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Two Electrical Power Technology Students awarded ITC scholarships

On Apr. 13, ITC Great Plains, LLC awarded scholarships to two students from the Electric Power Technology (EPT) program at Pratt Community College. EPT students Austin Showman and Kyle Hammer accepted the scholarships, which will help them complete their degree, in front of PCC staff and fellow students.

This is the fifth year ITC Great Plains has provided scholarships to EPT students at PCC. ITC Great Plains is a transmission-only utility based out of Topeka providing access to reliable, non-discriminatory, competitive, and low-cost energy in the fifteen state Southwest Power Pool region with a particular focus on Kansas and Oklahoma.

The President of ITC Great Plains, Brett Leopold, presented the scholarship check to Showman and Hammer. When asked about how the scholarship came about, Leopold said the program’s reputation led them to support students in this industry.

“Pratt Community College had developed an excellent reputation for turning out very well-prepared and quality workers that were getting hired,” said Leopold. “We started talking to the program and started to provide the support. Given that we have built so much and done so much business in this part of the state, it’s a good way to contribute to the future of Kansas and of our industry.”

“ITC has been wonderful to award scholarship money to our students and help give back. There are a lot of companies out there that are helping to provide power to the country but there aren’t many of them that give back and try to help the next generation of employees and linemen coming into the system,” said EPT instructor Dave Campbell.

When speaking about this year’s scholarship recipients, Campbell mentioned how they really earned this opportunity and how much hard work and leadership they showed within the program.
Showman is from South Haven, Kan. and took a non-traditional approach through a couple other colleges before landing at PCC and really enjoying the EPT program and experiences.
“The main thing I have taken away from doing this (EPT), is doing the best work you can do,” said Showman. “You’re going to be as successful as what you put into it.”
Showman will be interning this summer at Heartland Rural Electric Cooperative based out of Girard, Kan.
Hammer, born and raised in Rossville, Kan., chose the EPT program because of his interest and experience working with an electric company during the summers.

“The biggest things I have taken away from this program are pride, respect, and brotherhood,” said Hammer. “Getting the lights back on is going to be something you take pride in.”

In May, Hammer will be headed to FreeState Electric Cooperative out of Topeka, Kan for his internship.

Both Hammer and Showman hope to gain full-time employment while using the scholarship to finish up their last year of the EPT program.

Brett: ITC Great Plains came to KS about 10 years ago and immediately focused on western KS; became aware of the program here (PCC) to train the next generation of linemen, which is very critical to us. We hire contractors and we expect them to have employees with extremely high level of skilled training, great training and safety in doing their work. One of the points of emphasis in your program is to not only be very skilled but also to be very safe in your work and profession. I know that the program has an excellent record of placing its students; it’s a great time to be developing these skills and entering this profession because we know there’s a lot of turnover in utilities in this region and across the country as some of their workforce is starting to retire and they’re looking for new skilled workers to take those positions. Maybe the 5th year able to contribute some scholarship money to the program; and we’re glad were able to continue to support the program here.
We’re a company that requires a very skilled and very specifically trained workforce and as we started to do business in the state and started to hire contractors in the state we became increasingly aware that this is a unique skillset and there are only a handful of programs that really train workers to do this work. Pratt had developed an excellent reputation for turning out very well-prepared and quality workers that were getting hired around this part of the state and this part of the country, so we started talking to the program and started to provide the support. We just think it’s a good way, given that we have built so much and done so much business in this part of the state, it’s a good way to contribute to the future of Kansas and of our industry.
We work in the 15 state Southwest Power Pool region but with a particular focus on Kansas and Oklahoma.

Dave: these guys have done a great job this year and they are getting ready to go out for summer internships. They are excited about it.
ITC has been wonderful to award scholarship money to our students and help give back. There are a lot of companies out there that are helping to provide power to the country but there aren’t many of them that give back and try to help the next generation of employees and linemen coming into the system. That’s really well received here. These students give up a lot and it’s hard for them and many of them are non-traditional students and they have families and struggle, so gifts like these are wonderful for students to receive and they earn it. It wasn’t just given to these students because of frivolous reasons; these two young men really earned it and lead the program; a tremendous amount of leadership and hard work.

