Seven new Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology students formally accepted a sponsorship with P&K Equipment, a premier John Deere dealer with 18 locations in Oklahoma and Arkansas, during a signing event on the Okmulgee campus.
The list of students who participated in the signing included: Luke Green of Washington, OK; Erik Gutierrez of Okeene, OK; Devin Hammond of Wewoka, OK; Wyatt Murray of Westville, OK; Antonio Netro of Hinton, OK; Joe Penner of Mounds, OK; and Rhett Snyder of Pea Ridge, AR.
The students will receive a scholarship from P&K Equipment that is applied toward tuition & tools, as well as promise of gainful employment from P&K in exchange for learning new concepts and training while earning an Associate in Applied Science from OSUIT’s Western Equipment Dealer Association Technician program. The goal of the WEDA program is to upgrade the technical competency and professional level of incoming industrial and farm equipment service technicians.
The event was attended by several P&K Equipment representatives, including Corporate After-Market Manager Brad Kosanke. Speakers included Oklahoma Sen. Roger Thompson, OSU A&M Board of Regents Chairman Rick Davis, and OSUIT President Bill R. Path
Chairman Davis said he believes the collaboration is critical to developing an incredible talent pool as future employees of P&K Equipment who may very well become the company’s leaders of tomorrow.
“OSUIT has a proven track record of preparing students for careers. It stands out among our educational portfolio as a leader in applied technical education, favoring labs over lectures,” said Davis. “With a nearly 90% career placement rate, OSUIT’s outcomes-focused approach gives students confidence that when they graduate, not only will they have a job, they will be in high demand in places far and wide.”
Netro, grew up in Hinton, a small town west of Oklahoma City. “I grew up most of my life doing agricultural work, mostly farming and I knew that I would eventually focus on being a diesel mechanic. Looking at schools, I knew that OSUIT was at the top of the list and the right choice.”
Upon graduating from OSUIT, he will work for P&K Equipment and continue his educational journey pursuing a bachelor’s in business management. He said while growing up, John Deere has always been one of his favorite brands.
“I want to sincerely thank P&K Equipment for seeing me as a suitable fit for the future as a technician for John Deere,” said Netro. “I appreciate the investment they have decided to make in my education and journey. This is life-changing.”
P&K not only understands how important OSUIT is to workforce development, but has capitalized on it to build their talent pipelines. The company sends people from the very communities where P&K operates to OSUIT and then brings those graduates back home to work. Kosanke explains this is an example of how small communities benefit from economic development and growth.
“Our relationship with WEDA and OSUIT is a key piece of this strategy, as the Technician Training Program is our primary tool for developing new service technicians who will ensure the ongoing success of our organization,” said Kosanke.
Kosanke explained the foundation of P&K’s past and present success is the reputation for outstanding service after the sale. To maintain that competitive advantage in the future, he believes the intention is to invest heavily in training their staff of service technicians to keep them on the cutting edge of technology and consistently work to bring new talent into the organization that will serve as the next generation of service professionals.
“We are very excited about our new group of seven student technicians who will be starting at OSUIT this fall—they are a talented group with a tremendous amount of potential. We look forward to seeing their development over the next two years and then transitioning to full-time technicians in our organization upon graduation,” said Kosanke.