Sun Photo: William Thompson
Dennis Crochet prepares to climb into his rig Thursday for a run out of Interstate Distributor Company’s Tucumcari terminal. The company has agreed to have all its new drivers trained at Mesalands Community College.
Mesalands Community College has entered into an agreement to train all truck driver trainees for Interstate Distributor Company, a national trucking firm with a terminal in Tucumcari.
John Yearout, Mesalands’ director of public relations, said the first class consisting of Interstate trainees should begin this fall. The trainees will come from all over the United States.
“The head of our truck driver training, Clint Doherty, said at a recent board meeting that he expected about 15 Interstate trainees in the first class,” Yearout said. “This agreement is a real shot in the arm to Mesalands Community College. Anytime we add more students it strengthens the college.”
Yearout said Interstate officials are working with local motels to house their trainees while they train at Mesalands. In addition to five weeks of classroom instruction, trainees will also complete five weeks of on-the-road training.
Tom Anderson, director of training and education for Interstate, said Mesalands offers first-class driver training.
“We have a great deal of experience working with truck-driving schools,” Anderson said. “We find the program at Mesalands to be thorough and strong on curriculum with plenty of hands-on training. The city of Tucumcari has welcomed us with open arms and we are excited about our partnership with the city of Tucumcari and Mesalands Community College.”
Yearout said Interstate officials toured the college’s campus and went away impressed with the facilities offered for truck driver training.
The city of Tucumcari recently offered the trucking firm incentives totaling $60,000. The incentives will be in the form of real estate vouchers to help Interstate employees buy homes or land in Quay County.
Yearout said Interstate will screen potential trainees through an aggressive recruitment process before they are sent to Mesalands for training.
Mesalands president Phillip O. Barry said Mesalands had been looking for a partnership with a national firm.
“We are pleased that Interstate Distributor Company sees the high quality training capabilities offered by Mesalands’ Commercial Truck Driving program,” Barry said. “We have been looking for an opportunity like this with a leader in the trucking industry and Interstate meets those criteria.”