Profile For AdkMatt

AdkMatt's Info

  • Location:
    Clarksville, TN

  • Driving Status:
    Rookie Solo Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    7 years, 8 months ago

AdkMatt's Bio

A 23-year old college should-have-been that's in the process of trading the cook's hat for a tractor-trailer. Sold my house in Northern NY in January 2015 to move to the Midwest and start a career on the road.

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Posted:  6 years, 7 months ago

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Qualcomm and Roman Numerals

Haha, I never got to listen to this part of the message because before I could, my QC was blowing up with messages from my DM to his fleet frantically telling them that it's just a company-wide message and clarifying that it doesn't mean they have to come take a drug test right now XD

Posted:  6 years, 7 months ago

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Two drivers in a small can

This is what gives me confidence being a new driver XD. Knowing that there are people who have been on the road a lot longer than I have been, yet they have no idea how to do many critical aspects of their jobs, and they STILL have one somehow!

Posted:  6 years, 7 months ago

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Truck Driver Knocks Down Fire Hydrant, Then Tries To Put It Back

Do they make you send an advance macro now? What a pain. It used to just be preauthorized.

Not 100% certain to be honest. My mentor always paid out of pocket and got reimbursed. I never specifically asked, but the answer looked pretty obvious to me, haha.

Posted:  6 years, 7 months ago

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Truck Driver Knocks Down Fire Hydrant, Then Tries To Put It Back

He played you. Swift pays for scale tickets through the comdata card.

I'm aware of this and showed him how to request a company advance for these instances. It's also why I bought him food instead of giving him $10.50.

Did his trainer also make him fudge the back sheet?

If I'm honest, my mentor did this with me slightly. He only had me do 2 of the blindside backs. He said that doing 8 of them (or however many is required) was "absurd" and only had me do it the two times I did because he wanted me to realize that there's almost always a better way if you stop any think for a moment. He also said in the 13 years he's been with Swift, that he only HAD to do a blindside back less than 5 times.

My trainer was an own op. He was a fine trainer, and taught me well. My boyfriend's trainer was a company driver, and he was less than desirable to put it nicely. It's really the luck of the draw.

I agree with you here. I keep pretty close tabs with just about everyone from my class at the academy and the one that's doing the best (and having the most fun, at that) is with an owner op.

My point there was less about the ethos of an O/O vs a company driver, and more about the prospect of having a co-driver 'for free' being a much larger financial motivator for an O/O to abuse the system than a company driver.

Posted:  6 years, 7 months ago

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Truck Driver Knocks Down Fire Hydrant, Then Tries To Put It Back

There may be another layer to this idea though.

I know how I posted a couple days ago about how I felt my training experience was sub-par, which is a conclusion I may have come to a bit hastily because over the past few days, things have been going very smoothly for me and I've actually been enjoying myself.

However, this past weekend, I stayed at the Love's just south of Chicago on I-55 because they couldn't get something that picked up earlier than this morning. In the middle of the night Saturday, someone knocked on my window, another Swift driver. He asked me if I could help him squeeze into the spot next to me. After he was in, he got out and told me he had just gotten off his mentor's truck a couple days ago and because his mentor (an owner/op) never let him back, he had only done angled backs a small handful of times (and never actually in between other vehicles).

I talked to him a bit more, asked him about other things he may or may not have learned from his mentor. Trip planning? No. Tandem sliding? No. Scaling a load? No. He said that he doesn't even have the money to scale a load even if he wanted to, so I bought him dinner the next night. I gave him just about every good tip I know, but that's no replacement for developing skills under the supervision of a trained eye.

Other drivers will watch guys like him and have a laugh, but honestly, I find his situation very upsetting, and I'm sure there are many that are just like him, upgrading to their own trucks every day. I feel lucky that my mentor was a company driver. Not that I have anything against O/O's, but if a company presents a golden opportunity, there are always going to be those that will take advantage any way they can.

