Two South Georgia Technical College Diesel students awarded Caterpillar Excellence Scholarships
Americus, Ga.—Two 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.
Willie Pitman from Mauk, Georgia, and Justin E. Parker of Oglethorpe, Georgia, were the two students selected to receive the Caterpillar Excellence Scholarships. Pittman is a 2017 graduate of Taylor County High School and Parker is a 2017 graduate of Americus-Sumter High School. Both students are expected to graduate within the next few months and enter the field as diesel technicians. Starting pay for entry-level diesel technicians is $46,360 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 Raymond Holt, Academic Affairs Dean at SGTC. Chase Shannon, SGTC Diesel Equipment Technology Instructor, also praised the students. “Both of 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.
Both of these students already knew they wanted to study Diesel Technology when they arrived on the South Georgia Technical College campus and both of them had grown up around big trucks and heavy equipment.
“My father, Michael Pittman, was a truck driver for most of my life, meaning I helped changing oil and doing any kind of maintenance work that he had. My cousins own trucking businesses throughout Georgia and I help them from time to time. My granddaddy also had a farm and I worked on his tractor, so I just kind of grew up wanting to do this,” said Willie Pittman.
Justin Parker also got his love for working on diesel equipment from his family. “My grandfather was known as a ‘master mechanic’ when it came to diesel equipment and I want to follow in his footsteps. I’ve had the opportunity to work on tractor trailers starting from a young age and that fueled my passion for the diesel field,” said Parker.
Parker and Pittman plan to use their scholarship funds to purchase tools to help them begin their careers as Diesel Technology technicians. “In this industry, a great deal of tools are needed and to do my job correctly, I have to purchase those tools. This scholarship is going to provide me with the funds to get started in my chosen career,” said Parker.
Willie Pittman agreed. “My father, uncle, and granddaddy and everybody else I worked with allowed me to use their tools. But now that I am moving into the field on my own, I need to have my own set of tools. This scholarship is a great help because good tools are expensive. I believe I can make a good living as a diesel technician but if I don’t have the tools to do the job right, I will not be successful.”
Both Pittman and Parker thanked Caterpillar and the South Georgia Technical College Foundation for the scholarship. “I am beyond grateful for the support of this scholarship and for the support that we have received from the college,” said Parker. Willie Pittman added that not only is he grateful, but that he is also anxious to show everyone that he is worthy of receiving this scholarship.
“I am so thankful for South Georgia Technical College and the Caterpillar Excellence Scholarship,” explained Pittman. “I thank Caterpillar for providing assistance to young people who can come to school and learn to go out into the workforce and be guided toward a better future. I know there will always be jobs in the diesel field.”
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.