Heavy Construction Equipment Technology program receives $50,000
For the second year running, Ziegler Cat, a Caterpillar dealership in Bloomington, Minn., and Caterpillar Inc. of Peoria, Ill., awarded maximum matching grants to Dakota County Technical College.
Ziegler Cat donated $25,000 to the Heavy Construction Equipment Technology program. The Caterpillar Dealer Excellence Fund, which was established by Caterpillar in 1989, matched the amount for a total of $50,000, the most allowed per educational institution.
Greg Senske, Ziegler Cat’s vice president of product support, pointed with pride to his company’s longstanding partnership with DCTC. “We work with the college to give student mechanics the best education possible,” he said. “When we hire graduates of the program, we know that we’re getting truly excellent technicians.”
The DCTC Foundation coordinates with academic programs to achieve its mission of providing resource support for students, programs, and the college. Trudi Greaves, a Foundation assistant director, worked with Mike Long and Dan Ruzicka, instructors in the Heavy Construction Equipment Technology program, and Mike Opp, dean of transportation and industry, to complete the grant application process.
“The primary objective of the grant is to increase the pool of qualified service technicians,” Greaves said. “The funds strengthen our program by providing for student scholarships, equipment purchases, curriculum upgrades, and student recruitment.”
Thanks to the grant, Long and Ruzicka will have the resources to maintain a cutting-edge lab of teaching equipment. Their program will be able to attract new students while continuing to offer developmental field trips, including tours of Ziegler Cat’s Bloomington location and the Caterpillar flagship plant in Peoria.
Senske and a delegation of 17 Ziegler Cat employees visited the DCTC campus for the check presentation ceremony. The group toured the program’s facilities and met with the instructors. They came away deeply impressed.
“The instructors at DCTC are doing all the right things,” Senske said. “The program is producing skilled mechanics with solid foundations. They are ideally trained to meet our product support requirements, which is the principal mission of the partnership.”
Greaves noted that the strong showing of Ziegler Cat employees at the ceremony spoke to the quality of the program and the depth of the partnership. “They traveled here from different Ziegler locations, taking time out from their busy schedules to show their support. That meant a lot to us at the college.”
Sharon LaComb, DCTC vice president of institutional advancement, was also present at the ceremony. “The matching grants spotlight the exceptional quality of the Heavy Construction Equipment Technology program,” she said. “On another level, they exemplify how the business world and higher education can work together to provide education for employment.
“Our partnership with Ziegler Cat and the Caterpillar Foundation is one of the strongest we have,” LaComb added. “And it’s only getting stronger.”
With 20 facilities located across Minnesota and Iowa, Ziegler Cat is one of the largest and most successful Caterpillar dealers in the U.S. The company, which was founded in 1914, offers heavy equipment sales and quality customer support to a broad spectrum of consumers, including the construction, mining, forestry, agriculture, nursery, and transportation industries.
Recognized as the industry leader in global infrastructure building, Caterpillar employs nearly 95,000 people in 40 countries while investing more than $5 million daily in research and development. With 2007 sales and revenues approaching $44 billion, the company stands out as the world’s largest manufacturer of industrial gas turbines, natural gas and diesel engines, and mining and construction equipment.
Graduates of DCTC’s Heavy Construction Equipment Technology program are prepared to work as expert mechanics with heavy equipment dealers and contractors. Other major employers include government agencies as well as roadway and bridge construction companies.
Working at field sites or in shops, construction mechanics use precision tools to perform maintenance and repairs on high-tech construction equipment such as loaders, scrapers, crawlers, and motor graders to name a few. They work on advanced hydraulic, hydrostatic, engine, electrical, mechanical, and onboard computer systems.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, heavy equipment mechanics who have completed postsecondary training programs will find excellent employment opportunities through the year 2016. Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development reports that the median hourly wage for mobile heavy equipment mechanics in the seven-county metro area topped $24 in 2007 with the highest earners making more than $30 an hour.