OTC Alumni: Chace’s Story (Diesel Systems Technician)

In high school, my twin brother and I were faced with the decision on our class options and thought about what we wanted to do for our careers. We were both talented football players and had a possible future of using that as a path to go to a university/college. We weren’t the most interested when it came to the idea of going to college and continuing our academics. However, we did have a background working on machine equipment and fabricating projects with our buddies. This gave us the idea of looking into the skilled trades that the high school offered for students who wanted to dual enroll.

During our junior and senior year, we had the privilege of attending the Diesel Technology program at the Orange Technical College – Mid Florida Campus. In that time, we were able to learn more about basic mechanics and what the industry has to offer for Diesel Technicians. Our instructor even suggested a part-time job working at the county bus garage to work on the school busses for surrounding counties. This was an amazing opportunity after our first year in the program while dual enrolled.

Our schedules consisted of going to high school in the morning, then taking the bus to our diesel program at OTC, then going to the bus garage for the rest of the day until 9:00 pm. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Learning what goes on in a real shop, seeing how the mechanics preformed and being in a real world atmosphere really prepared us for our first industry job.

It then became time to graduate high school. Although there was one semester left to finish the diesel program, we received a scholarship to do so for free as adults in the program. When the program came close to the end and it was close to time to search for a job, ALL Sunshine Crane Rental had a salesman come to our program to look for two Diesel Technicians. My brother and I were both were very interested in the idea of working on cranes and trucks so we went in for the interview. With our resume having the diesel program and bus mechanics experience, we were hired on the spot.

Cranes and heavy equipment became our new career and we couldn’t have been more excited. We’ve had the opportunity to travel all over the US and even internationally to do just about anything you could think of that involved a crane. Our hard work and dedication did not go unnoticed. We worked our way into being Lead Technicians and Crane Erectors for the state of Florida by 22 years old, and by that age, our annual income was near what some lawyers would have earned for a year’s income.

We didn’t have any student loan debt because of our schooling at OTC and from our employer – they’ve invested in us to learn their equipment inside and out. Work became second nature and we felt as if we were capable of bettering ourselves even more. There was always another test for us, or another license to work toward to help make our personal worth even greater. But this time we wanted to do something more outside of our comfort zone.

We both came up with the idea of starting our own crane rental company. One of the biggest decisions of our careers was decided at 24 years old. We put together all of our saved money and emptied our retirements to put this dream together. C&C Crane Works took on its first crane in July of 2019. It was the largest purchase we’ve ever been involved in being nearly half a million dollars. We now have two cranes and a semi-truck and are now a known competitor to the crane rental industry. Although there is a few companies that offer a smaller crane rental service as well, we were able to take all of our knowledge from working at a large crane company and use our networking and relationships to help steer our future.

I can’t express enough how important technical colleges are for younger generations. A college degree is not a bad decision for young Americans, but it isn’t your only option. By the time most college graduates are ready and trying to get a job in their major, a trade school could have already provided them with a few years of experience and put them on the path to earning a very comfortable living.

Chace’s story was also featured on local media outlets: