The AED Foundation Hosts Official Accreditation Ceremony at Hinds Community College

On April 10, The AED Foundation hosted an official accreditation ceremony at Hinds Community College’s Diesel Technology Academy in Richland, Mississippi, to recognize the hard work that went into accrediting their Diesel Equipment Technology A.A.S. degree program.

Dennis Vander Molen, president of Vermeer MidSouth, Inc., and past chairman of The AED Foundation, served as the master of ceremonies. “This program getting AED Foundation Accreditation is the result of the teamwork and dedication from the staff at Hinds, local dealers, The AED Foundation, The Mississippi Community College Board and the State of Mississippi,” he said.  

The commitment from Hinds Community College – especially Brent Johnson, director of diesel equipment technology, and Dr. Chad Stocks, vice president for workforce development / career and technical education – to work with local industry and other partners was a key component in successfully achieving AED Foundation accreditation.

“I cannot say enough about the staff we have at Hinds Community College and their dedication to ensuring that our diesel program met the rigorous standards set forth by The AED Foundation,” said Dr. Clyde Muse, president of Hinds. “We truly thank The AED Foundation and local industry leaders for their partnership and support.”

Paul Breazeale, president of the Hinds Community College board of trustees, said, “Collaboration between industry and education is important, and I’m glad there are organizations like The AED Foundation out there that help facilitate the accreditation of programs like this. This is an exciting time for Hinds Community College.” 

“Addressing the technician shortage that is hampering our industry requires partnerships with local, forward-thinking colleges like Hinds,” said Gerald Swanson, CEO of Stribling Equipment and a key sponsor of this program. “Hinds achieving AED Foundation accreditation is a milestone, but we must continue to focus on recruiting students into the diesel program.”

Dr. Andrea Mayfield, Executive Director of the Mississippi Community College Board, attended the ceremony and walked away impressed by the collaboration that led to AED Foundation accreditation at Hinds. “I strongly believe that community partnerships like what is in place between Hinds, The AED Foundation, and local industry are the key to local and state economic growth and development,” Mayfield said. “I look forward to seeing how these strategic partnerships benefit students as they move into the workforce with the skills they will need to succeed.”  

The AED Foundation’s accreditation process would not be where it is today without the valuable work of volunteer evaluation team leaders (ETLs). They are the experts who spend countless hours visiting schools, working with their staff, and ensuring that the diesel programs meet the Foundation’s rigorous national technical standards. Foundation standards are defined and updated regularly by the equipment industry with representation from dealers, manufacturers and technical colleges. This results in real-world standards that are fully aligned with industry-expressed needs, current with rapidly changing technology, and comprehensive in scope. Foundation accreditation is without a doubt “of the industry, for the industry.”  

“I am truly honored to be one of the many Mississippians who worked collectively to make Hinds Community College the first AED Foundation-accredited heavy equipment technology program in our state,” said Tony Tice, training manager at Thompson Machinery and volunteer ETL for the AED Foundation. “The entire Hinds leadership team and advisory board have created one of the premier programs that I have had the opportunity to visit. A special thanks to Jerry Swanson. His vision to create a true partnership between business and education will be a model for the entire country to follow.” Pat Sullivan, mayor of Richland, attended the ceremony and stated, “I’m happy to see that Hinds Community College is focusing on educating our next generation of leaders with the skills they need in the equipment industry. I look forward to working with The AED Foundation and Hinds Community College in the future as they continue to address the skills gap.”

The AED Foundation is proud of its affiliation with the diesel-equipment technology program at Hinds Community College and many other career and technical colleges via AED Foundation accreditation. If you are interested in working with your local technical college, contact Steve Johnson at The AED Foundation at and 630-468-5134.

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