Peak Technical Institute educates 1,590 students, contributes $1 million-plus to community since 2009

MARYVILLE, Tenn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Maryville, Tennessee-based Peak Technical Institute would like to congratulate its 1,590-plus graduates over its eight years of operation. We are proud to have helped propel these students into the careers of their dreams. As of January 2018, Peak is no longer enrolling new students.

Operating as a comprehensive state-of-the-art training institute since 2009, Peak provided an unparalleled commitment to its students, using a blend of classroom and hands-on training in a simulated or real-life environment and supplying the tools needed to make the most out of its students’ chosen career paths. Peak Technical Institute held certificate-granting programs in commercial driver training (Class A CDL), unexploded ordnance, professional household management, enlisted aide training and equine-assisted leadership training.

Commercial Driver Training (Class A CDL)
Peak’s CDL training quickly became the school’s flagship program, growing its student base seven-fold since the program’s inception. In addition to training new truck drivers, the CDL program worked in conjunction with sister company, Vanquish Logistics, to provide solid in-house CDL training for its over the road line haul asset-based transportation and logistics operation.

In recent years, the family of companies owned by Dr. Eric Barton has tailored its conglomerate business focus and sold several sister companies as growing, profitable entities, including

Professional Household Management Training
several businesses in the transportation industry. These booming asset-based transportation providers support FedEx Ground as a subcontractor for pickup and delivery and over the road line haul services in both the Nashville and Knoxville markets. In addition, the entities held large contracts with Nissan, C.H. Robinson, Lamtech and other clients.

Throughout its years of educating the next generation, Peak has been fully committed to nurturing students’ education and future careers. Peak Technical Institute has awarded scholarships or forgiven student debt totaling $895,550.31, influencing not only the lives of the students, but also their families and their livelihoods. Peak is proud to announce that 85 percent of its graduates were placed in lifelong careers, many of whom earn $50,000 a year plus benefits in their new careers.

Peak also secured partnerships with the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity (WIOA) and G.I. Bill® (Veterans Training) to secure education funding for students in need. Dozens of students attended Peak Technical Institute utilizing WIOA or Veterans Training funding benefits.

Unexploded Ordnance Training
Additionally, Peak donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to its beloved community, including monetary and labor donations to Blount County Habitat for Humanity, charity golf tournaments, United Way of Blount County and other local charitable organizations over the years. Peak was even a major sponsor of the Kentucky Derby in 2015.

Peak has now sold its educational training programs. Graduates of Peak Technical Institute are encouraged to reach out directly to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission should they need assistance in the future with their certificates earned at Peak. We wish all of our graduates the best of luck in all of their future endeavors.

Equine-assisted Leadership Training
Enlisted Aide Training

Veterans Training Program, Financial Options Expand Student Base for all Peak Programs

Fully committed to students’ education and its belief that students of all backgrounds and financial situations should have access to quality training, Peak Technical Institute is proud to be an approved provider of Workforce Innovation and Opportunity (WIOA) and G.I. Bill® benefits.

Partnering with WIOA and Veterans training has helped grow Peak’s student base across all of its programs – Class A Commercial Driver License, UXO Global unexploded ordnance, hospitality and estate management training.

To date, Peak has had 12 VA students and over 30 WIOA students attend all three Peak programs.

WIOA is designed to help job seekers access employment, education, training and support services to succeed in the labor market and to match employees with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy.

“The relationship with WIOA is beneficial for students because there are many people who want to make positive changes in their lives and help support themselves and their families but are not financially able to acquire proper training,” Peak Institutional Director Blake Bancroft said. “WIOA provides them funding and Peak provides the training to help them reach their goals.”

Peak assists student with job placement, bringing in trucking companies to discuss employment opportunities for students after graduation.

Peak is also proud to now be approved for veterans training, including the post 9/11 G.I. Bill® and Vocational Rehabilitation.

“After serving their country, these men and women can use G.I. Bill® benefits to pay for their education or the education of a family member,” Bancroft said. “They don’t have to worry about paying out of pocket for training as they look to take the next step in their careers.”

Students can use any of their WIOA or VA benefits on any of the three Peak programs – CDL, UXO or Professional Hospitality Management.

