Student Spotlight: Alex Schipper

HDTT student awarded $1,000 Mike Fritzen Memorial Scholarship

Alexander Schipper, 19, a student in the Heavy Duty Truck Technology (HDTT) program at Dakota County Technical College, was awarded a $1,000 Mike Fritzen Memorial Scholarship from Republic Services in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota. The scholarship is for spring semester 2018.

Alex was grateful to be selected for the scholarship. He wrote a one-page essay as part of his scholarship application. One of 13 submitted, his essay was evaluated and chosen as the best by Mike’s family members.

“I am glad to see people in the industry who are there to help me succeed in school,” Alex said.

Mike Fritzen was a former DCTC student who went on to become an industry leader. Throughout his career, Mike supported HDTT at DCTC as an active member of the program’s advisory board. He concluded his successful career at Republic Services, a recycling and waste disposal company serving residential, municipal, commercial and industrial customers nationwide.

Dan Jirik, Republic Services operations manager, was on hand when Alex visited the Republic Services facility in Inver Grove Heights on Wednesday, April 4, 2018.

“This scholarship is our way of memorializing Mike Fritzen, who was a fleet maintenance manager with our company,” Dan said. “Mike passed away from cancer. By continuing this scholarship, we are recognizing Mike’s passion and dedication to his profession, team and family.”

More about Alex…

Originally from Lonsdale, Minnesota, Alex is a graduate of New Prague High School, Class of 2017. He is a freshman at DCTC and works while going to college as a second-shift technician at Transport America in Eagan, Minnesota. He has previous work experience as a mechanic at Sand Creek Country Club and Lawns Are Us Landscaping in Jordan, Minnesota.

Pete Szybatka was Alex’s first HDTT instructor at DCTC. “Alex is an attentive, dependable student,” Pete said. “He pays attention to detail and isn’t afraid to tackle any tasks we give him. Alex is a shop leader who takes the initiative and gets the job done.”

Alex has an older sister, 21, who lives in South Dakota. When he’s not going to school, studying or working till 11 p.m. every weekday, he enjoys working on his truck and shooting trap. He commutes to DCTC and work from New Prague.

Bus and Truck Mechanics

Maintain or repair any type of diesel engine.


Above the statewide median of $19.62/hour


Median: $23.44/hour
High: $28.55/hour

Seven-county Twin Cities metro

Median: $25.54/hour
High: $29.63/hour


This career is currently in very high demand and is seeing very high growth compared to other careers. Growth rate is 11.9 percent, or well above the statewide average. There will be a need for about 1,930 new Bus and Truck Mechanics to meet market demand between 2014–2024. This includes the demand due to replacement (workers leaving the occupation or retiring) as well as growth.

— Minnesota State CAREERwise Education

Alex Schipper Q & A

Alex Schipper

Alex Schipper

Why did you choose your career path?
I grew up around trucks and equipment and always had an interest in working on them.

What do you like best about the HDTT program?
I enjoy the career-like atmosphere at DCTC.

What’s your favorite truck manufacturer?

What are your long-range higher education plans?
I would like to finish out my schooling at DCTC and continue working at Transport America.

What are your long-range career plans?
I would like to eventually own my own truck repair shop.

Three words that describe you as a college student:

Alex Schipper | 12 Answers

  1. Favorite sport or physical activity: Trap shooting
  2. Place you would most like to visit: Western Montana
  3. The most exciting thing you’ve ever done: Visited the ocean with my dad in southern Texas
  4. Your personal motto if you had to have one: “Don’t hold yesterday accountable for tomorrow.”
  5. Favorite all-time TV show: Street Outlaws
  6. Favorite all-time movie: True Grit
  7. One thing you most want to accomplish in life: Own a repair shop
  8. Most precious material possession: My Duramax pickup
  9. Dream occupation: Owner of a repair shop
  10. Person you would most like to meet: Randy Reis—owner of Randy’s Transmissions
  11. Skill you would most like to learn and master: How to efficiently finance a business.
  12. Most important issue or problem facing humankind: Respect and understand the viewpoints of others

More about Republic Services

Republic Services, Inc. was incorporated in 1996 with a “can do” spirit, driving its dramatic growth and acquisitions through the years, welcoming other organizations that share its values and fiduciary discipline. Today, Republic Services, Inc. is the second largest provider of services in the domestic non-hazardous solid waste industry, as measured by revenue as well as a Fortune 500 company, publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: RSG). Read more…

To learn more about the Heavy Duty Truck Technology program at DCTC, contact:

Kenneth Klassen
Heavy Duty Truck Technology Faculty

Brent Newville
Heavy Duty Truck Technology Faculty

Pete Szybatka
Heavy Duty Truck Technology Faculty

To learn more about the True Blue Gala 2018 and the DCTC Foundation, contact:

Michelle Boe, JD
Foundation Director

Amy Eppen
Foundation Assistant Director