Surry Community College students enrolled in MAC 113: Machining Technology III recently met NASCAR driver Kurt Busch at the Haas Factory Outlet in Colfax as part of an opportunity to network with those in the racing industry.
Surry’s Lead Machining Instructor Corey Easter, a Surry Community College machining graduate, worked in NASCAR for 12 years before coming back to Surry to teach and build up a program he felt invested in. While working at Dale Earnhardt Inc., Easter made many connections to others in the industry including many members of Busch’s crew.
Today, Easter has additional ties to Busch’s race team, Stewart-Haas Racing. Gene Haas, co-owner of of the team, is also 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, meaning the college’s machining facility houses Haas CNC equipment for students to use in learning the skills they need to excel as machinists.
Each student met Busch, the 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion and 27-time race winner, took a photo with him, and received his autograph. In addition, students were able to watch demonstrations on the latest CNC machines on the market and meet machining students from other area schools to share ideas on projects and past experiences.
Students who attended the trip include Zeke Benge of Lowgap, Austin Collins of Pilot Mountain, Aaron Dudley of Yadkinville, Brett Lons of Westfield, Jarrett Rogers of Pilot Mountain, and Evan Tonnesen of Mount Airy.
“In addition to the racing industry, graduates of Surry’s Computer-Integrated Machining program can enter a variety of exciting fields including aviation, medical, and defense,” the college said in a statement. “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 fall 2017 classes. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.