Lycoming Engines’ instructional support lauded at sign dedication

Lycoming Engines’ longtime support of Pennsylvania College of Technology and its academic programs was celebrated on campus recently with the unveiling of new signage at the college’s Metal Trades Center.

Members of the Penn College community and representatives of Lycoming Engines – including alumni of the college employed by the company – gathered on Oct. 2 to dedicate the Lycoming Engines Metal Trades Center sign on the front lawn of the facility.

From left, Michael Kraft, senior vice president and general manager for Lycoming Engines; Pennsylvania College of Technology President Davie Jane Gilmour; and aviation technology student Warren K. Bitterman, of Zieglerville, Montgomery County, all spoke at a dedication ceremony honoring Lycoming Engines’ ongoing support for the college.

A worldwide leader in piston engine production for the general aviation industry, Lycoming Engines employs more than 100 Penn College alumni, representing more than a quarter of its workforce. Employees of the company serve as advisory committee members for Penn College’s academic programs, and they host students on factory tours and for a variety of career-related activities.

Lycoming Engines has also established a series of scholarships for Penn College students, enriched the instructional experience with equipment donations, provided industry-informed curriculum insight, and offered internship and employment opportunities to students and graduates.

Additionally, the company is a member of the College’s Visionary Society, recognizing lifetime gifts totaling $100,000 to $499,999, including a recent gift of 15 aircraft engines to the college’s aviation majors.

Penn College also serves as the authorized training center for Lycoming Piston Engine Service School, in which instruction takes place annually for more than 200 participants worldwide.

Penn College’s relationship with the company dates to the 1930s, when industrial education coursework that would eventually become the foundation of one of the college’s predecessors, Williamsport Technical Institute, was part of a vocational education program at Williamsport High School. The innovative program trained and put people back to work after The Great Depression. Students gained hands-on experience in local industry, including at the company then known as the Lycoming Division of Aviation Manufacturing Corporation.

“With this incredibly rich history guiding us, we believe it is appropriate to update the name of the Metal Trades Center and the sign that welcomes students, faculty, staff and visitors to this wonderful instructional facility,” said President Davie Jane Gilmour. “We thank you, Lycoming Engines, for investing in the future of our students as they become tomorrow makers.”

Michael Kraft, senior vice president and general manager for Lycoming Engines, spoke of the mutually beneficial partnership between the company and the college, noting the 100-plus Penn College alumni employees who work in areas ranging from finance to machining technologies, and from manufacturing engineering to aviation programs.

“The relationship we have between our two entities is a model ecosystem for how educational institutions and companies can engage and yield positive, long-term results for the community,” Kraft said, adding that Lycoming is happy to donate engines, provide scholarships and offer advisory support for academic programs.

“Most of all, we are happy that we can hire Penn College students who can hit the floor running and make a positive impact to our business almost immediately,” he said. “Penn College, simply stated, is a strategic resource for Lycoming Engines to remain competitive in the global marketplace.”

Also speaking at the dedication was current aviation technology student Warren K. Bitterman, of Zieglerville, who expressed appreciation for Lycoming Engines’ equipment donations.

“Much of the equipment the school uses has been received through donations, and the engines we received from Lycoming will be used to replace the older engines, which have been disassembled and reassembled many times throughout the years,” Bitterman said. “Due to this donation, we now have more equipment to utilize in our classes, which will continue to help us and future students. On behalf of the students in the Aviation Center, I thank you for investing in our education and helping us turn our dreams into reality”

Constructed in 1980, the 26,802-square-foot Lycoming Engines Metal Trades Center is home to tool and die making, metal trades and the college’s welding labs, along with various classrooms and offices. Workforce Development & Continuing Education at Penn College also offers industrial technology and trade skills at the site.

Penn College is a national leader in applied technology education. For more, visit www.pct.edu, email admissions@pct.edu or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

– Photos by Cindy Davis Meixel, writer/photo editor

 

 

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