If You Love It, Make a Career of It

Aaron Schwartz grew up on a farm in Onaga, Kansas, helping his parents with whatever needed doing, including raising their cattle. It’s a life Aaron enjoys and has decided on for his future. As part of his plan to stay in Onaga, he’s charting a path through Highland Community College Western Center and into a career as a diesel mechanic.

“Ever since I was little, I’ve worked on stuff that had broken down, and helped however I could,” says Aaron. A visit to the college in his sophomore year of high school set him on this path. He saw students working on tractors and farm equipment, and “it piqued my interest,” he says. “I said to myself, ‘I want to learn how to do that.’”

Now that he’s enrolled in college, he has gotten help and support along the way from the KanEquip, Inc. dealership in Marysville. Aaron is working there this summer as an intern and has received a scholarship for his college studies from the Equipment Dealers Foundation, which is also matched by KanEquip. “The scholarship is a wonderful opportunity to help me succeed in college and my career,” Aaron says. “It will help me a lot financially.”

Work He Enjoys

Although college officially starts in August, he already has the equivalent of a semester under his belt. During high school, he took classes in the morning at Highland, which advanced him through the start of the program, and also helped him cement his choice. “I made sure this was something I wanted to do,” says Aaron.

His internship at the dealership is also something he enjoys: ”It’s a smaller dealership, where everyone is close. I’m glad for the opportunity to prove myself and decide that this is what I want to do.” Those at the dealership agree that it’s a good fit. “Aaron’s work ethic and willingness are unmatched,” says Richard Dugan, ag tech recruiter and trainer at KanEquip.

Once school starts, he says he’ll be not only looking forward to classes but the ability to bring in his own projects from the farm to work on, if the instructors agree. And once Aaron is done with college in December 2020, his plans are to continue with KanEquip and remain close to the family farm.

As to the reason he’s picked this career, he says, “I’ve been around it my whole life and really enjoy it. I wanted a job I could enjoy the rest of my life. This allows me to be close to my family and the farm and to be able to do what I can make it more successful.”

That, he says, is the question that others should ask themselves if they’re interested in getting into this business, “If you’ve been around it your whole life, and enjoy it, why you wouldn’t stay and make a career of it?”

About the Scholarship

The EDF was established in 1988 to provide scholarship funding to help meet the industry’s needs for trained individuals. EDF also provides temporary assistance for dealerships and its employees affected by natural disasters. Learn more about EDF here.