The AED Foundation Hosts First Official Accreditation Ceremony in Texas at South Plains College  

On October 10, The AED Foundation hosted an official accreditation ceremony at South Plains College in Levelland, Texas, to recognize the time and effort that went into accrediting their Diesel Service Technology program.

AED Foundation accreditation for college diesel equipment technology programs is very rigorous; schools typically cannot achieve it without industry support. The AED Foundation’s template for accreditation is a community-based, school-to-work plan, where local dealers, colleges, and industry stakeholders work together as a task force to meet mutual needs.
“The AED Foundation and our local AED members are devoted to supporting the industry with programs identical to that of South Plains College. When you have local AED members who devote their time and resources, you know they’re committed to the future of this industry, and these students are our future,” said Robert Henderson, president emeritus of The AED Foundation. “We are excited about the prospect of growing the number of AED Foundation-accredited programs in Texas.”

“Achieving AED Foundation accreditation is an important milestone for not only our diesel technology program but our entire institution,” said Dr. Ryan Gibbs, vice president at South Plains College. “Program-level accreditations are vital to any career and technical training program, and AED Foundation accreditation is recognized nationwide as the premier achievement for construction equipment diesel programs.” 

Accreditation is crucial when it comes to addressing the technician shortage that dealers across Texas and North America grapple with. A qualified and motivated entry-level technician can contribute to a company’s profitability and customer satisfaction right away.

“I know this accreditation has taken time and dedication from South Plains College, local equipment dealers, and The AED Foundation. It’s a proud moment for South Plains and for the state of Texas, and this is only the beginning,” said Whit Perryman, chairman of The AED Foundation and president of Vermeer Texas-Louisiana. “For students, this is the beginning of a prosperous journey. Vermeer Texas-Louisiana currently has at least 12 openings for skilled candidates, including diesel equipment technicians. Dealerships offer many opportunities for advancement, especially for knowledgeable technicians who understand the products we offer and the needs of customers.”

The AED Foundation’s Certified Technician Assessment has been a valuable tool that allows accredited college programs to more effectively recruit prospective students and gives students who pass the assessment an industry-recognized achievement that will help them find a job. 

Whitney Owens, program coordinator and professor of diesel service technology at South Plains College, presided over a student certified technician presentation where he presented Gage Renfro with a plaque to recognize him for passing The AED Foundation’s Certified Technician Assessment. 

“I’m very proud of our instructors and students. It was exciting and fulfilling to see Gage Renfro become the first AED Foundation-certified technician at South Plains,” said Owens. “We expect many students will be following him in earning this prestigious achievement.” 

“Everyone at South Plains College is very proud of becoming the first AED Foundation-accredited program in Texas,” said Rob Blair, dean of technical education at South Plains College. “I would like to thank our faculty and administration for their hard work in making this a reality. A special thank you to The AED Foundation for their assistance and the construction equipment dealers who generously support our program.” 

Attendees from The AED Foundation included Robert Henderson, president emeritus, Thomas Lunney, regional manager for the South Central region, and Marty McCormack, associate director of development and workforce. Local construction equipment dealers Associated Supply Company Inc. (ASCO), Kirby-Smith Machinery Inc., Warren CAT, Yellowhouse Machinery Co., and Vermeer Texas-Louisiana were represented as well.

The AED Foundation is proud of its affiliation with the diesel service technology program at South Plains College and many other career and technical colleges via AED Foundation accreditation. If you are wondering where your next generation of qualified equipment technicians will come from, and are interested in working with your local technical college, contact Steve Johnson at The AED Foundation for more information. Steve can be reached at and 630-468-5134.

Marty McCormack is The AED Foundation’s associate director of development and workforce. He can be reached at and 630-642-9108.

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