NCC Alumnus Takes Non-Traditional Path to Success

Northwest Iowa Community College now has over 13,000 alumni. While a majority of graduates enter common jobs related to their program of study, a select few choose to take “the road less traveled.” NCC is proud to highlight Corey Dorhout an alumnus that has taken a less traditional path in his career trajectory. Many programs at NCC can boast that they have a variety of career options for graduates to enter upon graduation. Corey’s story proves this to be true.

Program: Truck & Diesel Technology ’03

Current Position: Lead Power Systems Technician, Butler Machinery/CAT

Experience at NCC
NCC’s Truck & Diesel program provided me with a solid background and with general mechanic’s knowledge. I was fortunate that I grew up on a farm helping my dad work on various pieces of equipment, so I had a lot of knowledge and hands-on experience before entering the program.

During my time at NCC, I was introduced to Butler CAT. Wayne Mohr, a member of the Truck & Diesel Program Advisory Committee at that time, came to NCC and assisted with the VICA competition (now known as Skills USA). I was fortunate enough to score well and was able to go on to the National Competition. After this, Wayne invited me to a job interview in Sioux Falls and this is how I got my foot in the door. At that time, it was a lot harder to get a job in the industry than it is today.

Path after NCC/Jobs held
I began at Butler CAT as a Diesel Technician and for about ten years, I worked in the engine division where I primarily worked on trucks and engines. I am always looking for ways to self-improve and learn new skills. Because of this, I have been able to move into different opportunities within the company and have a different scope of work now. When the opportunity of Lead Power Systems Technician became available, I applied and accepted the position. I had to get some additional generator and electrical training and, fortunately, Butler CAT provides this. They have given me tools and training I need to be successful. Butler CAT has been a great employer that serves a massive customer base.

Current position/Company
I am currently the Lead Power Systems Technician for Butler Machinery/CAT Sioux Falls. Power systems include generators and engines that provide power for equipment like rock crushers, wood chippers, electrical power plants, and power plants for towns and municipalities throughout our region. The engines I work on now are standard engines, but I also work with more specialized electrical components and my work is more complex. Every generator requires a prime mover, whether that is a turbine in a massive power plant, a hydroelectric propeller or a diesel engine. One thing I love is that I never have a typical day. One day I could be doing a job at an oil field, and the next day I could be at a hospital or nursing home working on an emergency power generating system, then I could be off to a bluff in Nebraska working on a generator for a water tower, or in downtown Sioux Falls in a high-rise building. I travel throughout the large region that we serve and spend most of my time in Southwest Minnesota, Northwest Iowa, Northeast Nebraska, and Southeast South Dakota. I occasionally have special projects that I travel to in other states as well.

Emergency power is a large portion of our business. A few examples of projects I have worked on recently are emergency power generators for nursing homes and water plants. I also work on projects dealing with prime power. This is when a generator is the only source of power for an entire site. The state of Hawaii is a good example of a location that uses prime power sources.

One project that stands out in my mind is one we worked on for a company that makes beef jerky. Our team came up with a process to capture the waste from the jerky plant, breaking down the waste through a fermentation process to produce methane gas. The gas is then brought through a cleaning process and ran through a generator to power the plant. A portion of the plant is essentially powered by the waste from its product. This is an example of a clean, renewable energy form of gas that we use to power a generator.

What led you to your current position? As a student at NCC, did you ever imagine you would hold your current position?
Back in 2001 when I was starting the Truck & Diesel program, I had no idea that my position existed and had never given thought to the Power Systems industry. The amount of positions available in the Power Systems industry and the complexity of the work is amazing. My training and hands-on experience at NCC prepared me for many aspects of my current position such as problem solving, the ability to think on my feet and, of course, the knowledge of various diesel systems, equipment and processes. The continuous training opportunities I have through Butler CAT are phenomenal and keep me up-to-date. The work I do every day is different, interesting and engaging, and I am always learning new things.

Any advice you have for individuals entering the diesel industry?
Invest in yourself with industry knowledge, emulate your successful peers and coworkers, and conduct yourself with integrity — your customers will notice.

To find out more call 800-352-4907, email admissions@nwicc.edu, or visit our website at nwicc.edu. At NCC – Your Success is Our Story!