Latest equipment a draw for technology students 

When Riley Campbell moved to Pittsburg from Salt Lake City, Utah, to major in automotive technology, he was motivated by several things, especially the chance to use modern equipment in classes that were hands-on. When he got to try out two new state-of-the-art Hypertherm plasma cutting units recently donated to the Department of Manufacturing Engineering Technology, he knew he’d made the right choice. 

"I was really excited to get the chance to use it,” he said. “The nice thing about coming here is being exposed to things like this that I wouldn’t otherwise have had access to. Pitt State has a lot of things that other schools don’t have. It’s one of only four or five schools in the U.S. with an automotive program like this, and it has a really high recruitment rate.” 

“I knew I would get to have exposure to industrial equipment as a student and that was really attractive to me,” he added. “Getting to use the Hypertherm units sealed the deal.”

hypertherm demo 

The units were donated to Pittsburg State by Hypertherm and were demonstrated by District Sales Manager Justin Fort to welding classes taught by Professor Phil McNew. 

“I appreciate being able to give my students experiences with a piece of technology that just launched at the world show in November,” McNew said. “It’s beyond leading edge; no one else is doing this yet. Hypertherm’s implementation of RFID technology for consumable monitoring is an industry first.” 

Like many faculty in the College of Technology, McNew has served on industry committees and maintained industry partnerships, which often result in donations of state-of-the-art machines and equipment. 

“I was on a committee for Hypertherm years ago, helped them put together a corporate training curriculum, and this was a thank-you for that,” he said. “It will directly benefit hundreds of students.” 

hypertherm student

Among them: Ridge Robertson, a senior from Winchester, Kansas, who is majoring in mechanical engineering technology. 

“It’s pretty sweet. It’s a brand new machine most people haven’t had access to, and we’re some of the first to run it. It was like cutting through butter,” said Robertson, whose dream job is to work for John Deere or Caterpillar.  

“I feel like it’s an advantage, being here, because of the hands-on labs like this,” Robertson said. “The whole program gives us a lot of time in the shop, learning from faculty who know what they’re talking about and using modern equipment like this, and that’s something I don’t think students at a lot of other places get.” 

Read more about ways gifts of the latest, greatest machines and equipment are giving Pittsburg State students hands-on learning opportunities:

Alumni provide valuable equipment, materials to Plastics Engineering Technology

Truck donation to diesel and heavy equipment program aimed at helping industry shortage

Grads give back to automotive technology program