Just Finished Training At Swift Academy, Lewiston, ID

Topic 20605 | Page 3

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Blue Zombie Trucker's Comment
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The second day of orientation at the Swift Lewiston terminal went well. We watched a nice video about Swift Transportation and Jerry Moyes. I realize it was company propaganda, but even so, Jerry Moyes sounds like quite a good guy, and again, the more I learn about Swift, the more I want to be a part of it.

We also learned more about the merge/acquisition with Knight, and I feel safe in saying that most of the rumor mill BS that I've seen posted by "know it alls" is total, unadulterated BS with zero connection to reality.

We had a couple hours of informative, interactive lecture by a safety guy. Good stuff. He talked quite a bit about inspections, the QualComm , Hours of Service, route planning, and just a lot of really helpful info about general life behind the wheel do's and don'ts.

We learned about payroll and benefits. Pretty decent benefits, as far as I'm concerned.

We have to buy a kingpin lock and a very badass trailer lock. Kinda spendy, but good stuff.

I explored the terminal a bit while on break, and even managed to lock myself in the drivers lounge. Ah. Fun times. Anyhow, while exploring the drivers lounge I saw Jonathan, who graduated with our class. He's a really nice guy, whose home terminal is Summer. He was waiting on a ride; he and his first mentor had a falling out.

The last couple of hours of the day was spent on avoiding and dealing with inappropriate behavior and harassment. I was surprised at having this training, but pleasantly so. I thought this sort of training was all in my past, after moving back to Montana after 30 years in Phoenix and 20 years in high tech industries. It's good to know that Swift is proactive about this stuff.

I check out of the motel tomorrow. I'll be heading out with a mentor either tomorrow afternoon, or else spending tomorrow night in a tractor and leaving Saturday. I'm pumped.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Blue Zombie Trucker's Comment
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**Sumner. Not Summer.

G-Town's Comment
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Blue Zombie Trucker I have enjoyed reading your frank and at times entertaining journals. Life as you know it is about to change; leaving the controlled and somewhat structured environment of school, to the 200 hours of true trucker life.

Here is a link to a piece Brett published in the Blog Section. As follows: Going on the Road with a Trainer. It's something I wrote to another Swiftie about 6 months ago before he embarked on the exact journey you are about to experience. Although it was designed specifically for Swift's mentoring, I think it's applicable to most any carrier's road-training process. I hope you find it helpful and relevant.

Please pay particular attention to the text I wrote about interacting with your Driver Development Manager. This person is your direct reporting channel and direct link to Swift. The DDM is responsible for enabling your success, ensuring the Mentoring process is followed and in direct control of Swift promoting you to a first-seat solo driver. I cannot emphasize enough how important the link to the DDM can be in the event of an irreconcilable issue; such as not getting an opportunity to perform the required 40 documented backs. Lack of showers, unsafe operation...etc. Although I highly recommend making every reasonable attempt to work it out with your Mentor first, don't wait to call attention to an issue that could ultimately compromise the quality of your training. I advise everyone to Own Your Training...Own it Blue Zombie. It's yours.

Good luck and above all else, safe travels.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Blue Zombie Trucker's Comment
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Thanks G-Town! I'm foreclosing do I can read it in my free time.

It's going a little slow due to system issues but it's going. :) Here we go!

Blue Zombie Trucker's Comment
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Downloading so not foreclosing do. Ugh.

Blue Zombie Trucker's Comment
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Well, Swift Transportation has a new driver trainee: ME! Woohoo!

Ahem. Sorry. I'm pretty jazzed.

My mentor is on his way here. He's got a load to drop at a local ammo manufacturing company. I talked with him on the phone and honestly I think we're going to get along just fine. A lot of that confidence comes directly from being prepared by reading a lot on these forums.

Example: I came with one duffle, my sleeping bag, my camelback, and a zipper portfolio for my paperwork. That's it. The other trainee in orientation, (there were only two of us), had to use a luggage cart at the motel this morning. Wow. Good luck with that one.

Anyhow my mentor wanted to make it to the terminal to pick me up tonight, but HOS said nope. He'll be here around ten a.m. He's going to have me drive right away, and we're going to take a heavy load down 95. I'm pretty jazzed about it because that's where my night driving was: I drove back from Winchester at night. He's going to take over for the long downhill near Grangeville, which is fine with me.

He's driving an automatic, which will be a new experience for me and I'm looking forward to it.

This particular mentor is spoken of very highly around this terminal, so I think maybe I got lucky.

I told him that I know that the hard part is coming now, and he said naw, as long as I can get the hang of the QualComm , no problem at all. He said that mostly, he uses about half of the macros, so I'll be studying macros, for sure.

I'm spending the night in a tractor sleeper at the terminal. The local motels are full up due to a rodeo, and also a local paper mill is in its twice yearly maintenance, so a lot of out of town millwrights and such are in town too.

It's pretty funny: everyone around here is all apologetic about me "having " to spend the night in a truck. My response: hey, I signed on to live in a sleeper, please don't apologize for making me live in a sleeper! OMG I'm having a blast!

Anyhow, tomorrow, the rubber hits the road. :-)

dancing-dog.gif

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.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Blue Zombie Trucker's Comment
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I don't know if anyone besides G-Town is reading this but... if any new academy students are reading this, please take heed:

Do Your Homework, starting from studying for your CLP and then just keep on doing your homework.

I just finished Orientation and I *still* have homework! Please do yourselves a favour and Be Proactive About Doing Your Homework!

There's SO much to learn and it doesn't stop when you get your CDL: HOS , Trip Planning, QualComm macros, different tractor familiarizations... on and on.

And yeah: the forum needs an Edit button.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

CLP:

Commercial Learner's Permit

Before getting their CDL, commercial drivers will receive their commercial learner's permit (CLP) upon passing the written portion of the CDL exam. They will not have to retake the written exam to get their CDL.

Blue Zombie Trucker's Comment
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My mentor is excellent. We get along very well.

Truck is a 2017 Kenworth T680S automatic transmission. Very nice truck.

We're hauling a heavy load of paper.

Sounds like I'll be driving to Salt Lake City tomorrow. We made it almost to Boise today. Tons of road construction slowed us way down.

It's Most Excellent!

Susan D. 's Comment
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You'd be surprised by how many people read this stuff.

I'm glad to hear you're enjoying Swift and seem to have gotten lucky on the trainer.. I did too at my company.

Yeah, terminal rats are everywhere lol. Avoid them like the plague and you'll do great. RE: Swift. You could do a heck of a lot worse. That's what an experienced O/O told me about my own company right before I left for Iowa.

I firmly believe every company is exactly what you make of it. Embrace it, work hard and be justly rewarded. Never look back because the grass is seldom greener elsewhere.

Congratulations. Keep us posted on your adventures.

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.

Blue Zombie Trucker's Comment
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Shelby, MT. Just t-dropped a load headed for Canada and picked up a trailer headed for Maryland, right between Baltimore and DC.

So far I've driven from New Meadows, ID to Salt Lake City to Denver to Billings to Shelby.

It's going really well. My trainer/mentor is very intense. He's an excellent trainer, but it's easy to see how someone with thin skin might take it personally.

I'm here to learn a very challenging position, so my tender little snowflake feelings are stowed safely away. Far far away.

Coming out of CDL school I thought I knew how to drive and back. The ONLY thing I knew was how to pass my state CDL test. Training drivers are a gift from heaven.

Learning this profession is... Awesome. I never thought the driving would be the easy part.

I'm loving this.

dancing-dog.gif

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.
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