“Bigger is better.” If you don’t believe that, just talk to Jack Frederick, who oversees large construction equipment as a service manager for a Caterpillar dealer. “I love my job and feel like most days it is also a hobby … that I get paid to do!” he says.
Frederick works for Foley Equipment Co., which has 19 locations and 950 employees in Kansas and northwest Missouri. It’s a lot of responsibility for a 29-year-old, but he’s up to it. Every day requires him to think on his feet, solve problems and be strategic.
Experiences as a SkillsUSA student leader and competitor groomed him to be job-ready, Frederick says.
“SkillsUSA prepares you for work. The soft skills you learn, as well as the opportunity to network with business leaders, give SkillsUSA members the edge against other qualified candidates.”
Frederick studied automotive technology in high school, then graduated from Pittsburg (Kan.) State University in 2010. He has a four-year degree in automotive technology with an emphasis in service management and marketing. After a short stint with Nissan, he switched gears. His roles with Foley Equipment have included responsibility for new, used and rental equipment maintenance and inventory control, as well as oil and gas service.
He wasn’t a bad student in high school, Frederick says, “but I didn’t particularly have any goals. Then I joined SkillsUSA my senior year and jumped right in — that immediately provided direction.”
Joining his local chapter led to running for SkillsUSA Kansas state president and eventually president of the national college/postsecondary division. Frederick competed in Automotive Service Technology at the SkillsUSA Championships, winning a silver medal. He went on to the 2009 WorldSkills Competition in Calgary, Alberta, also earning silver against competitors from 44 other countries.
The experiences prepared Frederick for an accelerated career. At Foley Equipment, he oversees several service areas. He has operational responsibility for the 127,000-square-foot Foley Rebuild Center, an engine overhaul facility in Park City, near Wichita. Reporting to him are four shop managers, who in turn manage 40 technicians. Taking worn-out engines from the construction or oil and gas industries, their “zero hour overhaul” gives the equipment a new life. The technicians overhaul engines from those found in skid-steer loaders and other small construction equipment all the way up to the 70,000-pound CAT G3616 used in gas compression applications.
Frederick also manages a small but talented group in Park City that does repairs solely for Caterpillar Financial. Working on tractors that have been previously leased or repossessed, the group performs inspections, fixes what is approved and then houses the equipment until it sells. Foley Equipment is one of the few Caterpillar dealers with a resale center.
In the last major piece of his responsibilities, Frederick supervises a manager who in turn oversees all oil- and gas-field repairs. This team travels to fracking sites, gas compression stations and drilling sites to perform service on engines associated with the industry.
An engaged citizen, too
This Jack is not all work, though. Frederick got engaged and married last year. He and his wife, Leslie, have plans to make school, hospital and nursing-home visits with their boxer/labrador mix, a certified therapy dog.
Frederick confirms that his high-school and college SkillsUSA experiences were a solid investment toward his future career.
“I love what I do,” the young man repeats. “Managing service is an amazing challenge. I am blessed to have the opportunity to lead a talented, focused group of people who build engines, repair tractors and service equipment.”