CDL instructor wins Maine college's prestigeous President's Award

Updated May 19, 2023
College CDL instructor Dennis Dyer in front of two trucks
Northern Maine Community College

After a career as a driver, Dennis Dyer became an instructor in a college CDL program and recently was honored for his work during his 23 years in higher education.

On May 13 Northern Maine Community College presented Dyer, the CDL Lead Instructor and Coordinator with the 2023 President’s Award. The honor is given to individuals who have consistently demonstrated outstanding commitment to students, the mission of the college, and their chosen discipline. 

“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.”

Dyer 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.

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.”

Before 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 truck," he said.

After an accident, Dyer 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," he said.

Dyer 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 said. “People are there to learn. They’re going to make mistakes.”  

For Dyer, 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 said.