17and.

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