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Caterpillar donates equipment to ECU

(Oct. 1, 2003)   —   More machine, less muscle, less injuries.

That's the idea behind the Caterpillar TH210 Compact Telehandler, the latest addition to East Carolina University's growing fleet of machinery in its construction management department. The yellow sporty-looking forklift was donated by Caterpillar in a ceremony Tuesday morning at ECU's Science and Technology Building.

The company, which manufactures heavy equipment and machinery, offered the latest product for use by construction management majors. In labs, students will learn the operation capacity of the equipment.

The machinery will also serve a purpose in the community as it is used in the construction of Habitat for Humanity homes.

"This will be our muscle," said Ron Sessoms, a faculty member in the department of construction management.

With its wide seven-foot wheelbase, the 11,000-pound machine can lift up to 4,850 lbs in materials up to 17 feet. This enables crews to lift materials typically requiring scaffolding and ladders.

The result is safer site, said Sessoms, who teaches a course in construction techniques. Scott Cooper, a senior project engineer and an ECU alum, helped coordinate the donation. "It's a pleasure to be able to come back," Cooper said. "We are very excited about doing things like this and establishing a long term relationship with East Carolina University." Cooper said the telehandler, which is popular in Europe, is a prototype for North America and has not yet been marketed in the United States. The machine is worth $56,000.

Caterpillar has donated about $250,000 worth in equipment to the university over the years. Richard Brown, ECU's executive vice-chancellor, thanked Caterpillar for their continued interest in the university. Construction management is one of the departments housed in the new $68.2 million Science and Technology Building, which opened this semester. "The building alone doesn't do the trick; we need donors from private industry to make sure we have state-of-the-art equipment," he said.

The equipment isn't used solely for instruction; it gets put to work from time to time by the university's grounds maintenance department, said Brown.

"It also comes in handy for hurricanes and the general maintenance of the campus. So it's a two-fold benefit to the university," he said.

Ralph Rogers, dean of the College of Technology and Computer Science, thanked leaders in the company. "We've had a longstanding partnership with Caterpillar. The belief in our construction management program and their continued support of our program is as important to us as their gifts," he said.


Contact: ECU News Bureau | 252-328-6481