Joe Wyatt
Published May 10, 2017

Success is a superlative test score, and nobody knows that better than Duane King and Juan Olivares, the highest-achieving diesel technology majors at Amarillo College; they just parlayed their top scores into new tools.

Diesel One1inEach turned in the highest score among AC students on a different diesel exam – King conquered the Cummins Virtual College (CVC) exam, and Olivares tackled the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Medium/Heavy Duty Truck Exam.

For outscoring their peers on their respective exams, these two students in AC’s Kritser Diesel Program won new tools worth a total of $350, items they selected straight from the showroom wall May 9 at Yellowhouse Machinery Company.

Each was congratulated by John Kritser, namesake of the Kritser Diesel Program and president of Yellowhouse, which hosted the celebratory event.

The tools are courtesy of Megan Eikner, AC’s dean of technical education, and the AC Foundation. Additionally, Cummins Southern Plains awarded handsome satchels to the two AC students who scored highest on the CVC exam: King and Chris Rodriguez.

“I was definitely proud when I found out I scored highest,” said King, who is on track to graduate from AC next December and won $150 worth of tools. “It’s nice when hard work pays off. I can definitely use some line wrenches,” he said.

Diesel Two2inOlivares, whose AC graduation date is May 12, has been employed by D&J Truck Repair for the past year and a half. Thanks to his success on the ASE certification exam, he claimed $200 worth of tools.

“I felt like I was really prepared for the test and it paid off,” Olivares said. “I’ll be looking for some impact sockets, for sure, but what’s really neat is from all the troubleshooting skills I learned while studying for the exam, I suddenly can fix stuff in half the time it used to take. It’s a big benefit at my job.”

Derek Lyon, AC diesel instructor, says students who successfully pass ASE and CVC exams position themselves to improve not only their knowledge but their career opportunities, as well.

“ASE certification will instantly move applicants to the top of most candidate lists in the diesel technology industry,” Lyon said. “And for anyone already employed with a company, it can quickly put them in line for a raise.

“CVC exams demonstrate a student’s seriousness while equipping them with skills needed by 95 percent of our industry partners,” he said.

Following the presentation of awards in the showroom, the award winners and a group of fellow AC diesel technology students who accompanied them to Yellowhouse were treated to a tour of the plant.

“The generosity of our industry partners, our dean and the AC Foundation continues to overwhelm me,” Lyon said. “With everyone lining up behind our students, supporting what they do, it really has an impact on the level of success they achieve. I’m forever thankful.”


Photo Cutlines:

(top) John Kritser, namesake of the Kritser Diesel Program at Amarillo College, is flanked in the showroom at Yellowhouse Machinery Company by student award winners Duane King, left, and Juan Olivares.

(bottom) Matthew Kunkel, Cummins Southern Plains Service Manager, gives a first-place satchel to AC’s Duane King. Chris Rodriguez, who was unable to attend the celebratory event, also won a satchel.