This may just be more of my naiveness talking, but this is just how it looks from my perspective. It might be a bit deep for a post about somebody running over a fire hydrant, but these thoughs gotta go somewhere, right? Haha

Posted:  6 years, 8 months ago

View Topic:

Pros and cons of swift

Small update on my situation. My new DM just called me to introduce himself. Told me that he drove for 25 years and had no problem answering every stupid question I might have for him, haha. Definitely get to breathe a sigh of relief now, haha. He even has a conference call every week so his drivers can chat with one another.

Posted:  6 years, 8 months ago

View Topic:

Pros and cons of swift

I'm going to sprinkle a little bit of pessimism into the mix here. I attended Swift's driving academy in Memphis this past November, went to orientation and 200 hours behind the wheel with a mentor in December, and now I've been solo with for a little over a week. So since you are going to do 3rd party training, I'll leave that part of the experience out.

The mentorship was alright. I actually kind of enjoyed it for awhile. However, my trainer was different from most. We didn't drive teams like most students do after the 50 hour mark. Because I was the only one that drove, there was a lot that I didn't get to do because he wanted to keep running as much as possible. He did all the trip planning, he dealt with almost everything on the qualcomm, and he seldom let me back the truck on my own without some kind of input. The bad part is that now that I'm solo, things are rather scary for me at the moment because I never really got to do anything on my own.

So speaking of going solo... well, it's not going great to be honest. Firstly, I'm technically running without a driver manager at the moment, because I was told that there "aren't enough DM's" to handle anyone new at the moment. What? If that wasn't bad enough, they didn't have a truck available for me at the terminal when it was time for me to go solo. So they gave me a bus ticket to Jackson, Mississippi, and gave me an address of where I'd find my truck. I wasn't informed of it, but this truck has been abandoned by the previous driver. Garbage everywhere, reeking of cigarette smoke, batteries drained, all the permits were out of date, equipment missing, broken vent in the sleeper (so freezing cold air bellows in all night). You name it, there was something wrong with it.

So I got a load and took it back to Memphis (also finding out that the truck shakes violently around 55mph or so). I told them what was wrong with it, but nobody was interested in getting any of it fixed (comfort nor mechanical issues). So all I have to work with is a filthy truck that's falling apart and my mentor's DM to help me with some issues if I need him. Just yesterday, I was given two loads: one delivering in Philadelphia tomorrow, and the other going to Atlanta. This load had an issue and couldn't be delivered today, so I declined the next GA load. I was sent a message back basically forcing me to recommit to the load, even though I KNOW it was going to be late. So I contacted my interm DM and he told me that I was being played by the load planners and to re-decline the load.

So at this point, I'm not really sure who I'm supposed to trust at this company (besides other drivers, they're pretty good people). I didn't want to write a whole topic on this because I know the other forum users would look at it as another Swift-bashing post. I'm not ready to say that I hate the company, but this first impression has certainly made things sour for me so far. I'm going to stick with it though. I know how important getting that OTR experience is to getting new opportunities.

So if you made it this far and still want more information, ask away, haha.

(By the way, Errol, congrats on the 1 year at Swift! Yes, I saw your name on the anniversary board, haha)

Posted:  6 years, 8 months ago

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Nashville in the Snow

I almost got stuck myself out here. Had to keep going longer than I wanted because many exits were not plowed. Came up to my usual Nashville area stop (the huge Flying J on exit 182) and it seemed like every truck in the state was trying to park there, haha.

Posted:  6 years, 8 months ago

View Topic:

Swift's best kept secret?

I have seen 35 and 36 CPM

This is correct G-Town. I upgrade to solo in a couple days and will be at 36 CPM.

Posted:  6 years, 8 months ago

View Topic:

Swift

Hey Barry, I went to Swift's academy in November, and I'm just finishing up my one-on-one training to go solo in a couple days, so maybe I can answer a couple of these for you.

First, after I submitted my application, I called the recruiting line from the website and they started getting me set up immediately. They just do a brief background check and they will likely want to get you to an academy the next week or ASAP. Yes, drivers take their trucks home, as long as they can get you freight going through wherever you're taking your hometime. Pets are not allowed on company trucks. There are no APU's on Swift's trucks, and most trucks do not have an inverter, nor will you be allowed to wire one up. However, the new '16 Cascadia Evolutions do come equipped with inverters. My trainer's truck has one. In the case you need one for medical use, I believe they make an exception.

