Three South Georgia Tech Diesel Technology students receive Caterpillar Excellence Scholarships

Published on Friday, March 15, 2024 at 9:08 AM

staff report

AMERICAS, Ga.—Three students in South Georgia Tech's (SGTC) Diesel Equipment Technology program were recently awarded South Georgia Tech Foundation Caterpillar Excellence Scholarships in recognition of their diligence, work ethic, and grade point average. Awarded. They were recommended by instructors Chase Shannon and David Cox.

Jaylon Davis of Blakely and Cole White and Caleb Howard of Leesburg were the students selected to receive Caterpillar Excellence Scholarships. Each student received her more than $1,660 and used it to purchase tools for their chosen career field.

All three students expressed their gratitude to Caterpillar and the South Georgia Tech Foundation for the opportunity to receive these scholarships. Although they have not yet completed the program, each student is already working in the field. They also recently represented the SGTC and Diesel Equipment Program at the Georgia Skills USA competition in Atlanta.

“Driven by my passion to advance my diesel equipment expertise, I decided to choose the ideal university to further my education and pave the way to a successful career as a diesel technician.” Ja 'Ron Davis said. “During my search, I discovered South Georgia Tech, a prestigious technical college in Georgia. It turned out to be a perfect fit. Not only does it have a strong reputation for technical education, but it also offers a wide range of diesel and heavy equipment The technical program also received accolades. The school's affordability and the convenience of on-campus housing sealed the deal for me.”

Davis signed up, and the rest is history. He completed his one-year program and got a job in the local mechanical field. He works part-time and attends classes full-time. “The support has been invaluable to me during my time at South Georgia Tech. I am able to balance school smoothly. My instructors are amazing and go above and beyond to support each student while ensuring a safe learning environment for everyone. South Georgia Tech Choosing to further my education in diesel equipment was the perfect decision for me. I'm excited about my future in the diesel technician field.”

Davis said he is also considering returning to SGTC for the Caterpillar Heavy Equipment Technology Program after graduating from the regular diesel program, or even talking with Caterpillar about leveraging the skills he has already learned. .

Caleb W. Howard of Leesburg agreed with Davis that SGTC is a great place to pursue a diesel technician education. He joined his SGTC based on the recommendation of his father-in-law and other diesel equipment engineers. He currently works for United Rentals.

While in high school, Howard began working for a local company that manufactured and sold various types of agricultural machinery. “Around this time, he realized he really loved what he was doing,” Howard said.

His father-in-law began taking him to work that Howard was doing on local farms and other areas, and this gave Howard the opportunity to get his hands on things that needed fixing, rather than just building them. Ta. “I really enjoyed what I was doing, so I started asking people in the industry for advice and knowledge on how to pursue a career as a diesel mechanic. They recommended South Georgia Tech So I decided to enroll.”

He was very happy to do so. After completing his first year, Howard was given the opportunity to work as an intern technician for the United Rentals. “I've been with United Rentals for a year now and I love it. The atmosphere, the people, and the variety of tools and equipment to work with will help me further my knowledge as a diesel mechanic. .”

With this scholarship, he hopes to not only purchase tools that will help him succeed today, but tools that will help him reach his goal of owning and working on a service truck one day. .

Cole White had a passion for cars from an early age, which led him to his journey to South Georgia Tech and the Diesel Equipment Technology program. He started doing garden work for friends of his family when he was still in middle school. The friend allowed me to help him work on his '79 Chevrolet Chevelle SS. “He taught me a lot about the technical side of things like how cars work and how to repair them. I bought my first car when I was 15 years old, a ’91 Volvo 240. The owner had left it alone for a while, so naturally, as soon as he started driving it, a lot of problems arose. I fixed everything myself, and I learned a lot from it. Currently, the car It has 355,000 miles and still has its original engine and transmission.”

During her senior year of high school, White started considering colleges. “I like working on gasoline engines, but I had little experience with diesel engines, so I wanted to do something related to diesel mechanics. I decided to enroll at South Georgia Tech. , because South Georgia Tech has the best diesel program in the state and it's close to home. I learned a lot from my instructors and earned every certification I could to prepare myself for a great career. We are working on getting it.”

White currently works for Swain Equipment LLC in Albany, which has helped him further expand his knowledge. “I don't have my own tools yet, so a co-worker let me borrow some from his toolbox. The instructors work around my schedule, so I can work and go to school at the same time. Yes, I would like to get a job working on diesel boat engines after graduation. Thanks to this scholarship, I was able to buy the necessary tools in the field and start my career.”

Currently, the estimated starting salary for an entry-level diesel technician is approximately $46,000 per year, with job prospects expected to increase by nearly 10% over the next five years.

“These students represent and embody all of the qualities we look for in our scholarship recipients,” said Sue Ann Byrd, South Georgia Tech Foundation Executive Director and Vice President of Institutional Advancement. states. “We are grateful to Caterpillar for providing the funding that allows us to award these scholarships to these outstanding diesel technicians.”

SGTC Diesel Equipment Technology Instructors Chase Shannon and David Cox also praised the students. “These students are hard-working. They have a good work ethic, enjoy a challenge and are very observant,” Shannon said. Cox agreed, saying, “These three students have what it takes to be successful in life. They're picky.” They are always asking questions, and when they finish one task, they ask what else they should do or learn. ”

Students eligible for this scholarship were selected based on faculty recommendations, academic performance, test scores, and interviews. Funding for these scholarships is provided by the SGTC Foundation through a gift from the Caterpillar Excellence Fund. Our partnership with Caterpillar addresses the need for qualified diesel equipment technicians and supports successful students in the diesel field.

South Georgia Tech is currently recruiting students for the summer semester. Classes begin his May 23rd and individuals can apply online at SGTC is collecting a $25 application fee in March. Students receive a discount using code MARCH24. SGTC also imposes testing requirements during the summer and fall semesters.

Individuals interested in the Diesel Equipment Technology program can contact Chase Shannon ( or David Cox ( and individuals can apply online at can do.

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