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The Inaugural Class of Piston Fund Scholarship Recipients

The Piston Foundation is excited to announce the first ever group of Piston Fund Scholars. This is a great milestone for the Foundation as well as for the 10 young recipients who have impressed us with their dedication, passion, and drive for the skilled trades. We would like to use this opportunity to showcase each of the 2022 Scholars and to take a look back on our journey as an organization, which has proven that with a dream and the right approach, we all can reach the finish line together.

By Christopher Perkowski

August 31, 2022


The Piston Foundation was formed in 2021 by entrepreneur Robert P. Minnick. Robert had heard the stories from fellow car enthusiasts: there were simply not enough accessible means for today’s generation to become restoration mechanics and the collector car industry was hurting as a result. Forming the Piston Foundation meant a commitment to solving this problem and, alongside a group of talented volunteers, Robert set out to do just that. A year and a half of challenging, but fruitful work later, Robert is elated by all that has been accomplished to fund skilled trade education and these 10 scholar recipients are proof of that.

“When I look at our 2022 Piston Scholars, it puts a big smile on my face,” he said. “This is the reason I started the Piston Foundation and why we will succeed. Helping these promising young technicians build the foundation of their careers feels great!”

2022 Scholarship Recipients

And now, we proudly present the 2022 Piston Fund Scholarship Recipients:

Edwin John Buiter
McPherson College

Edwin is an enthusiast of all things mechanical and loves to disassemble and rebuild car parts to understand their inner workings. He derives great joy from owning and maintaining several Chevys and Buicks and hopes to one day turn his passion for restoration into a rewarding career.

Victoria Bruno
McPherson College

Originally taught to keep her automotive passions hidden as a child, Victoria now has one goal: to leave a lasting impact on car culture through her high-quality restorations. To her, vintage automobiles stand as artifacts of a time inaccessible by other means, which is why she aims to preserve these cultural legacies.

Zoe Carmichael
McPherson College

Zoe believes that cars are integral to one’s expression of self and for her, that came in the form of a 1971 Volkswagen Super Beetle she bought when she was 21. Her desire to keep her car on the road is what inspired her to pursue an automotive education and now hopes to work in a position that combines both her love of history and cars.

Jasper A. Fedders
McPherson College

Jasper began as a self-taught mechanic, determined to fix his father’s old and worn-down cars and drive them to high school. Since then, he has learned countless valuable skills in his college Auto Restoration program and is well on his way to becoming the successful car mechanic he’s always dreamed of.

Ethan Bradford Heck
Lanier Technical College

Thanks to the internet, Ethan’s love for collector cars and car racing was sparked at an early age. He has a particular fascination for Subarus with his most memorable restoration project being that of a 1997 Subaru Impreza coupe, which garnered interest overseas from Galway Carbon.

Jacob Koehn
McPherson College

Jacob’s passion for car restoration serves as a reminder that even through life’s most trying times, there is always a way forward. His new career path has given him the strength he needs to put a past of substance abuse behind him and achieve the fulfilling, self-driven life he’s been searching for.

Dryden Lee Powell
McPherson College

Whether it’s about driving, riding, or restoring, Dryden wants collector cars to be a fun experience. His time spent as a Boy Scout has taught him that if he wants good results, he must put in the effort, which is exactly what he plans to do to bring the absolute best out of an old vehicle.

Joseph Scheidel
McPherson College

Joseph’s desire to learn and take chances throughout his childhood and teenage years is what kickstarted his fascination for car restoration. He begins his four-year college journey at McPherson with a curious optimism and hopes this exciting new path will teach him the skills he needs to uphold this traditional American craft.

Joshua Jay Warner
McPherson College

Joshua dreams of repairing his father’s 1965 Mustang 2+2 and absorbs information from books, classes, and part-time jobs in order to achieve it. His high motivation has led him to learn the ins and outs of many types of engines and he hopes that going to college will be the next big step on his car restoration journey.
Sean Gandy Whetstone
McPherson College

Sean craves the raw feel of the road that only a classic car can give him, which has been a motivating force ever since he set out to be his family’s first ever car expert. He wants to ensure that younger generations don’t forget the hard lessons of the past and believes that through car restoration, he can continue to preserve these classics and share their important role in history.


We at the Piston Foundation want to extend recognition and sincere thanks to the donors who helped make this moment possible. You are affecting real change within the car community, which you certainly can all be proud of. Slowly but surely, we are building awareness of these career opportunities and solving the auto restoration labor shortage. This industry won’t be fading away any time soon. We hope to count on you all again as we set our sights on 2023 and the next big milestone!


This year saw us creating change in the lives of 10 deserving individuals. Next year, we aim to more than quadruple that number. In the 2023-24 school year, we aim to provide scholarships to 50 students so they can further their skilled trade education. It’s a lofty goal, but one we are confident in meeting. There’s much to plan and even more work ahead. See you in 2023!

Support skilled trade education for future auto restoration technicians.


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