Complacency is a bad word in the heavy equipment business, according to Jeff Scott. He’s the president of Intermountain Bobcat in Utah, as well as the vice chairman of The AED Foundation board. His company is no stranger to AED and The AED Foundation; it has been a member since 1970. Both Scott and his brother David co-own Intermountain Bobcat and have been involved for many years. The retailer, which sells and services both new and used equipment in addition to leasing, has three locations in Utah.
Jeff Scott has been a longtime contributor to The AED Foundation’s annual campaign and the annual AED Foundation Fundraising Gala, as well as helping to mold programs aimed at replenishing the technician talent pool.
It’s an ongoing job, he says, or it should be. The industry needs to be persistent, and never let go of the reins when it comes to training the next generation of technicians – even in the rare instances when all posts are filled. There remains a need for qualified workers, Scott continues, and industry leaders need to be forward-thinking when it comes to training them.
As a result, Scott continues in his efforts to shape and offer educational opportunities to draw new recruits to the field. “We need to work closely with various trade schools and The AED Foundation, not only now, but in the future, too,” Scott says. He puts his money where his mouth is, involving himself in AED accreditation efforts and promoting trade schools.
On the local level, he played a part in getting the Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) AED-Accredited. The process took more than a decade as they campaigned and communicated with school administrators about the ongoing need for qualified technicians – a problem that is decades old, Scott adds – and got the local AED chapter involved in the process.
One effort to show what the industry has to offer began in 2017, when The AED Foundation worked with Utah Career Pathways to organize a career day and barbecue at the SLCC. Utah Career Pathways is a program created by the Utah State Board of Education to promote certain “career clusters” that offer opportunities in fields that provide high on-the-job satisfaction and offer a solid wage, including diesel technology. At the barbecue held at the community college, approximately 300 high schoolers from Canyons School District met professionals in the field while they learned about education requirements, job opportunities and pay.
The event was such a success it will be repeated in October. Events such as these, Scott says, make a pretty good model for the country. “We need to be consistent in our approach. Don’t let up. No complacency,” he says of schooling and seeking talent. “We need to educate the next generation so there are no gaps.”
Excellent jobs in diesel technology are readily available. The public, and youth in particular, need to be aware that some students even get paid as they learn, and many companies, including Intermountain Bobcat, fund scholarships at trade schools. “Then, at the end, it’s pretty much guaranteed employment. It’s a win-win-win situation.
Dealers play a role in the recruiting process; then we go to high schoolers to educate them.
“It’s eye-opening to them, with the technology and computers,” Scott says. “It’s not just a greasy engine.”
One of Scott’s other goals as part of The AED Foundation’s board of directors is to increase awareness within the industry. “Its sole purpose is to educate the workforce in diesel technology. We as an industry need to stay consistent; we need to keep at it to support education of future technicians.”