Posted:  6 years, 8 months ago

View Topic:

Swift's best kept secret?

I'm not sure if you've read this in what you've found, but the Swift flatbed division runs almost exclusively on the West coast. I've been with my trainer for about 6 weeks now and in that entire time, I saw exactly 2 Swift flatbeds, in Texas. But they do have some nifty looking tarps, don't they? Haha

Posted:  6 years, 9 months ago

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Swift Orientation/Mentorship Experience

Whew!

It's been a couple weeks since I've updated of what's been going on, but everything's been pretty busy. So I'm about 65 hours into my drive time so far and things have been going pretty nicely. My mentor is a regional driver who gets home time every weekend, so instead of driving 8 or so hours every day, he has me go almost right up to 11 so I don't have to spend forever in training.

We've mostly been running around Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Missouri. We even made a "rare" trip through all those fun hills on I-64 and 77 into North Carolina.

There's no too much I have to say about the experience so far because I'm already past the point of being intrigued at all the new things I've learned so far, haha. All I really have to say so far is that I'm actually liking being out there so far and that I actually like my mentor. Just can't wait to finish these 200 hours BTW and start making some real money.

smile.gif

Posted:  6 years, 9 months ago

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Road Training with Swift(Training Overview)

Doug is the short, balding guy. One of the lead instructors, though he may be running a different class from yours.

Doug has moved into a road trainer position within the last few weeks after 2 road trainers left recently. I was on his truck for that entire week.

Posted:  6 years, 9 months ago

View Topic:

Swift CDL training.

Pay scale is all wrong as well. Drivers start at .36cpm after going solo. During time with an OTR trainer you are paid $9.50 an hour for on duty driving and minimum state wage for on duty not driving if the trainer is rolling. Averaging $450-600 a week for drive time during OTR training.

Holy cow XD. Suddenly, I'm much more anxious to finish this mentorship knowing I'm going to be making .08cpm more than I originally thought, haha.

Posted:  6 years, 9 months ago

View Topic:

Swift Orientation/Mentorship Experience

You walked right by me and didn't even say "Hello"! I was sitting in the Health Center front office waiting for my physical!

Oh god, I didn't even realize rofl-2.gif Were you wearing a reddish-orange shirt?

Posted:  6 years, 9 months ago

View Topic:

Swift Orientation/Mentorship Experience

Hey everyone, I'm back in Memphis again for orientation (I finished Swift's Driving Academy a week ago, which I wrote about here: Swift Academy Diary. So I already had my first day of orientation yesterday and there wasn't too much going on. Just some paperwork, a little computer reading, a handful of safety videos, and (of course) the drug test. I figure today will be a little more 'feature-packed' since we can't use our phones today. As for the group, there's about 30-ish of us, although I'm surprised that there was only one student from my Academy class present, pretty disappointing most of them didn't make it. My roommate left after only the first day, and I'm unsure why. He wasn't terribly willing to talk about his last trucking experience, so maybe that had something to do with it. Other than that, I get a kick out being the youngest person in the group by far (I'm 23). Anyway, looking forward to what they've got in store today. And definitely looking forward to meeting my mentor tomorrow. After living here for a month, I'm anxious to actually start working, haha. I'll be updating this journal after leaving with my mentor, and then weekly after that.

Posted:  6 years, 10 months ago

View Topic:

Swift School Diary (Memphis) starting 11/2

FINAL UPDATE

Ok, so I got my CDL yesterday, and I finally graduated from the academy, so I'm going to take a few minutes to give my impressions on the program as a whole for those of you who are considering applying for it.

So overall, I had an enjoyable time here. I never felt that I was ever under too much pressure, and I passed the majority of my evaluations the first time around.

Classroom time was nicely paced and they did a good job of instructing you on (probably) most of the things that they shouldn't trust your mentor to teach you. The tests were never too challenging, and you never felt that you were going too long without a break.

