Officials from Navistar and West Michigan International/K&R Sales, along with leaders of Ferris State University gathered on Ferris’ campus in Big Rapids, Mich., on Oct. 4, to celebrate the donation of seven International vehicles, which were offered to benefit learning in the Heavy Equipment Technology program.
Six of the seven vehicles have arrived at the Heavy Equipment Center, according to HEQT program coordinator Gary Maike, an associate professor in that program.
“The vehicles are conservatively valued at $250,ooo,” Maike says. “We would spend much more to collect this kind of equipment and technology to benefit our instruction on the shop floor.”
John McCuistion, the director of Chassis Engineering for Illinois-based Navistar said their corporation maintains support relationships with other four-year schools offering Heavy Equipment programs, but their situation with Ferris is unique.
“The collaboration found with this university, a partner in operations like West Michigan International/K&R Sales, and our efforts as an original equipment manufacturer are the three legs of a very strong foundation,” McCuistion says. “It is important to partner with these schools, so that the emerging technologies are understood by the next generation of technical leaders.”
Ferris has received semi-tractors and a vocational, or box truck chassis and cab, which are in use for HEQT lab instruction. McCuistion said these vehicles had been submitted for federal emissions testing, and donation of the trucks, following their return has not been standard practice for Navistar.
“At one time these vehicles were scrapped because there was no other use for them,” McCuistion says. “We came to understand that Ferris, and other four-year schools, such as Southern Illinois University would benefit from receiving the latest technology to use in their instruction, which would in turn, provide better technologists for our industry. Navistar enjoys its position as the uptime leader in all aspects of commercial trucking, thanks to the efforts of technical institutions like Ferris to train students in maintenance and engineering.”
Ferris President David Eisler and other guests were given the opportunity to experience the ride of an International semi-tractor, following a ceremony to acknowledge the donation.