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Career and Technical Programs - ECC Truck Driving Students Visit Weigh Station and Tour Trucking Company For First Time

Students working on a machine
Tags: Academics
Published 02/29/2024
ECC truck driving program students and faculty view a live commercial vehicle inspection at the I-55 southbound weight station in Bolingbrook, Ill.

ECC truck driving program students and faculty view a live commercial vehicle inspection at the I-55 southbound weight station in Bolingbrook, Ill.

Elgin Community College truck driving program students, led by program Director Todd Anderson, toured the I-55 southbound weigh station in Bolingbrook, Ill., Wednesday for a live commercial vehicle inspection. Following the live inspection, the group headed to GP Transco in Joliet, Ill., for a safety orientation and tour of the facility. This is ECC’s first time providing its students with this opportunity. 

Accompanying the group of 20 students were six ECC truck-driving faculty members. During their time at the I-55 southbound weigh station, the group had the opportunity to ask questions for Truck Weight Inspector Mike Estepien and Illinois State Troopers Stadler and Rajski before seeing an ECC truck driving program semi have a vehicle inspection performed.

“This really brings this industry into the light,” Anderson said. “This is the closest thing our students can experience without going through a level 1 inspection when they’re certified and out on the road. Here, an Illinois officer can tell them exactly what they do when they pull you over. Getting drivers to pre-trip (preparing their vehicle ahead of time) is the hardest thing in this industry. When our students can see something like this, they know how important that pre-trip preparation is.”

Anderson said he wanted to show his students a good example of a company so that they would have a benchmark during their job search. Having previously worked for GP Transco, he initiated the visit.  

Students toured the facility, led by Brett Wilke, vice president of safety and maintenance, who emphasized that GP Transco’s mission is to take care of their driver's needs in order to be the smooth-running facility they’ve become.

“I didn’t really know what to expect, but anytime I can learn something new, different, and exciting, I’m all for it,” said James Little, ECC truck driving student. “When they began talking about the field trip, I was eager to learn as much as possible about the weight station's inner workings and scale and know what those guys are looking for. When I’m out on the road, I want to be as safe as possible. The more I know and am educated to that endeavor, the more I’ll know I’m safe and not a hazard to anyone.”

Little’s aspirations of truck driving began when he was young, wanting to drive coast to coast and see the world. “Life has a way of dealing you a different set of cards, and I didn’t have the opportunity to pursue that,” he said. “I no longer work and have some time, so I asked myself what is something I’m passionate about doing, so I went back to pursue my CDL, something I’ve always wanted, and I’m looking forward to the future.”

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