South Georgia Tech hosts registration/orientation for CAT students

July 22, 2021
Shown above are some of the Caterpillar students and families displaying the free Changing Lives t-shirts that they received at the orientation/registration day at SGTC.
Shown above are some of the Caterpillar students and families displaying the free Changing Lives t-shirts that they received at the orientation/registration day at SGTC.

    Approximately 100 Caterpillar Heavy Equipment Dealer’s Service Technology and CAT Heavy Equipment Dealer’s Service Technology Electrical Power Generation students and their parents, family members, and Caterpillar Dealers from across the southeastern United States attended a special Fall Semester Registration/Orientation session at South Georgia Technical College recently.

    South Georgia Technical College President Dr. John Watford welcomed the group to the Betty Deriso Pope Conference Room in the John M. Pope Industrial Technology Center building.  He thanked each of them for choosing South Georgia Technical College and the CAT programs for their education and career.

    “I know each of you in this room are extremely smart individuals,” said Dr. Watford.  “First of all, I know that you have been fully vetted by your individual Caterpillar Dealers in order to be recommended for this program.  Second, you have chosen South Georgia Technical College for your college experience, and third, when you leave this program with an associate degree you will have no debt, and you will have a job waiting on you.  In my mind, you are all very smart individuals.”

   In addition to the welcome by President Watford, Jeff Cornwell from Yancey Caterpillar also talked with the group and introduced the other CAT dealers at the registration/orientation session.  “I hope to see each of you back in this room two years from now before graduation.  The Caterpillar dealers host a dinner for each of our graduates prior to the commencement or graduation ceremony and that is really a new beginning for each of you because you will have completed your degree and are ready to enter the workforce.  Two years will go by quickly,” said Cornwell.

   South Georgia Technical College Heavy Equipment Dealer’s Service Technology instructors Don Rountree and Kyle Hartsfield as well as CAT EPG instructor Keith McCorkle also introduced themselves to the parents and students.

    The instructors shared with the students and parents the structure of the two-year associate degree program and outlined the expectations of the college, the instructors, and the dealers.  Vanessa Wall, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs at SGTC, also went over housing and security details for those who plan to live on-campus.

    She also shared with the students about RA applications, move-in day information, and student activities available to the students at South Georgia Technical College.

   South Georgia Technical College Vice President of Academic Affairs David Kuipers also talked with the parents and introduced the other members of the academic team as well as the senior leadership and the admissions and financial aid individuals from SGTC.

     Students applying for this two-year associate degree program must be accepted by South Georgia Technical College, meet specific dealership requirements that include placement tests and completion of a portfolio before final acceptance.  Students attend class at South Georgia Technical College for eight weeks of each semester and then work in a dealership applying that classroom knowledge for the second eight weeks.  They return to campus the following semester and repeat the process for the full two-years.  SGTC rotates cohorts of students for the first and second half of each semester so one cohort is on campus and one is at the dealership during each part of the semester.

    The Caterpillar dealers who support the Think Big About Your Future program at South Georgia Technical College include:  RingPower Corporation of St. Augustine, FL (; Thompson Machinery of LaVergne, TN (; Thompson Tractor of Birmingham, AL (; Yancey Brothers Company of Austell, GA (; Stowers Machinery of Knoxville, TN (; and Puckett Machinery Company of Flowood, Mississippi (

     For more information on how to enroll in the Caterpillar Think Big Program or the Electric Power Generation program, contact SGTC Admissions Director Candie Walkers at or call 229-931-2394 or your local Caterpillar Dealers or go online at or   A video explaining the SGTC program is located at:

   Donald Rountree,,  Kyle Hartsfield,; and Keith McCorkle,,  are the Heavy Equipment Technology Instructors for South Georgia Technical College and can also answer questions about the program.

  Fall semester at South Georgia Technical College begins August 18th.  There are over 200 associate degree, diploma, and technical certificate of credit programs available.  Students can apply, test, and enroll in one day.  To apply contact the SGTC admissions office at 229-931-2394 in Americus or 229-271-4040 in Cordele.  A special Registration/Orientation Day is set for Monday, August 16th at 9:30, 1:30 and 5 p.m. in Americus and 9:30 and 5 p.m. in Cordele.