Peak’s Class A CDL Program Reports Exponential Growth in Third Year

In its third year changing lives and providing boundless career opportunities, Peak Technical Institute’s Class A Commercial Driver Training program has grown its student base seven fold with nearly 1,000 students attending since the program’s inception.

Peak attributes its growth to expanded resources, training contracts with local and regional companies and securing viable financial opportunities for its students.

Peak Technical Institute has had 50 students enrolled in one of its three programs in one week alone – UXO Global unexploded ordnance training, hospitality training and CDL. CDL training has quickly become Peak’s flagship program, bringing in a dozen new students each week. The CDL program has received a lot of positive feedback since the program’s inception, and approximately 80 percent of graduates are employed as a CDL driver.

“This is a great place to get your Class A commercial license. The instructors are the best and will get you ready for your new career,” student Eric Drake said. “I highly recommend this school for anyone that would like to get their Class A license. Thanks Peak for all your hard work getting me ready for the road.”

“I graduated from Peak in September 2015. The instructors are first class. While being tough, they will prepare you to be the best commercial driver possible,” Tony Campbell said. “Company after company loved that I attended Peak. I highly recommend them.”

In addition to training such motivated students seeking a career change, Peak has secured several trucking contracts to train company employees in logistics to attend CDL training at Peak Technical Institute.

“Safety is our No. 1 goal here at Peak Technical Institute, so we are pleased to come together with such mindful companies. Together we can give these truck drivers the very best tools with the education they need to operate safely and represent their company well,” Peak Institutional Director Blake Bancroft said. “We welcome any company operating their own trucking division to speak with us about any training opportunities for their staff.”

In an effort to help with financial burdens, Peak has secured several federal financial assistance programs to benefit its students. Peak Technical Institute is proud to be approved for Veterans training, including the post 9/11 G.I. Bill® and Vocational Rehabilitation. PTI is also an approved provider of WIOA benefits in Tennessee.

“These federal assistance programs ease the burden off the students so that they can completely focus on learning instead of worrying about how they will pay for their schooling,” Peak Technical Institute Programs Recruiter Steve Minton said. “This will further help expand our program offerings.”

Since its inception, Peak’s CDL student numbers have increased seven fold. While 43 students enrolled in fiscal year 2014-15, nearly 300 students graduated in 2016. The CDL program has already graduated more than 150 student so far this year, which equates to about 7 grads per week, and is set to graduate more students than ever before in the program’s history. In addition, approximately 80 percent of graduates are employed, which means better opportunities for the students and their families.

“When this program was created, we set out to change lives, and that’s just what we’ve done,” Program Director Gerald Wilson said. “As program director of Peak’s CDL program, I am proud of the evolution of this program, and we will keep moving forward.”

Peak continues to seek additional training contracts, financial options for students and opportunities for future growth.

Peak provides hands-on training in state of the art facilities, utilizing professionally developed courseware that have been vetted and approved by top-level industry experts. All programs are taught using a blend of classroom and hands-on training in a simulated or real life event. The Tennessee Higher Education Commission authorizes Peak Technical Institute for operation as a postsecondary educational institution.

Summer Safety

Peak Technical Institute’s own Greg Dotson, Lead Instructor of the CDL Training Program, shares summer driving safety tips with the Maryville Daily Times. Read More.

No Such Thing As A Free Lunch… Or Free Commercial Driver Training

Beware of free Commercial Driver Training (CDL)!  “Free” CDL training has “fine print”:

  • You may be locked into a 1-2 year commitment with one company to cover the training loan.
  • You may be required to pay your loan balance in full if you leave the company before your contract ends.

Statistics show that most new drivers switch employers 1-2 times in the first year before they find the best fit. Do your research and make your CDL Training choice carefully.

Instead of risking your finances and future with a company that isn’t a good fit, you could make a better choice! At Peak Technical Institute, you can start training with little or no money down and have 90 days before your first payment is due.  Since most carriers provide tuition reimbursement, you can get the training you need and then choose the company that is the best for you and your family. Couple PTI’s in-house payment plan with tuition reimbursement programs from the carrier of your choice, and you could have virtually no out-of-pocket cost for your training. The difference is you get the choice of what company to work for, and you have over 40 trucking companies to choose from with Peak Technical Institute!

