The Opportunity Of A Lifetime
"I had a second chance at my life and didn’t want to waste it!"
Life is good for Dustin Withers. As a master technician at TranSource in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, Dustin typically wears two hats during the day. That’s because he’s as much at home in front of a computer as he is under the hood of a Mack truck. Those skills combine to add value to both his service department and his diesel repair customers.
Dustin’s life is about to get busier as his dealership completes the process of becoming a Mack Certified Uptime Center. "I’ll be the uptime bay technician," says Dustin. "That’s exciting. It will be better for our customers in terms of turnaround times, and it will really support our dealership’s commitment to uptime."
Training for success.
Dustin gives much of the credit for his success to the Mack DATE training he received at WyoTech. Short for Diesel Advanced Technology Education, the DATE program provides a fast and focused way for students to learn about the proprietary powertrain technology that drives the Mack product line.
"DATE training gave me a huge jump start," says Dustin. "I wouldn’t be where I am today without it. When I came to work at TranSource, they expected me to start working on a truck the very first day. I must have done OK, because I’m still here! The Mack training in the DATE program was the perfect education. When I was given my first repair order, I said, ‘Hey, I was studying that three weeks ago in school!’"
But there was a time when things weren’t so good. Long before starting his career as a diesel technician, Dustin made a wrong turn that had serious consequences. "I had gotten into some trouble when I was younger," admits Dustin. "To be honest, it was a conviction on a drug charge, more than ten years ago. But WyoTech and Mack were willing to overlook my past. They gave me a chance to prove myself, and that’s made a huge difference in my life."
Making a leap of faith
Dustin’s story is one of choices, commitment and accomplishment. To earn the right to go to school, he knew he had to work on changing the direction his life had taken.
"I knew I wanted a fresh start with a career in diesel tech," explains Dustin. "During my research, I learned about WyoTech and several other diesel schools. Since I had a criminal history, a couple of the schools wouldn’t even consider me. I needed to have 15 years since my conviction before they’d even let me apply. When I got in touch with WyoTech, they had a supervisor come to my house and WyoTech was willing to give me a chance."
When the WyoTech supervisor informed him that a new Mack program was in the works, Dustin was 100% on board. "I liked the way Mack did things, so I signed with WyoTech on the spot."
"I think I was through the first core class at WyoTech when they finally announced the DATE program was about to get under way," recalls Dustin. "I signed up for it and went from there, just doing the best I could. I was determined to keep my grades up and do well. I had a second chance at my life and didn’t want to waste it!"
As it turned out, Dustin received a second chance, not just from WyoTech but also from TranSource. They saw his potential and his determination to put his life on a positive path. They gave Dustin the green light, even though other schools and employers would be reluctant to do so.
"I really wanted to get back on track and have a normal life. I didn’t want to keep doing the things I had been doing when I was a twenty year- old. It was just a matter of pushing forward and crossing my fingers, hoping that everything would turn out well. And it did."
The fast track to master tech.
When Dustin starting working at TranSource, one of the agreements was that he had to become a master tech within a year. He did it in eleven months. Not bad for someone with no diesel background when he sat down for his first WyoTech class.
"I was at zero," says Dustin. "I knew a little about how an internal combustion engine worked, but as far as diesel transmissions, after-treatment and the latest technology, I had almost no knowledge. All that came from WyoTech and the DATE program."
Dustin received six months of core education at WyoTech, and the DATE program added three more months. That’s nine months of school, start to finish. Heading toward graduation, Dustin was impressed by the amount of support he was given in finding a job.
"WyoTech’s career assistance was wonderful," confirms Dustin. "Plus they have job fairs that bring in potential employers. I interviewed with TranSource, and they were open to bringing me on. The service manager got in touch and invited me for a series of dealership visits. "Here I am, three years later."
An ongoing commitment to learning.
After his life-changing experience with the DATE program, Dustin keeps looking for new things to learn. Ongoing support from TranSource includes continued training that addresses the latest advances in diesel technology.
"I appreciate that they’re constantly sending us off for training so we can learn new things," says Dustin. "I definitely want to continue my education and expand my skills. I always want more training. I guess learning the administrative side of running a service department would be my next goal."
Student becomes mentor.
Dustin is committed to paying it forward by sharing his knowledge and training with younger technicians at his shop.
"If they have questions about anything, they can come and ask me," says Dustin. "And if I can’t help, we’ll figure out where we can go to get the answers. I always try to bounce ideas off other people, too, because someone might see things differently than I do. When a new tech comes in, they hang with me for a few days to learn the ropes – especially because there are so many computer skills involved. It’s important that technicians understand all that."
Dustin knows that he’ll grow as his department grows. By mentoring colleagues, keeping repair quality high and adding value wherever possible, he’s an asset TranSource can depend on. Between his expertise and his ambition, it’s clear that he’ll keep moving forward.
"I don’t want to do the same thing for twenty five years," says Dustin. "I’m constantly trying to improve myself. I expect to learn something new every day."
From false start to bright future.
Dustin’s story is inspiring because after starting out with a few strikes against him, he overcame the odds, worked hard and hoped for the best. Looking back on the entire experience, he’s quick to acknowledge the good faith and confidence he’s been shown along the way.
"Without the DATE program, I wouldn’t be at the master level I’m at right now," he allows. "And I’ll always be grateful that WyoTech said, ‘Okay, you can come to our school even though you’ve got a blemish in your background.’ I give all the credit to WyoTech, Transource and the great people who have supported me on this journey."
Today, Dustin is a man with his feet firmly on the ground and his eyes to the future. There’s no question that he’s using his "second chance" to build a first-class career with Mack Trucks.