Profile For Hawkeye

Hawkeye's Info

  • Location:
    Centreville, VA

  • Driving Status:
    Company Driver In Training

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    4 years, 4 months ago

Hawkeye's Bio

Retired military officer and aviator. Flew Blackhawk helicopters before I retired. After retirement had two careers working for non-profit organization. I am now at a point in my life where I want to work for myself.

I have always thought about driving trucks because it fits my personality. However, right after I retired from the military, I still had a family and after long deployments and training in the military, I wanted to spend more time with my family.

I am in the research phase at this point and look forward to finding out more about becoming a long-haul truck driver.

Bill

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Posted:  3 years, 10 months ago

View Topic:

Schneider Orientation - Charlotte, NC

Day 13-14: Had the weekend off.

Day 15: Class started at 7:00 am. Today was spent learning about the Qualcomm platform. Finished around 4:30 pm.

Day 16: Class started at 7:00 am. Spent the day planning and driving a simulated delivery around Charlotte. This was to test your ability to use the Qualcomm system to receive, plan and deliver a load to a destination. You were given problems along the way to solve. The idea was to challenge you with real world situations that come up while delivering a load. Finished the day practicing backing. Finished around 4:00 pm.

Day 17: Class started at 7:00 am. Spent most of the day learning more about the Qualcomm system. It is pretty complicated system and makes your head hurt trying to remember all the things you need to accept, plan and deliver a load. Finished around 4:00 pm.

Day 18: Class started at 7:00 am. The morning was a series of briefings from the head of safety, the service manager and the Charlotte Operating Center director. We also got to meet our DBL (Direct Business Leader). The DBL is our point of contact at Schneider and the one we work with to get loads and time off. Just prior to noon we were each assigned our trucks. The afternoon was spent in our trucks checking them out. Out of our class of nine, four ended up with automatics. I was the only one to get one with a forward facing camera.

Day 19: Class started at 8:00 am. We received a briefing on what to expect next week when we receive our first load. Bill the head of the DBL's told us he would be assisting us through our first three loads. We are to contact him so he can help coach us through our first few loads.

We all received our graduation certificates and were done with the orientation except for the four of us that received automatic transmissions. We had to attend a four hour course on driving an automatic. This encompussed classroom training and driving the truck around Charlotte.

I have mixed emotions about driving an automatic. While the truck is brand new and drives relatively easy, I still feel nostalgic for the 10 speed.

Well, that was my three week orientation at Schneider. I had a great time and met some outstanding instructors and great classmates.

It's hard to believe its been six months since I started this new quest to become a truck driver. I want to thank Brett for hosting TruckingTruth. The information provided on this website helped me select a CDL school, pass my CDL exam and find a company to drive for. I also want to thank those on the website who provide invaluable information and wisdom to me.

I'll check in from time to time and I'll keep up on the discussions. Safe travels to everyone.

Hawkeye

Posted:  3 years, 10 months ago

View Topic:

Schneider Orientation - Charlotte, NC

Day 7-12:

Just finished my week driving with my TE and it was a great week. I drove from Monday through Friday and racked up around 1500 miles.

Thomas was my TE for the week and he runs a dedicated route. This allowed him to get home on weekends and occasionaly during the week. Thomas was a former instructor for Schneider, so I not only had an experienced driver to mentor me, but a seasoned instructor who could help me out with my weaknesses.

Monday we picked up a load of paper and delivered it to Atlanta. This was a great learning experience on several fronts. First, paper is heavy and the truck I drove that day weighed around 78,000 pounds. After learning to drive with empty trailers, it was definitely different driving with all that weight especially going down hills. 78,000 pounds will really push the truck down the hill and I found myself hanging on as the truck sped up to 70 to 75 mph going down hill. Even though Schneider governs their trucks at 60 mph, when going down the hills the truck can exceed that speed.

The second fun part was driving through Atlanta traffic. It's bad enough if you're driving a car, but imagine driving in 5 lanes of rush hour traffic with a semi, it's definitely stressful. However, over time I learned to relax and definitely improved my shifting skills. I must have shifted a 100 times in heavy traffic, a great learning experience.

