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J. Thomas McNamara

      Fighting Illini student-athletes have partnered with Decatur, Illinois-based T/CCI Manufacturing to promote manufacturing jobs and electrification in the company’s upcoming social engagement campaign. In an effort led by Vice President and Global Marketing Director Kara Demirjian Huss and President Richard Demirjian, the program will be headlined by All-American Center Kofi Cockburn and members of each of Illinois’ varsity sports teams, who will work with T/CCI to help promote manufacturing jobs, clean energy, electrification, gender equity, wellness and other altruistic critical workforce initiatives across the globe

     “We strive to strengthen our community at every level within our business model,” Demirjian Huss said. “Of course, we love Illinois, and the chance for T/CCI to actively engage Fighting Illini student-athletes for the benefit of our industry, workforce development, and community and social development is exciting and remarkable.”

     “I’m just excited to work within the community,” Cockburn said. “The opportunity to use my basketball platform to help everyone grow and succeed makes me appreciate where I am and everything we can do here. This is going to be really special. So much is changing today in our environment, our workplace, and our mental wellness and to be part of the message of growth and advancement is an opportunity of a lifetime.”

   T/CCI is a world leader in compressor technology with operations in the United States, China, India, Germany, Argentina, Ireland and Spain. The arrangement between T/CCI, Kofi Cockburn and other Illini student-athletes comes at a critical time in the industry as the electrification market sees rapid growth.

        Over the course of the next year, T/CCI will partner with student-athletes to undertake targeted initiatives that excite youths with opportunities in advanced manufacturing jobs, support a culture of inclusion, and focus on mental health and wellness development through in-person events, blogs, videos and dozens of other initiatives that change the face of its workforce. T/CCI chose to select a broad and diverse group of student-athletes for this initiative, including those from all of Illinois’ women’s sports teams.

      Recent changes in state law allowing student-athletes to monetize their name, image and likeness have created a workable pathway for businesses to partner with student-athletes across the country. The sponsorship program leverages the new rules while strengthening existing ties within the Illini community.

     “This partnership, between an industry leader and our student-athletes, is groundbreaking in many ways,” said Director of Athletics Josh Whitman. “This is exactly the kind of mutually beneficial relationship we hoped would develop between our local business community and our Fighting Illini student-athletes, where important and worthwhile causes are promoted through the visibility and platform enjoyed by our student-athletes as members of our athletic program. I am grateful to Richard, Kara, and the Demirjian family and am proud of the work our student-athletes will do on their behalf.”

About T/CCI

         T/CCI is a global leader of compressor technology, electric, wobble, swash, variable, rotary vane, reciprocating, air brake compressor designs and bus heater products. The Company is known across the commercial vehicle industry as a top OEM supplier dedicated to performance, value and innovation. T/CCI has a demand-driven, design thinking business model in which it is committed to customer facing compressor program innovation and technology breakthroughs to produce best-in-class products that meet customer needs and the ever-changing market demands.

   I will have more on this developing story in a future print edition of the Decatur Tribune.

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