April 18, 2022 – Washington Co., WI – A positive outcome as business merged with education to create the first truck driving school in Washington County, WI. This week a dozen students graduated Kreilkamp Truck Driving Academy.
“This was wonderful,” said Tim Kreilkamp. “To put a program like this together in nine months was outstanding. To have success like this is just outstanding.”
Kreilkamp said the Truck Driving Academy was very valuable to grow their own team. “Essentially everyone knows there’s a shortage of truck drivers and so we decided we’re going to make our own,” he said.
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A dozen students graduated the first academy, which ran seven weeks and three days. Kreilkamp said the second class is already underway.
The starting wage for an over-the-road truck driver is $60,000.
John Brown of Illinois was held up his blue graduation certificate and posed for photos. He said the experience was great. “This is always something I’ve been wanting to do and it’s a big accomplishment for me; I’m happy and excited to get my career going.”
“I’ve been wanting to do it since I was young,” said O’Brien. “I was always interested in driving big rigs.”
O’Brien drove to West Bend, WI from northern New York. “Kreilkamp paid for my hotel stay during the run of the driving academy,” he said. “Being in the classroom was the toughest thing for me, but I’m glad I stuck it out.”
Sandoval said the most challenging part of the course for him were the test on pre-trip inspection. “We have to memorize some of the trailer and tractor parts,” he said. “That was the biggest challenge for me, but practice made perfect.”
“You’re pretty much your own boss but there is definitely financial gain and stability,” she said.
McGee said, as a female who graduated the class, she would advise other women to just go for it. “Just do it,” she said. “Nothing is impossible; just believe you’re unstoppable and you can do anything you put your mind to, and you know, this is a great program.”
Graduates of the Kreilkamp Truck Driving Academy included: Sarah Boese, John Brown, Jacqueline Fischer, Blake Hahn, Paul Lindl, KaNesha McGee, Bradley Medke, Chris O’Brien, Bryan Ozuna, Luis Sandoval, Vince Savage, and Shane Werbelow.
Paul Lindl of Hartford, WI made a big leap from the beer sales to driving a big rig. “I thought about it but there never was a school to do it,” he said.
Not being a ‘gear head’ was a little intimidating, especially with the 95-point pre-inspection.
“But I’m learning stuff I never knew anything about so that was the big thing,” Lindl said. “Backing up these monsters is a lot and it’s different than backing up a boat or a camper or something like that; it was very intense but I’m glad I stuck it out.”
The graduating class ended their ceremony with a truck parade. Click HERE to learn more about the Kreilkamp Truck Driving Academy.