PITTSBURG — Three graduates of Pittsburg State University who now work in key positions at agricultural and construction equipment company Case New Holland Industrial visited PSU on Wednesday to present nearly $300,000 worth of equipment that their company recently donated to the school’s Department of Automotive Technology.
“Although I don’t recall exactly why I chose the Automotive Technology Program, I suspect it was the faculty,” said Dallas Grothusen, director of quality and product behavior at CNH Industrial. “Many of them had been in the industry and simply wanted to educate the younger generation and prepare them for the workforce. The Automotive Technology Department is at or near the top compared to other colleges, however the big differentiator is the staff. The passion behind this team is first class.”
Ted Polzer, director of product and customer support for Case Construction North America, a division within CNH Industrial, similarly spoke positively of his experience at PSU.
“This path really is what gave me all the opportunities that I’ve had within my life,” Polzer said, “and you know I think that this is a small piece of the gratitude that, you know, I feel like we owe back to Pitt State and I’m glad to see that students here in the future are going to have the opportunity to use these machines.”
Some PSU students who attended the presentation of the new equipment on Wednesday, which included a Case 521F wheel loader, have already had the chance to use it and said they are grateful to CNH for providing it to the school.
“It’s a great donation to have to the program,” said senior Kolton Alloway, a diesel and heavy equipment major. “We got to use the loader a little bit already. Some of us have had our turn running it and it was awesome, especially if you’ve never been around it before, you know, it really opens it up to how the machine actually works and its functions, being able to get on it and use it.”
For Kelly Burgess, director of quality and customer advocacy for CNH’s agricultural segment in North America, Wednesday’s event was especially significant.
“I actually grew up in Pittsburg, so Pittsburg State University was in my backyard,” he said. “I was very lucky to have a good program at Pittsburg High School, and then it was a very good transition to Pittsburg State University for me personally. And it’s opened the doors into industry, and going to work for Case New Holland has allowed me to give back to the university, and that’s really what this event is about today.”
Some of the Pittsburg State alumni who now work for CNH are former students of Dr. Tim Dell, professor in the automotive technology department and diesel and heavy equipment coordinator at PSU, who was also at the event and discussed the benefits of the company’s relationship with PSU.
“They’re in director roles out there,” he said of his former students, “so it tells you about their abilities to be able to apply what they’ve learned and to excel in industry. So they’re serving in key leadership positions, which is obviously very helpful for us. Otherwise, you know, this wheel loader here would not be here without them.”
Dr. John Thompson, chair of the department of automotive technology, similarly commented on the success that former students of PSU’s automotive technology department have had.
“They’ve now all gone out to do very big things with Case New Holland and climb the ladder high, I mean these guys all have folks that report to them,” he said. “They are not just entry level, they are upper management, so we’re extremely blessed and of course very proud of the success that they’ve had.”