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Truck driving instructors drive to KY to pick up $430,000 in-kind donation

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Quick trip to Kentucky yields $430,000 in-kind donation through cooperation with Lockheed Martin

Use of supplemental semi-trailers provided by Rihm Leasing made trip possible

Tom Gierok and Casey Mann On Sunday, April 8, Truck Driving instructors Mike Swanson and Tom Gierok drove 680 miles to Lexington, KY in two semi-trailer trucks. On Monday morning, the trucks were loaded up with materials donated by Lockheed Martin via the Department of Defense, and driven all the way back to Winona in one day!

One truck seemed to be mostly empty... except for thousands of pounds of metal in pallets on the floor. "Actually, this truck is full by weight," said Tom Gierok.

Welding instructor Casey Mann has big plans for some of aluminum and other metals. "Some of the metal will be used on campus to build projects. We need tables, and our students will be working on a trailer that auto body and auto technology can use for hauling cars around." 

As Casey Mann pointed out, "New aluminum is worth two dollars a pound, and these pallets weigh 10,000 to 11,000 pounds each. That's means each pallet is worth $20,000, easily!"

"We will use metal in this truck across the vocational technical programs," said Travis Thul, Dean of Trade and Technology. "The other truck is full of fasteners and components that we can use in everything from Construction Technology to CNC Machine Tool. Anything we don't use, we can share with our partner high schools."

Tom Gierok, Tim Carroll, Travis Thul, and Casey MannSpecial thanks goes out to Rihm Leasing, the company which provided two supplemental semi-trailers that allowed the haul to take place.

"It makes sense that we would partner with an institution that does truck driver training," said Tim Carroll, Director of Business Development, Rental Fleet Operations, of Rihm Leasing. "We are a leasing company, so we don't hire truck drivers, but without qualified truck drivers there would be no demand for our product."

Travis said that Lockheed Martin is always trying to find good uses for decommissioned materials. "They are willing to help transfer incredibly valuable materials, but there are very few organizations that have the resources to go pick it up! That's where our heroes, Mike and Tom, come in, as well as Rihm Leasing. We are extremely fortunate to be able to take advantage of donations like this."



Above: Tom Gierok and Casey Mann show off a truck full of aluminum and other metals.
Below: Tom Gierok, Tim Carroll, Travis Thul, and Casey Mann pose between the trucks that made the cross country trip to Lexington, KY.

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