ASHEBORO (October 7, 2016 MFG Day) – Randolph Community College officially renamed its machining program and lab the Gene Haas Computer-Integrated Machining Institute on Friday morning, Oct. 7, during a ceremony in the Continuing Education and Industrial Center on the Asheboro Campus. Peter Zierhut, vice president of Haas Automation, was on hand to present a “big check” representing a $1 million gift to RCC, which will be used to expand the machining program, according to Dr. Robert S. Shackleford, RCC president.
“What a great occasion,” Shackleford remarked to the crowd of around 70 local officials, machining industry representatives, RCC faculty, staff, and students. “It is raining outside, but man is it sunny in here.”
He recognized some of the people attending, including N.C. Representatives Allen McNeill and Pat Hurley, and thanked the community and the local industry for its support. “Machining is one of the most employable skills in this county,” said Shackleford. “Local manufacturers tell us if we could train double the amount of students we have now, they could hire them. And they are hired at great wages.”
Shackleford talked about RCC’s long relationship with Haas Automation, which has deepened through the efforts of Garret Parker, CIM program head at RCC. Shackleford said that 90% of the equipment in the machining lab is Haas equipment purchased through local distributors, and that RCC’s program has been designated a Haas Technical Education Center since 2007.
Peter Zierhut said he was happy to present the check on behalf of Haas Automation and its 1300 employees. “I should have come a lot sooner,” he said. “This is one of the most impressive facilities I’ve seen…the best in North Carolina so far.” He presented Dr. Shackleford and Parker with a Gene Haas Foundation plaque machined from aluminum. “Our efforts around education are really second to what you do here,” he said. “Without what you do, there would be no need for us.”
Dean Sexton, president of the RCC Foundation, also spoke briefly, thanking the Gene Haas Foundation for the donation. “Your gift will be used to help close the skills gap and the interest gap for machining,” he said.
Shackleford unveiled a large free-standing sign that will stay at the front entrance to the machining lab inside the Continuing Education and Industrial Center. He said RCC will also have signage on the outside of the building, the front, both sides and rear entrances, so that “from any direction you approach this building, you will see the Gene Haas Computer-Integrated Machining Institute.”