Students in Surry Community College’s MAC 112: Machining Technology II course recently toured Stewart-Haas Racing based in Kannapolis for an insider’s look at how a degree in machining can lead to a career in NASCAR.
A Surry machining graduate, SCC’s Lead Machining Instructor Corey Easter worked in NASCAR for 12 years before coming back to Surry to teach and build up a program he felt highly invested in. While working at Dale Earnhardt Inc., Easter made many connections to others in the industry and was able to reach out to friends at Stewart-Hass to give his students the opportunity to explore a Monster Energy Cup Series race shop.
While machining skills can lead to a job in many race shops, Stewart-Hass has particularly strong ties to computer-integrated machining. The race team that fields drivers Kevin Harvick, Danica Patrick, Clint Bowyer, and Kurt Busch in the Monster Cup Series, is co-owned by three-time Monster Energy Cup Series champion Tony Stewart and Gene Haas, the founder of Haas Automation – the largest computer numerically controlled (CNC) machine tool builder in North America.
Surry Community College is a Haas Technical Education Center and the college’s machining facility houses Haas CNC equipment for students to use in learning the skills they will need in order to become skilled machinists.
“The purpose of the trip was to allow the students to see the race shop and how many parts are manufactured in house. I wanted them to see how the same CNC machine tools we use at SCC are used in the race shop to manufacture and build Monster Energy Cup cars,” Easter said.
Tour participants included Zeke Benge of Mount Airy, Austin Collins of Pilot Mountain, Aaron Dudley of East Bend, Alex Forest of East Bend, AJ Hackbarth of East Bend, Alex Handy of Mount Airy, Brett Lons of Pilot Mountain, Jarrett Rogers of Pilot Mountain, Jacob Snow of Lowgap, Evan Tonesson of Mount Airy, Machining Lead Instructor Corey Easter, and Machining Instructor Paschal Dobbins.
In addition to the racing industry, graduates of Surry’s computer-integrated machining program can enter a variety of fields including aviation, medical, and defense. A machinist’s average pay is around $40,000 annually for those just beginning their careers.
Both a degree and diploma are offered in the computer-integrated machining program at Surry Community College along with certificates in manual machining and CNC machining. High school juniors and seniors can take machining classes tuition-free through the Career & College Promise dual enrollment program.
Registration is open for summer and fall 2017 classes. Summer classes begin May 22 and June 27. Students must register for fall classes before Aug. 1. Those classes start Aug. 15. For additional information contact Student Services at (336) 386-3264 or Lead Machining Instructor Corey Easter at (336) 386-3219 or email@example.com.