new evaluation leaders
The AED Foundation recently brought on five new evaluation team leaders, or ETLs, to ensure that students furthering their education at AED Foundation-Accredited institutions are receiving an education supported by a set of standards that are approved by industry professionals. ETLs provide technical advisory services and a field presence to support AED Foundation Accreditation and Reaccreditation of college diesel-equipment technology programs, from the start of the process to final onsite evaluation and accreditation approval. They are the “front line” when it comes to making The AED Foundations’ accreditation program possible. 

Serving as an ETL requires a mastery of AED Foundation technical standards and requirements as well as being familiar with program curricula and course structures. Furthermore, ETLs must be available to make a minimum of two, three-day on-site college accreditation visits per year. So why would someone with invaluable knowledge of machines, curriculum, standards, and the industry choose to be an ETL? To find out, we had a Q&A session with The AED Foundations’ new ETLs.

Dennis Goodman
Semi-retired after 48 years at several dealerships

After serving in the Navy, Goodman worked with a Detroit diesel dealership for 14 years. “The next few years were fast and furious, with several acquisitions. I was on both sides of these transactions.” Goodman said. “After things settled down, I spent eight years with a Komatsu dealership as operations manager and later as vice president of operations.” 

Goodman then worked with a JCB dealer for eight years as operations manager and later as vice president of operations. Regarding his time with the JCB dealer, Goodman explained, “This was quite a trip! We expanded from one location to 17 over a 24-month period. During 1999 and 2000 I was on the road for 42 weeks each year. The locations spanned five time zones. We went from a head count of 35 to almost 400 during this period.” After this time of growth, Goodman moved on to become the vice president of operations at a Vermeer dealership, where he “retired” from in 2017.

When asked why he chose to become an ETL, Goodman responded, “Being in the industry for so many years, working with tech schools in Texas and Oklahoma and being an AED member for 25 years, becoming an ETL just seemed like the right thing to do. The industry gave me a great life, and this is just an avenue to give a little back.” And as an ETL, Goodman is able to have a direct impact on the students that he interacts with. “On the first trip, it’s a conversation about what they are learning and their vision for their future, some conversation about their likes and dislikes of the course. I like to let them know the possibilities they have in the future.”

Gary Wenter 
Instructor at Reedley College

To say Wenter has had a successful career in diesel technician education would be an understatement. Before getting into education, Wenter got his start in animal sciences. This required him to wear many hats, one of which was that of a mechanic. “I worked my way through college as a crane operator and welder, a herdsman of a large hog farm, a cow boss in a cattle feedlot, worked on a stocker operation and in a beef packing facility … After a number of years giving it my honest best in the livestock industry, I chose to go back to college to earn a teaching credential in agriculture.”

Wenter then started off in education as an ag mechanics instructor at Caruthers High School in central California, where he was successful in building a first-rate shop program specializing in welding and fabrication as well as farm power instruction. “After 12 years teaching high school ag, I was hired as an instructor at Reedley College (RC), where I currently teach. In fact, I am finishing my 20th year at RC.” Finding great success as an educator, Wenter has been recognized as a finalist for Fresno County Teacher of the Year, an Outstanding Young Teacher, and as a Teacher of Excellence in the California Agricultural Teachers’ Association. 

“The awards were all very nice and appreciated,” Wenter said, “but my measure of success and what I have found most satisfying is seeing my students get solid careers and growing within those roles. I’ve had a hand in helping train a very large number of students at both the high school and college levels, and it’s good to know that I have been a positive influence on their lives.”

When asked what he is most looking forward to about being an ETL, Wenter responded candidly, “I know how to build and maintain a quality instructional program and I know what one looks like. I feel that I can help programs if and where they need improvement. On a more selfish note, I would like to see firsthand how other programs approach certain challenges and where I can duplicate their successes to help improve how we do things at Reedley College.”

Wenter also elaborated on what he is looking for when he visits institutions pursuing AED Foundation accreditation. “I would look for programs that believe in getting better and that emphasize the basics of heavy equipment instruction. I strongly value industry cooperation and input into a program. I want to see programs that put graduates to work. I like to see organized facilities and curriculum that is coherent and makes sense from a learning standpoint,” Wenter said. “I want to see instruction that is attempting to keep up with the changes to our industry without sacrificing good basic foundational skills and concepts. I look for and value programs where the instructors are willing to change in order to improve.”

Paul Anderson    
Human Resources Technical Recruiter at Ziegler Inc.

Anderson worked with Ziegler Inc. for over 38 years, he is now recently retired. From mechanic to parts and service rep, industrial equipment salesman to heavy equipment instructor, technical support manager to technical college recruiter, Anderson is definitely a jack-of-all-trades. His involvement with technical colleges started back in the late ’80s when he supported colleges with Caterpillar products. In the early ’90s, he spearheaded Ziegler’s efforts to support and strengthen the teaching of Caterpillar systems and advancing technologies, along with providing financial support for students in the technical colleges. One of the qualifiers for Caterpillar and dealer assistance was that the program had to be AED Foundation Accredited. “The greatest challenge we had was hiring enough technicians to fill our expanding needs, and that is still true today. My job was to work with the colleges to improve students’ knowledge of Caterpillar products and recruit students into our workforce.”

Anderson also mentioned some of the pitfalls to reaccreditation. “If the program doesn’t have the support of the administration, it won’t be successful. If the instructors are skating by and don’t care about the students, the program will fail and lose accreditation. And if industry doesn’t partner with the program, the program will fail. It’s like the three-legged stool; all three legs have to work together to support each other.”

Justin Beishline
Assistant Dean of Transportation & Natural Resources Technologies at Pennsylvania College of Technology

Since 1998, Beishline has been a tireless advocate for bringing more technicians into the industry through education. After a six-year stint with the National Guard, Beishline worked with Mack Truck and Cummins before getting involved in education. “As an assistant dean, I work with recruiting students, helping them to prepare for college, helping them to succeed while they are students, and helping them to find employment. My favorite part is seeing almost 100 percent placement of students into the workforce after receiving an education in heavy equipment.”

Giving a word of advice to students and parents, Beishline said, “Students today are cautious about the expense of colleges and universities and should be cautious about the quality of education as well. An AED Accredited college helps to ensure that the school is tasked with providing a quality education and that they are investing in a profession that will yield a positive career.”

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