Roger Gartner’s been there, done that
According to Hoover’s, a leading business and industry analysis firm, the construction machinery manufacturing industry in the United States features roughly 700 companies boasting a combined annual revenue nearing $25 billion. Caterpillar, Hitachi, Komatsu, Terex, CNH, John Deere and Volvo headline the list of top companies.
Roger Gartner, an instructor in the Heavy Construction Equipment Technology program, worked for Ziegler Cat, one of the largest and most successful Caterpillar dealers in the nation, for more than two decades. Headquartered in Bloomington, Minn., Ziegler Cat offers a full line of Cat equipment, generators and truck engines for customers in Minnesota and Iowa. Ziegler Cat is also a crucial supporter of DCTC and the HCET program, donating many thousands of dollars both in grants and equipment.
“Caterpillar alone has a product line with twenty-nine different types of heavy equipment. No program no matter how long can cover every detail of every machine. What we give our graduates is a strong foundation. They can think on their feet and solve problems. — Roger Gartner
Raised on a family dairy farm near Park Rapids, Minn., and a 1982 graduate of Park Rapids High School, Gartner earned a Diesel Mechanic diploma from Alexandria Technical College in 1984. He started at Ziegler Cat that same year as a heavy equipment shop mechanic, a position he held for six years. He served as a field service technician for another six years before working as shop foreman for nearly three years.
“For my last eight years with Ziegler Cat, I worked in the technical training department,” Gartner said. “I helped train Cat employees and customers. Much of the training focused on learning to troubleshoot effectively. That’s a big part of being a good technician.”
Matching Grant from Ziegler Cat and Caterpillar Foundation
In 2011, Ziegler Cat donated $10,000 to the Heavy Construction Equipment Technology program. The Caterpillar Foundation then matched the Ziegler grant with another $10,000 for a total of $20,000. The funds donated to the HCET program will help with scholarships and equipment for the program. Besides making matching gifts to eligible organizations, including two-year and four-year public or private colleges or universities, the Caterpillar Foundation supports the microfinance programs of Opportunity International, donating millions of dollars to 75,000 small-business entrepreneurs in more than 20 different countries.
Gartner started teaching at DCTC in 2009. His experience with Ziegler Cat allows him to give his students a high-definition look at one of the most technologically advanced industries in the world.
“Caterpillar alone has a product line with twenty-nine different types of heavy equipment,” he said. “No program no matter how long can cover every detail of every machine. What we give our graduates is a strong foundation. They can think on their feet and solve problems. We emphasize professionalism and a sense of responsibility along with a fundamental knowledge of electrical schematics, hydraulics and power trains. Our students learn by doing repair work on actual customer-owned equipment.”