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A dozen Central High School students from Coosa County, Alabama, recently experienced a one-of-a-kind visit to the Plains, courtesy of Auburn University Facilities Management (AUFM).

On April 25, students were given a unique glimpse into the dynamic world of Transportation, Distribution and Logistics (TDL) through an immersive experience that took them on eye-opening tours of several university offices and units. Hosted by AUFM, the students gained valuable insights into various career paths within the TDL cluster by watching presentations and participating in interactive tours in and around campus.

Auburn experts shared industry knowledge and personal journeys with the Sylacauga-area students, and the tour featured presentations in the Auburn University Regional Airport Board Room. Industry leaders from different facets of TDL shared their expertise with the students and high school faculty members.

Those experts included:

  • Arishna Lastinger, director of Auburn University Parking Services, ignited student interest with her presentation on innovative programs like Tiger Rescue and Lyft partnerships. Students gained insights into the team’s structure and various entry-level positions available. Lastinger’s personal journey from education to professional growth inspired the audience.
  • Chris Harris, director of Auburn University Transportation Services, emphasized the paramount importance of safety in transportation professions, sharing insights into ridership, bus routes and accessibility initiatives.
  • Bill Hutto, executive director, Auburn University Regional Airport, captivated students with a live flight-tracking software demonstration and showcased the critical role of the airport in economic development. He also presented many of the potential career paths available in aviation.

Interactive tours spark curiosity

Students actively participated in tours, exploring key facilities, including:

  • Delta Air Lines Aviation Education Building: Students learned about cutting-edge technologies in aviation and logistics from Auburn’s School of Aviation Striped Wing Ambassadors. They explored the flight simulator room, featuring a $500,000 Airbus A320 simulator, classrooms and testing rooms.
  • Dispatch desk: Students gained insight into pre-flight procedures and the crucial role of the dispatch team.
  • Auburn School of Aviation’s maintenance hangar: Students witnessed firsthand the work of Auburn mechanics who maintain the university’s planes.
  • AUFM automotive shop and warehouse: Students explored the inner workings of vehicle maintenance and logistics operations.

Additionally, guest speaker Aziza Hurt, traffic systems technician assistant for the City of Auburn, shared her inspiring story. Her unique educational journey, including attending Southern Union’s FAME Program, emphasized the value of adaptability and diverse career paths within TDL.

Igniting a passion, building a future workforce

AUFM’s Training and Workforce Development Team works diligently to provide students with a variety of opportunities that successfully spark curiosity and ignite students’ passion for exciting and diverse career opportunities within Facilities Management.

  • Campus tours: AUFM offers tours showcasing the diverse career paths available within the facilities management industry. Students gain firsthand exposure to real-world operations.
  • In-class programming: AUFM brings the world of facilities management to classrooms. Interactive presentations introduce students to the various jobs offered at Auburn University.
  • Career connections: This state-recognized best practices program offers high school students a unique opportunity to combine work-based learning experiences with academic credit. Through summer employment opportunities, students gain valuable on-the-job training and develop essential skills in the trades.
  • Electrical, HVAC and plumbing apprenticeships: AUFM’s paid apprenticeship programs provide students with a path to a rewarding career with comprehensive training and industry certifications.

Inspiring the next generation

By combining engaging tours with industry-leading workforce development programs, AUFM is cultivating the next generation of facilities management professionals. Its dedication to fostering student interest ensures a skilled and qualified workforce for the future.

“AUFM is committed to building a pipeline of future employees by fostering interest in young minds,” said Loren Winn, division director of Facilities Management Human Resources. “We applaud the collaboration among the university units, including the airport, parking services and transportation services, with Central High School on this important initiative. We enjoyed giving these students a unique experience and showcasing all Auburn University and the TDL industry have to offer them.”

About Auburn University Facilities Management

Auburn University Facilities Management (AUFM) is committed to providing highly responsive and quality support services to build and maintain the facilities, grounds and infrastructure of the Auburn University campus. Its mission extends beyond the university, fostering community engagement and building a future workforce through innovative programs.