University Relations and Communications

Huge donation rolls into MSU Billings College of Technology

September 5 2009



John Cech, Dean, College of Technology, 247-3009
Dan Carter, University Relations, 657-2269


$400,000 Caterpillar road grader will be used in diesel technology program


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — When the Montana State University Billings College of Technology was notified about its latest community donation, it wasn’t hard to decide where to have the ceremony.  After all, a Caterpillar 14M road grader is hard to hide.


The $400,000 piece of equipment, donated to the MSU Billings COT by Tractor and Equipment Co., took center stage in a parking lot on the West End campus Thursday as business and university representatives witnessed history.


“This is a very special day in the 41-year history of the college,” said John Cech, dean of the COT. “Today, we will receive the largest single piece of equipment the college owns thanks to a very special gift from Tractor and Equipment Company and Caterpillar.”


Surrounded by 80 students from the nearby School District 2 Career Center, university representatives were joined by Dean Blackford, vice president/general manager of Tractor and Equipment, and several of his colleagues to make the donation.  Many of the high school students took turns looking over the heavy equipment, marveling at the state-of-the art controls.


The new Caterpillar 14M grader will be used in multiple programs at the COT to enhance student learning, Cech said, including diesel technology and equipment operations. The motor grader will allow diesel technology students to gain hands-on experience in diagnostics, operations, and maintenance while future equipment operation classes will let students use the same equipment they will encounter in industry. 


In the diesel technology area, students will use the gift to learn about:

  • Hydraulic system and component Identification.
  • Hydraulic system tests (gallons per minute, pressures and speed).
  • Diesel engine troubleshooting and diagnostics.
  • Advanced fuels (system identification).
  • Diesel equipment preventative maintenance.
  • Basic equipment safety and operation.

Career Center students look over the new equipment at the COTPairing the actual equipment with the Caterpillar Equipment Operation Simulators that were recently purchased from a U.S. Department of Labor Energy Workforce Training grant will give students broad-based training and allow greater educational experiences, Cech said.


Dr. Ron Sexton, chancellor at MSU Billings, said the gift also sends a powerful message to current and future students. As a comprehensive regional urban university, MSU Billings works to maintain partnerships that will benefit students and the local economy, he said.


“This sends a powerful message, especially in this time of economic turmoil and so many uncertainties,” Sexton said. “It’s extremely important because it shows these young people that there is more help out there than just their own ability to do the work. Thank you for being such good partners.”

Both Sexton and Cech noted that the diesel program at the COT is as effective as it is because of the local partnerships and industry support. Area corporations that have been partners with the university on workforce training and education include:

  • Tractor and Equipment Co.
  • Tri State Truck and Equipment Corp.
  • Stillwater Mine
  • Motor Power Equipment Co.
  • Cummins Rocky Mountain
  • Yellowstone County Implement
  • Western Plains Machinery
  • Modern Machine
  • Vermeer Manufacturing Co.
  • Taft Industries

This isn’t the first time Tractor and Equipment Co., has been involved as a university supporter. The company has supported the Alumni Association and through the MSU Billings Foundation, the company has been active through an annual scholarship gift, additional in-kind support, the Wine and Food Festival.   


To find out more about the different technical programs at the MSU Billings College of Technology, go to


PHOTO ABOVE: Dr. Ron Sexton, Chancellor of MSU Billings, left, and John Cech, dean of the university’s College of Technology, were on hand Thursday to take officially take possession of a $400,000 Caterpillar road grader.