Supply Chain, transportation and trucking are seen by many as the backbone of our nation’s economy. Professional truck drivers and diesel mechanics are two of the most important pieces of this backbone’s vertebrae when it comes to ensuring that goods stay moving and shelves are stocked. One of the biggest driving forces in ensuring that our next generations of drivers and mechanics are prepared to have successful careers in doing this is by training them with the newest, most innovative technology available. With a desire to bring better learning opportunities to the students of Alexandria Technical & Community College’s (ATCC) Diesel Mechanics Program, Long Haul Trucking is grateful to have the opportunity to drive their education further by donating equipment in the form of a 2018 Peterbilt tractor for them to work on!
Since 1965, ATCC has taken pride in recruiting and graduating Diesel Mechanics that are seen throughout the trucking industry to be some of the best. When you step foot into the shop of their diesel mechanics program, the pride they take in doing a great job is visible from their clean floors all the way up to the “Wall of Fame” that has the name of every student to ever graduate the program, including three graduates who now serve as instructors. “Our job is to find them, train them and get them employed” stated ATCC Diesel Mechanics Instructor, Dustin Schilling (Schilling). “Our school has a strong foundation, and as one of it’s graduates, I take pride with my fellow instructors to work hard in maintaining it.” A significant key to the success of a program like the one at ATCC comes from the support it receives from the industries that it serves. “We’ve gone from the stone age to the space age in about 10 years.” (Schilling) New regulations in trucking calls for the constant advancement of technology in the mechanics of trucks on the roads, it is critical that students in Diesel Mechanic programs like the one at ATCC can work with this type of technology during their professional training. Schilling and his colleagues, Andy Grieve and Brent Rademacher do an exceptional job of creating a learning environment that help their students succeed and have a 100% employment placement rate to standby that proves it!
Without question, ATCC does a great job of training students on the fundamentals of what it takes to be a good mechanic. Show up on time, maintain a clean workspace, do thorough, quality work, and be coachable. Something that pushes the educational opportunities for students to the next level however comes from the support of the industries that it serves. “We see the opportunity to donate equipment to schools with programs like ATCC’s as a call to action” stated Long Haul Trucking’s CEO, Jason Michels (Michels). “We have high expectations for the caliber of mechanic that we hire at our shop, Premier 94, but ultimately, we have some skin in the game to ensure these expectations are aligned with the caliber of training that the students in our local schools are able to achieve.” (Michels) As the trucking industry continues to drive towards a future of more extravagant, complex technology, the exposure that students are given to the types of engines and mechanics most commonly ran on the road is paramount.
Driving the level of educational opportunities to be one that is consistent with the types of equipment that diesel mechanic students will be working on once practicing in the field is something Long Haul has been focused on for years. In fact, this is the third Peterbilt that Long Haul has donated to a local diesel mechanic school in the last four years. A small portion of these contributions stem from the desire of attracting graduating students to Long Haul’s own shop, Premier 94, however, the majority is tied to the desire of promoting and cultivating a network of well educated diesel mechanics to help lead us into the next generation. “Our diesel schools are doing all they can to recruit smart, high character students into these programs, and doing an excellent job of it. Our industry needs to step up and help bridge the gap between the schools’ resources to what is being used in our industry today, if we want to maximize their potential and the time they spend in the classroom.” (Michels)
Long Haul Trucking is excited to continue to drive diesel education further in their partnership with ATCC that was formed in the donation of this equipment. Even more so, Long Haul would like to extend a sincere thank you to the administration, teaching staff and specifically the Diesel Mechanic Instructors at ATCC for all the effort they put forth daily to help develop a foundation of well trained, hard-working diesel mechanics for the generations ahead. Long Haul is grateful to be a resource for ATCC that will hopefully bring promising educational opportunities for students while driving their future careers to new heights!