Kyle Hammer: Born and raised in Rossville, KS. In May headed to FreeState Electric Cooperative out of Topeka, Kansas. First of all want to thank ITC; this is a tremendous honor to receive this award and its something I’m going to remember the rest of my life; something that I’d never thought I’d earn but I’m happy to. A little bit about the program…when I came here I didn’t really know what to expect, but it’s blewn me away. Biggest things that Dave and Lane talk to us about are brotherhood, respect, and pride. Coming from a small town, you learn a lot of things about pride and working together and having each other’s backs…every single day, Dave or Lane, they’re pounding it in your head you got to have this guys back. The biggest thing that I’ve taken away from this program is taking pride in what I do. I haven’t done any live line work but I know it’s going to be the most prideful thing that I ever do. Getting the lights back on is going to be something you take pride in. Not a lot of people can do it, it’s hard work, and that’s something you definitely want to take pride in. The brotherhood thing…you work sometimes you’re going to be out there one-on-one, just you and one other guy, you always got to have his back. You may disagree on somethings but you got to have his back and he’s got to have yours. You’re the only two guys out there that know whats going on. The biggest things I have taken away from this program is pride, respect, and having your brother’s back.

Austin Showman: From South Haven, KS. A little background on my schooling…I started out at Cowley County Community College in pre-engineering and then transferred to Wichita State University and did two years there in engineering; until I encountered calculus 3 and that brought me to PCC. I had heard about the program and had pretty high expectations coming in and it just meet all those expectations. Dave and Lane, as Kyle said pride and brotherhood, they instill that in us. Probably the main thing I have taken away from doing this is doing the best work you can do; A. because of safety and B because in this line of work that’s going to get you to more successful places down the road. You’re going to be as successful as you put into it. I’m very thankful for this opportunity to ITC, and very thankful for Dave and Lane for selecting us. Good learning experience and very thankful for it.

Heartland Rural Electric Cooperative based out of Girard, Kansas.

FROM ITC WEBSITE:
ITC Great Plains, LLC is a transmission-only utility which seeks to build a more robust electricity transmission system providing access to reliable, non-discriminatory, competitive and low-cost energy throughout the Southwest Power Pool region.

Based in Topeka, Kansas, ITC Great Plains holds transmission-only utility status in Kansas and Oklahoma, with authority to construct, own, operate and maintain a regulated, high-voltage transmission system.

ITC Great Plains is a subsidiary of ITC Grid Development, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of ITC Holdings Corp., the nation’s largest independent electricity transmission company.

Two students from the Electric Power Technology (EPT) program at Pratt Community College were awarded scholarships from ITC Great Plains, LLC on May 4.

EPT students Jacob Mader and Barret Freund were surrounded by PCC staff and fellow students in the program to accept the scholarship that will help them to complete their degree.

ITC has been providing scholarships for select students in the EPT program at PCC for more than four years. ITC is a is a transmission-only utility which seeks to build a more robust electricity transmission system providing access to reliable, non-discriminatory, competitive and low-cost energy throughout the Southwest Power Pool region.

Brett Leopold, President of ITC Great Plains presented the scholarship check to Friend and Mader.

“Pratt Community College’s EPT program enables its students to be work-ready upon degree completion,” said Leopold.  “As a utility company founded on science and technology, ITC is pleased to make this important education investment.”

“We appreciate ITC very much. They have supported this program over the years and it means a lot to the students to have a company in the industry give back,” said EPT instructor Dave Campbell.

Friend is a non-traditional student from Great Bend who is an advocate for the program. Previously working in the oil industry he decided it was time for a change. Having a father and uncle in the utility industry he says that making the decision on a new career path and where to achieve that was a no brainer.

“PCC has excellent resources and a nationally recognized program. I knew it was going to be a challenge and I have never looked back,” said Freund. “PCC is a perfect fit for me and am grateful for the scholarship from ITC.”

Freund has already starting working at Mid-West utility for the summer.

Mader is from Nickerson, KS. He heard about the program from former students and friends who have graduated from PCC, gone through the program and are now working.

“After being in the program for one year I am loving it and am ready to start working,” said Mader.

Mader will be working for Wheatland Electric over the summer and will return to PCC in the Fall.

“We very much appreciate the involvement ITC has had over the last few years and the opportunity that they provide our students,” said Dr. Michael Calvert, president of PCC.
ITC isBased in Topeka, Kansas, ITC Great Plains holds transmission-only utility status in Kansas and Oklahoma, with authority to construct, own, operate and maintain a regulated, high-voltage transmission system.

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