PHOTO CAPTIONS: Above and below are faculty and students from Ferris State University and representatives from Consumers Energy gathered on the Big Rapids campus. Consumers Energy donated equipment, including the truck seen above, to the Heavy Equipment Technology program. The equipment is valued at nearly $20,000.
A decades-long relationship between Consumers Energy and Ferris State University has received a boost courtesy of an equipment donation valued at nearly $20,000.
Students in Ferris’ Heavy Equipment Technology program will soon put their skills and education to work using a Consumers Energy-donated electric distribution bucket truck and 10 laptop computers no longer needed by the company. The laptops and truck will augment Ferris’ training program and diagnostic lab students use daily. In 2013, Consumers Energy donated a trenching machine and 10 laptop computers to Ferris. The two-year-old bucket truck recently delivered to Ferris was damaged beyond repair in a rollover accident. However, the engine, transmission and hydraulics remain intact and are of great use to Ferris.
Ferris and Consumers Energy have been partners since the 1950s to assist in training college students to operate heavy equipment, an important task at Michigan’s largest energy provider.
“We’re pleased to have the ongoing support of Consumers Energy for our program. A lot of this derives from Consumers employee Shawn Schlicker, who graduated from the Ferris program and is the Northwest Michigan Fleet Field Leader,” said Gary Maike, an associate professor in the College of Engineering Technology and program coordinator for Automotive Management and Heavy Equipment. “Shawn is also on our advisory board and when he sees opportunities, he directs them to us. Consumers Energy has always been a good advocate of our students and hires a lot of them.”
Schlicker is a 2004 Ferris graduate having earned a Bachelor of Science in Heavy Equipment Service Engineering Technology.
Ferris is the only institution in Michigan offering a Fleet Management Certificate as well as a four-year Heavy Equipment Services Engineering Technology degree. This education and training are valuable to Consumers Energy, home to 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. Ten percent of the company’s fleet services department are Ferris graduates.
“We are pleased to continue this solid relationship with Ferris State,” said Guy Packard, Consumers Energy’s vice president of electric operations. “Working on the same type of machinery we use in the field is a very practical way for these students to gain real-world knowledge. We look forward to hiring additional FSU graduates in the future.”
Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest energy provider, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and or electricity to 6.7 million of the state’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.