At Peak Technical Institute, we invest in our students’ quality education and prepare them to be the safest and best drivers for whichever company they choose. We introduce our students to recruiters in person and to trucking company websites in the classroom. Most students know where they are going to work before they graduate.

Our goal at Peak Technical Institute is to provide excellent driver education and to pair our students with reputable and successful trucking companies. Peak’s class size is limited to four students for each instructor, so our students get twice the drive time of other schools as well as the finest instructors in the industry. Peak is authorized by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, and we are recognized by many carriers as the only place they refer local students.

Choose wisely. Choose Peak for your future and the future of your family.

Drive a Truck. Drive your Life.  855-399-7325 (PEAK)

How Trucking Changed My Life

Turning your life around is never easy.  I know exactly how it feels to work a job just for the weekly paycheck.  I spent years in the hot Florida sun working for a framing company, breaking my back and sacrificing my health.  I realized I needed a new direction; I wanted to be happy.

I took a chance and began a journey where I not only found my life’s purpose, I found freedom.  I was getting paid to travel and making my own rules without any bosses bothering me from sun up to sundown.  I was just a man and his truck loving life on the open road.

I saved up enough money as a company driver to become an owner-operator and had some financial stability. As I gained experience, I got some incredible opportunities.  I hauled everything from massive military freight to the space shuttle engines for NASA.  Now, I’m the program director for Peak Technical Institute’s CDL program.  I don’t just have a job anymore; I now have a career with endless possibilities.

The trucking industry is in need of more than 35,000 drivers right now.  Graduate from PTI in just three weeks to begin filling those jobs quickly.   If you or someone you know is looking for a new start and a promising career, contact us today at 855-399-PEAK or

Drive a truck.  Drive your life. With CDL training from Peak Technical Institute.

Peak Technical Institute: The best environment for the best training

During the course of a typical CDL training experience, students may be expected to stand around outside in bad weather and sit in overcrowded classroom trailers, only to have an occasional port-a-potty break. These environments certainly aren’t the most conducive for learning, but some trucking schools are taking shortcuts that reduce the relevancy of the course.  When it comes to the trucks many schools use to teach prospective truck drivers the important skills of the road, they are often out of date, and even dangerously old.

PTI’s facilities are new and spacious, with an emphasis on a comfortable environment for students to better absorb the program training. Even outdoors, where other schools make students practice driving on gravel, Peak has invested in an $1 million concrete training slab that allows students to practice critical maneuvers in a more realistic setting.

Students will also learn to drive using PTI’s fleet of 2010 International ProStar® tractor trailers, which are used exclusively for training. These trucks are equipped with innovative OnGuardTM technology that allows drivers to know the distance between their truck and the vehicle in front of them. Knowing how to drive late-model trucks and use today’s road equipment is a huge benefit to being able to jump right into a driving career and begin driving safely.

Peak also structures its classes differently than other Class A CDL training programs. Namely, our instructors believe it is critical to get students driving during the second week of the three-week training. This allows students to receive more hands-on time behind the wheel. Peak’s 4-to-1 ratio of students to instructors also ensures that students will have individualized instruction as well as gain all the time they need to learn how to handle the trucks, since our goal is to make driving a truck second nature.

Finally, the combination of classroom, lab, range and on-the-road experience ensures that Peak’s CDL students learn the best procedures and build the skills they need to be safe and successful commercial drivers. We welcome anyone to come to either of our campuses to take a look at the incredible facilities and equipment available to you as you take the step into your new career.

Who’s Hiring? See Where PTI Graduates Can Take Their Careers.

At PTI’s CDL training course, we measure success by our graduates’ success. Our instructors’ combined 6 million road miles, as well as their emphasis on safety, means that companies are eager to hire PTI graduates. We can boast relationships with recruiters who are actively seeking to fill well-paid positions.

You may be considering a new career in truck driving because you’ve heard that you can make a good living. It’s true! A typical truck driver can walk into a new career earning about $46,000 or more, depending on the employer. And this doesn’t include signing bonuses and benefits. What other career can you enter making this type of salary with no prior experience? These companies are expanding rapidly and are seeking men and women to fill jobs quickly.

