Steve Higgins
Training Director / Branch Manager

Steve Higgins began his path towards heavy equipment abroad in the U.S. Army, where he served as a Wheeled Vehicle Technician. Upon returning to his home state of Michigan, Steve studied to be a Diesel Technician at Lansing Community College. He continued to gain experience by working with farm and over-the-road truck equipment before kicking off his near 30 year career with AIS. From Shop Foreman to Service Manager, Steve has worn many hats at the Lansing Branch to become the Training Director and Branch Manager.

Joe Thompson
Technical Trainer

Joe Thompson has been a service technician since 1984. He spent several years in lawn and utility service until he made the move to heavy equipment, working for an underground pipe contractor before coming to AIS. Joe spent 7 years with AIS as a Field Service Technician before transitioning to Technical Training in 2007, where he became nationally certified to teach the full product line for Komatsu, JCB and John Deere. He is also the lead software/IT support for all manufacturers AIS represents. Joe and his wife Betsee have three kids, Zeke, Matt and Kyla. Joe loves to coach and play hockey.


Steve Sutton
Technical Trainer

Steve Sutton has over 20 years of heavy equipment work experience. He studied Power Equipment Technology at Michigan State University's Institute of Agricultural Technology. Positions Steve held before coming to AIS allowed him to become well versed in the agricultural and material handling equipment field. For the past decade, he has been providing hands-on troubleshooting and repair service and has put in over 1600 hours of training others how to do so in the process.


Steve Hollon
Heavy Equipment Operator, AIS Institute and Safety Instructor

Steve Hollon is a long time veteran in the heavy equipment operator industry, with over 26 years of knowledge under his belt. He received a Bachelor’s Degree from Spring Arbor University and attended Eastern Michigan University for OSHA regulations. In addition to his instructor position at AIS, he serves as a Chief Warrant Officer in the Army National Guard as a Construction Equipment Technician Officer. 

Ron Kietzman
High School and College Technical Instructor

Ron Kietzman grew up working on a family dairy farm through his schooling, so it comes to no surprise that he studied Agriculture at Michigan State University and received an Associates of Applied Science Heavy Equipment Repair from Lansing Community College. Ron worked with Snyder Farm Supply/B&W Farm Center before coming to AIS, where he has worked in the technical field since 1999. He currently instructs high school and college technician classes.

Jim Peake
High School and AIS Institute Heavy Equipment Instructor

Jim Peake has been working for 30 years as an Equipment Operator and Job Site Superintendent. As an NCCER Certified Instructor, Jim trains high school and college students on how to operate heavy equipment and strives to help them achieve their goals. When he’s not on the job, you can find Jim fishing or driving around his 1969 Chevy and 1956 Ford pickup trucks.