SCHNECKSVILLE, Pa. | Volvo Construction Equipment recently donated an articulated hauler to Lehigh Career & Technical Institute’s Heavy Equipment Operations & Preventive Maintenance program. Before making its way to Lehigh County, the hauler was used in the Yukon by members of Tony Beets’ crew on the Discovery Channel reality TV show, “Gold Rush.”
Beets, one of the show’s stars, autographed the hauler and mechanic Juan Ibarra, another “Gold Rush” cast member, visited LCTI a day after its Nov. 29 delivery to the school. Ibarra spoke with starstruck Heavy Equipment Operations students about what it’s like to live and work in the Yukon while appearing on a hit TV show. He also shared several tips for longevity and success in the construction trades.
Volvo Construction Equipment Product Marketing & Communication Director Ian Harvey also visited with students, sharing anecdotes about his experiences with Beets and two other “Gold Rush” stars, Todd Hoffman and Parker Schnabel.
The pre-owned Volvo A35D is valued at approximately $80,000. Purchased new, the hauler would have cost at least $400,000. LCTI is grateful for Volvo’s generous donation, which students will use to train behind the wheel and under the hood.
Heavy Equipment Operations program teacher Jim Wabals said, “In addition to basic truck operation, it will be a support piece for students who are learning loading techniques with wheel loaders and excavators.” Wabals worked closely with Harvey and other Volvo officials to facilitate the donation, which was months in the making.
Volvo Construction Equipment-North America President Stephen Roy said the company is committed to closing the gap between supply and demand for heavy equipment operators. Supporting top-notch training programs like the one at LCTI is one way to do that, he explained.
“Opportunities like this exemplify how businesses can partner with education. The availability of the Volvo hauler intersected with a need the heavy equipment program had to broaden its training,” Roy said.
Boasting more than 20 machines manufactured by Volvo and other big names, LCTI has one of the nation’s best-equipped heavy equipment operations programs for high school students. The addition of an articulated hauler to its equipment lineup bolsters LCTI’s reputation and the marketability of students who complete its program.
Ibarra was wowed by the school’s Heavy Equipment Operations program. “Everything that I’ve seen here at LCTI – the vastness, the variety of equipment and, obviously, the instructor – it’s pretty impressive,” he said.
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