The waterfront needs more qualified marine technicians and Mercury Racing is doing its part to support technical training through scholarships for aspiring techs. We recently caught up with one of our previous scholarship winners.
In 2022 Ben Teague was awarded a $1,500 scholarship toward his admission to the Marine Services Technology program at Impact Institute, a vocational career training center located in Kendallville, Indiana, that serves thirteen school corporations in five northeast Indiana counties. Teague formally graduated from the two-year program in June 2022 but completed his studies a semester early and began working at Patona Bay Marine in Leesburg, Ind., in December 2021. He then furthered his technical training at the Marine Mechanics Institute in Orlando, Fla., where he completed the 12-month program in just 10 months after his previous training and work experience allowed him to test out of some classes.
Teague, now 19 years old, returned to Patona Bay Marine and is part of a two-person tech team at the Starcraft Boats/Mercury Marine dealership.
“We work on a lot of tri-toon and sterndrive boats,” said Teague. “I do a lot of basic maintenance and diagnostic repair work but have also replaced a boat transom and have rebuilt a Bravo Three sterndrive, so some of the work is more challenging. I’ve earned Mercury Marine Certification for outboard service, and plan to work through more certifications on the way to a master tech rating.
“Right now we are busy with winterization of customer boats and over the off-season we do bigger jobs, including pontoon re-decks and engine replacements,” said Teague. “I am really enjoying the work, in part because I get to spend time on the water testing boats and it’s great to get outside. That’s not an option for auto technicians.”
The Impact Institute (previously known as Four County Vocational Cooperative until 2013) was formed by a joint service agreement between ten school corporations in June 1969. Today Impact Institute offers 14 different career training programs, from welding and machining to medical technical training. The Marine Services Technology program typically enrolls 25 to 32 students a year and is a two-year program open to juniors and seniors. Mercury Marine has been a partner of the program, providing engines for testing, parts, and training materials.
The Mercury Racing Impact Institute Education Scholarship exists to invest in the future of the marine industry and develops skilled technicians who allow consumers to experience the Wide Open lifestyle on the water. The annual scholarships are available to high/home school junior and senior students with good academic standing who live within the five-county area served by Impact Institute.
Congratulations, Ben, on your educational accomplishments and professional achievements.
Applications and further information for the 2024 Impact Institute Education Scholarship will be posted in January 2024 at Mercury Racing/Scholarships.