LC State Campus

News Release

Hillcrest Aircraft Company is first to sign on as $100,000 corporate partner for Schweitzer CTE Center

LEWISTON, Idaho – Lewis-Clark State College is excited to announce that Hillcrest Aircraft Company of Lewiston has become the first corporate partner to donate $100,000 to the college’s new Schweitzer Career & Technical Education Center.

The donation is the first to LC State’s Corporate Partnership Initiative.

“The clock is ticking, and we are reaching out to our friends in business and industry to help us close the gap on our $10 million fundraising obligation to the CTE center,” LC President Dr. Cynthia Pemberton said.

LC State’s Corporate Partnership Initiative is focused on inviting regional stakeholders to support the college’s Schweitzer CTE Center, which will produce career-ready graduates who will serve area communities. The goal is to secure $100,000 donations from 10 corporate partners.

“We are incredibly appreciative of Hillcrest Aircraft Company’s generosity and support! With this donation, the initiative’s first cornerstone has been laid” Pemberton said.

Hillcrest Aircraft Company was founded in 1946, primarily focused on flight training and crop dusting. In the early 1960s, Jerry Wilson expanded the company’s operations to include Cessna Aircraft Sale, aircraft maintenance, and aerial firefighting using WWII aircraft. Jerry’s son, Gale Wilson, is now president of Hillcrest Aircraft Company and Gale’s son, Keith White, is the vice president. Hillcrest currently contracts with various state and federal agencies throughout the United States, with a major focus on aerial firefighting using 12 Bell Helicopters. In addition, the company provides fixed wing and helicopter charters, a full-service FBO, and an authorized Bell Helicopter Service center.

“We are excited to be part of this project and would strongly encourage others to get involved,” White said.

The Schweitzer Career & Technical Education Center, which is currently under construction in the Lewiston Orchards, will be a regional CTE center, serving the needs of students from LC State, neighboring Lewiston High School, and others throughout the region. The facility will house most of LC State’s Technical & Industrial Division programs, including auto mechanics, CNC machining, programs in information, engineering and industrial electronics technology, and heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVAC-R) technology.

Construction on the CTE center began last spring and is expected to be wrapped up in time for the start of the 2020 fall semester.

In 2017, the Idaho Legislature approved the CTE building project and appropriated $10 million with the requirement that LC State match the funds. Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories donated $2 million to the project, while SEL founder Edmund O. Schweitzer, III, and his wife Beatriz donated another $1 million. In all, donations like the one from Hillcrest Aircraft Company have helped generate over $7 million towards the CTE center.

To become a corporate partner, make a donation, or learn more about naming opportunities for the Schweitzer CTE Center visit:, or call the LC State Advancement Office at 208-792-2458.