Three South Georgia Technical College Diesel students awarded Caterpillar Excellence Scholarships

July 8, 2020
Shown above (l to r) are: SGTC Caterpillar Excellence scholarship winners Miguel Carranza, Jr., Tyler Long, and Richard Hardee with SGTC Diesel Equipment Technology instructor Chase Shannon.
Shown above (l to r) are: SGTC Caterpillar Excellence scholarship winners Miguel Carranza, Jr., Tyler Long, and Richard Hardee with SGTC Diesel Equipment Technology instructor Chase Shannon.

Americus, Ga.—Three students in the Diesel Equipment Technology program at South Georgia Technical College (SGTC) were awarded the South Georgia Technical College Foundation Caterpillar Excellence Scholarships recently in recognition of their hard work, work ethics and grade point averages.

Miguel Carranza and Tyler Long of Americus and Richard Hardee of Oglethorpe, Georgia, were the students selected to receive the Caterpillar Excellence Scholarships.  Each of the students are recent graduates of the SGTC Diesel Technology program and are now gainfully employed in the industry.

Carranza is the son of Miguel Carranza Sr. and Angelic Carranza and he is a graduate of Americus-Sumter High School.  He is currently employed at Simply Elegant Landscaping, a landscaping and land clearing company in Americus where he operates heavy equipment as well as repairs the diesel equipment.

Carranza has been working around diesel equipment since an early age with his father.  However, after high school graduation he chose a different career path and enrolled at Georgia Southwestern State University. 

“I was attending GSW and working in a different industry but one day, I decided it was time for a change.  I wanted a new career path and I was drawn back to the diesel repair industry.  I joined a landscaping company that had diesel equipment and was able to begin operating and repairing the equipment,” explained Carranza.  “I didn’t want to just operate it, I wanted to know how it operates.  That’s what South Georgia Technical College allowed me to learn.  “I am looking forward to purchasing tools with this scholarship.  This will allow me to stop borrowing tools from my father and also allow me to fix equipment more efficiently.”

Tyler Long of Americus is the son of Shannon Long and Laurie Denham.  He also took a different path before coming to South Georgia Technical College to earn his diploma in Diesel Technology.  Long moved to Macon to enroll in an aviation mechanics program but after a semester he decided that diesel mechanics was more of his interest.

“South Georgia Technical College has been amazing and I have learned a lot.  Mr. Chase Shannon and Mr. Ed Herrington are great instructors.  They are very hands on, knowledgeable, and help you understand the material,” said Long.  “I grew up around mechanics with my dad and he taught me everything about gas engines.  For my cap stone, I tore down an engine and he helped guide me through it.”

Long went to work at Cole’s diesel repair while he was still at student at South Georgia Technical College.  He was able to apply his knowledge from the classroom and the lab to full-time employment.  Now, as a recent graduate, he has started a new job at Faircloth and Sons in Albany.

Richard Hardee of Oglethorpe, is the son of Lyndie and John Parker.  He is currently employed at Woody’s Truck and Trailer in Montezuma.  Hardee came to South Georgia Technical College in August of 2018 and enrolled in the GED program.  After graduation, he signed up for the Diesel Technology Program and is glad he did.

 “I grew up working on vehicles and I decided that I wanted to enroll in the Diesel Technology program at South Georgia Technical College.  I have had great learning experiences that taught me a lot in general as well as in the Diesel Equipment field,” said Hardee.

“While taking courses here I feel that I have been prepared and taught the skills that I needed to work in this field.  I have acquired a great passion for working on semi’s and diesel engines.  I am grateful to be working in my desired field and I am even more grateful for this scholarship because it will allow me to purchase some of the tools that are needed to work in this field that unfortunately I have yet to acquire,” added Hardee.

The current estimated starting pay for entry-level diesel technicians is around $46,000 per year and the job outlook for the next five years is expected to grow by nearly 10 percent.

 “These students exemplify and personify all of the qualities we look for in a scholarship recipient,” said South Georgia Technical College Foundation Executive Director and VP of Institutional Advancement Su Ann Bird.

Chase Shannon, SGTC Diesel Equipment Technology Instructor, also praised the students.  “These students are hard workers.  They have good work ethics, they enjoy challenges and they are very observant.  They never just put something back together the way they found it. If something is not working right, they always investigate why it is not working and then look at what else may need repairing while they are there.  That can be a big savings in real life,” said Shannon.

Carranza, Long, and Hardee each thanked Caterpillar and the South Georgia Technical College Foundation for the scholarship.  “I am very thankful for this opportunity to be able to purchase the tools needed for my career,” said Carranza.  Long also expressed his appreciation for the scholarship and the opportunity to purchase tools.  “There were times when my boss would like for me to go out on service calls, but I did not have the tools for the job.  This scholarship will allow me to purchase the proper tools for the job.”

Hardee agreed that having the appropriate tools for the job you are doing saves time and allows you to be more efficient.  “I am so appreciative for this opportunity to purchase additional tools.  I like to keep my tools organized and clean because this is my career and tools are needed in this line of work.”

Students were selected for this scholarship based on instructor recommendation, academic achievement, test scores, and interview.  Funding for these scholarships is made available by the SGTC Foundation through donations made by the Caterpillar Excellence Fund. The partnership with Caterpillar addresses the need for qualified Diesel Equipment technicians and assists students who have made achievements in the Diesel field.

South Georgia Technical College is currently accepting new students for Fall Semester.  Individuals interested in the Diesel Equipment Technology program can contact Chase Shannon at  Classes start August 17th, 2020 and individuals can apply on online at  SGTC has waived testing requirements for fall semester.  Registration will be held from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. on July 21st, 22nd, and 23rd.