Another eye opening experience was backing. While they schools do their best to prepare you for backing a semi, the real world is different. One place we went I had to let Thomas back in while I watched. You have never seen so many hair pin curves in your life. Another drop off point was so crowded with moving trucks I was surprised their wasn't an accident. However, throughout the week I took my turn backing into these challenging spaces. While not an expert by any means, I definitely got better as the week went on. And while loading docs were challenging, some truck stops were just as chaotic. One thing I learned from this week is if I can park at a Walmart, I'll do that before I'll park at a truck stop. Just less congested and a lot more quiet.

The first night we parked at a Walmart near where my TE lived. So I got to spend my first night in a truck by myself. So how was it? Well, I enjoyed it. The sleeper was comfortable and I slept pretty well. You do have to get used to different noises such as passing traffic and if when I woke up around 2:00 am in the morning, I had to walk over to Walmart to use their facilities. Another nice thing about parking at Walmart was the ability to shop for food. Instead of eating at the nearby Waffle House, I went to Walmart and picked up a banana and yogurt for breakfast. Also, since we stopped early in the evening, I was able to get an hour walk in walking around the parking lot.

The rest of the week was delivering to locations around Charlotte, North Carolina and another return trip to Atlanta.

The longest day I put in driving was a 10 hour day driving almost 500 miles. I will tell you by the time I was finished with that day I was totally exhausted. However, the great part was I slept like a baby that night. But when I woke up in the morning I was definitely sore...but a good sore.

Along my travels I was able to pick my TE's brain and get advice on life on the road. Since he had been an over-the-road trucker he gave me great advice about what to expect and taught me many things about being a truck driver.

Thomas did ask me as we were neared the end of our week, what I thought about truck driving. I told him I really enjoyed it and was looking forward to getting my own truck.

I started the week nervous I wasn't ready to be on the road with my own truck. However, by the end of the week I was more confident I could handle the road on my own. I still have a lot to learn and I am not an expert by any means, but having a great mentor helped boost my confidence and I fell a lot better about going on the road by myself.

So a great week and I want to definitely thank Thomas for being a great mentor.

Posted:  3 years, 10 months ago

View Topic:

Schneider Orientation - Charlotte, NC

Day 4:

Started at 7:00 am in the classroom. We meet with the head of the business department who oversees the DBLs (Driver Business Leaders). We each will be assigned a DBL prior to graduating and they will be our managers while we are on the road.

We also found out who our TE (Training Engineer) will be for week two. During the second week of training, we will be out on the road with drivers actually delivering freight for Schneider. We head out with our TE either on Sunday or Monday. Since these are actual drivers and not instructors at the school, the day we meet with our TE depends on their schedule. Of the ten students in my class, five will be picked up at the school while the other five have to meet their TE on the road. Schneider will either arrange transportation to the TE or allow you to drive. (They will reimburse you for your gas). I'm driving down to Cowpens, SC. to meet my TE Monday morning at 6:30 am.

After the meeting, I had my driving test, which I passed. Then spent the rest of the morning working on video modules. Schneider has a bunch of videos you have to watch before you graduate. They range from hazmat to sexual harassment.

In the afternoon we spent time in the yard practicing backing and going through the obstacle course. Finished around 5:00 pm.

Day 5:

Met at 7:00 am in the classroom going over Schneider's website called Crossroads. Got issued our fuel card and talked about how to sign up for the Flying J rewards card.

The class was then divided in two with one half going to the simulator and the other half going to the yard to practice sliding the tandems.

In the simulator we practiced how to react to slipper conditions, blown steering tire and how to properly break going down a hill.

In the yard we learned how to slide the tandems on the trailer and the fifth wheel. Also practice getting in and out of the trailer and how to properly open and close the trailer doors.

Spent the rest of the day working on videos and finished up around 4:00 pm.

Day 6:

Today is a rest day for me since I don't meet my TE until tomorrow morning. More to follow when I return from the road.

