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DPET Student Turns Automotive Passions into Successful Career

Nikki Chambliss was familiar with ICC and the Diesel Powered Equipment Technology (DPET) program all because of a tour she took of the facility in 8th grade!

As Nikki explains, “I was highly impressed by the instructors and students and the setup of the classroom and lab space….After that first visit, I knew it was the right fit for me….and I decided then that I wanted to be the first female to complete the program.”

As a young child, Nikki had developed these passions for the agricultural and the automotive/mechanical industries. She was always outside learning to fix and ride dirt bikes and old tractors with the boys in her family. In 2014, she won the Miss Tremont pageant and won the talent portion by rebuilding the carburetor for her 1974 dirt bike! She also went on to become Miss Tazewell County in 2016.

Then, it was time for Nikki to apply to the DPET program. She learned that, while her mechanical aptitude was high, it was going to take more than that to get through the program. Nikki’s grades had not been the best, and she needed everything she could muster to compete in a predominantly male industry. At first, she was not selected to the program, but she did not give up.

Nikki enrolled in the Ag Business Program and worked hard to improve her grades. It all paid off when she was selected the following year to the DPET program.

While she missed being crowned the first female to graduate from the program by just one year, Nikki has been successful in all aspects of her training. Nikki participated in the National Post-Secondary Ag Competition to qualify for nationals twice in her career. She recently received first place in State for interviews and first in nationals for Ag equipment service.

According to Nikki, “Attending ICC has helped me by improving my academic, leadership and technical skills through the DPET program and through the professors.”

Nikki completed an internship at Caterpillar’s Tech Center Large Diesel Engine Global Development Lab and has accepted a full-time position beginning right after graduation.

Asked what she would tell an incoming student, she says, “Give it your best shot. Ask questions and take every opportunity you get. Everyone around you is there to help you succeed in any way possible.”

That’s good advice from a great role model! Congratulations, Nikki!

Interested in DPET? Check out our program today!