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Penn College Students Go Hands-On at Highway Lab Day

Left to Right: Brian Naylor, Service Manager, Lock Haven; Jennifer Nauss, HR, Marketing, & Communications Manager; Dexter Maurer, Field Technician, Brownstown; Tyler Madenford, Service Manager, Brownstown, show their enthusiasm for lab day

On Wednesday, March 6, 2019, Highway Equipment & Supply Co. hosted its first “Lab Day” for the Pennsylvania College of Technology Heavy Construction Equipment (HCE) Technician program. The event was held at the Operators Training Center in Montgomery, PA.

There were three sessions throughout the day, and each session was divided into two groups. After participating in one group, students switched so everyone could experience both groups.

One group completed a hands-on diagnostic assessment of a Volvo CE EC220E crawler excavator, which had been bugged to throw a code. "We installed a faulty DPF pressure sensor on the machine and put the lock out on the bottom of the travel pedal so when the hydraulic engagement lever was flipped up, it would sound the travel alarm," said Service Manager Tyler Madenford. "We advised them they could not start the machine since it would begin to move in reverse, and asked them to dig into the travel alarm first. This was an example of a possible operator error situation; sometimes the most obvious stuff can lead a tech the wrong way."

Tyler and Field Technician Dexter Maurer, a 2017 Penn College alumnus, led the hands-on sessions. The Volvo CE excavator was recently donated to Penn College by Volvo CE and facilitated by Vice President Ryan Flood.

"Dexter showed them how to get to the code diagnosis, then had a student use the multimeter to diagnose this problem," said Tyler. "At the end of the diagnosis, Dexter would ask the students what is wrong, then swap the sensor so they could see a correct reading. We went through fail components and warranty parts, explaining and passing them around to students to assess why they failed. I explained that 75-80% of the calls we get are emissions/electrical concerns and discussed good field habits, such as taking pictures, checking documentation for accuracy, especially with warranty jobs, and utilizing all resources the manufacturers offer."

Photo Captions

  • 1-2: Students assess and diagnose a Volvo CE EC220E crawler excavator

  • 3: Connor Tolomay, Technician Assistant, Lock Haven, and Penn College HCE student participates in the diagnostic exercise

  • 4-7: Tyler interacts with the students during the diagnostic exercise

  • 8-10: Dexter interacts with the students during the diagnostic exercise

  • 11-14: Tyler and Dexter engage with the students during the diagnostic exercise

The second group participated in a discussion with HR, Marketing, & Communications Manager Jennifer Nauss, Service Manager Brian Naylor, and Ryan regarding Highway’s history, growth, family-friendly culture, internships, and full-time employment opportunities.

Photo Captions

  • 1-4: Students participate in a discussion regarding Highway's history, culture, and employment opportunities

  • 5-7: Ryan Flood continues the discussion with students

  • 8: Brian Naylor describes the differences in working for a dealership versus a contractor

“When I worked with Penn College Instructor Chris Weaver to set this up, I envisioned Lab Day as a way for Highway to get in front of Penn College HCE tech students in a more direct manner than is available during the Career Fair while also giving students a chance to complete a hands-on, real-world, diagnostic scenario," said Jennifer. "We made that happen with Lab Day. Personally, I had several one-on-one conversations with students who liked what they heard and saw about Highway and wanted to know more. Highway appreciates Penn College allowing us this opportunity.”

Approximately 57 first and second-year HCE tech students participated in the Highway Lab Day.

Photo Caption

Left to Right: Chris Weaver, Penn College Instructor, Dexter, and Bill Bashista, Penn College Instructor look over the recently-donated Volvo CE EC220E excavator during Lab Day.

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