Student Spotlight: Brooke Beissel

PSEO student majoring in HDTT and working at I State Truck Center

Brooke Beissel, 17, attends Dakota County Technical College full-time as a Post-Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) student. Brooke is a freshman at DCTC earning her Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in the Heavy Duty Truck Technology program.

Since February 2018, Brooke has been enrolled in programs at the Dakota County Area Learning School (DCALS), which provides alternative learning programming to Intermediate District 917 member district students.

“Brooke will be finishing her credits through our DCALS program and may receive her diploma from Farmington High School,” reported Eric Van Brocklin, secondary principal, CTE/ALC, ISD 917. “She gained her strong interest in heavy duty truck technology from her time in Tom LeDoux’s HDTT program at ISD 917.”

Principal Van Brocklin added that Brooke represents a strong model for success for students following pathways from DCALS programs to DCTC programs. He gives much credit for success stories like Brooke’s to the work of ISD 917 faculty and staff, including Tom LeDoux, HDTT instructor, Patti Mattos, enrollment coordinator, John Pereda, counselor, and Adam Rachuy, social studies instructor.

Working while going to college

Brooke also works 20–30 hours a week as a diesel tech at I State Truck Center in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota.

“I do the small stuff as of now—oil changes, basic services, assisting in engine overhauls,” she said. “I do whatever there is to do that helps me gain experience and increase my knowledge.”

Jason Prondzinski, service center foreman at I State Truck Center, is Brooke’s supervisor. “We do a lot of work with DCTC,” Jason said. “The students from the college’s Heavy Duty Truck program are some of the best we get.”

Jason added that Brooke is new to the diesel tech field and is learning a great deal on the job and in her DCTC program.

“Brooke is very green, but she’s eager to learn everything she can,” Jason said. “She can gain a ton of experience on the job in our shop. Brooke always has a smile on her face.”

Ken Klassen, an HDTT instructor at DCTC, is pleased that Brooke is getting a running start at her career as a diesel tech. “PSEO is helping pay for her college education plus she’s earning her associate degree while still in high school. Brooke is also already working in the field at I State and that experience is invaluable.”

Ken noted that I State Truck Center covered the cost of Brooke’s tools, which can run as much as $10,000. “Our industry partnerships are critical to student success,” he said, “and I State has been a tremendous partner.”

More about Brooke…

Originally from Cannon Falls, Minnesota, Brooke will graduate from high school in May 2019. She’ll graduate from DCTC with her HDTT A.A.S. degree in December 2021, but she’s already looking at going on to earn a business degree from the college.

“I really want to own and operate my own shop one day,” she said with a smile. “I’m going to call my shop BLB Diesel.”

In her free time, Brooke enjoys hanging out with friends as well as hunting (she just went mule deer hunting in Wyoming), fishing year round, snowmobiling and hiking. She has one younger sister, Briana, age 9.

More about I State Truck Center…

I-State Truck Center Mission Statement

Creating customer satisfaction will ensure long term success for our company, employees and the manufacturers we represent. We commit ourselves to excellence, integrity, improvement and teamwork.

The first priority of each employee is to exceed our customers’ expectations. Our success depends on our efforts.

Learn more by visiting:
I State Truck Center Inver Grove Heights

Brooke working at I State Truck Center gallery

Bus and Truck Mechanics

Maintain or repair any type of diesel engine.


Above the statewide median of $20.07/hour


Median: $23.93/hour
High: $29.04/hour

Seven-county Twin Cities metro

Median: $26.10/hour
High: $30.15/hour


This career is currently in very high demand and is seeing very high growth compared to other careers. Growth rate is 9.8 percent, or 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

Brooke Beissel Q & A

Brooke Beissel

Brooke Beissel

Why did you choose heavy duty truck technology as your career field?
After realizing I could never make it in an office cubicle, I decided to follow my family’s footsteps in working in what’s considered a “blue-collar setting.” My uncle’s a diesel mechanic and my grandfather owns his own masonry business. I’ve always liked trucks, too. Eilen & Sons Trucking in Hampton has cool trucks and they’ve always caught my eye.

