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Tazewell County Career and Technical Center Small Engine Shop Receives Donation
Posted On:
Thursday, March 31, 2016
Teamwork Makes a Difference

Press Release

March 31, 2016

Teamwork Makes a Difference

In June of 2015, Mike Howington, the Small Engine, Marine, and Motorcycle Repair Instructor at the Tazewell County Career & Technical Center, took his Virginia State Champion student to the National Skills USA Motorcycle Repair Contest in Louisville, KY.  The national contest was sponsored by Harley-Davidson Motor Company.


While there, Mr. Howington, met a number of representatives from the Harley-Davidson Motor Company—making new friends and forging new relationships during this Skills USA event.  Harley Davidson representatives were able to see the enthusiasm about instruction that Howington possesses and the desire that he has to provide useful, marketable skills and training for his students.  As a result, Thomas Vardy, a representative of the Harley-Davidson Motor Company, contacted Mr. Howington at the beginning of the current school year and offered to donate 20 Harley-Davidson power trains to his Small Engine Repair shop.  Vardy explained that the only cost to the school would be transporting them from Milwaukee to Tazewell.


Excited about this offer and understanding the invaluable opportunity that it could provide for his students, Howington shared the good news with the principal, Rod Gillespie, who then contacted the Director of Career & Technical Education, Dr. Christopher Stacy.  Mr. Gillespie proceeded to secure quotes from various shipping companies—local and national—and then shared the lowest quote with Dr. Stacy.


The Director also saw the benefit in this unique circumstance, and discussed it with current Assistant Superintendent of Tazewell County Public Schools, George Brown.  Soon thereafter, during a conversation with H.S. Caudill, member of the Tazewell County School Board, the two of them wondered if there was a local business that might be willing to assist with the transportation of these engine blocks.


Because of their previous, loyal support of the Tazewell County Career & Technical Center, The Hawg Pit, in Bluefield, WV, immediately came to mind.  Mr. Brown contacted John Boothe, of the Hawg Pit, and explained the wonderful opportunity that Harley-Davidson was offering our Career Center.  Mr. Boothe then arranged for one of their transport vehicles to pick up the power trains and deliver them to Tazewell.  They arrived on the afternoon of March 17.


Understanding that now he would need training manuals and specific tools for these power trains, on March 18, Mr. Howington reached out to another of the Career Center’s business partners, Cole Harley, in Bluefield, WV, to request quotes for the manuals and additional shop items that would be needed to take full advantage of this generous donation by Harley-Davidson Motor Company.


Mr. Howington and Mr. Gillespie are thankful for the support and assistance received from Dr. Stacy during this exciting endeavor.  They are very appreciative of the efforts and thoughtfulness of Mr. Brown and Mr. Caudill as they helped coordinate transportation and delivery of these engine blocks.  Howington and Gillespie also wish to express how grateful they are to Mr. Boothe and L.J. Price (owner) for the support that they and the Hawg Pit staff provided in delivering these items to the Career Center in Tazewell.  And, rounding out this team effort, thanks are due to Charlie Cole and the Cole Harley staff for their assistance in garnering manuals and tools needed for meaningful and thorough instruction to take place for many years to come.

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