Dave Dein with trophy

Dave Dein's efforts to teach teenagers a passion for trucking have been recognized by a teaching group.

Photo: Next Gen Trucking

Dave Dein, who has been leading an effort to get truck-driver education into high schools, recently was honored as the 2025 California Association of Career and Technical Education Teacher of the Year. He will be one of five teachers competing for the national title which will be awarded in December.

Dein started one of the nation's first high school truck driving programs seven years ago. He is the CDL coordinator/instructor at Patterson High School in Patterson, California. And he’s vice president and co-founder of the Next Gen Trucking Association.

"Dave Dein has worked tirelessly to train the next generation of America's commercial drivers," said Mark Allen, President and CEO of the International Foodservice Distributors Association. "His passion for America's youth will help ensure a supply of well-trained, qualified drivers can enter the profession that moves 70% of the nation’s freight.”

'Trucking Gave Me a Life'

HDT interviewed Dein in 2021 on HDT Talks Trucking about the truck driver training program he developed for high school seniors.

Dein was not a good student in high school. After graduation he realized that it wasn’t because he wasn’t smart; it was that he didn’t care. He looked for a job doing something he loved to do. He loved to drive, so he became a truck driver.

“Trucking gave me a life,” he recalled.

Truck Driving as a Passion

Dein believes that trucking needs more drivers who are doing it because they love it, not just chasing a dollar.

“I grew up in a time when truckers were known as the ‘Knights of the Road,’" he wrote in a newsletter for the Next Generation Trucking Association. “People who lived trucking and took pride in who they were and what they did while caring and respecting those around them.

“These drivers lived a passion-fueled life, which gave me great respect for them as well as this industry…. My Uncle Fred was one of these knights, and I remember when I went to visit him in hospice two days before he passed away. The cancer he was suffering from prevented him from barely speaking, so he motioned me down closer so I could hear him, and in a gravely, whispered voice he said, ‘Did I ever tell you the time I came down the Grapevine in that old Mack?’”

“I have been privileged to see this in action at Patterson High School. These young, passionate individuals are choosing trucking as their first career choice and their decision will positively impact this industry for years to come.”

Next Generation in Trucking Association

Dein co-founded a nonprofit organization, the Next Generation in Trucking Association, with Lindsey Trent. The mission of this organization is to educate youth on the opportunities in trucking and help high schools across the country replicate the Patterson program.

They recently developed a curriculum guide with the assistance of the Education Development Center, which is available for free to member schools. This course material uses the latest technologies in driver simulation.

Dein also hosts a Train the Trainer event each year where he can work with new teachers to help them start their programs.

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