How has PSEO helped advance your education?
PSEO has given me the opportunity to acquire skills that are helpful in both school and in the real-life job atmosphere. PSEO has also helped financially. I was getting stressed out about taking out student loans.

What advice would you give students considering heavy duty truck technician as a career path?
The industry is screaming for new technicians, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and try something new!

What is the most challenging aspect of the Heavy Duty Truck Technology program so far?
The most challenging aspect of Heavy Duty Truck for me is remembering specifications, but it’ll get easier with more experience.

Three words that describe you as a college student:

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job at I State Truck Center?
The most rewarding aspect of my job is to have a truck come in with an issue and see it leave working as it should be all because of the work you put into fixing it.

What is one thing every heavy duty truck technician should know?
ALWAYS remember where you put your 10 mm sockets. Oh, and never be afraid to ask a question. A small question that may seem dumb is better than making a big mistake.

What is your favorite Class 8 truck manufacturer?
“I’ve been into PACCAR trucks ever since my interest first sparked—especially long nose Petes and KWs.”

What person has influenced you the most in life?
Easily my Grandpa Jim Beissel. All of my favorite stories, memories, adventures—you name it—are with him.

More about the Heavy Duty Truck Technology program…

As a student in the HDTT program at DCTC, you will learn all aspects of heavy-duty truck repair and maintenance. The program focuses on large trucks, typically class 7 and 8.

Areas of instruction include:
  • Electrical and electronic systems
  • Steering/alignment
  • Foundation brakes
  • Air brakes
  • Anti-lock brake systems

You will perform diesel engine troubleshooting as well as overhauls and tune-ups on both mechanical and electronic engines. Clutch, transmission, drive axle repair and overhaul are taught along with welding instruction, preventive maintenance and HVAC.

You will be given the opportunity to obtain a commercial drivers license (CDL) and become a state of Minnesota certified commercial vehicle inspector.

This program is accredited by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF). Programs must undergo extensive evaluation and site visits by NATEF to receive and retain program accreditation.

Brooke Beissel 21 Answers

  1. Favorite season: Summer
  2. Favorite natural feature (e.g., waterfalls, oceans, mountains, etc.): The mountains; I liked the mountains I saw in Wyoming
  3. Favorite sport or physical activity: Cross country [Brooke competed in track and cross country in high school.]
  4. Your national bird if you could have one: Bald eagle
  5. Place you would most like to visit: Montana or Wyoming
  6. Favorite holiday: Veterans Day or Independence Day
  7. Your national mammal if you could have one: Gray wolf
  8. Favorite actor or actress: Clint Eastwood
  9. Favorite band or performing artist: Brooks & Dunn
  10. Your personal motto if you had to have one: “It’ll buff.”
  11. Coolest thing in the world: Northern lights
  12. Scariest thing in the world: The word, “trench”
  13. Favorite all-time TV show: The Dukes of Hazzard
  14. Favorite all-time movie: The Outlaw Josey Wales
  15. One thing you most want to accomplish in life:  Own my own shop, BLB Diesel
  16. Most valuable material possession: Cowboy hat my grandparents bought me
  17. First thing you would do if you won the $1.5 billion Powerball: Buy a black lab and a new truck.
  18. Dream occupation: Owning my own shop
  19. Person you would most like to meet: Clint Eastwood
  20. Skill you would most like to learn and master: Disassembling and reassembling engines in a timely manner
  21. Humankind’s greatest challenge: People being stubborn and not willing to see eye to eye on problems.
Learn more about Heavy Duty Truck Technology at DCTC by contacting:

Kenneth Klassen
Heavy Duty Truck Technology Faculty

Brent Newville
Heavy Duty Truck Technology Faculty

Pete Szybatka
Heavy Duty Truck Technology Faculty