My Swift Adventure Continues..... Orientation And Mentor Phase

Topic 20485 | Page 1

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Roadpilot's Comment
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Well today was the first day of Orientation for me at the Columbus terminal.

Pretty straightforward start of the day, checked in and got seated in class. We started with 12 people in class, 3 from the Academy. This morning was basically the outside guys taking pee tests, physical and for the experienced folks, road tests.

We watched a few videos on Whistleblowing, Driver Wellness, Driver Qualifications,and the Bendix Stability Control. Also watched a video on the CDL Defender legal service that's offered. I signed up, for what it covers it's worth the $30/mo. Also watched another video on the Truckers Against Trafficking program. I highly recommend anybody coming into this career and those who's already doing this job to take the time to check it out. For the people being trafficked we are probably the ones who will see it the most (as sad as that is).

Had a free lunch courtesy of Swift....you actually get free lunch all 3 days. After lunch we did some paperwork including the first run through of your preferences for a mentor. Personally I don't care if it's a women or a man, a non smoker is a little more of a priority for me. Supposedly tomorrow we'll talk to somebody else to refine our choices. As I want to go to the refrigerated side of the house I'm really hoping I can get a trainer that does reefer so I'm not getting thrown to the wolves when I go solo. We did some work in our Driver Orientation workbook on the subject of Safe Work Methods. After we got released early so we got back to the hotel by 3. Tomorrow is supposed to be a very full day from 7am til about 430p so it will be balls to the wall to get this workbook completed.

So the great adventure begins......have a great night folks

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Michael B.'s Comment
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Roadpilot, good luck cant wait to see the further adventures and know what to expect when i get there in january

Roadpilot's Comment
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Second day of orientation. First day I actually get paid! Lol

This morning started out doing a couple more assignments in Orientation Workbook. Also took the HOS/Log class as well, which was great. It definitely cleared up my confusion on the 8/2 split.

After lunch we covered topics about Payroll,the Qualcomm ,Health Benefits, the Ranking Bonuses,and the Student Pay package.

I'll cover the student pay package here because there tends to be alot of misinformation about it. Basically for all On Duty Not Driving time is paid at your state minimum wage. Driving time is paid at $9.50/hr regardless of state of origin. Downtime, such as when your mentor takes home time, or if the truck has a breakdown is paid at $50 per every 24hrs you spend off duty. Not the greatest but its livable.

So tomorrow is the last day of orientation. We possibly will be leaving with mentors after we are done in the afternoon. I might have a bit of a snag as I'm going to the reefer side and since Columbus is not a reefer terminal I might have a slight wait for a reefer mentor.

I'm both excited and nervous about tomorrow but I think I can rise to the challenge.

Have a great night and I'll try to update tomorrow

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Phillyfan13's Comment
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Roadpilot

Sounds like everything is going well. Good luck on getting a great mentor.

Scot

G-Town's Comment
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Roadpilot wrote:

I might have a bit of a snag as I'm going to the reefer side and since Columbus is not a reefer terminal I might have a slight wait for a reefer mentor.

Quite possible they will bus you to your mentor/terminal. That is what happened to me...in the end it will all work out. Never lose focus or your spirit. Trucking...many times is a waiting game. Good luck!

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Roadpilot's Comment
member avatar

Quite possible they will bus you to your mentor/terminal. That is what happened to me...in the end it will all work out. Never lose focus or your spirit. Trucking...many times is a waiting game. Good luck!

Thanks G-Town!

I'm pretty flexible so I'll just take it as it goes. My interactions with everybody at the Columbus terminal have been positive since I started the Academy so I trust them to get me going in a reasonable time. The funny thing is today I was talking to one of the trainees from the previous class and he was spazzing out because his mentor was gonna be a day later than planned. He was all fired up and talking about quitting and going to Knight or Prime and all I could think was if you can't handle this kind of delay, how are you gonna handle when you get stuck at a shipper or receiver for hours on end? Assuming he stays I can see him being a "terminal rat".

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

G-Town's Comment
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Many times we learn how not to react to certain situations by watching a "show" like the one put on by your classmate.

You're correct...he ain't seen nothin' yet...

Michael B.'s Comment
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Roadpilot, so columbus is not a reefer terminal? wonder where the nearest one is then? kind of curious about that

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Roadpilot's Comment
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Roadpilot, so columbus is not a reefer terminal? wonder where the nearest one is then? kind of curious about that

The nearest one would be Rochelle, Illinois. I was told also West Valley City, UT and Atlanta,GA are reefer terminals as well.

Well, day 3 of orientation

Today we did alot off paperwork and had a few lectures. The big one was on "Swift Decision Driving". Basically it was just how to be a more defensive driver in the truck. Had someone come talk to us from the shop about what they can do for us and how we interact with them. Did some trip planning and then we got our mentor assignments and driver codes. I'm officially a Swifty!

Like I said, I wanted to go to the refrigerated side so initially I was set up with a refrigerated trainer. However he was on a Target dedicated account and I really did not want to be stuck running the same loads on the same areas when I was eventually gonna be going over the road , so I was switched to a mentor who is on the dry van side. Once done I will end up taking a class on reefer and go to that division but getting this OTR experience is a bit more of a priority for me. My mentor Joe is extremely cool and experienced. He has a 8spd KW so this will definitely be an experience as I've only driven the 10spd Volvo's. Hopefully I will be able to refine my shifting skills during my time on the truck.

We set off late this afternoon to pick up a preloaded trailer at Kellogg in West Jefferson, OH. And as my luck runs the trailer wasn't done yet. We had to wait about 3hrs for them to finish.....the two other Swifty's had a similar wait, but it wasn't all dead time as we went through our trip plan to Commerce,GA. I like the fact that from the one that my mentor is included me in the decision making and getting me hands on time with the Qualcomm. I've heard horror stories so I'm thanking my lucky stars. Because he already had some drive time and the delay at the shipper we ended up just staying at the TA a couple miles up the road. Tomorrow I will drive for the first time and we are gonna try and hang out as many miles as we can. Our appointment is not until 10am on Friday but we want to be on time so we can get planned for the weekend.

I'll try to keep this updated as best I can. I've already had spots of no service at the shipper so it might end up being a couple days in between updates. I will keep you guys in the know!

Well time to hit the rack, 7am comes quick

Have a great night

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Over The Road:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

ACO476's Comment
member avatar

Good luck Roadpilot! I remember how excited I was when I met my mentor and we pulled out first load. Then he told me to silence the Qualcomm and I got lost in downtown DFW. At night. It was a good learning experience though and I had a great mentor as well. If you like dry van , you might consider staying in that fleet. If you move from dry van to reefer , it is going to be a shock to what you've learned in dry van. My mentor was reefer and the fine folks in Phoenix begged me to pull reefer, which I did. I liked everything about reefer except the constant delays and sitting around. Also, you'll hardly ever have drop and hook loads.

At any rate, have as much fun and learn as much as you can now because once you upgrade, you'll be expected to perform.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

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