“I enjoy figuring out why something isn’t working the way it’s supposed to and solving the issue,” says Tyler Hackett, of Rice, Minn. “Ever since I can remember, I was always spending time in our shop on the family farm, working with my dad and grandpa fixing farm equipment.” That’s what makes him a perfect fit for the two-year John Deere tech program at North Dakota State College of Science, where he’s currently studying.
When he was in high school, though, Tyler’s initial thought was to enter a four-year engineering program. But he soon realized that it wasn’t the right fit for him. So he put feelers out and Andy Schwinghammer of Midwest Machinery Co. in Sauk Rapids, Minn., offered to sponsor Tyler in the technician program. Tyler agreed and spent the summer of 2016, before the program began, working an internship at the dealership, including shadowing technicians, replacing parts, and working on small lawn and garden equipment.
This past spring, with a year of school under his belt, was different. “This time, I got to work on bigger projects with other technicians—from planters to tractors to combines and bailers,” he says. His boss agrees. “Each time Tyler comes back to work with us between semesters he’s more and more efficient in diagnosing and working through problems,” says Andy.
A Perfect Fit
What he loves about school is he’s becoming proficient in troubleshooting and fixing the new technology that runs the equipment he’s been working on. “I like a challenge,” he says, “and with a new tractor, it could be any one of 20 or 25 things that could have gone wrong and caused the same problem. It’s sometimes more challenging to find what the issue is than with the older stuff.”
Tyler is looking forward to graduating and becoming a full-time technician at Midwest Machinery Co. and is thankful for the scholarship that he received through the Equipment Dealers Foundation (EDF) to help him achieve that dream. “I’m really grateful for the scholarship,” he says. “It will really go along way to helping me finish the program with as little debt is possible.”
And Tyler has no regrets about not pursuing an engineering degree instead. This career fits him perfectly. “I’ve enjoyed fixing our own equipment so much that I figured I might as well pursue a career working on other people’s,” he says. Plus, he knew he didn’t want to be “stuck in an office all day.”
When asked about his advice for others looking into this career, he says that it’s a great opportunity, given that it will be “in high demand as long as long as heavy equipment remains the backbone of America.”
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.