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ITC Great Plains awards EPT students with scholarships

03 May 2019

Chantz Brungardt and Keaton Augustine, two students currently in the Electrical Power Technology program at Pratt Community College, were awarded with scholarships by ITC Great Plains, LLC on May 1. The students were recognized for their hard work in the program and received the scholarships in front of their peers and instructors.

Brett Leopold, President for ITC Great Plains, and Kim Goodnight, Regional Manager for Community Affairs, presented the scholarships to the students. This is the seventh year the company has provided scholarships to the EPT students at PCC.

“The utilities across the state and region who hire graduates of this program tell us how effective it is at preparing young people for this skilled work,” said Leopold. “There is significant job creation potential in our industry because of the aging, retiring workforce. It’s important to us to make focused investments in our people and the workforce of tomorrow by partnering with organizations including Pratt Community College to educate and train utility workers.”

EPT instructor, Dave Campbell, informed the audience that selecting only two students to receive the award was difficult. Brungardt and Augustine were chosen due to their good attitudes and abilities to show up on time and work hard.

“We would like to thank ITC very much for their continued support of the program and helping students like Chantz and Keaton with an opportunity to have a scholarship to help defer some of the costs of training,” said Dave Campbell. “ITC is giving back a portion of what they make in the industry to plant seeds to help grow the next generation of linemen. It’s a wonderful thing and we greatly appreciate it.”

Brungardt grew up in Hays, Kansas and graduated from Hays High School in 2017. He went on to complete one year at Fort Hays State University before figuring out that a four year institution was not in his best interest. As an avid hunter, fisher, and outdoorsman, he decided to join the lineman program at PCC.

“I spoke with a family friend who is a lineman, and he suggested going to PCC,” said Brungardt. “I looked around at different lineman schools and everyone I talked to mentioned that PCC was the best. I went on a visit to campus and that’s when I knew I really wanted to be a lineman. I have formed great bonds with the instructors in the EPT program. They are very knowledgeable in what they teach and really prepare us for what to expect in the work force. They really care about the wellbeing of their students.”

Brungardt worked as a ground man for Western Cooperative Electric in Plainville, KS during the summer of 2018. He accepted an internship for the upcoming summer with the same company. The scholarship he received will be used to pursue an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science at PCC. Once he obtains his apprentice lineman certificate, he plans to further his career to become a journeyman lineman.

Augustine also grew up in Hays, Kansas, and graduated from Hays High School in 2018. His passion for hunting, fishing, and spending time outdoors working on various projects led him to the lineman career.

“Being a lineman is what made the most sense to me,” said Augustine. “It is a rewarding career that keeps me outside instead of being cooped up in an office. The one thing that really influenced my decision to be a lineman is how you can give back to a community and help people in various ways. Coming to PCC for school was definitely the best decision I could have made. Both the instructors have so much on the job experience and there is always something to learn from them.”

After he has graduated, Augustine hopes to intern in his hometown at Midwest Energy. The scholarship will be used towards his education as he works towards becoming an apprentice lineman.

“As a college student, any financial help is greatly appreciated. I cannot thank ITC enough for giving me this opportunity to save money I may need for various other things down the road.”

ITC Great Plains is a transmission-only utility based out of Topeka providing access to reliable, non-discriminatory access to low-cost energy in the 15-state Southwest Power Pool region, with a particular focus on Kansas and Oklahoma. In the past 10 years, ITC has invested in $500 million in building approximately 500 miles of high voltage electric infrastructure projects to improve the reliability of the regional grid and provide more efficient and cost-effective transmission of energy. ITC is a subsidiary of Fortis Inc., a leader in the North American regulated electric and gas utility industry.