With multiple opportunities to choose from, our graduates are able to compare offers to find the company that best suits their needs. For instance, many drivers with families are looking for work that won’t put them on the road over weekends. In fact, many of the companies that recruit from our school are family-oriented companies. As a whole, the industry’s reputation for long weeks on the road away from home is changing. With improvements in logistics and operations, many of these companies have been able to keep pace with employees’ desire for more balance between career and family, including the ability to get drivers home on weekends.

At the core, it’s PTI’s quality instruction practices that are recognized by top companies in the field. The following companies are actively recruiting PTI graduates to fill positions that open every day. Of course, a new career in truck driving is not limited by these companies, as a CDL Class A license will qualify drivers to find employment driving any commercial vehicle.

We encourage you to call today to speak with someone about getting started in your new career!

  •  Averitt Express – This Tennessee-based company is one of the nation’s leading freight transportation and supply chain management providers.
  • Colonial  This Tennessee-based company is 100% owner-operated for dry van operation. Major companies have relied on Colonial to meet their transportation needs for 50+ years.
  • Knight Transportation – With more than 4,000 tractors and 8,500 trailers in operation, this is one of the largest and most diverse truckload carriers in the United States. Knight Transportation is trusted by some of the biggest companies in the world to handle its shipping needs.
  • Maverick – Operation includes more than 1,400 tractors and provides services throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico, and is focused on hauling steel, building materials, flat glass or temperature controlled products.
  • McElroy Truck Lines, Inc. – This flatbed truckload carrier operates primarily in the Southwest, Southeast, Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. The company is committed to supporting families by getting all of its drivers home every weekend.
  • Paschall Truck Lines (PTL) – With more than 70 years of performance on America’s roads, its developed an enviable reputation in the trucking industry. Since the beginning, it has provided reliable, efficient and professional transport solutions throughout the United States.
  • Purdy Bro’s – Serving the forty-eight United States and Canada with a combined company and owner/operator fleet, it has tripled in size in the past ten years. In addition to providing competitive pay and benefits, it aims to stand out from other trucking companies by improving the quality of life for its drivers by asking drivers what they need and then doing whatever possible to meet those needs.
  • Roehl Transport, Inc. – By providing truckload transportation and logistical services for over 50 years, the company has built a solid reputation. It claims to offer the highest starting rate and the best combination of national fleet pay and home time options in one of its truck driving jobs.
  • Schnieder – With proven history spanning 80 years, it is able to provide expert transportation and logistics solutions. A $3.6 billion company, Schneider services many parts of North America and China. Its operations include Van Truckload, Dedicated, Regional, Bulk, Intermodal, Brokerage, Supply Chain Management and Port Logistics services.
  • Star Transportation – With a commitment to offering its customers a high level of timely, dependable and safe services.  It’s reputation of providing customers with dependable services makes it a preferred employer for drivers. It specializes in transporting manufactured housing, RVs, boats, cargo trailers and tow-aways and has terminals located in Indiana, Pennslyvania, Oklahoma, Idaho and North Dakota.
  • Super Service  With more than 1,200 late model tractors and 2,500 trailers, it has one of the most extensive fleets in the region.
  • TMC Transportation – One of the largest employee-owned flatbed trucking companies in the United States, it has more than 40 years in the flatbed industry.
  • U.S.A. Truck – U.S.A. Truck’s fleet consists of more than 2,000 tractors and 6,000 dry-van trailers; All of U.S.A. Truck’s trailers are 53 ft (16 m) dry-vans; the company does not operate any flatbed, refrigerated or tanker trailer fleets.
  • U.S. Xpress – With a compounded annual growth of 16 percent since 1994, 8,000 tractors and 22,000 trailers, it now stands as the nation’s 3rd largest privately-owned truckload carrier.
  • Werner  Werner is among the five largest truckload carriers in the United States, with a diversified portfolio of transportation services that includes dedicated; medium-to-long-haul, regional and local van; expedited; temperature-controlled; and flatbed services.
  • Western Express, Inc. – This asset-based truckload carrier runs approximately 2,500 power units and in excess of 6,500 trailers, and 100% of its power units are satellite-tracked.

Post Author:  Greg Dotson, Program Director, Lead CDL Instructor-Maryville, Peak Technical Institute