Eastern Center for Arts and Technology (EASTERN) 1977 Automotive Technology/Bishop McDevitt High School graduate, Joe Koch, donated a 1995 Oldsmobile Delta 98 Regency Elite to the Automotive Technology program. Koch, who is semi-retired with a small construction and maintenance company, chose to donate this car as a tool for current students learning the trade and diagnostics.
Koch had four older brothers who loved cars, and there was always a vehicle being worked on in the driveway. Two of Koch’s older brothers paved the way for him by also taking the Automotive Technology program at EASTERN.
After graduating from EASTERN and Bishop McDevitt High School in 1977, Koch worked as a mechanic in a few different shops through 1983, when he decided to go back to school at AirCo Tech in Philadelphia for welding. Since welding is a big part of the auto field, he felt this education would enhance his trade and employability. In 1983 he obtained a position at the Budd Company, a metal fabrication company, a major supplier of body components to the automobile industry, and a manufacturer of stainless steel passenger rail cars. Koch started out as a press operator and advanced to a metal finisher. He was also part of the Budd Company’s Hazardous Materials and Ergonomics teams. Koch retired after 25 years, received a pension and started his own business.
“The teachers at EASTERN were good. They taught you how to have fun with your job,” said Koch. “My instructor, Mr. Mertz, taught me how to move with the times, and gave us a realistic view on life and how to adjust priorities. Without the automotive background I received at EASTERN, I would not have had my career at the Budd Company.”