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Automotive technology alumni give back to department

Three alumni donated nearly $300,000 worth of equipment to the Automotive Technology Department on Wednesday, May 8.  

The Pitt State graduates Dallas Grothusen, Kelly Burgess, and Ted Polzer all went on to take leaderships positions with CNH Industrial.  

Automotive Technology Professor Tim Dell is thankful for the equipment that will better the education of Pitt State Students as well as help him teach.  

Those donations provide realworld handson application for (students) to gain experience with the machines that they are going to have to be able to (use) when they are in the industry..,” Dell said. “When they hit the ground running upon graduation, the expectations are that they are going to be familiar with machines, understand how they are supposed to perform, (and) how they are supposed to be meeting the customers expectations... Without that equipment, you are basically just a textbook teacher but… that equipment… provides the abilities for (students) to gain that real-world hands-on experience.”  

These donations could influence students who are considering attending Pitt State and it could also influence other to donate as well.  

 Well, it is kind of a snowball effect because when you have a prospective student they come and say I am interested in diesel and heavy equipment and you can share with them ‘Hey look at this, these donations that you are going to get some experience with.’ They can think ‘Maybe someday I am going to be a graduate (and) I can donate back to the department. They can get excited about what they are going to experience as an actual student. It is also a snowball effect where the other companies can say ‘Hey, we are dropping the ball. We are not as giving as this company. We need to step up our game…’ Success breeds success and so when you see things like this happen it continues to grow.”  

Graduates of Pitt State’s automotive technology department often times go on to work for CNH. One of the alumni that contributed in the donations, Ted Polzer, looks at the donation as a way to ensure future employees in the field or at CNH know how to use the equipment and are better prepared for the career.  

We recruit heavily from Pitt State for CNH and the more equipment they are using of ours the more prepared they are if they come to work for CNH as they are familiar with our machinery,” Polzer said. “It’s certainly an investment that we make, and we see a return on that investment almost immediately with new hires. 

According to Polzer, the equipment and technology in the department has changed since he graduated back in 2002.  

The technology has certainly changed a lot but the hands-on approach with a 4-year program is what drew me to the Pitt State program at its core and this core still remains,” Polzer said. “The hands-on approach to learning these systems better prepares students to be able to help guide our dealership technicians to repair machinery in support roles. 

Pitt State junior and intern at CNH Aaron Colton is grateful for the donation.  

“It truly means a lot to not just me but my classmates also,” Colton said. “This allows us to gain more experience for the field we are going into. CNH has been a huge donator to Pitt State, and I can’t thank them enough.”  

Colton has been an intern at CNH for nearly two weeks now. He deals with issues that come up while combine is operating, finds the cause of the issue, and finds a solution to the issue.  

Colton is very appreciative of the donation and to CNH for giving him the opportunity to gaiexperience and learn more.  

I’d just like to thank CNH for the opportunity to further my knowledge and allow me to get hands on experience with these machines,” Colton said.  

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