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Automotive Alumni Finds Career in Kansas City

21 February 2020
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Pratt Community College Alumnus, Andy Westfall, was born and raised in Newton, Kan. Growing up, he was interested in anything that had a motor. He watched NASCAR on TV and attended as many motorsport events and car shows that he could. These automotive interests carried on into high school and his career field.

"English and writing were not my forte," said Westfall. "But, I could tear something up and put it back together."

With these interests, he was drawn in by his high school automotive department. From there, his automotive instructor got him in touch with Daryl Lucas, Pratt Community College automotive instructor.

"My heroes were involved in automotive and racing," said Westfall.

Upon graduating from PCC in 2000, Westfall worked for a Chrysler dealer in Newton. He then moved on to work for a manufacture in Hesston, Kan where he worked on a variety of equipment. In 2009 Westfall began working for Key Equipment and Supply Company located in Kansas City, Kan. When Westfall started at Key Equipment and Supply Company, he began as a road service field technician. As a technician, he primarily worked on street sweepers, sewer cleaners, and trash trucks.

"It's kind of far from automotive, but it all rolled into what I do now," said Westfall.

Westfall traveled all over Kansas and into Missouri working on the equipment. There was an opening as a shop foreman in the Kansas City office, and he took that position and worked his way up and became a service manager in the Kansas City office. Westfall currently works on the heavy line equipment and also works behind the scenes at his desk. He schedules work, puts plans into place for their customers, and maintains schedules. He also goes out and does training on the equipment.

"A lot of stuff I learned from automotive carried over into this," said Westfall.

Westfall's favorite part of this career field is taking something that is broken and fixing it so that it will run again. It can be anything from a car, truck, or motorcycle.
The PCC automotive program gave Westfall a firm foundation for where he is today. It also helped further show him not to be intimidated by anything in the field. Westfall sees everything as being made from nuts and bolts, and his philosophy is to dive in and go after it.

"We need technicians to fill voids," said Westfall. "Good technicians are hard to find. If you are good and put 100% in, you can do whatever you want to do. Don't be afraid to take the leap to do something different."

The Automotive Technology department at Pratt Community College is fully certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence Education Foundation (ASE). Automotive Technology students work in a live repair shop environment with state of the art equipment found in the auto industry including a full engine machine shop, engine and transmission dynamometers, and the latest tire, alignment, and electronic diagnostic tooling. Successful completion of all required courses earns students an Associate of Applied Science degree in Automotive Technology. They will also have the chance to be trained by industry professionals, participate in a race car project, car shows, and many other exciting activities. All these experiences prepare students to become ASE certified prior to graduation, enhancing earning potential and career opportunities. For more information, contact Daryl Lucas at daryll@prattcc.edu, or Greg Bacon at gregb@prattcc.edu.