Over the years, I’ve had the chance to tour several different automotive and transportation-related training programs on college campus’ all across the country and in other parts of the world. And I have yet to discover a program that is as strong and as impressive as the School of Transportation & Heavy Equipment right here in Okmulgee, Oklahoma – on the campus of OSUIT. I’m here to learn more about this new school as well as talk to the dean of the new School of Transportation & Heavy Equipment, Terryl Lindsey. Terryl, how are you doing today?
“I’m living the dream sir.”
I asked that question that specific way, because I know that every day, you are always living the dream. That’s one of the things I have always appreciated about you, your can-do, positive attitude is so infectious, and I want to thank you for that.
This is a real unique time period for this new school, that was formally the automotive and diesel technology areas, now blended together kind of similar to how it used to be arranged years ago.
Tell me about this new school and list for me the different programs of study that you’re responsible for now.
“Okay, right now, I am overseeing nine programs, not in any order, just the way it comes out:
- Automotive Service Technologies - Pro-Tech
- Automotive Service Technologies - Ford ASSET
- Automotive Service Technologies - GM ASEP
- Automotive Service Technologies - MCAP
- Automotive Service Technologies - Toyota T-TEN
- CAT Dealer Prep
- Komatsu ACT
- Truck Technician
- Western Equipment Dealers Association Technician
So, I’m all over the board, I cover on-road and off-road equipment.”
That’s a whole lot of responsibilities. I am fully aware that there are no more challenging positions on any college campus than those of academic deans, because you are pulled in every different direction from senior administration to faculty, from students and their parents. But here on our campus, in addition, all of our corporate partners and advisory committee members. I am just wondering; how do you juggle all of those competing interests?
“Have you seen my calendar? Haha. I have to schedule with my calendar. Basically, I am in contact with our industry sponsors all through the day, all through the week. I talk to them regularly.”
And you’ve got a really good team here at OSUIT.
“I do, I have an excellent team sir, I agree”
Tell me a little bit about the story about how you’ve been connected to with OSUIT over the years, because you even graduated as a student from here.
“Yes, sir. I started school here in Diesel & Heavy Equipment and graduated with a Diesel & Heavy Equipment Technologies degree in 1982. I started in 1980 and graduated in 82. Whenever I left, I went from here to industry, I worked for Rider Systems for about 13 years and from Rider Systems I had always wanted to teach. Finally, there was an ad in the paper, and I had already started back to school to be an instructor, so the ad came up and I did the application and went through the hiring process and started as a faculty member. It has just snowballed from there.”
I think I kind of know the answer to this question, but what has kept you here for 23 years, you didn’t go back into industry, you stayed at OSUIT.
“No, I’ve stayed at OSUIT. Basically, I have a family here. This is my second family and that’s kind of the way I like to run everything around me, is as a family. We talk to each other, sometimes it is dysfunctional, but it’s a family, we discuss things out. We always come together with a good outcome and I really like the availability to deal with people like that.”
You have served in the capacity of faculty all the way up to dean, I know you have worked on all kinds of projects over those years. What are some of the highlights, what are some of the things you are most proud of during your time here?
“I guess the biggest thing for me was when I was a teacher, when I was instructing. As soon as I saw (I was teaching abstract things, like electrical, you can’t see it, hear it, feel it, taste it, it’s after effects for you) whenever that light bulb comes on, it’s that moment, you look at that student’s eye and you go ‘they got it.’”
It’s pretty satisfying?
“Yes, it’s awesome! Now, on this side of the desk, when we’re sitting and trying to resolve issues with my faculty members or trying to make things better, trying to evoke change, when we all come to consensus and we say ‘okay, we need this,’ ‘this is what we can do to make this place better,’ that’s what I get now.”
If there’s one thing that you wanted people across this campus to know about you, Terryl Lindsey, what would it be?
“Probably one of the biggest things is that I do what I tell you I am going to do. And, if I make a mistake, I’ll admit it, I’ll fix it, and we’ll move on. That’s me in a nutshell, because I am not perfect.”
I know that is exactly the man that you are. Thank you for taking time to visit with me Terryl, I appreciate it and I want you to know that you have my utmost confidence and I know that you are going to be successful in this new role of dean. You have some remarkable faculty members that you work with and you are going to do some great things together.
This has been a great opportunity for me to acquaint you a little bit better with Dean Lindsey from the School of Transportation & Heavy Equipment. I hope that you will be looking at some of the videos coming up, because I have one more new dean to introduce, and you will meet him next time we go Inside OSUIT.