The advisory board for OSU Institute of Technology’s Komatsu Advanced Career Training program met this week, kicking off with the presentation of two new engines donated to the program worth about $65,000.
Terryl Lindsey, dean of the School of Diesel and Heavy Equipment, said the donation came about because instructors saw a need, and Komatsu dealership Kirby-Smith in Tulsa was ready and able to fill it.
“This is the type of engine students see now when they go into the field,” Lindsey said. “Getting away from old technology and gaining experience with new technology will help them on their career path.”
Bruce Taylor is branch manager at Kirby-Smith Machinery in Tulsa and said when he first started out in the field, someone could come in and learn the job on the job. Now, equipment has progressed to the point where that’s just not the case anymore.
“I see great value in what OSUIT is doing. I was a service manager at Kirby-Smith for six years, and at one time, 80 percent of my shop were graduates from here,” Taylor said. “This program allows students to start with a foundation that’s very solid. Now when we get them in our dealerships, we can be more specific with our training.”
Donations of equipment and tools to OSUIT’s Komatsu ACT program ultimately benefit the company and dealers, said Mike Hayes, director of service marketing and distributor development service with Komatsu America Corp.
“The machines and technology are evolving. We want to make sure students have the latest and greatest because it represents what’s out there in the real world,” Hayes said.
During the advisory board meeting, representatives from Komatsu America Corp as well as from dealerships and distributors heard feedback from students about their experiences in the program and instructors about their needs in the classroom and lab spaces.
They also discussed changes and improvements to the curriculum and how the program can grow and continue to meet the needs of the industry.
“It helps us align our vision into the future and to be able to maximize the 87 credit hours we have to teach them,” Hayes said. “It’s truly a partnership between the school, the manufacturer and the dealer to make sure the end result is achieved.”
Lindsey said having the board together again shows how committed they are to increasing the number of technicians in the field.
“I’m very happy. It’s always good to have a conversation over the dealers’ needs, the students’ needs, the school’s needs and the company’s needs,” he said. “A program that becomes static dies. These meetings breathe new life into the program.”