Students at Samuel Robertson Technical are machining metal with a brand-new lathe thanks to a generous donation from Lordco Auto Parts and the Ed Coates Foundation this year.

Left to right: SRT students Caleb Orieux, Billy Williamson, and Ryan Bauer stand next to the metal lathe donated by Lordco Auto Parts and the Ed Coates Memorial Foundation.

Candace Gottschalk, the vice president of human resources with Lordco, said the foundation, which is named after her late father, is always looking for ways to support automotive and trades education.

“This was a great way to help support the community,” she said. “We want to help fund them and help make a difference in the education system.”

Gottschalk’s father, Ed Coates, opened his first Lordco location in Maple Ridge in 1974. When Coates passed away in 2014, the family launched the foundation in his name, with the goal of promoting educational opportunities in the automotive industry.

“The automotive industry is overlooked a lot, especially when it comes to new machinery, equipment, and tools,” she said. “It costs a lot of money and some of these programs are in dire need of new tools and equipment.”

This is not the first time Lordco and the Ed Coates Foundation have donated equipment to Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District 42.

In the last couple of years, the foundation has given hoists to Pitt Meadows Secondary and Maple Ridge Secondary, updating important equipment at those two schools, said Steve Wiebe, principal of alternate education & trades and partnerships program.

He added that the new equipment gives students real-world experience with the tools they will see in an actual machine shop or automotive garage.

“We can see the results because we are getting an increasing number of students in our automotive Level 1 BCIT partnership program,” he said. “We are just so happy that they have been able to support us.”

– Original story by School District 42 – Maple Ridge & Pitt Meadows