Published Monday Aug 7, 2017
Tennessee Tech University, Tennessee College of Applied Technology Livingston and Fitzgerald automotive companies announced a public-private partnership Monday to support research, education and training in the region and to promote optimization in the trucking industry.
The new Fitzgerald Technology Complex in White County will house the Tennessee Tech Center for Intelligent Mobility. The complex will be in the Fitzgerald Industrial Park.
“As partners, we are answering the call of the governor, of industrial leaders and local governments, our citizens and, most of all, our students,” said Tech President Phil Oldham. “This will be the first partnership in the south to bring together an industry partner, a university with research and development capabilities and a center for applied technology to create a center for mobility technologies.”
The initiative will be an ideal blend of research and career training, according to Myra West, president of TCAT Livingston.
“The Fitzgerald family saw a need, a need that they had but a greater need. They saw the need of our region,” West said. “This is an example of private industry recognizing a need and partnering with higher education institutions to meet the needs of the workforce. We are honored to be a part of this.”
Associate vice president for strategic research initiatives at Tech Tom Brewer noted the importance of the transportation industry in Tennessee that makes the new Center for Intelligent Mobility especially relevant.
“Transportation and mobility engineering is one of the most technologically compelling and interesting specialties available today,” Brewer said.
Four out of the top 30 transportation companies in the country are in Tennessee and 86 of the 95 counties in the state have some kind of automotive industry.
The trucking industry in Tennessee is the focus of 10,500 companies and 180,000 jobs. Each day an estimated 77,000 commercial trucks travel through the state.
Fitzgerald Glider Kits specializes in installing the remanufactured main components (engine, transmission and/or rear axles) from a donor truck that was either wrecked or unsafe for the road, into a new cab and chassis. This process creates a reliable, more fuel-efficient truck that requires less maintenance, yields less downtime and has the safety features and amenities owners have come to expect in trucks on the road today. The company is based in central Tennessee and produces more than 3,500 trucks per year.
Fitzgerald Collision & Repair provides savings to the trucking industry by being able to return vehicles to service in a fraction of the industry average for collision repair. The company was founded in 2014 with 12 employees and a foreman. It has rapidly grown to 75 full-time workers and recently announced construction of a new building at their Overton County site, as well as a new location in White County at the new Fitzgerald Industrial Park.
Tennessee Tech, with an enrollment of more than 10,000 students, is the state’s only technological university, with strong STEM programs, as well as the traditional liberal arts, business, education, agriculture, human ecology, fine arts, and nursing. It is highly ranked by numerous publications and organizations, such as MONEY magazine, U.S. News & World Report, the Brookings Institute, the Princeton Review, Washington Monthly, and Payscale.com.TCAT Livingston is one of the state’s premier providers of state-of-the-art technical training for workers to obtain the technical skills and professional training necessary for advancement in today’s competitive job market.