Lead CDL Instructor Dyer receives NMCC President’s Award
PRESQUE ISLE, Maine – On Saturday, May 13, Northern Maine Community College presented commercial driver’s license lead instructor and coordinator Dennis Dyer with the 2023 President’s Award. The ceremony was held at The Forum during the College’s 58th annual commencement.
The President’s Award is given to individuals who have consistently demonstrated outstanding commitment to students, the mission of the college, and their chosen discipline. Dennis Dyer has worked as an instructor and led the College’s Commercial Driving Academy for 23 years.
Dennis began at NMCC in 1997 and taught for five years before returning to commercial trucking. He returned in 2005 and has taught at the College ever since, assisting more than 1,400 individuals in earning their Class A commercial driving credential during that time.
“His commitment to his students, his discipline, and his support of the College’s mission is exceptional,” said NMCC President Timothy Crowley. “It is my pleasure to present Mr. Dyer with this year’s President’s Award.”
Regarding the program’s recent expansion downstate, and to include students from the Mechanized Logging program, Crowley added, “The opportunity to grow this program presented itself, and Dennis, without hesitation, delivered instruction statewide, including in Wells and Bangor. He spent a good part of last summer and fall traveling to help meet our state’s demand for licensed commercial drivers. This meant being away from home on the road for long stretches of time.”
Prior to joining NMCC, Dyer drove trucks for Cole’s Express and SuperValue locally. Originally from Presque Isle, Dyer’s journey began when he walked through the doors of a local firm and asked, “Who gets paid the most here?” The answer surprised him at the time: truck drivers.
“That’s why I started driving trucks,” he explained with a laugh.
Dennis immediately thrived with the independence. “I loved it,” he explained. He didn’t originally plan on becoming a teacher, but after an accident, he sought a job off the road and found the opportunity at NMCC. He ended up liking it. “I found that I enjoyed teaching, and it turned out I was pretty good at it.”
Dennis attributes his success as a teacher to his calm demeanor, his ongoing reading, and his learning to “not get excited about the little things,” he explained. “People are there to learn. They’re going to make mistakes.” For Dennis, the most gratifying part of the job often comes six months after a student earns their license, when he sees that graduate able to afford a home, or go to a dentist, or a doctor, “Things they may not have been able to do in the past, and they are life-changing,” he explained.
Trucking and teaching are not Dennis’s only skills; he’s also a talented singer and spent many years moonlighting as a wedding singer, specializing in country, rock, and folk. During his early years driving trucks, when a wedding client gave Dennis the set list, he’d climb into his truck and bring the cassette. “It was great practice, and nobody could hear me but me!” he added with a laugh. With his father being a musician in a band, Dennis can’t remember a weekend growing up when a band didn’t stay at his house and play music. “I grew up surrounded by music,” he added.
“Dennis has become known across the state for his excellence in teaching and commitment to the industry,” said Leah Buck, assistant dean of Continuing Education. “He has helped to better the lives of his students by teaching them how to be a professional truck driver, giving them opportunities for a well-paying career, and making a positive impact on their entire family. We are now seeing the children, and in a few cases the grandchildren of students that Dennis has taught, in the CDL program.”
“We are told frequently that this 8-week class was one of the best life choices they have made,” Buck continued. “That is because of Dennis and his teaching style, and his ability to guide and support the students as they consider the many career options if you earn a CDL. He is a great guy!”
To learn more about NMCC’s Commercial Driving Academy or other continuing education opportunities, please contact Buck at firstname.lastname@example.org.