Hawkeyes

Posted:  3 years, 10 months ago

View Topic:

Schneider Orientation - Charlotte, NC

Day 3:

Class started at 7:00 am in the cafeteria. Spent the first hour taking care of administrative tasks such as setting up direct deposit for my paycheck.

Around 8:00 am went into the yard and practiced coupling the tractor and trailer then went out on the road for an hour and a half.

After lunch spend the entire afternoon practicing ally docking and running an optical course.

I cannot over state how great my instructor Gary has been this week. He has worked for Schneider for 29 years and has been driving for over 34 years. I'm lucky to be able to learn from a real professional and grateful to have him as a teacher and mentor.

We finished up around 5:00 pm.

Hawkeye

Posted:  3 years, 10 months ago

View Topic:

Schneider Orientation - Charlotte, NC

Day 2:

Class started at 7:00 am in the cafeteria where we were pair off and met our truck instructor. My instructor Gary has worked for Schneider for 29 years. Gary spent the morning demonstrating how to couple and uncouple a trailer. We then went over pre-tripping and air break integrity tests before heading out on the road. Gary demonstrated various turning techniques, then handed the truck over to me and my fellow student to drive around Charlotte the rest of the morning.

We spent the afternoon in the classroom learning how to fill out driver logs and class was let out at 4:30 pm.

More to come.

Hawkeyes

Posted:  3 years, 10 months ago

View Topic:

Schneider Orientation - Charlotte, NC

Thanks Steve! I appreciate you taking time to talk with me when I was deciding which company to select. Hope to see you on the road in the future.

Hawkeyes

Posted:  3 years, 10 months ago

View Topic:

Schneider Orientation - Charlotte, NC

Schneider Orientation in Charlotte, North Carolina.

After months of research and going through CDL School to obtain my class A CDL license, I am in Charlotte going through a three-week orientation course with Schneider.

Just a little background on myself. I am 57 years old and have had various careers in the military and civilian sector. However, at this point in my life I decided I wanted to do something I’ve always wanted to do all my life and that was to become a trucker.

So why Schneider? There are a lot of great companies out there, but after much research to include talking to truckers, I decided on Schneider. For me the great reviews they receive for safety and training pushed me towards them.

Pre-orientation.

Once I decided to go with Schneider, I applied through their website for an OTR position. A representative from Schneider who guided me through the process of getting hired soon contacted me. Prior to attending orientation I had to get a drug test. This test consisted of a urinalysis and hair follicle test. A week prior to heading to orientation there is a conference call with a representative who gives you a brief overview of orientation and answers your questions.

Day 1:

Schneider will either pay for gas if you are driving to orientation or will provide you with a bus ticket, your choice. Your accommodations will be at a local hotel, Extended Stay America and you will be paired with a roommate. If you would rather have your own room, you will be responsible for payment. Shuttle leaves the hotel at 6 am and class starts at 7am. Breakfast and lunch is provided at the orientation facility; they issue you food coupons in class.

Once I arrived at Schneider, I was asked to wait in the cafeteria with other students until the instructors arrived. At 7 am the instructors showed up and led us to the classroom. My class was supposed to have 14 students, but only 10 showed up. The morning was spent taking another DOT physical. Yes, even though I had a DOT physical, I had to take another one by Schneider. There is also a pre-work screen where you have to perform several tasks (you can find a video on Schneider’s website which describes the pre-work test). After every task they will measure your heart rate. The maximum heart rate is determined by the following formula. (220-your age x .9).

After the physical tests, we filled out paperwork and got issued safety vests and safety boots. Schneider requires oil resistant and slip resistant soles on footwear. If you don’t have them, you will be issued a pair at orientation; they will deduct $35 from your first paycheck. You can choose either Rocky boots or athletic shoes…they look like sneakers and they all have composite toes. (Note: every year you are with Schneider you get a free pair of boots). After lunch we had classes on backing, coupling and uncoupling, and how to make turns. We finished around 3 pm.

