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Master of Agribusiness

A Feasibility Study of a Diesel Maintenance Program at North Arkansas College

Matt Shekels, Alpena, Ark., defended his thesis, “A Feasibility Study of a Diesel Maintenance Program at North Arkansas College,” on April 26, 2012. He graduated from Kansas State University in May with a Master of Agribusiness (MAB) degree. 

North Arkansas College is a two-year community college located in Harrison, Ark. Given their proximity to companies with large-scale trucking operations, the college has been considering developing a Diesel Maintenance program. Shekels conducted a feasibility study of launching the program for his MAB thesis project.

“Initially, we surveyed potential students, prospective employers and community members to gauge their interest in and support for a diesel mechanics program at North Arkansas College. Then we looked at existing programs to determine whether another program was needed in the area and to estimate potential capital costs in building the program,” Shekels said.

His results suggest it would be beneficial for North Arkansas to move forward in developing an affordable, three-semester program covering the basics of diesel-powered vehicles.

Allen Featherstone, Professor of Agricultural Economics and Shekel’s thesis advisor, said, “Matt did a nice job in researching the related programs, the community and potential student interest, and the costs associated with starting a new program at North Arkansas College.  He also separated the costs associated with starting the program from those that are necessary for operating the program.  With this information, the administration should have the necessary information to decide whether to move ahead with this program.”

K-State’s Master of Agribusiness (www.mab.ksu.edu) is an award-winning, distance-education degree program that focuses on food and agribusiness management. Students and alumni work in every sector of the food and agribusiness industry and are located in 40 states within the United States and in 25 countries. 

“I am proud to be completing the MAB program at Kansas State University. This program has given me numerous tools that I will use in my career. One example is the ability to study the feasibility of starting this diesel vehicle maintenance program. This issue was of great importance to North Arkansas College, and I am glad that I could help in the decision process,” Shekels said.

The full thesis publication can be found online on Kansas State University’s Research Exchange at http://hdl.handle.net/2097/13732.