About 65 students in Pennsylvania College of Technology’s heavy construction equipment and diesel technology majors were treated to a recent demonstration of Volvo pipe-laying equipment at the Wayne Township Landfill in McElhattan.
The event, the latest in Volvo’s ongoing partnership with the college, was a collaboration among Henry J. Sorgen IV, of Highway Equipment & Supply Co.; landfill officials Jay B. Alexander and Max T. Persun; and Volvo Construction Equipment, North America, a steadfast instructional presence in the School of Natural Resources Management.
“This was a great opportunity for us to see some of the latest technology and advancements Volvo CE is using,” said Chris S. Weaver, instructor of diesel equipment technology at the college’s Schneebeli Earth Science Center. “It gave the instructors and students time to talk directly with Volvo representatives, like engineers and marketers, along with representatives from Patterson & Wilder Construction Co. and Highway Equipment (the local Volvo Construction Equipment dealer).”
Interested students were also afforded insight about the functional operation and benefit of Volvo equipment, he said, and were exposed to the technology used in the oil and gas industry, where some of them already work or will be employed upon graduation.
“Volvo CE dedicated the entire day to our Heavy Equipment Operator and Heavy Equipment Technician classes, allowing them to operate a variety of machinery, such as a motor grader, excavator, pipe-layers, wheel loader and pipe-lifting equipment,” Weaver said.
Lewis J. Long, segment director for Volvo CE, North America, welcomed the students, and Jack Bolton, the division’s director of national accounts-utility, oil and gas, provided a brief overview of his employer’s globally manufactured product line.
Both men said it was essential for the industry to cultivate relationships with Penn College and the diesel and heavy-equipment majors who will sustain the workforce for decades to come.
“We need to reach out to these students as they are being trained to give them a holistic perspective in this business,” Bolton explained. “It is not just about sales, not just service, but is about meeting the needs of our customers.”
Bolstering that sentiment were Long, who noted, “These students are our future. We need solidly trained technicians and operators in this industry,” and Sorgen, a member of the school’s corporate advisory board, who said, “We recruit heavily out of the Penn College technician program. It is certainly in our best interest to support the education of these students.”
At the landfill demonstration site, students observed three Volvo pipe-layers working together in a simulated situation, laying pipe as operators would in the natural gas industry. Two Volvo 3005Ds were used in the exercise, showcasing the machines’ 360-degree rotation capability.
“Students had a phenomenal opportunity to experience the technology being developed by Volvo for the pipe-laying industry,” instructor Ryan W. Peck said. “It was really interesting to see the new technology developed by Volvo,” added Travis M. Cain, of Bloomsburg, enrolled in the heavy construction equipment technology: operator emphasis major. “I appreciated the opportunity to be a part of this day. ”
John Duff, site supervisor, split the students into groups and let them explore and operate Volvo machinery throughout the landfill.
The demonstration was followed by a tour of the facility, led by assistant operations supervisor Michael D. Engel, during which students learned about the importance of following state Department of Environmental Protection regulations, saw the waste-to-energy treatment plant and the maintenance and repair area, and witnessed a one-of-a kind Volvo 350 loader that was converted successfully to a compacter.
“To give our students an opportunity to experience up-to-date equipment that includes the latest technology is very much appreciated,” said diesel equipment technology instructor Bill P. Kilcoyne Jr. “It is important for our students to see that the industry is constantly advancing.”
Persun a 1986 graduate of Penn College in service and operation of heavy construction equipment said it is also important to show students the job possibilities in the solid-waste industry: “We wanted to expose the students to what we do here at the Wayne Township Landfill. We look for quality people and we want them to know we do more than push garbage here. This is a great place to start a career as an operator or a technician.”
The demonstration was arranged following an unprecedented fact-finding visit to Penn College by high-level Volvo representatives earlier in the Spring 2012 semester. The group met with dealers and customers (as well as representatives of the college’s Institutional Advancement Office and School of Natural Resources Management), toured a natural gas exploration site and had lunch at Le Jeune Chef Restaurant on the main campus in Williamsport.
That contingent included Olof Persson, president of Volvo Group World Wide; Göran Lindgren, president of Volvo CE, North America; and Salvatore L. Mauro, head of Volvo Financial Service, North America.
For more information about “degrees that work” in the School of Natural Resources Management, visit online or call 570-320-8038. For more about Penn College, visit ontheWeb , email or call toll-free 800-367-9222.
Landfill photos by Carol A. Lugg, coordinator of matriculation and retention, School of Natural Resources Management