Growing up on a cattle ranch south of Carson, N.D., Denver Paul did a bit of everything to help his dad, from haying and fencing to working the cattle. He also spent time fixing and maintaining the machinery, which made it clear to him that tractors and farm equipment weren’t being made like they used to be. And that wasn’t a bad thing.
“The mechanics used to be simpler—easier to fix. Now with the new technology, everything is more complicated,” he says. And in the end, it’s exactly these advancements that have led Denver to his new career.
When he was a junior in high school, Butler Machinery came to his school and did a presentation as part of their post-secondary “ThinkBig” program. It was then that Denver got insight into a career as a diesel technician. It was something he had never considered before.
An Idea Planted
Afterwards, he decided to tour the dealership and came away thinking “this might be a good thing to get into,” he says. “The presentation is what planted the idea that there was something outside of ranching that I could do and might enjoy.”
And so after high school and a gap year spent working on his parents’ ranch, Denver started the diesel mechanic technical program at Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown, S.D., about a three-hour drive from the Butler Machinery dealership in Pierre, where he has his internship. The program alternates eight weeks of school with eight weeks of hands-on work at the dealership.
Reflecting on his studies and internship, Denver says he enjoys “the learning aspect—how it all works and goes together. Plus, it’s hands-on work, not sitting at a desk, which I really like.” And the dealership is a good fit for him as well. “At Butler, they really care about their employees,” says Denver. “They do their best to take care of you. And I like the values of the company—honesty and integrity.”
He’s also grateful for the scholarship he received from the Equipment Dealers Foundation and Butler Machinery. “It’s nice to get a scholarship offered for the trades. And it will help me greatly in my pursuit of becoming a highly trained diesel technician,” he says.
Denver also recommends this career path for others: “It’s a great opportunity because there’s no end of work. There are a lot of good jobs out there in this, and you also learn to work on your own stuff. It’s a great skill to have.”
About the Scholarship
The EDF was established in 1988 to provide scholarship funding to help meet the industry’s needs for trained individuals. EDF also provides temporary assistance for dealerships and its employees affected by natural disasters. Learn more about EDF here.