When Zeeland resident Ryan Meppelink was in high school, he worked on his father’s pick-up truck with his dad and cousin, discovering his passion for hands-on work. The project involved working on the diesel engine of the truck. Through the constant engagement in mechanical work, Ryan knew he wanted to be a diesel technician one day.
In 2019, Ryan became a Caterpillar Diesel Technician, where he worked on preventative maintenance and inspections and heavy equipment operation. Before that, he learned how to diagnose and repair tractor trailers by studying diesel and heavy equipment technology at Careerline Tech Center in Ottawa County between 2014 – 2016.
Ryan is very passionate about his career as a technician and has participated in various SkillsUSA competitions, where technical student organizations compete in technical occupations. In 2016, Ryan’s competing team from Careerline Tech Center won third place nationally and first in the state of Michigan. By placing in the top three nationally, Ryan had the opportunity to represent the U.S. by attending the 45th WorldSkills Competition in Kazan, Russia where he won third place again, but this time, with the ‘Best of Nation Award’ by having the highest score out of all previous U.S. contenders.
Ryan appreciates the hands-on training he received at Careerline Tech Center and attributes his passion for the field to his first project on the pick-up truck and to Careerline Tech Center. He currently works with the Inontime as a lead diesel technician, focusing on tractor trailer operations in Zeeland, Michigan.