After losing a hard fight to Pancreatic Cancer last June, Rick Taylor’s family turned to The AED Foundation for assistance in setting up a scholarship fund in his name to honor his legacy as an educator and founder of Earthborne Trucks and Equipment in Warrington, Pennsylvania.
Before starting the company in 1976 – a longtime dream of his – Taylor worked as a shop teacher at Upper Moreland High School in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania. According to family members, that love of teaching stayed with him throughout his life, and he constantly looked for opportunities to educate others. But his passion for hands-on work with diesel and heavy equipment drove him to start his own business.
“He could make just about anything happen,” remembers Doug Taylor, Rick’s oldest son and now owner of Earthborne Inc. “He was the ultimate problem solver.”
Rick’s reputation for resolving problems helped Earthborne’s service department become known as the place to go to fix the most difficult truck or equipment breakdown. He welcomed a challenge. “Big problems were the place where he could dig in and get his hands dirty – the thing he loved most.”
Although he stepped away as president in 2014, Rick continued to go to work every day to help guide both of his sons at Earthborne and train new employees. “He never stopped training and guiding at Earthborne until his last days,” Doug recalls. “He was focused on plans for our new facility and finding the right team of people to see it through. He worked up until his last day, putting things into motion, and wanted nothing more than to leave behind a place for his team where his employees could continue to grow and where they could be proud to come to work.”
It’s that spirit of purpose and dedication that not only motivated his students to academic achievement and his staff to excellence, but also inspired his family to establish a scholarship as a means of continuing the work he did, particularly as he considered it especially important to bring the next generation of diesel and heavy equipment mechanics forward.
According to Doug, many of Rick’s former students considered him a mentor and cited his leadership as one of the reasons they chose a career in the industry. “The service technicians who talk about and share [his] passion for problem solving, in particular, is why we decided to create the Rick Taylor Scholarship Fund.”
Pennsylvania College of Technology, an AED-accredited public applied technology college in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, was highly respected by Taylor for having what his family describes as one of the best programs in the state and an unmatched dedication to its students. Thanks to AED acting as liaison with the college, the Taylor family was able to create a scholarship program for aspiring diesel and heavy equipment technicians honoring Rick Taylor’s memory and his commitment to the industry.
Two scholarships will be made available annually. Criteria for acceptance begins with an educational focus in diesel or heavy equipment. In addition, scholarship winners must live in one of the five surrounding counties around Earthborne.
Initial funding for the scholarships comes from donations made in Rick’s honor shortly after his death. The family reports that they received enough money to ensure support for the scholarship program for three to four years.
The scholarship program is one way of continuing Rick’s work of teaching the next generation of techs. It’s also a way to remember him and carry out his legacy.
To donate to the Rick Taylor Scholarship Fund, please go to pct.edu/give.