Kyle Van Pelt wants to be prepared for anything.
“Engine work, body work, diesel – you name it, my plan is to be able to fix it,” said Van Pelt, who is using North Platte Community College (NPCC) to move toward his goal.
The McCook, NE, native is currently studying Auto Body Technology at NPCC. He has already earned diplomas in two of the college’s other programs, Automotive Technology and Diesel Technology.
By the time he graduates, he will also have earned a certificate in classic car restoration. He then plans to take online classes through NPCC to obtain an Associate of General Studies degree and hasn’t ruled out throwing in some business classes as well.
“Ultimately, I would like to open my own automotive/diesel shop where I could accept any kind of project that comes through the door,” Van Pelt said. “I really enjoy helping people. When someone calls me and says, ‘Hey, I have this problem with my vehicle. Could you come check it out?’ I absolutely love getting phone calls like that.”
His passion for helping others, coupled with a desire to work with his hands, led him to his current career choice.
“I knew if I was going to go to college, it was going to be for something I enjoyed and could make money at,” said Van Pelt. “There are cars everywhere, so there’s always going to be a demand for services related to them.”
Because what he wanted to go into is so specialized, he only considered two colleges. NPCC is closer to his home, which allows him to go back on the weekends and work one of two part-time jobs that he has.
Van Pelt was also already familiar with NPCC because a cousin of his had gone through the Diesel Technology program a few years before he did.
“The main reason I came to NPCC, though, was because the instructors have years of experience in the fields they teach,” Van Pelt said. “I didn’t want someone who didn’t have any experience trying to teach me out of a book.”