The Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology (SiMT) located on the main campus of Florence-Darlington Technical College (FDTC) hosted Caterpillar Inc.’s ThinkBIG Global Conference on Tuesday, May 23.
Caterpillar Inc. ThinkBIG representatives from nine countries and 12 states met at the SiMT for the conference that only occurs every two years. This year’s conference marked the first time that FDTC has served as the event’s host. The Caterpillar Dealer Academy has been operating at FDTC for 17 years, and it has placed many graduates in the workforce at Blanchard Machinery, Carolina CAT and Gregory Poole. Once the course is completed, students obtain an Associates in Applied Science degree with a major in Diesel Technology.
“It is an honor to be selected as the host of the 2017 Global ThinkBIG conference,” said Stephen Murphy, Director of the Caterpillar Dealer Academy at FDTC. “I have been a part of the global network of ThinkBIG instructors since 2008, and it is enjoyable to see my fellow administrators and instructors gathering for this year’s conference.”
While at the college, business was conducted and attendees toured FDTC. Following a full day of work, Caterpillar Inc. ThinkBIG attendees traveled to Darlington Raceway, where they were treated to a speech from Gregory Poole III, whose family founded the Gregory Poole Equipment Company, the Caterpillar distributor for Eastern North Carolina with 23 locations. Also on-site at the racetrack was Florence-Darlington Technical College’s Super Truck. Driver Hayes Goodson signed autographs for those in attendance. Richard Childress Racing also had Ryan Newman’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet in the track’s Cale Yarborough Garage.
The Caterpillar Inc. ThinkBIG institutions that were in attendance included: BRP (IIASA), Ecuador; BRP (IIASA), Panama; Florence-Darlington Technical College; Finning Academy, England; Grande Prairie Regional / College, Canada; Lake Area Technical Institute; South Dakota; Mesa Community College Empire Cat, Arizona; North Dakota State College of Science; Oklahoma State University - Institute of Technology; Owens Community College, Ohio; Pittsburg State University, Kansas; Portland Community College, Oregon; San Joaquin Delta College, California; State Technical College of Missouri; South Georgia Technical College; TECSUP (Ferreyos) , Arequipa, Peru; TECSUP (Ferreyos), Lima, Peru; and Universidad Tecnologica de Jalisco (TRACSA), Mexico.
For more information on the Caterpillar Dealer Academy at FDTC, please contact Director, Stephen Murphey by emailing Stephen.Murphery@fdtc.edu or calling 843-661-8187.