So a good first day, I’ll try and keep you all up-to-date on the rest of my training.

Hawkeye.

Posted:  3 years, 11 months ago

View Topic:

Schneider Training 03/16

Well, I have to say that this is a real head scratcher?

From all my research Schneider seems to be one of the best companies to drive for and their orientation gets exceptionally high reviews.

I'm not sure what you're looking for in a company, but if a top company like Schneider rubs you the wrong way, I'm not sure there is company you'll be happy with.

I do wish you luck.

As I stated earlier, I will start orientation with Schneider on the 29th. I'll try and keep everyone up-to-date on my progress.

Posted:  3 years, 11 months ago

View Topic:

Schneider Training 03/16

I'm starting with Schneider on the 29th of March, so keep the posts coming.

Posted:  4 years ago

View Topic:

Schneider, Roehle, and Werner

Thanks for the advice Sue!

Bill

Posted:  4 years ago

View Topic:

Schneider, Roehle, and Werner

That's what I was afraid of.

Posted:  4 years ago

View Topic:

Schneider, Roehle, and Werner

Thanks Nate for the comments.

Question, do you have to live near a drop yard to make the hometime work?

I live in Centreville, Virginia which is outside of Washington, DC. How do I meet up with the truck?

Bill

Roehl tells you the route to take and where to get fuel. Now I have veered off their route a few times and have never heard a word from them about it. Roehl also will run you most direct route. I seem to get a good variety of freeway and highway routes.

As far as hometime Roehl has some good options. I run the 7/4, 7/3 which I like. I can plan things months in advance because I know when I will be home. They also offer a 14/7 that I will switch to in the future. The downside to these options is you share the truck.

As far as equipment goes Roehl has great equipment. I think 2014's are being phased out because I only see 2015-16's and all our trailers (reefer is what I pull) are in great condition. We actually just bought a bunch of new ones and heard more will be purchased soon.

Posted:  4 years ago

View Topic:

Schneider, Roehle, and Werner

Afternoon Everyone,

I've been looking at this website for months and enjoy the frank discussions and great advice.

I am 57 years old and looking forward to my driving career. After 20 years in the military and a couple of jobs in the private sector, I decided it was time for me to do something I've always wanted to do and drive a truck. This website has provided me with great information about trucking and I want to thank Brett for hosting the site.

After reading all the information about truck driving schools and reading the trucker's forum, I decided to attend a private driving school. While the company sponsored training is tempting, I decided I wanted more of an independent approach to learning how to drive. After researching several schools in my area, I decided to attend Shippers Choice. I start on the 8th of February and will try and keep you updated on my progress.

Now I do have a couple of questions. I've narrowed my choice of companies I'd like to drive for down to three. Schneider, Werner and Roehl. Now if you read the mostly negative comments about trucking companies from drivers, whether on this site or others, you would never get into the business. However, I agree with Brett, most of these drivers just have an axe to grind and these comments are not typical of the vast majority of those who drive on a daily basis.

Now my questions:

I've read a few comments from drivers who work for Schneider and Roehl about the company telling drivers which route to take. Is this a standard practice? To me, part of the appeal about driving is being able to plan your own route. Also, I would rather stay on the major freeways as apposed to taking an 80,000 pound truck on some side roads.

Now each of the companies I've researched have great attributes. From what I can tell Schneider has a great training program, Werner seems to have good equipment and Roehl has a great home policy.

My second question is about the home policy which is the most important attribute to me. While a regional route is something I want, I wouldn't mind being on the road for a couple of weeks as long as I could have at least three days off in-between jobs. Roehl's website says it offers this type of program. However, I'd like to hear from Roehl drivers on how the program is working for them.

Although home time is an important consideration, I'm leaning towards Schneider because of all the possitive comments I've read about their training program. Now, if they offered three days off in between jobs, I would work for them. Anyone know if Schneider offers this time of home time program?

Again, thank you Brett for hosting this site, I've found it very informative and an invaluable tool in helping me get my CDL learners permit.

Regards,

Bill Centreville, Virginina

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