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  • Johnny 3
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Posted:  4 years, 10 months ago

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DMACC (Des Moines Area Community College) December 5 2016-January 20 2017

Day 18:

Today was an interesting one & a mixed bag of results.

I got off to a shaky start.

After our routine pre-trip inspections, It was time to go over 45 degree backing maneuvers again.

Today I did get functional equipment to work with :).

On my first practice run....I didn't get it lined up very well & instead of repositioning myself, I opted to make an overly aggressive effort to correct it. This was the wrong move.

What ended up happening as a result, was me briefly jacknifing the trailer. which caused a slight amount of cosmetic damage to one of the gap reducers on the back of the tractor.

As a result, I was asked to take pictures and fill out an accident report form which was given to me on our next break. I was also asked to email these pictures to the school's senior instructor.

After I did what was asked of me, I was told in short that since it happened on school property & the damage was negligible, it wouldn't have any real impact on my schooling unless I made a habit of damaging equipment & wasn't learning from my mistakes.

The day did improve after this break.

I was given a little bit more time to practice 45 degree backing when I returned from break. I started to get the hang of it & was asked if I wanted to try to test out on it after a couple of practice runs. I said yes & passed on my 1st try :)

I was then shown a demonstration on blindside backing & given the opportunity to practice...I backed it in on my 1st try after getting out & looking and doing a couple of small pull up adjustments. I also noticed that there was a straight line in the pavement that stretched clear across the concourse. The passenger side parking cones just so happened to be placed right on this line. I decided to make a mental note of this so I could use it to my advantage.

After a successful blindside angle practice park, I was asked if I wanted to try to test out on this as well, I decided that I should go ahead & do it since I had a visual observation I had made that I could use to cheat a little.

During the test, I had a near perfect set up (with the help of the pavement lines) I got out & looked once and backed it right in & parked it, boom another test passed.

All of this before lunch & all of a sudden, I went from being behind the majority of class to being ahead of schedule.

After this was an afternoon of road driving. This went so-so. There were some quirks but I am getting better at downshifting, I did stall the vehicle once due to difficulty finding the right gear & am still grinding some gears here & there but the instructor seemed content with my progress & I have gotten pretty good at taking tight turns & watching my mirrors. I am getting to the point now where I am not frightened by the thought of driving a semi & can actually see myself doing the job with a little more polishing. I'll take that with 2 weeks to go still.

This is all I have for now. More to come tomorrow.

Posted:  4 years, 10 months ago

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DMACC (Des Moines Area Community College) December 5 2016-January 20 2017

Agreed.. These were still useful experiences even though the day didn't go quite as planned. actually got some real OJT today. Everything you experienced, including the newer gearbox happens and usually at the worst time possible.


Posted:  4 years, 10 months ago

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DMACC (Des Moines Area Community College) December 5 2016-January 20 2017

Day 17:

Today was a bit unlucky...nothing that made me look bad but a few equipment hiccups that were no fault of mine caused some delays throughout the day which shorted me on much needed practice...

The day was supposed to start with in-town driving with my partner & an instructor... We had a vehicle specifically assigned to us that we did a pre-trip inspection on...It was discovered during this time that this vehicle had a newly faulty air compressor which deemed it unsuitable to operate. As a result, we had to wait for another vehicle assignment to be determined & do another pre-trip & got started driving anout an hour & a half later than anticipated. This made for a condensed version of the route I was supposed to drive... I was also having some issues with the new vehicle, it had a tighter shift pattern than what I had become accustomed to & as a result, I started off a little rough. I had a hard time distinguishing 2nd gear from 4th & 7th from 9th due to the tightened shift pattern.....causing me to kill the truck a couple times right out of the gate...I adapted & the drive went smooth enough after the 1st couple miles that were rough...Today was a graded road evaluation & I did pass even though it seemed to me like I did brutal.

After lunch, it was my turn for concourse backing maneuvers again. I discovered today that it was decided that I passed the other evaluation that I thought I would have to retest on again (blindside parallel) I guess I performed well enough yesterday on sightside parallel that the instructor overseeing the concourse this week thought allowing me to catch up on angle parking would be a better use of time.

There were other students who were already testing on this. This was my 1st day practicing it due to last week's setbacks & I was having a hard time with it. After my 1st miserable attempt, another instructor who was helping the one overseeing it walked me through what I was doing on & how to correct it. I was also having some perception issues due to large amounts of cones in a small radius, some behind the ones I was aiming for & on courses setup for different exercises, this was really throwing off my ability to focus on my target...

