Quinn McAleese, Cory Wong, Curtis Braber and Rob Sloboda share a smile as Braber and McAleese deliver 20 Honda engines for classroom use. (Jessica Peters/Abbotsford News)

Quinn McAleese, Cory Wong, Curtis Braber and Rob Sloboda share a smile as Braber and McAleese deliver 20 Honda engines for classroom use. (Jessica Peters/Abbotsford News)

Abbotsford business owner donates 20 small engines to his former high school shop

Yale secondary teacher says engines will help teach students important skills for the next decade

Every once in a while, Yale secondary automotive teacher Cory Wong will reach out to alumni Curtis Braber and get a quote on small engines for the classroom.

Braber owns BE Power Equipment in Abbotsford, which manufactures pressure washers and outdoor power equipment for professional users.

But when it comes right down it, there isn’t usually room in the school’s budget so the purchase doesn’t happen. The last few years, with the financial pressures faced by school districts due to pandemic requirements, the budget has been even tighter.

So, Braber decided to just give the engines to the school.

On Friday (April 1), he delivered 20 Honda GC160 engines to the shop entrance, where they were happily received by Wong and Yale principal Rob Sloboda.

“You don’t know how important this is,” Wong said.

The engines will be used by Grade 10 power mechanics students who will learn how to disassemble and reassemble the small engines. It’s an important component of the class; students learn the hands-basics on current machines, will go on to know how to deal with small engines in their adult life, and could even fall in love with engines and decide to take up a related trade.

But at the end of the day, it’s that magic of seeing a student beam with pride at their own handiwork that makes the principal smile.

“Taking things apart and putting them together again gives kids an innate sense of accomplishment,” Sloboda said, whether that’s in the automotive shop or any other class in the school.

Quinn McAleese, sales and tech support worker for BE Power Equipment, was at the donation drop off. He is also Braber’s cousin, and a fellow Yale secondary alumni. He has fond memories of the school’s shop, and discovering that he is good with machines right there where the group stood.

“It’s not every class that you have something right in front of you,” he said. And not everyone has the opportunity to work on machines at home. Students will often bring in their own small engines for repair or maintenance in the school’s shop, such as motorized bicycles, lawnmowers and scooters.

This gift of 20 engines will ensure years of instruction in the shop. Wong said the engines will stand up to about 10 years of instruction.

And Braber isn’t just giving the engines over. He is also hoping to partner up and offer some in-class instruction from his own team of small engine mechanics. He hopes to show students at Yale there are careers out there for mechanics, as well as sharing his own successes with a trade business.

BE Power Equipment has grown from a small family-run business established 30 years ago to the largest pressure washer manufacturer in Canada.

Last year, they were named one of Canada’s best managed companies.

“Anything we can do to support other education or training or mechanics, is truly beneficial to our company, our consumers, and ultimately our community,” Braber said.

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One of 20 Honda GC160 engines donated to Yale secondary school in Abbotsford in April, 2022. (Jessica Peters/Abbotsford News)

One of 20 Honda GC160 engines donated to Yale secondary school in Abbotsford in April, 2022. (Jessica Peters/Abbotsford News)