Success Story: Derek Black, 2013 AED Scholarship
Proper Tools Build Seamless Path From Graduation to Workforce
A degree from a nationally recognized college and financial assistance from a renowned advocate for technical education have put Derek S. Black on the clear path to success in the heavy equipment field – while supplying the literal tools with which to build a solid career.
Black graduated in May from Pennsylvania College of Technology with an associate degree in heavy construction equipment technology: technician emphasis major, and received a $1,000 Association of Equipment Distributors tool scholarship from the mikeroweWORKS Foundation.
In short order, he put those tools to work as a full-time, heavy-equipment shop mechanic in the Turbotville (Pa.) branch of Cleveland Brothers Equipment Co., a regional Caterpillar dealer with a long and multifaceted history of supporting Penn College students and faculty in heavy equipment, diesel technology and onsite power generation majors.
“It feels good to be employed immediately after graduation in my degree of study,” Black said. “I believe that my Penn College education gave me a great starting point. I was well-prepared to enter the workforce with confidence after completing my degree.”
So confident, in fact, that he quickly satisfied an objective set when he enrolled in college for the Fall 2011 semester.
“I now work for a Caterpillar dealership, which was one of my career goals; I reached the main goal that I had as a freshman when I got hired at Cleveland Brothers,” said Black, who already has set his sights on the next horizon. “My current career goals are to continue working while I learn and advance in the company.”
His duties range from service to undercarriage replacement, along with factory warranty updates on equipment, and he’s making the most of every workday.
“I am enjoying learning new ways to do things that I have done in the past, as well as continuing to learn about the new equipment and technologies,” he said. “I am also able to use the skills and information that I learned at Penn College every day to complete the tasks given to me.”
The transition from college success to superior job performance is no surprise to Dennis McGinley Jr., main shop service supervisor at Cleveland Brothers, who also supervises Black.
“I can see why Derek was chosen to receive this scholarship for his strong academic achievements,” he said. “Derek has a work ethic that is valued in the workforce. He arrived on the shop floor ready to work.”
Mike Rowe – creator and host of the “Dirty Jobs” series on the Discovery Channel, a popular commercial spokesman and a tireless proponent of skilled American labor – began his mikeroweWORKS Foundation to help students eyeing careers in the construction trades.
“We know it is an investment to purchase tools and we appreciate the efforts of the mikeroweWORKS Foundation for their recognition of the importance of good technicians for the heavy construction industry,” said Bob Douglas, product support branch manager for Cleveland Brothers.
Black is one of five Penn College students, in fact, to receive an AED tool scholarship in the past three years.
“As an instructor at Penn College, I’ve had the pleasure of watching students that have earned this award enter the heavy construction equipment industry,” said Chris S. Weaver, a member of the diesel equipment technology faculty. “These students have seen the value of a strong education, coupled with an ability to use their minds and hands, and are contributing to the workforce.”
For more information about heavy construction equipment technology and other “degrees that work” at the college, which will mark 100 years as an educational institution of national reputation in 2014, visit www.pct.edu, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll-free 800-367-9222.