Corporate sponsors support Ranken’s technical programs in important ways. Via their donations, whether cash or in-kind gifts of tools and equipment, these sponsors enable the College to provide a state-of-the-art-education at an affordable price. Our sponsors also offer other benefits such as internships, industry partnerships and scholarships for Ranken students.


Through the support of the Bridgestone Americas’ Trust Fund in Nashville, Tennessee, Bridgestone-Firestone has been one of Ranken’s most consistent and generous corporate contributors. Their support dates back many years and has assisted the College with the purchase of equipment, tools and supplies for the Automotive Maintenance Technology (AMT) Program.

In addition to being a regular contributor, the company routinely hires graduates from the AMT program to work in their 34 Firestone Complete Auto Care stores in the St. Louis area. The company offers tuition reimbursement and generous incentive programs to students and graduates who go to work in one of their stores. The local District Office contributes to Ranken in many other ways and their generosity is greatly appreciated.


Bridgestone Americas’ corporate family (BSA) traces its roots to the establishment of The Firestone Tire & Rubber Company in August 1900. It was then that 31-year-old Harvey S. Firestone (1868-1938) started tire production with 12 employees in Akron, Ohio. On the other side of the globe in 1931, Shojiro Ishibashi (1885-1976) created Bridgestone Tire Company Ltd. (later renamed Bridgestone Corporation). He fashioned the company name by reversing the English translation of his own: “Ishibashi,” which literally means “stone bridge” in Japanese.

Bridgestone Corporation purchased Firestone in 1988 for $2.6 billion, transforming the companies’ combined operations into the world’s largest tire and rubber company. The operations in the Americas were renamed Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc. (BFS) and became the largest subsidiary of Bridgestone. As part of its integration with Bridgestone’s existing U.S. operations, Bridgestone/Firestone moved its headquarters from Akron to Nashville in


Whether it’s due to an accident the owner wants to forget or a new look for the car, auto body work can be an emotional undertaking for a car owner. As the largest group of independently owned and operated auto body repair stores in North America, CARSTAR understands that auto body repair is both a science and an art form that requires precise training in collision repair and refinishing.

Recognizing the importance of continued quality training in the field, the Metro St. Louis CARSTAR Group formed a partnership with Ranken Technical College, donating $35,000 to the school’s automotive collision repair program. “With a decline in the number of people entering the auto body trade, we wanted to do our part in recruiting and training the most competent individuals for the job,” said Kerry Woodson II, chairman, Metro St. Louis CARSTAR Group. “Ranken produces top-notch, well-qualified individuals for our field, and we are excited about the opportunities this partnership will provide to both CARSTAR and Ranken.”

John E. Wood (first row, second from left), Vice President for Education, Ranken Technical College, accepts a $35,000 check from representatives of the Metro St. Louis CARSTAR Group on Thursday, Feb. 26, 2009.

The majority of CARSTAR’s donation will be allocated to stocking and furnishing a new CARSTAR branded auto collision repair classroom that will be equipped with smartboards and other essential 21st century learning tools, enhancing the traditional learning side of the program. The remaining funds will be used for maintenance at Ranken’s discretion.

Ranken students will see many signs of CARSTAR around campus, including a banner in the 20,000-square-foot collision repair auto body shop and CARSTAR’s presence at events like Ranken’s annual car show, employer breakfasts and VICA competition. Two local CARSTAR stores are owned by Ranken graduates, and many shops employ Ranken interns.

“Ranken has the best auto body repair program in the area,” said Woodson. “We look forward to bringing more Ranken interns, apprentices and graduates into the CARSTAR family.”


Headquartered in Overland Park, Kan., CARSTAR is a privately held company that currently has more than 280 locations in 27 states and 127 Canadian locations. Since it was founded in 1989, CARSTAR has performed more than 2.5 million repairs with an average customer satisfaction rating of 97 percent or better. The St. Louis CARSTAR group currently consists of 11 independently owned and operated CARSTAR franchise locations. For more information, visit

Dobbs Tire & Auto

Dobbs Tire & Auto, headquartered in High Ridge, Missouri, has been a major contributor to Ranken Technical College over the years. Their contributions are used to purchase new equipment and technology for the Automotive Maintenance Technology (AMT) Program.

