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Sells Named 2017 AET Distinguished Alum

Russell Sells II

EKU's Department of Applied Engineering and Technology, along with the School of Applied Sciences and Technology, is pleased to announce that Mr. Russell Sells II has been selected as their departmental distinguished alum for 2017.

Sells will honored during a presentation in April at the Department of Applied Engineering and Technology College to Careers Conference.

The honor is reserved for special alumni who have distinguished themselves in their professions through excellence, dedication, and service.

Sells is the founder and CEO of BTI (Bluegrass Tool & Industrial) in Lexington, Ky. Originally from Albany, Ky., he grew up on a farm in Glasgow where he learned that success comes from hard work and persistence.

While attending Barren County High School, he took interest in computer-aided design (CAD) classes at the vocational school. He was intrigued with the thought process required to create functional designs and chose EKU based on the strength their Manufacturing Technology Program. Working co-ops over summer and holiday breaks proved to be invaluable preparation for a career in the industrial setting and as a business owner. Working with the same company for multiple years, he learned firsthand the different processes that go into maintenance, engineering, and operations throughout a company.

Anticipating a May 2002 graduation, Sells fully expected to work for that same Glasgow company but attended a job fair at Webasto Roof Systems in Lexington and landed a manufacturing engineer position with an impressive starting salary. Webasto gave him the opportunity to see how large international automotive plants run and how international business works. Sells has managed international customers and vendors in Mexico, China, Italy, Germany, and the U.S.

By 2012, Sells partnered with the owner of an installation and rigging company to start a new company called Bluegrass Tool & Industrial. BTI offers a full service industrial supply solution. After five years in business, Sells is sole owner, BTI averages 69 percent growth per year, and employs 18 people. BTI designs and builds overhead cranes, custom handling devices, and custom engineered systems. The company also sells, installs, services, and performs OSHA certified crane inspections for all types of overhead cranes. BTI offers product lines that are a true full service industrial supply solution. Notable BTI jobs include installation of material handling equipment in Irapuato Mexico, Million+ dollar crane jobs for local manufacturing companies, and removing equipment from a plant in Mexico to later re-install in Lexington.

Sells serves as an Elder and Chairman of his church board. In his free time, he enjoys hunting, fishing, and camping. But his most important role of all is husband to his beautiful wife, Jenna, and father to two amazing daughters.

Congratulations Mr. Sells on being selected as the 2017 Distinguished Alum representing the Department of Applied Engineering and Technology.

The department will also honor distinguished seniors for the year. Mr. Horace Hunter, from Lexington, Ky., who is earning a BS in Aviation with a minor in Aerospace Management, was selected as the AET departmental distinguished senior. In addition, recipients of scholarships and awards for the 2016-17 academic year will be recognized and honored for outstanding achievement.

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Published on March 23, 2017

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