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From the Grill to the Garage

Life can be full of adventures. The same can be said for David Loughney, who’s life has taken him from Hawaii to Texas and everywhere in-between. Needless to say, he has seen a lot of the world. Yet, his first love remained.

“I have always liked turning wrenches,” Loughney said with a smile. “I started on go-karts and lawnmowers, moved up to small car engines. I got to the point where I would do complete overhauls.”

The love of turning wrenches for a living started at a private aerospace maintenance school, but he ran out of money before he could finish his training. After moving back to Hawaii, he decided it was time to go back to school.

He looked all around Hawaii for the training, but it was cost-prohibitive.

“I was looking at doing a diesel program in Hawaii and it was going to cost almost thirty thousand (dollars),” he said.

Life provided another avenue when his father-in-law took a job in Claremore, and Loughney’s search for quality career training was nearby at Tulsa Tech. The affordability for the training made it an easy choice.

The 18-month half-day or nine-month full-day Medium/Heavy Diesel Service Technician program was his ticket to a career he was passionate about. “I was working for Whataburger and going to school here,” he said. “Mr. Russell brought in Standard Material’s Group (SMG) to discuss career opportunities. They talked about what they were looking for and what they offered. I wanted to get into the industry, so I jumped at the chance.”

Hired before even graduating, Loughney is a night mechanic, working to help keep SMG’s fleet of concrete mixers and other heavy trucks rolling down the road. He and his fellow students are part of filling the gap in a booming career field. The U.S. Department of Labor Statistics says the diesel mechanic field will grow by nearly ten percent by 2030. With an average salary in the Tulsa area of more than $50,000, skilled workers are in-demand and paid well.

While Loughney is an adult student, he is envious of the opportunity his high school classmates have at Tulsa Tech. “I wish something like Tulsa Tech was available to me when I was in high school,” he said. “I would have loved to do something like this. It is great to finish high school and already be ready for a career.”

With the skills earned from training and having landed a new career, Loughley has set his sights on the next goal of working his way up the shop ladder.

Make Your Own Path through life’s adventures just like Loughney, find a career that fits your passion at Tulsa Tech.