Oklahoma State Univ. Institute of Technology has announced a name change to the Farm and Industrial Equipment degree program resulting from the merger of its sponsoring organization. 

The SouthWestern Assn., an organization of equipment dealers from five states including Oklahoma, merged with a similar Assn. in Canada earlier this month to form the new Western Equipment Dealers Assn. (WEDA). 

The new association, which now includes members from four Canadian provinces, is now positioned to provide its members more access to services and programs including enhanced training and recruitment opportunities.

OSUIT’s degree program, which educates students in the repair and maintenance of increasingly advanced and technical farm and heavy equipment used across the country, will become known as the Western Equipment Dealers Assn. Technician Training Program.

“Both associations have the same goals and objectives and understand the importance of educating and training the future workforce,” said John Schmeiser, CEO of WEDA. “This merger makes sense and will strengthen the larger Assn. and provide more services to address the growing needs of today’s dealers.”

OSUIT will begin incorporating the name change to WEDA while continuing to honor the history of the SouthWestern Assn. and its partnership with the Univ..

The SWA program started at the university more than 10 years ago when members of the association saw a growing need for more skilled technicians in their dealerships and recognized the opportunity to meet that demand through a degree program at OSUIT.

Since then the program has continued to grow as the demand for service technicians has increased in conjunction with the advancement of equipment and technology in the farm and industrial equipment industry. 

“The name may be changing, but our focus on providing a quality, hands-on education continues,” said John Hoover, WEDA program instructor at OSUIT. “Our goal remains to provide the best education so students are equipped with the skills and knowledge they need for the real world.”