Caterpillar conducts ThinkBIG Mentor Training at SGTC

Published 2:44 pm Thursday, September 14, 2023

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By Su Ann Bird

AMERICUS – Seven Caterpillar Dealers from the southeastern United States participated in “Think Big” Mentor Training for the Heavy Equipment Dealers Service Technology (HEDST) program at South Georgia Technical College in the John M. Pope Center recently.  SGTC HEDST program instructor and Internship Manager for CAT ThinkBIG Don Rountree, conducted the training.

South Georgia Technical College President Dr. John Watford thanked the group for the partnership with South Georgia Technical College and thanked Caterpillar for their support of the college and the impact that they have on students.  SGTC Vice President of Academic Affairs Julie Partain, Vice President of Institutional Advancement Su Ann Bird, and SGTC Academic Deans Brett Murray and Katrice Taylor also met with CAT officials following the training.

The Caterpillar “Think Big” program is a two-year hands-on service technician scholarship program offered in Americus at South Georgia Technical College in partnership with Yancey Brothers Company in Georgia, Stowers Machinery from Knoxville, TN; Thompson Tractor from Birmingham, AL; Thompson Machinery in LaVergne, TN; Puckett Machinery Company in Flowood, Mississippi, Carolina Cat from North Carolina and Blanchard Machinery from South Carolina.  This dealer-sponsored scholarship program was launched in 2000 and helps pay the student’s two-year tuition.

The Think Big curriculum rotates classroom instruction at SGTC and hands-on training at the dealership in eight-week intervals.  During the internship rotations at each dealer, students earn hourly wages assisting trained technicians working on Caterpillar machines and components, and are guided by experienced mentor/technicians.

The CAT ThinkBIG Mentor training held at South Georgia Technical College featured new mentors and students and discussed “How to Develop Successful Mentor Behaviors.”  The training was conducted by SGTC Heavy Equipment Technology Instructor Don Rountree and the mentors present included:  Eric Armour, Service Management for Yancey Brothers in Columbus, Bradley Dollor and Coby Horak, Yancey Brothers Technician from Garden City and Albany; and Tim Wright and Wade Chesney, Technicians with Puckett Machinery.  Bradley Dollar from Yancey is a 2023 SGTC Heavy Equipment Diesel Technology graduate.

Other dealer representatives present included:  Yancey Brothers Jeff Cornwell and Will Ring; Stowers Brad Manis and Kevin Wachter; Thompson Machinery’s Luke Wachter; Thompson Tractor’s Sonya Sherer; Carolina Cat’s Irv Sharp, Amy King and Joe Thornton; and Dwayne Crooker from Blanchard Machinery.  Sara LeCroy from Faith Academy in Mobile, Alabama was also in attendance.

The team discussed where the term mentor came from, the elements of mentoring, mentoring relationships, is mentoring for you, what do mentors do, what do you as a mentor get out of it, re-cap of what is needed to mentor, and the internship reporting process.