(Media release from Georgia Northwestern Technical College):

Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) Construction Management students built on their skills by learning to operate heavy machinery Thursday, Oct. 27, during Construction Equipment Field Day at GNTC’s Gordon County Campus in Calhoun.

Organized by Donny Holmes, Construction Management program director and instructor, the outdoor training event is the second he has coordinated with representatives from Yancey Bros. Co. Yancey staff taught about two dozen students the basics of the construction equipment.

“This event is designed to give students some hands-on experience using various types of construction equipment that they will use on a job site,” Holmes said.

Yancey Bros. Co. hopes that Construction Equipment Field Day draws attention and interest to GNTC’s Construction Management program so that GNTC can continue equipping students for a successful career in the construction industry, explained Taylor Teague, Machine Sales representative with Yancey Bros.

“We are passionate about heavy equipment and the industries that we serve, so we enjoy the chance to teach the students about our equipment while also making it a fun learning experience,” Teague said. “We also get the pleasure of building relationships with the next generation of Georgia’s construction business owners and employees.”

Students rotated between learning to use GNTC’s boom lift, forklift, mini-excavator, skid steer loader and scissor lift. Yancey furnished a second mini-excavator and a second skid steer loader for the day and hosted timed competitions on those two machines.

Student Robert Moore said he participated in all the activities, but enjoyed using the forklift most. The training day gave him more possibilities when pondering his career options. Moore expects to graduate in December.

“I enjoyed spending time with my peers and seeing everyone learning more about the life of a construction worker,” he said. “I wouldn’t mind moving pallets for a living.”

Student Emelly Garnica, who expects to graduate in 2024, enjoyed competing in the contests on the mini-excavator and skid steer loader, she said.

“I figured out that I am fast at learning how to operate the machines,” she said, adding that she is interested in pursuing a career as a machine operator.

“Our primary, short-term goal is to connect with the students and to participate in a fun day of learning about and operating Caterpillar equipment,” Yancey Bros. sales associate Silas Ledford said, adding that he hopes the day is a highlight in the students’ educational experience. “It is a great and safe introduction to the equipment, and the students really enjoy it.”

The first Construction Equipment Field Day was held in November 2020. Holmes said he hopes to make the heavy equipment training day a biennial event.

“We at Yancey Bros enjoy meeting the students and learning about their experiences and goals,” Ledford said. “We enjoy sharing about Yancey Bros, Caterpillar equipment and how our services fit into the construction industry. It is fun to watch students who are impressive operators already, but we also get to see others grow in confidence throughout the training and activities.”

Headquartered in Austell, Ga., Yancey Bros. Co. is recognized as the nation’s oldest Caterpillar dealer.

GNTC student Chris Keever uses the bucket of a skid steer loader to move a PVC widget from inside one construction cone to another in a timed competition.