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Caterpillar executives visit College of Engineering

November 18, 2010

CEET - 25 years - Partnerships & Innovation - 1985-2010NIU’s College of Engineering and Engineering Technology (CEET) hosted Caterpillar executives Monday, Oct. 25, for a meet-and-greet with students and faculty.

The event was an opportunity to showcase the college as well as allow insight as to what CEET students are learning.

In recent years, CEET students have been working with Caterpillar on research projects, student competitions and other special projects.

NIU senior Alan Hurt, a mechanical engineering and industrial engineering student, says it’s important to build lasting communication with Caterpillar, as well as improve efficiency within the company through their relationship.

“We’re enabling the students and the people that work at Caterpillar to design and improve current projects,” Hurt states. “The overall goal, I believe, is to improve the bottom line within the company.”

Photo of Caterpillar equipmentBrian Strong, an NIU graduate and Caterpillar employee, attended the event to further develop the relationship between the Aurora facility and the college while also identifying opportunities to sponsor senior design projects.

Strong says it’s crucial for students to get hands-on experience at the Caterpillar facilities in order for them to get an understanding of how projects are implemented.

“It gives an opportunity to give some worth and some value to the education and curriculum,” Strong says. “It allows opportunity for individuals to go out in the real world and experience real-world situations and take some of the things they’ve learned and apply them.”

Jon Salvani, director of major gifts for CEET, says he believes it’s important to continue the relationship with Caterpillar.

“For many years now, the College of Engineering has established a pretty strong partnership with Caterpillar,” Salvani says. “They have been very influential in helping our students with their projects. They’ve been funding scholarships for us through their foundation to provide financial support for NIU students. The partnership is beneficial for both of us.”

Caterpillar provides NIU students the opportunity to work as engineers at their facilities through the engineer and residence program that is conducted through the college. “They offer our students the opportunity to get some hands on experience with them and actually work on some real-time projects Caterpillar has in their facilities,” Salvani says.

Caterpillar is one of 200 companies partnered with CEET.