Comments By AdkMatt

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  • AdkMatt
  • Joined:
  • 9 years, 5 months ago
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Posted:  8 years, 5 months ago

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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:  8 years, 6 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:  8 years, 6 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:  8 years, 6 months ago

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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:  8 years, 6 months ago

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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:  8 years, 6 months ago

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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:  8 years, 7 months ago

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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:  8 years, 7 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:  8 years, 7 months ago

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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:  8 years, 7 months ago

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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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