WyoTech names building for man who helped with diesel program

| Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

WyoTech held a ceremony Sept. 19 to name its Blairsville diesel building for Dwight McAlexander, a man who was instrumental in establishing the automotive school's diesel advance technology education program.

DATE programs at the school's campuses in Blairsville and Laramie, Wyo., benefited greatly from McAlexander's devotion of time and resources. The nine-month DATE program prepares graduates for entry-level positions servicing and repairing Mack and Volvo trucks.

“To honor someone who is as important that we feel Dwight is to our school is something that I think we'll have pride in,” said Mark Reynolds, vice president of WyoTech's Blairsville campus.

McAlexander made the trip to Blairsville from his home in Mount Airy, N.C., for the ceremony. He was joined by his wife, Wanda, and his son, Allen, of Havertown.

McAlexander was the fleet manager for Anderson and Webb Trucking Company, Inc. in Mount Airy, N.C., and service support manager and aftermarket manager for Southern Operating Company. He was the North American director for warranty, reliability and quality and eventually retired as the director of dealer systems and process for Volvo Group. He has stayed on with Volvo Group as a consultant during his retirement.

Reynolds lauded McAlexander for his down-to-earth manner, his sense of humor and his “dedication and passion for young future technicians that have the opportunity to change their lives and become productive members of the diesel industry and society.”

McAlexander was presented with a plaque that will hang on the front of the diesel building at 277 Cornell Road that now bears his name. He was also given an honorary diploma from the diesel and DATE programs.

McAlexander noted that he has been in the automotive and diesel industry for over 50 years.

“You don't know how much this means to me, to be able to do this,” McAlexander said. “It truly is an honor to be able to see first-hand this second (DATE) class go out into this industry that desperately needs technicians.”

He said the diesel industry in the next five years needs over 250,000 technicians.

McAlexander thanked Brian Layman, director of the Mack Trucks Academy and Volvo Trucks Academy.

“He put faith in me,” McAlexander said, noting that he had approached Layman before his retirement about getting involved with a technical college to put together a course like the DATE program. At the time, Layman told him that he didn't have the resources to do it.

But, when McAlexander announced his retirement, Layman asked him if he was still interested in putting together such a program.

“I said I'd love to do that,” McAlexander said, and after several meetings with Volvo and WyoTech directors, the DATE program was born.

McAlexander worked closely with WyoTech Diesel Coordinator Duane Tegels to put together the DATE program. During the dedication ceremony, Tegels announced that the Dwight McAlexander Achievement Award would be given to Dustin Withers of Rocky Mount, Va., for his outstanding performance within the DATE program. McAlexander presented the namesake award to Withers.

Also attending were other students in the DATE program, which graduated its second class Sept. 20.

The first DATE class graduated on June 21 and has shown 100 percent placement success. That success contributed to WyoTech's recent No. 1 ranking in graduation rate among schools of its kind, as noted in the Almanac of Higher Education 2013 and the Aug. 23 edition of the Chronicle of Higher Education.

The almanac profiles colleges, universities and trade/technical schools based on statistics.

Gina DelFavero is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-459-6100, ext. 2915 or gdelfavero@tribweb.com.

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