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Ferris Heavy Equipment Program Benefits from Consumers Energy Donation

Ferris State University, Consumers Energy DonationConsumers Energy is strengthening its ties to Ferris State University with the donation of more than $10,000 worth of machinery and technology to its heavy equipment program.

University and Consumers Energy officials gathered in Big Rapids on Friday, Nov. 8 to see how the donated equipment is benefiting Ferris, home to one of the country’s top heavy equipment programs.The donation includes a small diesel-powered trenching machine and 10 laptop computers which were no longer being used by the company. The trencher will provide practical hands-on experience and the computers will assist in diagnosing engines and vehicles in the program’s lab.

“The diesel trencher’s smaller size is a great addition to our training equipment and the computers greatly improve our engine and equipment diagnostic lab resources,” said Dan Wanink, an associate professor and coordinator of Ferris’ Heavy Equipment program. “We appreciate this generous donation by Consumers Energy and how it enhances our ongoing business relationship.”

Consumers Energy’s ties to Ferris’ Heavy Equipment program date back a number of years. Herb Parsons, father of recent Consumers Energy fleet services retiree Duey Parsons, played an important role in getting the university’s program started. Ferris has one of the top programs in the country, as well as the only institution in Michigan offering a Fleet Management Certificate as well as a four-year Heavy Equipment Services Engineering Technology degree. This is of particular value to Consumers Energy, which has one of Michigan’s largest vehicle fleets. Consumers Energy employs more than 180 Ferris alumni and regularly seeks students and graduates of this program when filling internships and full-time positions.

The donation highlighted today is the result of a February 2013 visit to campus by Consumers Energy fleet services leadership, said Jeffrey Shingler, director of fleet services for the company.

“We came away with a very good impression of the program and began discussing internally how we can assist the university,” Shingler said. In addition to donating the used equipment, Consumers Energy now has a representative on Ferris’ Heavy Equipment Advisory Board.

“This donation and our strong ties to Ferris' heavy equipment program helps Consumers Energy deliver on its Promise to Michigan to care for the Michigan communities we serve,” Shingler said.

Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest utility, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy, providing natural gas and electricity to 6.6 million of the state’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.