As Bates Technical College celebrates 75 years of service and success, the National Association of Publicly-funded Truck Driving Schools conference for regions one and two added to the year-long celebration with a successful two-day event.
College President Dr. Ron Langrell welcomed conference attendees with an inspiring and warm speech. He spoke about how important the trucking industry is to our nation, and especially here in the Pacific Northwest because of the ports, military and international trade that flow through the area.
Dean of Instruction Brandon Rogers followed the president’s speech. He welcomed conference sponsors, carriers, students and advisory board members. Rogers painted a vision of where Bates’ Commercial Truck Driving-Entry Level program is headed in the future because of new technology the college is integrating into the program.
The first day of the conference included a panel discussion involving carriers about challenges they face with recruitment and retention, both locally and long-haul.
During the second day, a panel discussion featuring truck driving program alumni focused on their challenges when entering the industry, which proved to be the most commented on and enjoyed part of the conference.
Other presenters included Fred Fakkema, Zonar Systems, who spoke about pre/post-trip and ELD technology; Jena Williams, L&I TIRES Program, whose topic was titled ‘Safety Training Made Fun’; and John Seton, who spoke about Air-weigh on board technology.
Washington State Patrol CVEO2 Jonas Mast educated those in attendance on roadside stops, inspections and the importance of their CSA score. As a committed member of the college’s truck driving advisory committee, WSP and other committee members have worked together to improve highway safety in Washington state.
Martin Garsee, executive director of NAPFTDS, commented on how much he enjoyed the student participation during the event. Garsee also liked the possibility of organizing a job fair with local and long-haul carriers at next year’s conference.
College truck driving faculty and staff would like to thank the many sponsors and those who provided door prizes for this exciting and educational event. Special thanks to Dawn Sciglibaglio, the college’s administrative assistant to the dean of instruction, for her hard work to make this year’s conference a success.
Submitted by Wade Westphal, Commercial Truck Driving: Entry Level instructor