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Freightliner donates fuel-efficient rig to PCC Foundation

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The pollution caused by the new Cascadia Freightliner Class 8 truck that was donated to the Portland Community College Foundation last week is 1/68th of a truck built before 1998.

This high-tech, fuel efficient rig will be dissected, worked on and explored by PCC’s Diesel Service Program students to keep them abreast of the latest technology. Last week, it was donated to the school by Daimler-Freightliner Trucks via one of its local dealers – McCoy Freightliner. It’s part of an ongoing partnership with the PCC program, based at the Rock Creek Campus (17705 N.W. Springville Road), to train qualified workers in diesel service technology.

First year Diesel Service student Mike Ruby and program chair Russ Dunnington check out the Freightliner truck at last week’s donation ceremony.

“The truck by itself is great, but Daimler has also provided us access to Freightliner,” said Russ Dunnington, diesel service instructor and program chair. “We will have an online ability to access information and interface with the vehicle. So all of these things together, the access to Freightliner, the truck, all of the components and the technical support we get from them, makes it a very good base for us to take things further. Technology is changing so fast. It’s hard to keep training up to pace without these sorts of donations.”

Keith Harrington of Daimler-Freightliner Trucks said the company had invested $450 million in this series and the engine alone represents more than $1 billion dollars in research and development. With help by Pat Thomas of Freightliner, who serves on the program’s advisory panel, the truck will be put to good use.

“It’s a significant piece of equipment in the industry today,” Harrington said. “The technology in these trucks continues to advance and it’s very important for students to understand that these things are becoming more and more electronic so, they still need to understand the basics, but the electronics are becoming very important. It’s amazing where the technology is going. The students need to be trained on the latest.”

Former PCC student and Columbia Industries owner Jeff Van Raden said he knows how important fostering partnerships with the local community college is, not only for the students’ benefit, but also the company. He partners with the college’s welding program to ensure his company has a steady stream of qualified welders. Van Raden, vice president of the PCC Foundation Board of Directors, accepted the gift on behalf of the Foundation.

“This is a world-class truck,” he said. “A gift that is unprecedented and we just really want everyone at Daimler-Freightliner to know how appreciative we are. The most will be made out of this donation.”

Rock Creek President David Rule (center) chats with Diesel Service students during the donation ceremony. His dad drove Freightliner trucks for 40 years.

A diesel service technician repairs and maintains diesel engines and component support systems. PCC prepares students in the program for entry-level positions in the industry, working on the latest industry equipment, tooling and software. The 17,000-square-foot shop at Rock Creek also has more than 50 diesel engines, 12 of which are computer controlled; 50 heavy-duty transmissions; 11 trucks, one equipped with computer-controlled engines; three backhoes; two Bobcat skid steers; and three forklifts.

Plus, the shop has 20 computers loaded with the latest diagnostic software and a wireless system for students and their laptops.

David Rule, Rock Creek Campus president, said his father recently retired as a truck driver – a job he performed faithfully for more than 40 years and all of it in a Freightliner truck.

“We are delighted to take possession of this gorgeous truck,” Rule said. “One of the great things about community colleges is the partnering with industry and businesses. Programs like diesel service simply could not exist without these sorts of partnerships and without this sort of generosity from a company like Freightliner.”

For more information on the Diesel Service Program, visit: http://www.pcc.edu/programs/diesel/

About James Hill

James G. Hill, an award-winning journalist and public relations writer, has been the Communications Specialist for the Office of Public Affairs at Portland Community College since November of 1999. A graduate of Portland State University, J... more »

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