Student Spotlight: Gabe Krebs

HDTT student awarded $1,000 Mike Fritzen Memorial Scholarship

Heavy Duty Truck  Technology

Spring Semester 2020 • Classes start January 13


Gabe Krebs, 18, 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 fall semester 2019.

Gabe graduated from Lakeville South High School in May 2019. He started at DCTC as a Post-Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) student and has completed three semesters in the HDTT program. He is on schedule to graduate with his Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in HDTT in December 2019.

“I am grateful to win this award,” said Gabe, who has made the President’s List three times at DCTC. “I’m glad the scholarship exists to help kids through college.”

SkillsUSA silver medalist at 2019 NLSC

Gabe Krebs was one of three DCTC students who placed in the top three nationally in SkillsUSA competitions at the 55th annual National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC) June 24–28, 2019, in Louisville, Kentucky. Gabe took silver in the Diesel Equipment Technology (High School) competition.

An estimated 18,000 people—students, teachers and business partners—participated in the 2019 NLSC, a weeklong SkillsUSA showcase for career and technical education students from across the United States.

Gabe was awarded gold medals in the Heavy Equipment Technologies competition at successive SkillsUSA Minnesota Skills and Leadership Conferences. This was his second appearance at the SkillsUSA Nationals.

“I enjoyed the experience at the NLSC,” Gabe said, “and the opportunity to travel and compete doing something I like to do.”

(second from right) Gabe Krebs at 2019 NLSC

(second from right) Gabe Krebs at 2019 NLSC

More about the Mike Fritzen Memorial Scholarship…

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 Braband, Republic Services operations manager, was on hand when Gabe Krebs visited the Republic Services facility in Inver Grove Heights Wednesday, July 31, 2019.

“Republic Services takes pride in hiring the best talent,” Dan said. “To get the best talent, you have to make an investment. The Mike Fritzen Memorial Scholarship is our way of giving back to individuals and the community. We want to get the Republic Services name out there while teaching future Republic Services team members about our industry.”

Scott Reed serves as Republic Services fleet maintenance manager. Scott talked about how important heavy-duty truck technicians are to fleet operations.

“We offer incentives to DCTC Heavy Duty Truck Technology graduates and interns,” he reported. “We offer a $5,000 sign-on bonus to graduates—and we are always in need of trained technicians. We have a DCTC graduate and intern working with us right now.”

Scott added that HDTT students can start internships at Republic Services during their first year in the program, gaining invaluable real-world experience on the job while going to school.

“We provide interns with a set of Mac Tools valued at $14,000,” he said, noting that after they graduate the former interns must work for Republic Services for two years to keep the tools. “We make sure what the interns are doing in our shop is tailored to what they’re studying in their HDTT classrooms and labs. We also provide $500 per month for one year to help students pay off their college loans.”

Also present at the scholarship presentation were Jason Wetzel, DCTC dean of transportation and construction, along with Ken Klassen, Brent Newville and Pete Szybatka, DCTC HDTT faculty, and Kim Shaff, foundation development director.

“It’s great to have industry-leading employers like Republic Services continue to support our students and the HDTT program. Republic Services has been actively involved on our HDTT Advisory Board along with supporting, training and mentoring our HDTT students.
“Republic Services offers a great career path to our HDTT students. Our industry partnership with Republic Services is one of many pieces that make up the foundation of our HDTT program. We appreciate all that Republic Services does and we look forward to many more conversations with their leadership team.”
Ken Klassen
Heavy Duty Truck Technology Faculty
SkillsUSA Chapter Advisor
Dakota County Technical College

More about Gabe…

Gabe works while going to college as a truck technician at Friedges Landscaping. He started three years ago at Friedges when he was living next door to the company’s headquarters in Lakeville, Minnesota, and could walk to work.

Gabe has two older brothers, Franklin, 21, who manages a tobacco/vaping shop, and Andy, 20, who started his own marketing company. In his free time, Gabe enjoys working with his friends on their vehicles. He also likes motorcycling and trapshooting.

Gabe resides in Faribault, Minnesota, with his mom, his brother, Andy, two German shepherds, Cooper, 2, and Odie, 1.5, and a 2-foot-long ball python who is anxiously awaiting a name.

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 high growth compared to other careers. Growth rate is 9.9 percent, or above the statewide average. There will be a need for about 6,398 new Bus and Truck Mechanics to meet market demand between 2016–2026. This includes the demand due to replacement (workers leaving the occupation or retiring) as well as growth.

— Minnesota State CAREERwise Education

Gabe Krebs  Q & A

Gabe Krebs

Gabe Krebs

What are important things every diesel technician should know?
Basic troubleshooting and a wide variety of knowledge regarding equipment.

What is your favorite over-the-road truck make?

What do you like best about working on heavy duty trucks?
Knowing something that most people don’t know.

Three words that describe you as a college student:

What is the most challenging aspect of the HDTT program?
Online training

What advice would you give students thinking about making diesel technician their career path?
Pay attention and try to take in as much as you can during school.

One word that best describes your experience at DCTC:


Gabe Krebs 12 Answers

  1. Favorite sport or physical activity: Trapshooting
  2. Place you would most like to visit: The Bahamas
  3. The most exciting thing you’ve ever done: Climbing Loveland Pass [11,990 feet] in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado
  4. Three things you would do if you won a $1 billion lottery: 1) Buy a tropical island 2) Buy a cabin on a private lake 3) Open my own diesel shop
  5. Favorite TV show you’re watching now:  Money Heist
  6. Best movie you’ve seen lately:  American Sniper
  7. One thing you most want to accomplish in life: Be successful
  8. Your national reptile if you were your own country: Pterodactyl
  9. Dream occupation: Owner/manager of my own diesel shop
  10. Person you would most like to meet: Mike Rowe
  11. Skill you would most like to learn and master: Allison Transmission technician
  12. Most important issue or problem facing humankind: Unwillingness to work or contribute

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…

Learn more about the Heavy Duty Truck Technology program 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

DCTC College Tour

Learn more about the DCTC Foundation by contacting:

Michelle Boe, JD
Executive Director of Foundation

Amy Eppen
Foundation Development Director