As for the skills range, this is where I have the most criticisms. By the time we made it to the range, we still had about 40 people left in the class. For those first few days, you only have 1 instructor with your class. The way they 'teach' here is that they give you a demonstration of a skill and then it is up to you to have the natural aptitude to pick up the skill on your own before it is time to evaluate on it. Very seldom would I see an instructor go up to someone who who was having a hard time to give them some pointers. The only time I would see instructors really trying to help students was just before they re-evaluate on a skill they failed the previous day. In the case of most of my classmates, the help came too little, too late. I'm not saying this is the instructor's fault. Swift certainly has the capacity to put more instructors on that range or reduce the class sizes so struggling students can get the extra help they need. The range can have upwards of 80 students on it at one time with only 3 instructor. It doesn't take a rocket scientist.

Road Training, however, was an entirely different experience. Here's the only spot where I'll mention a name, but my road instructor, Doug was, without a doubt, the best part of the entire program for me. As we learned shifting, cornering, up though the final day, he was completely engaged with us through every hour of those long days. He'd give us plenty of praise when he noticed us doing well at something that we were having trouble with, and he was always able to laugh it off if we happened to make a silly mistake. And when we had our breaks, he was always just fun to have around and talk to. He was genuinely confident in our abilities going to the DMV to test for our CDL.

However, our mediocre experience at the backing range would be our group's downfall. On testing day at the DMV, 5 of us went to go test. I was the only one to pass that day. 3 of them failed on their 90 degree back, and 1 failed because of an unsafe act during his road test. I almost failed the 90, gaining 9 points (12 is the max). On the range for my evaluation, I took 0 points. I feel pretty good about my classmates chances though. They get 2 more chances at the test, but It'll be a few more weeks without a paycheck for them.

So that's pretty much how it all went down. Would I recommend the program who is 100% new to the idea of trucking? I'm not sure. Quite frankly, I would recommend that you look into the idea of attending one of the many private Truck Driving Schools that does job placement afterward. You may spend more time there, but, realistically, your chances may be better. As for myself, I've been on this forum reading and using the High Road Training Program for nearly year and have been playing around with a simulator for several months. So if you're like me in this regard, Swift can get you there and can do so quickly.

So that's pretty much all I have to say about that. If anyone has any questions, I'll check back at this topic once in awhile and answer those as best I can.

But for now, orientation for me will start in a week, and I'll be starting a new topic to blog about the mentorship experience through December.

Thanks for the well wishes everybody!

Posted:  6 years, 10 months ago

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Swift School Diary (Memphis) starting 11/2

DAY 17

BAM! Nailed it! Went to get that CDL today. Gonna have the weekend off and orientation starts Tuesday! I will probably give another update tomorrow on what I thought about the academy. For now, I'll celebrate :)

Posted:  6 years, 10 months ago

View Topic:

Swift School Diary (Memphis) starting 11/2

DAY 16

Today's going to ve a pretty big day (and tomorrow even bigger). We're going to finish our road training, get our night driving hours in, and take the final evaluation to graduate school. Tomorrow, I head to Jackson, TN to get that CDL. I'm not even sure why I'm awake right now. So we can do our night driving, the instructor isn't picking us up from the hotel until 9 this morning. After all this, it'll be orientation time early next week. So stoked that we're finally here. smile.gif

Posted:  6 years, 10 months ago

View Topic:

Swift School Diary (Memphis) starting 11/2

DAY 14 (continued)

Today was pretty awesome smile.gif We had our final pre-trip evaluation today. This was what I was most worried about, even more than backing the 90, haha. I went through the whole thing and only got one single point (missed the indicator light on the side of the cab). The instructor was also secretly scoring me as we drove around downtown Memphis. He told me if I drive like that for the final eval, I wouldn't even get 10 points. And the nice kicker, after being told that my DMV test would probably be delayed at least 2 weeks, I was informed today that I am testing THIS FRIDAY. WOOT! dancing-banana.gif

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