Colton Combs has just completed his junior year at Keys High School, and he’s got a lot to look forward to next year. He plays football and is slated to be the Cougars quarterback next fall and he plays in the post on the basketball team. It will also be his second year in the Heavy Equipment Program at the Indian Capital Technology Center in Tahlequah. An ICTC counselor visited the school and introduced Colton to the program, and he has really enjoyed it.
“I’ve always liked being outside and this program can provide that kind of opportunity,” said Combs. “I enjoy being around the people I get to work with and learning new things.”
The Heavy Equipment Program at ICTC is one of just four such accredited programs in the state and is taught by Adam Holt who has first-hand experience with the program.
“I was a truck driver looking for something that was closer to home, so I took this class in the OJT program and worked in the industry a couple of years before coming back here to teach the class three years ago,” said Holt.
The students learn how to operate all kinds of equipment from dump trucks to bulldozers to semi-trucks to backhoes and more and, if successful, will get an NCCER certification at the end of the two years. Colton says there is a correlation between his role in athletics and in this class.
“You have to have good focus and a positive mindset to be successful in athletics and also in this program where you have to be really attentive to classwork to be successful operating the equipment. And, like a quarterback has to know where everyone is on the field, the same is true when you’re operating this equipment in a congested construction area.”
And according to Holt, Colton is taking these lessons to heart.
“Colton has a talent for this work and is pretty good at it. He’s very levelheaded and task oriented.”
After he’s done with the program next year, Colton says he plans to go to college and get a business degree and utilize the skills he’s learned with his business degree to earn a living and he has some advice for any underclassmen thinking about checking out a program at ICTC.
“Do whatever your heart says and go after your dream.”