The AED Foundation-Certified Technician: Harley Carter, Road Machinery

Longtime Technician Says Investing in Tooling and Education Makes the Job Easier


Though his love of fixing things and working with his hands began much earlier, Harley Carter’s official introduction to the heavy equipment industry came in 2001, when the Phoenix-based dealership Road Machinery offered him a scholarship to the Komatsu Advanced Career Training Program at the Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology (OSUIT) – and he jumped at the opportunity.

“I love turning wrenches,” Carter said. “I decided to pursue a career in the heavy equipment industry when Road Machinery offered me a scholarship to OSU for the Komatsu ACT Program.”

Carter spent the next two years working his way through the AED-accredited program, which trains aspiring technicians to diagnose, service and maintain Komatsu equipment using factory-recommended procedures, tools and service information. While completing the program, Carter divided his time between campus technical instruction and hands-on training through paid internships at Komatsu dealerships, which made sure he was primed and ready to join the workforce full time in 2003.


During a typical day at Road Machinery, Carter answers calls, visits job sites, inspects and repairs machines, resets codes, adjusts parameters, and types up reports – all of which require him to work closely with ever-changing technologies. To ensure he stays up to date with the latest technologies used in the heavy equipment industry, Carter takes training classes each year and recently completed The AED Foundation’s Certified Technician Program to test his knowledge and skills.

The certification program, which is the first of its kind in the heavy equipment industry, includes a 160-question technical assessment that covers core construction equipment technical standards for diesel engines, hydraulics and hydrostatics, electrical and electronics, air conditioning and heating, power trains, and safety and administration. The assessment is difficult, requiring extensive study and hands-on experience. Fortunately for Carter, he passed with flying colors, demonstrating his professional commitment and earning positive recognition for both himself and Road Machinery. With technicians who hold industry-wide technical certifications, Road Machinery customers can have the peace of mind of knowing that their equipment repairs will be performed correctly should an issue arise.

In fact, the opportunity to earn an industry-wide technical certification was one of the most beneficial and rewarding things about completing The AED Foundation Certified Technician Program, according to Carter. “Having a certification that is industry wide – and not just brand specific – will really be beneficial to my career,” he said.

Carter has worked full time at Road Machinery for the past 15 years and he still loves every second of it – especially the sense of satisfaction that comes with seeing a repaired piece of equipment run the way it should. “I love the wide variety of machines and jobs we get to work on, but my favorite thing about being a heavy equipment technician is seeing the machine run correctly after being repaired.”

With the skills gap and an aging workforce contributing to a significant technician shortage, the heavy equipment industry offers fantastic opportunities for young people who are looking for a well-paying job in an in-demand field. Carter has this advice for people considering a career as a heavy equipment technician: “It’s an awesome job, but be ready for long days. Also, the more you invest in tooling and education, the easier your job will be.”

Even when he’s not busy working as a technician for Road Machinery, Carter keeps himself occupied by doing what he loves – turning wrenches – and the truck in his garage is his current project. He also enjoys spending time with his family and going off-roading.

For more information on The AED Foundation Certified Technician Program, call 630-574-0650, email or visit

To learn more about the AED-accredited Komatsu Advanced Career Training Program at OSUIT, visit




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