Instructor honored for excellence in work force innovation

Truck driving often is seen as a solitary profession, but for instructor Bob Mathews, it’s a team effort.

This semester, Mathews’ efforts to expand the truck driving program and create partnerships between students and the community were recognized with one of six faculty excellence awards.

Mathews received the award for examples of faculty excellence in the community and work force innovation.

He has built effective partnerships with the community for economic development, career clusters, training, community engagement and effectively serving the cultural and recreational needs of Amarillo for many years.

“Bob is very well deserved. He puts everything he has into the job and makes sure individuals have a better life,” said Daniel Esquivel, executive director of the Hereford Campus. “He is very passionate about helping students and strives to see students receive their certification and be successful.”

Mathews retired from the military after serving for 20 years in the Navy. He then attended TSDI Trucking School in the late 1980s, where he received his commercial driver’s license and moved up to management.

The company wanted him to move to Denver, but a position at Amarillo College came open to be a dump truck instructor.

This is 17th year he has been a part of AC.

He is a truck driving instructor focusing on professional truck operations at the Logistics Training Center on the East Campus.

“I am proud that he won the award for examples of faculty excellence in the community and work force innovation because, in my opinion, there is not another individual at AC that is a better example of partnering with the industry than Bob Mathews,” said Lyndy Forrester, dean of technical education.

Mathews said the program is important because there is a high demand for drivers right now.

“It’s a very rewarding program and can help students get out of poverty in five weeks,” Mathews said.

The truck driving course is a five-week program that costs $3,000. At the end of those five weeks, students are almost guaranteed a position and can make from $45,000 to $50,000 a year.

Mathews said students will call him after receiving their first paycheck and are overwhelmed with making that kind of money.

Mathews plans for the Moore County truck driving program to be set up by the first of the summer. He also plans to start CDL programs for high school students in Amarillo.

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