In our February issue, we featured a cover story about Fleet Maintenance Professionals Corporation, an independent fleet repair shop that has been busier than ever, because they offer superior services to their fleet customers.
In that article, Dale Kreuger, the president of Fleet Maintenance Professionals, expressed his opinion that graduates of technical colleges lack real-world skills. In his words, "Tech schools aren't preparing technicians. It's all diesel training, but it's not the basics, it's not preventive maintenance."
He went on to say that because technical college graduates did their hands-on work on clean, unused, rust-free components, they weren't always prepared to work on vehicles in "real-world" conditions.
In response to that article, I got a call from Dan Poeschel, Department Chair Transportation Center at Fox Valley Technical College, which serves the community where Fleet Maintenance Professionals is located.
Mr. Poeschel disagreed with Dale Kreuger's assessment, and when I asked him to share his thoughts with our readers he readily agreed. We respect all opinions here, and Mr. Poeschel's views are as valuable to our readers as are Mr. Kreuger's
Here, then, are Dan Poeschel's views on Fox Valley Technical College's diesel program, and on the young professionals that his school is preparing for the workplace:
"Students attend Fox Valley Technical College a total of 48 weeks for the Diesel Program. A total of 18 weeks is spent on diesel engines and fuel systems. The remaining 30 weeks are spent on the rest of the vehicle, including electrical, preventive maintenance, annual inspections, brakes, etc.
"The program is designed to give the students 20 hours a week of hands-on training. Each student that completes the program performs two tractor and two trailer PMs.
"FVTC owns more than 40 trucks as part of the truck driving program which are driven on the highway. The students perform most of the maintenance on the trucks.
"In the past year students replaced at least a dozen failed clutches. All students perform brake jobs on the same live equipment. Most students successfully pass the tests and attain their Annual inspection and Brake inspector certification status.
"I am not naive to think that all students completing the FVTC diesel program are going to make it in the work place. I am confident students were given every opportunity to learn the necessary skills to succeed in the work place."
Thanks, Dan, for setting the record straight, and thanks for the work you and your faculty do in preparing the technicians of tomorrow for the challenges of the workplace.
On a separate note, we'd like to congratulate Irv Jones, fleet maintenance supervisor for Golder Ranch Fire District in southern Arizona, on winning a $100 American Express Gift Cheque. Mr. Jones won the drawing for the award after taking part in Fleet Maintenance's Harvey Research AdQ Study this past February.