Three of the first students to attend classes in the Kansas Technology Center had such a transformative experience, they reciprocated — and in a big way.

Dallas Grothusen (’00), Kelly Burgess (’01), and Ted Polzer (‘02), went on to become leaders with CNH Industrial. In the spring, they returned to campus to help the Department of Automotive Technology officially unveil nearly $300,000 worth of heavy equipment donated by the three.

“They benefited from the investment other people have made, and now full circle they’re coming back to help that next generation,” said President Steve Scott. “It’s not just a donation, it’s an investment in our students, in Pittsburg State, and in CNH – the better our graduates are, the better your business is going to be.”

Automotive Technology Professor Tim Dell said that 20 years ago when the Diesel and Heavy Equipment program was in its infancy, there were engines that students could disassemble and run, but no machines.

“Walk into our lab today, remove everything directly given by these three individuals – you’d be shocked by what that lab would look like today,” Dell said.

Department Chair John Thompson said the donations have a direct impact on students and on their future employers, because graduates are workforce ready.

The department also celebrated the success of Burgess, Grothusen, and Polzer: Burgess is Manufacturing Quality Manager at CNH Industrial, Grothusen is Product Quality Manager for AG/CE NAFTA at CNH Industrial, and Polzer is the Director of Field Service at CNH Industrial.