South Georgia Tech Honors John Deere Tech Graduates

May 7, 2019
A line of males stand in front of a green John Deere tractor.
John Deere Tech program graduates stand with their instructor, Matthew Burks (right), in front of a John Deere tractor following their graduation ceremony.

The South Georgia Technical College John Deere Tech program ushered in 13 new technicians to the field at its annual graduation banquet recently. The students were awarded with a completion award plaque from John Deere for completing the two-year program, and later went on to receive their Associate of Applied Science Degree in agricultural technology later that night at the college’s graduation ceremony. 

Students from Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina were represented in the graduating class. Families, friends and John Deere dealers from around the Southeastern United States gathered into the lobby of the Morgan Diesel and Automotive Complex on the Americus campus to honor the new graduates.

The ceremony kicked off with a welcome from SGTC president Dr. John Watford, congratulations from John Deere’s Bob Cunningham and a class overview from agricultural technology instructor Matthew Burks.

One by one, the students accepted their plaque from Burks and other agricultural technology instructor Wayne Peck.

The John Deere Tech class of 2019 included:

Jonathan C. Atkinson, Jr. of Donalsonville, Georgia – sponsored by SunSouth Equipment, Blakely, Ga.

Jonathan H. Beaulieu of Statesboro, Georgia – sponsored by Blanchard Equipment, Statesboro, Ga.

Cameron H. Davis of Americus, Georgia – sponsored by Lasseter Equipment, Unadilla, Ga.

Austin Lane Donald of Westminster, South Carolina – sponsored by Ag Pro Company, Senaca, SC

Kason Howard Gray of Ty Ty, Georgia – sponsored by Flint Ag & Turf, Sylvester, Ga.

Samuel Jacob Groover of Statesboro, Georgia – sponsored by Blanchard Equipment, Statesboro, Ga.

Kenneth Kyle Horton of Centre, Alabama – sponsored by Ag Pro Company, Centre, Al.

Isaiah Alexander Lawhorn of Pisgah, Alabama – sponsored by Tri Greene Equipment of Scottsboro, Al.

Dylan Lopez of Plains, Georgia – sponsored by Flint Ag & Turf, Cuthbert, Ga.

Gage Michael McCullers of Boston, Ga – sponsored by Ag Pro Company, Dixie, Ga.

Caleb Joseph Mize of Henagar, Alabama – sponsored by Tri Green Equipment, Scottsboro, Al.

Collin Lance Stinson of Lumber City, Georgia – sponsored by Lasseter Equipment, Lyons, Ga.

Jonathan R. Yaughn of Climax, Georgia – sponsored by Ag Pro Company, Bainbridge, Ga.

The class was the fourth of its kind to graduate from South Georgia Technical College. The college and John Deere have partnered together since 2014 to provide potential John Deere technicians with specialized training. Following completion of the program, the students have the opportunity to move directly into employment with their sponsoring dealership.

The agricultural technology curriculum addresses the full range of technological advances in agricultural mechanization, focusing on both John Deere’s Agricultural and Turf Equipment product lines. Students learn about diesel engine systems, powertrains, hydraulics, machine setup and adjustment, as well as high-tech AMS electronics, schematics and diagnostics computers. Students also gain practical experience and expertise working with the computer-assisted resource materials used throughout the John Deere service network, such as Service ADVISOR. The program also emphasizes communication skills and other non-core disciplines essential to a successful career in ag service.

Students attend classes at South Georgia Tech for eight weeks each semester and then serve an eight-week internship at their sponsoring dealer each semester for approximately two years. During that time, students utilize John Deere equipment, training components, and computer diagnostic tools to understand what makes equipment run. This program provides students with the instructional knowledge needed as well as the hands-on knowledge and skills to be successful in this career.

The John Deere Tech program is a special admission program. For more information on the partnership between John Deere and South Georgia Technical College, contact Matthew Burks at 229-931-2401 or by email at         

Family members and sponsoring dealers show their support during the John Deere graduation ceremony.