Diesel tech event revs engines

Churchill high school student Canyon Silver is given a hands on lesson in how to take apart and reassemble a piston by Diesel Technology student Joanne Gross at the Diesel Days event on May 14.
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Dozens of high school students gathered around to watch the inner workings of a diesel engine turn on and rev up. Under the heat of the spring sun, students were more than excited to see black clouds of smoke shoot up into the sky from this demonstration of diesel technology.

This was just one of many demonstrations on display at the first Diesel Days exhibition at Lane. Over 100 students from Lane County high schools showed up to participate in this two-day event.

The Diesel Days exhibition showcased many of the vehicles and engines that the Diesel Technician students get to work on such as highway trucks, construction equipment, forklifts and trains. The local advisory committee, made up of businesses that rely on diesel technicians, decided to create this event with the hope that it would create more student interest in the Diesel program at Lane and encourage students to pursue careers in the diesel industry.

Steve Webb, Diesel Technician program faculty member, was one of the lead representatives of the program during the event.

“We have never done this before,” Webb said. “It’s a chance for them [students] to see what it’s like to be a diesel technician and find out what it will take for them to be a part of this program.”

There were upwards of 50 Lane students and faculty members that were involved in hosting the event. There were also many student volunteers on hand to demonstrate the diesel engines and machinery.

LTD displayed its new hybrid EmX bus, which is said to be more energy efficient than the current EmX busses in use.

Ted Fleming, the technical recruiter for Peterson Cat, a construction company that works along the entire West Coast, was out showing off the new Caterpillar bulldozers and looking for interested recruits.

“Hopefully, developing a recruiting pipeline with this program will happen and that will open up the door for new positions within our company. Hopefully, their [Lane] graduates will know who we are as an employer and we can be kind of a natural transition from a student and then into the industry and have an exciting career.”

Students stood in awe at all the large semi-trucks and heavy machinery equipment on display.

Isaac Eeds, a Junction City student, is interested in entering this program after high school.

“It’s a great opportunity to come out here and see some of these things. It is really fun,” Eeds said. “The two-stroke engine was really cool.”

The diesel technician program at Lane has seen a slight decline in enrollment over the years. Despite this decline, Webb believes that the future of the Diesel Program at Lane has a bright road ahead. A normal fall class would be completely full, but at the time of publication there are upwards of five unfilled seats still available for the fall.

“We are supported by the school and the local industry,” Webb said. “With the tremendous need from our local industry it is important for us to be there to support them and provide the technicians that they need.”