Bates Technical College Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technology faculty recognized with prestigious award

Posted: April 18, 2018

Annual award recognizes faculty for exemplary work performance and more

TACOMA, Wash. –Bates Technical College’s Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technology faculty Lester Burkes, Lee Jefferson, Mick McGuire and Mike Sartore recently received the 2018 Exceptional Faculty Award in a surprise presentation.

College President Dr. Lin Zhou said, “Bates is fortunate to have Lester, Lee, Mick and Mike as part of our excellent faculty. Their depth of their industry knowledge and high skill level, combined with their outstanding customer service help ensure our diesel students receive a superb education and are ready for a successful career upon graduation.”

In a nomination letter, an anonymous instructor who works closely with the program faculty wrote, “I have been consistently impressed with their work ethic, dedication to their students, and unrelenting passion for teaching…Nearly every student who successfully completes the diesel program finds a job directly out of school. Those who wish to continue on with their diesel education are readily accepted into four-year institutions.”

A second-quarter student wrote in a nomination letter in support of the diesel faculty that, because of the instructors, he feels confident of his success for the first time in his adult life.

He wrote, “Before coming to Bates Technical College, I didn’t have any goals or direction in my life, and never thought in a million years that I would ever go back to school after dropping out of high school. My fears and doubts went away after meeting with [the instructors]…They gave me drive, motivation, and helped me set goals,” he noted.

The annual award recognizes faculty members who infuse their teaching with innovation, and who provide an exemplary level of work performance that fosters and supports student learning.

The state legislature created the Exceptional Faculty Awards program in 1990 to recognize and encourage excellence in teaching in Washington’s 34 public community and technical colleges. This award is made possible through a legislature-established endowed trust fund and the Bates Technical College Foundation.

To learn more about the Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technology program, go to or

L-R: Lee Jefferson, Mick McGuire, Lester Burkes, Mike Sartore