Bradley Kolle: The Power of Hard Work

Bradley Kolle
Bradley Kolle

Heavy Duty Truck grad takes new job at Cummins NPower

by Kelly Darnell

Booker T. Washington once said, “Nothing ever comes to one that is worth having, except as a result of hard work.” Bradley Kolle exemplified this adage over the past two years while completing the Heavy Duty Truck Technology program at Dakota County Technical College. Having graduated this year, Brad is now reaping the rewards of his hard work and is very grateful for all the opportunities that have led him to his current position with Cummins NPower.

Brad was interested in heavy duty trucks right out of high school, but didn’t immediately pursue Heavy Duty Truck Technology at DCTC. He tried a four-year college, but found that it wasn’t a good match. A part-time job for the city of Apple Valley kept Brad busy, and he was able to gain some experience working on various kinds of mechanical equipment. After Apple Valley, Brad knew that working on heavy duty trucks was something he enjoyed and wanted to pursue. He heard good things about DCTC, so decided to enroll in the college’s program.

If you’re considering entering the Heavy Duty Truck Technology program, Brad’s advice would be to work hard. “If you come here and give effort, you’re gonna see great rewards,” he said. “I would recommend the program to anyone.” Brad has certainly been a prime example of where the right attitude can take you.

The Heavy Duty Truck Technology program was a perfect fit for Brad. “I’ve always been very hands-on; I didn’t like reading it, I liked doing it,” he explained. Except for some preparatory reading, the majority of his education consisted of hands-on learning. Brad especially enjoys doing engine work, even undertaking large projects like rebuilding an engine. “I thought it would be much more complicated than it actually is,” he said. “It’s hard to believe that I can do this now!” His job at Cummins NPower tackles some major repairs, mostly related to engines or emissions.

The two-year Heavy Duty Truck Technology program is accredited by NATEF (National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation) and both instructors are ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) master certified. Changes in emission mandates obligate today’s technicians to be highly trained and very adaptable. In fact, toxic emissions weren’t regulated at all until 1970. Since then there has been a 10,000 percent reduction in the particulate matter (black smoke) being released into the air. Technicians like Brad implement these changes to make the environment safe for everyone. In addition to keeping up with emission reduction, all diesel technicians must pass drug tests and physical examinations as well as possess clean driving records and a commercial driver’s license.

Computer skills are also necessary, as almost everything is now run electronically and a truck can have more than 15 computers on board. Brad reported that the DCTC program prepared him very well, teaching teaching him the latest technology and new innovations in his career field. “When I started my new job, it was amazing how much I knew compared to people who had been in the industry for twenty years,” he said.

Heavy duty trucks with Cummins engines

Brad’s attitude is not only leading to personal success, but also inspiring those who are training the next generation of technicians. HDTT Instructor Ken Klassen is very proud of everything his student has accomplished. “Brad was fully committed to his education at DCTC,” Klassen said. “As his second-year instructor, I knew in a short amount of time that Brad wanted to learn as much as possible while enrolled in our HDTT program. This type of attitude and commitment is the driving force behind my teaching.”

Brad recently acquired a job at Cummins NPower, an engine and power generation systems distributor based in White Bear Lake, Minn. This is a very desirable position, and Brad attributes his success to all the opportunities DCTC gave him to build up his resume. Besides the basic education, he was able to participate in SkillsUSA and take three ASE mechanical tests due to his high grades.

HDTT Instructor Ken Klassen

“DCTC also has a partnership with Cummins,” Brad explained. “You do their online training as a part of the course, so I was able to put that on my application as well.” Brad found that transitioning from the classroom to the workplace has been an adjustment, but since the education DCTC provided prepared him so well, the change hasn’t been too difficult. The main challenge Brad faces is that everyone does things slightly differently. “I’m just learning how to operate in a shop, how that shop does business or how the repairs work.”

When he isn’t working, Brad enjoys sports and plays golf and softball in the summer. He also loves the outdoors and you can find him camping during his days off. Still, Brad really enjoys being a heavy duty truck technician, and it’s his passion for his job that keeps him going every day. “It’s something I like to do, so it doesn’t seem like that hard of work. I just try to get the most out of it,” he said, very thankful that he is doing something he loves.

If you’re considering entering the Heavy Duty Truck Technology program, Brad’s advice would be to work hard. “If you come here and give effort, you’re gonna see great rewards,” he said. “I would recommend the program to anyone.” Brad has certainly been a prime example of where the right attitude can take you.

In the words of his instructor, Ken Klassen, “With his drive and determination, Brad is on his way to becoming one our industry’s finest diesel technicians.”

About the author…

Kelly Darnell grew up in Coon Rapids, Minn., and hasn’t strayed from the Twin Cities suburbs in her 17 years. Kelly was home-schooled until starting PSEO at Inver Hills in fall semester 2013. When she finishes her A.A. degree at IHCC, she plans on transferring to a four-year college to complete her bachelor’s degree in creative writing and communication. Writing has been Kelly’s passion for as long as she can remember—and she would love to turn writing into a career.

“But most of all, I want to make a difference in this world through the words I say,” she added, “for the pen is indeed mightier than the sword.”

When she’s not writing stories or blogging, Kelly Darnell enjoy spending time with friends, watching Doctor Who and reading.

For more information about Heavy Duty Truck Technology at Dakota County Technical College, contact: