DARKE COUNTY — The 20 Under 20 Awards were developed by Darke County Economic Development, Auglaize Mercer Business Education Alliance (AMBE), and Hometown Opportunity to recognize students, educators, and businesses collaborating to help prepare the next generation of workers in our region. The 20 winners selected must be under the age of 20 and residents in Darke, Mercer, or Auglaize counties. They must also be involved in part-time employment, internships, co-op programs, mentoring, entrepreneurship, or other business/education partnerships while in high school, post-secondary, or adult education programs.
Kegan Fair is a senior at Upper Valley Career Center (UVCC), where he is enrolled in the Manufacturing and Machining Technologies program. Kegan has participated in a work-based learning program as an apprentice machinist at Crane Pumps and Systems in Piqua.
Fair says, “I have liked working for Crane a lot. They are very helpful and understanding that I am still learning, and any time I had a question, they were there to help me.”
After graduating from Bradford High School and UVCC, Fair plans to continue working in his trade to become a supervisor. Kegan is the son of Dennis and Cindy Fair. Tony Trapp, Apprenticeship Coordinator UVCC nominated him.
“Kegan qualified for the UVC Apprenticeship program with exceptional grades and attendance along with the technical skills needed to work over the summer of 2019 before his senior year and has continued doing the two weeks at work and two weeks at school as an apprentice machinist at Crane Pumps and Systems in Piqua,” shared Trapp. “He has received two pay increases in his short time at Crane.”
Trapp also stated the student was chosen to be a part of the German/American Apprenticeship Exchange program at UVCC. Fair hosted a student from Germany for two weeks in the fall of 2018 as well as traveled with the coordinator and ten other students from UVCC to Hannover Germany to be a part of a hosting school to share the vocational training and apprenticeship opportunities in Germany for two weeks in spring of 2019.
“To me, this takes great leadership and maturity to be qualified and selected, as only ten students were selected school-wide,” said Trapp. “Balancing a two-week full-time work schedule, two weeks at school classroom/lab training at the UVCC hasn’t stopped him from being continually involved at his associate school as well. Kegan has been a three-year member of the Track and Field team as well as a four-year member of the football and basketball teams.”
Fair’s supervisor, Kelly Deeter, Machine Shop/Maintenance Supervisor Crane Pumps and Systems stated, “We strived very hard to give Kegan every opportunity to learn from experienced machinists, to learn the trade from a practical standpoint and to understand what will be expected of him as he prepares to enter the workforce as a full-time machinist.”
According to Deeter, Crane plans on Fair being a functioning member of the team at some point and believe this is something that he now wants and sees as his future.
“We look forward to working with him in the future,” said Deeter.
“As a junior, Kegan had no real manufacturing experience. However, I could tell from the get-go he was excited […] he was always very inquisitive and analytical, making it very easy to train him,” said Brent Snell, Manufacturing and Machining Technologies Instructor, UVCC. “Throughout the Manufacturing and Machining Technologies course as well as on the job training, Kegan has been working on building his skills in CNC machining.”
Deeter explained how Kegan has learned to set up, operate, and perform basic programming of both CNC turning and milling machines. In addition, the student places in the top five among his classmates in the local Skills USA CNC Technician competition.
“Kegan continues to impress me with both his employment goals as well as his school and community achievements,” said Deeter. “Even during these crazy times, [he] continues to complete his online school work currently holding a 4.0 GPA and reporting to his employer for his apprenticeship obligations.”