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Capital Region BOCES Tours Robert H. Finke & Sons Facility

Thu May 20, 2021 - Northeast Edition #11

Among the biggest challenges the industry faces is a severe shortage of technicians, specifically an extremely low number of young people willing to train to fill the positions that are open. Equipment dealerships across the country openly state that one of the biggest challenges they face in the future of their operations is being properly staffed with heavy equipment technicians.

Capital Region BOCES Career and Technical School located in Schoharie, N.Y., offers high school students educational opportunities in a wide variety of vocational areas, some of which would build a basic foundation for work in an equipment dealership. Some of these vocational areas include heavy equipment operation, auto body collision and repair, diesel mechanics, welding and metal fabrication.

Robert H. Finke & Sons in Selkirk, N.Y., works closely with organizations like BOCES and colleges in the SUNY system like Cobleskill and Morrisville that offer vocational programs to get students exposed to the type of positions available at its dealership.

On April 30, 2021, a group of students from Capital Region BOCES spent the morning getting a guided tour of the Robert H. Finke & Sons facility, along with a detailed explanation of the bright future and benefits offered by choosing a career in the heavy construction equipment industry. CEG

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Bob Rowe explains to students the wide variety of tasks that a mechanic at Robert H. Finke & Sons could face during the course of a day, using the Vogele paver in the background as an example. Finke technicians, as he explained, are not typically tasked to working on a specific make or model of machine day in and day out. They could be working on a Vogele paver in the morning and a Bobcat skid steer in the afternoon.
Students got a kick out of this 1970s vintage Autocar truck being restored as a project for the owner of Robert H. Finke & Sons. It will eventually sit in the dealership’s showroom, which already features a couple of vintage vehicles.
Bob Rowe, parts manager of Robert H. Finke & Sons, welcomes students from Capital Region BOCES to Finke’s training center facilities in Selkirk, N.Y.
Students are given the opportunity to view cutting-edge earthmoving technology like this Kobelco SK210HLC hybrid excavator. The idea that the same type of technology that was being used in hybrid cars is already showing up in earthmoving equipment impressed the group of students.
Students enjoyed an up-close look at the latest Western Star truck added to Finke’s already extensive fleet. These trucks are used with lowboy trailers to deliver equipment to Finke’s customers across New York State and western New England.
A demonstration of line boring, a process that would typically be used when buckets aren’t quite fitting the way they should, is performed for the attending students.
Students interested in vehicle body repair were awed by the paint booth, which is the largest of its type in New York State.
For individuals whose interest migrated more toward smaller machines, time was spent with the Bobcat compact equipment line.
Finke employee Alex Giebitz, who is demonstrating various bolt thread types, was once a student at Capital Region BOCES and is now an on-road diesel mechanic. After attending Capital Region BOCES, he then went to Alfred State University, where he received a degree in heavy equipment repair.

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