Diesel service techs and truck drivers are in demand.
Zach Tratz, a recent FVTC graduate of the Diesel Equipment Mechanic program, is a technician working with Farwell at the Appleton Quality Truck Care Center. He came to FVTC’s program after studying physical and environmental geography for two years. “I realized that I wanted to do something hands-on and learn a trade,” he says. “The minute I got here and took a tour, I knew this was what I wanted to do.”
Diesel technician students at FVTC attend school for six hours a day, typically spending one hour in lecture and the rest working hands-on in the lab. “You do get homework, but mostly you’re working to solve real problems,” Tratz says.
Tratz sees his technician job as a gateway to getting into management. “I’ll know the business from the ground level up,” he says. “My hands-on knowledge will ultimately make me a better manager.”
Farwell has hired many FVTC graduates over the years. “The technicians we’ve hired from Fox Valley Tech have grown with our organization and are now foremen, service managers, and sales people,” he says. “Students need to understand that technical positions now pay as much, and often more, than many jobs which require a four-year college degree.”
FVTC’s transportation programs offer outstanding career opportunities for men and women of all ages. “We have both traditional and non-traditional students,” says Poeschel. “More women are enrolling as the industry now recognizes that they make good technicians as well as conscientious truck drivers.”
Recent truck driving completer Stefani Kersten became the third generation of her family to drive long haul. “It was something that my dad and grandfather did, and I always wanted to try it,” she says. “I finished in April 2011 and started with Roehl Transport the next month. I’ve driven steel, lumber, doors, and aluminum for cell towers. I once carried all the pieces of a complete log home, including the kitchen sink!”
Kersten recommends the program to others. “The first week of school is all in the classroom,” she remembers. “By the second week we were already in trucks, and all the classroom instruction started to immediately make sense. The instructors know how to turn book knowledge into practical capabilities.”
Today, the 33 year-old Kersten receives nothing but compliments on her driving. “I spent ten years cutting hair, where you have to pretend to be in a good mood even if you’re not,” she laughs. “Now, I’m out getting to see the country and getting paid for it!”
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Centered on Safety: Read the latest issue of Focus magazine, with feature articles on our brand new Public Safety Training Center, and other high-demand career areas.
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