In 2002, Dobbs made a significant pledge to the Centennial Campaign for the benefit of the equipment fund for AMT. Two years ago, they renewed and increased their pledge to help underwrite additional equipment purchases in AMT. Dobbs not only contributes monetarily to the College, but they have hired many Ranken automotive graduates as well. The company hires students while they are in school in order to give them an opportunity for practical experience and then offers them a generous tuition reimbursement program upon graduation.

Dobbs is among the largest and most active employers within the automotive program and also one of its largest benefactors.

Members of the Dobbs Tire and Auto team, including David Dobbs (center/red jacket), President, visit Ranken’s High Performance Racing Program.


Locally Owned and Family Owned. Founded in 1976, Dobbs Tire & Auto Centers, Inc. has grown to become the largest tire and auto service retailer in the greater Saint Louis area. With 38 locations, DOBBS provides customers convenient, affordable, high-quality service. Thanks to its loyal customers, today DOBBS employs 650-plus associates.

As David Dobbs explains, “At DOBBS, our entire family of associates has a stake in the future of our community and that is why we work so hard to please. We intend to continue being number one by offering exclusive consumer-driven policies provided by a staff that sincerely cares about its customers. That’s why we continue to say ‘You Can Depend on DOBBS.’”


Emerson, with its world headquarters in St. Louis, has been a Ranken corporate donor since 1973. The College has benefitted from cash donations for scholarships and campus programs as well as gifts-in-kind of multiple pieces of equipment and frequent professional consultation regarding curriculum offerings and needed program equipment.

Equipment donations are evident in the following departments: Carpentry, Industrial Technology, Control Systems, Electrical Automation, and Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration. The total value of Emerson donations is over $1.8 million.

Robert W. Staley, former Emerson vice-chairman, is also former Chairman of the Ranken Board of Trustees. Also having served with Mr. Staley on the Ranken Board are Al Suter, Joe Adorjan, Ed Monser and Pam Jackson, all former or current Emerson executives.

Emerson has hired dozens of Ranken graduates over the years and is ranked as one of the most generous corporate donors to the College.


Enterprise Rent-A-Car is headquartered in Clayton, Missouri. Its mission is to fulfill the automotive and commercial truck rental, leasing, car sales and related needs of customers and in doing so, exceed their expectations for service, quality and value.
Enterprise has been a donor to Ranken Technical College since 1980; over this long-term relationship, its donations total more than $1 million. Contributions have supported the Automotive Division as well as other student support services and programs.

Jack Taylor, founder of the company, has made two seven-figure gifts to support the High Performance Racing Program and the Welding and Fabrication Program. Enterprise routinely hires Ranken graduates, and the company has a strong promote-from-within philosophy; Ranken graduates have benefitted from this approach.
Enterprise is acknowledged as one of the most generous donors to the College.

JM Family Enterprises, Inc

JM Family Enterprisers, Inc. is a major force in the automotive industry. JM Family and its subsidiaries offer a variety of services and products specifically geared to drive company and customer success.

It is ranked by Forbes magazine as one of the largest privately held companies in the U.S. and has been included on FORTUNE magazine’s annual list of best places to work in the U.S. for more than 10 consecutive years.

One of JM Family’s subsidiaries operating in St. Louis is JM&A Group, one of the largest independent providers of automotive finance and insurance products such as service contracts, warranties, pre-paid maintenance plans and credit insurance, as well as training and consulting services to retail dealers nationwide.

JM Family Enterprise has been a generous donor to the College since 2003 and recently established a $250,000 scholarship fund for automotive students. JM&A routinely hires Ranken graduates and actively promotes the strong partnership between the company and Ranken.