An engineering and environmental consulting company co-founded by a former University of Maine student has given a financial boost to undergraduates in the School of Electrical Engineering Technology.
TRC Companies Inc. Power Delivery Group, started by Kerry Spurling who attended UMaine from 1973-1975, and Jim Mayer, has established the TRC Electrical Engineering Technology Scholarship fund, pledging to build an endowment of $100,000 while providing $5,000 per year to students with the most promising prospects for developing a career in Power Delivery Engineering.
The gift cements the strong partnership their nine year old company has forged with the EET program, according to Spurling and Mayer who said that each year they hire four to eight engineers from UMaine. Comprising at least a quarter of TRC’s 200 Maine employees, UMaine graduates have helped make TRC what it is today. They are hard workers — well trained and with a good attitude.
“A key element in the success of the Power Delivery Group has been the regular influx of young engineers from the University of Maine Electrical Engineering Technology Program,” said Spurling. “These scholarships reinforce TRC’s commitment to hiring UMaine students and increase the flow of students into TRC after graduation by raising the awareness of the company as a great place to start a long and fulfilling career in engineering. We have enjoyed excellent success in terms of their capability and work ethic. We have also experienced very low turnover with these graduates. The University in turn has recognized the value of TRC as an employer and traditionally done an excellent job at steering top students in our direction.”
Established in Augusta, Maine, in 1999 as E/PRO Engineering and Environmental Consulting, and later sold to TRC, the group has grown to 400 employees in eight offices throughout the U.S. Its relationship with UMaine is primed to become even stronger, according to Mayer, who said the company has grown nearly 20 percent each year and is projected to continue that upward spiral.
“The gift is a nice legacy for us to leave behind,” he said.
Many EET sophomores and juniors get to know TRC through summer internships, according to Mayer who called it “a great way to start a relationship with one another. Based on their feedback, they seem to find exactly what they’re looking for. They found a good company and we found good people.”
UMaine Electrical Engineering Technology students are taught applications while balancing theory. This emphasis prepares them to be productive on day one of their employment.
“TRC is an outstanding example of how consulting engineering firms contribute to Maine’s economy,” said Dana Humphrey, dean of the College of Engineering. “I am deeply appreciative of our relationship with TRC and their support for UMaine.”
Paul Villeneuve, assistant professor of Electrical Engineering Technology, said the TRC gift will have an enormous impact. “It will greatly increase the amount of scholarship money the EET program currently gives out. It also will help with recruiting efforts and be an enticement for prospective students.”
Last year, 50 percent of the EET graduating class found jobs at TRC, according to Villeneuve, who praised the company for providing good-paying jobs that enable young people to stay in Maine, raise their families, and contribute to the economy. He said TRC employees visit the campus regularly and speak to students, providing valuable information not only about their company, but also about the power delivery industry and keys for success as future engineers.
“TRC has been really great for UMaine and our program,” he said.
September 3, 2008