South Georgia Tech hosts registration and orientation for CAT Think Big students

Published 2:54 pm Friday, July 21, 2023

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From Staff Reports

AMERICUS – Approximately 100 Caterpillar Heavy Equipment Dealer’s Service Technology and CAT Heavy Equipment Dealer’s Service Technology Electrical Power Generation students and their parents, family members, and Caterpillar Dealers from across the southeastern United States attended a special Fall Semester Registration/Orientation session at South Georgia Technical College recently.

South Georgia Technical College President Dr. John Watford welcomed the group to the Betty Deriso Pope Conference Room in the John M. Pope Industrial Technology Center building.  He thanked each of them for choosing South Georgia Technical College and the CAT programs for their education and career.

“Thank you for choosing to attend South Georgia Technical College and become a part of the CAT ThinkBig program,” said Dr. Watford.  “South Georgia Technical College is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.  We were established in 1948 and we have a legacy of occupational education.  You have made a wise decision and we look forward to seeing you on campus this fall and also at graduation in five semesters.”

SGTC Vice President of Academic Affairs Julie Partain echoed Dr. Watford’s comments and also thanked them for trusting their students to SGTC and the CAT Think Big programs.  She stressed the importance of communication with instructors and also with other staff and administrators.


Brad Manis of Stowers Caterpillar outlined expectations for the students from the Caterpillar dealers.
Photo by SGTC

In addition to the welcome by President Watford and Vice President of Academic Affairs Julie Partain, Brad Manis from Stowers Caterpillar also talked with the group and introduced the other CAT dealers at the registration/orientation session.  “I hope to see each of you back in this room two years from now for our graduation celebration.  The Caterpillar dealers host a dinner for each of our graduates prior to the commencement or graduation ceremony and that is really a new beginning for each of you because you will have completed your degree and are ready to enter the workforce.  Two years will go by quickly,” said Manis.

South Georgia Technical College Heavy Equipment Dealer’s Service Technology instructors Don Rountree and Keith McCormick also introduced themselves to the parents and students.

The instructors shared with the students and parents the structure of the two-year associate degree program and outlined the expectations of the college, the instructors, and the dealers.  Josh Curtain, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs at SGTC, also went over housing and security details for those who plan to live on-campus.

He also shared with the students about RA applications, move-in day information, and student activities available to the students at South Georgia Technical College.

South Georgia Technical College Vice President of Institutional Advancement Su Ann Bird talked with parents and students about the importance of good grades and about scholarship and grant opportunities available from the SGTC Foundation.


Shown above are some of the Caterpillar students and families displaying the free Celebrating Success for 75 years t-shirts that they received at the orientation/registration day at SGTC.
Photo by SGTC

Students applying for this two-year associate degree program must be accepted by South Georgia Technical College, meet specific dealership and college requirements. Students attend class at South Georgia Technical College for eight weeks of each semester and then work in a dealership applying that classroom knowledge for the second eight weeks.  They return to campus the following semester and repeat the process for the full two-years.  SGTC rotates cohorts of students for the first and second half of each semester so one cohort is on campus and one is at the dealership during each part of the semester.

The Caterpillar dealers who support the Think Big About Your Future program at South Georgia Technical College include:  Thompson Tractor of Birmingham, AL; Yancey Brothers Company of Austell, GA; Stowers Machinery of Knoxville, TN; Puckett Machinery Company of Flowood, Mississippi and Blanchard Equipment of South Carolina.

For more information on how to enroll in the Caterpillar Think Big Program or the Electric Power Generation program, contact SGTC Admissions Director Candie Walkers at or call 229-931-2394 or your local Caterpillar Dealers or go online at or   A video explaining the SGTC program is located at:

Donald Rountree,,  and Keith McCorkle,,  are the Heavy Equipment Technology Instructors for South Georgia Technical College and can also answer questions about the program.

Fall semester at South Georgia Technical College begins August 17.  There are over 200 associate degree, diploma, and technical certificate of credit programs available.  Students can apply, test, and enroll in one day.  To apply visit the SGTC website at and click on Apply Now. A special Registration/Orientation Day is set for Tuesday, August 15 from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. in the Odom Center on the Americus campus and in the main building on the Crisp County Center.