Anyhow, I did think I about had it figured out & was attempting it again.....Along came more equipment issues.....this time with a trailer that wouldn't hold air causing the combination vehicle to stall. I had to show this to an instructor who agreed that it was a faulty trailer connection and decided we should drop the trailer...this was time consuming. it took several minutes just to lower the landing gear because it was so cold out & the grease was partly frozen. By the time this was was time to call it a day. Hopefully tomorrow I have better luck with equipment & master another backing maneuver... More to come :)

Posted:  4 years, 10 months ago

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DMACC (Des Moines Area Community College) December 5 2016-January 20 2017

Thank you for taking the time to write G-town... I do see value in learning to parallel park. I think it help you prepare to learn orher backing maneuvers & it is good to have some competence so that on the seldom occasions it might be used, it can be done .. I was just frustrated at how the test was administered before...but it's behind me now :)

Posted:  4 years, 11 months ago

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DMACC (Des Moines Area Community College) December 5 2016-January 20 2017

Well day 16 arrived today, finally.

The wait was much anticipated. The last day I was at school was 12/23/2016 , so 11 days ago.

The last day I was in class I had to go into the extended break on a somewhat sour note... I was failed on both blindside & sightside parallel parking and had also had a personality conflict with an obnoxious instructor who had me believing I was in serious jeopardy of being failed out of the class due to 1 bad day.... That is the short version. There is a much lengthier version of what happened in the general discussion thread....

Anyhow, fast forward to today..... I was overly eager to arrive today and face whatever was needed to get the situation behind me. I was under the impression that I was going to have to deal with the same instructor again when testing on parallel parking....

As it turned out, this particular instructor had requested an extended leave & a new instructor (who seemingly had no knowledge of my issues with the prior instructor, was assigned) to retest me & 1 other student on sight-side parallel no reason to bring up the issues I ran into prior to break the way I saw it.

After a couple of rounds of practice to shake off the rust, I passed, with a perfect score even!

I still have to test on blindside parallel parking again but I no longer see it as an issue. This will happen tomorrow & I will be working with the same instructor as I did today. If all goes as planned tomorrow, I will be all caught up with everyone else.

The previous instructor will still be back on the concourse again next week so I will probably have to deal with him again at some point. I plan to forget our issues ever happened as long as he shows no obvious negative bias towards me in a way that hinders my progress.

Oddly enough, one of the main reasons I chose to do private schooling over company sponsored training was the belief that I would be less likely to run into instructors with personality disorders that could be a roadblock to my success.....I have read a few horror stories of company sponsored training online that lead me to believe this was a stronger possibility if I took that route...but I can now tell you, private schooling is not 100% immune to this either.

That said, the rest of the instructors I have dealt with (7 total) have all been wonderful up to this point, so the one I've had issues with was the exception & he had been fine to deal with up to that point as well...

Back to how the rest of the day went.... The parking practice & test took place before lunch. After lunch, it was more in-town driving practice. I was afraid I would be a bit rusty with my gear shifting after going 11 days without being in a semi & only 4 days of experience in a semi prior to that. Somehow, I wasn't and picked up right where I left off. The instructor that rode along today was the same one who had me on my 2nd day driving & he complimented me on how much better I was at upshifting than the last time he rode along. I drove a 17 mile in-town route with multiple turns with no real issues. I did manage to kill the engine once when I had a hard time finding the right gear downshifting but that was my only real hiccup & I reacted well enough to make the traffic delay I was causing fairly minimal once I turned the engine back on. Overall, today was the most satisfying day of schooling I had so far & really helped pick up my confidence again.

That is all I have for now, hopefully another positive story comes tomorrow!

Posted:  4 years, 11 months ago

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Personality conflict with instructor, any good advice would be appreciated

Old School & G-town,

Thank you so much for taking time to read my long-winded situation...& I appreciate your advice.I think I'm going to follow it.

It will be 10 days( I wish it wasn't) before we see each other again...Hopefully it is water under the bridge by then..I just hate someone thinking I was trying to sabotage their reputation when I wasn't...that really bothers me. Though part of me will still feel the need to smooth things over, I will try to let it go unless there is obvious tension, then I will do my best to smooth things over with him again & try to be the best student I can. I won't take it to the next level after that unless it becomes obvious that he is trying to fail me without merit.

Posted:  4 years, 11 months ago

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DMACC (Des Moines Area Community College) December 5 2016-January 20 2017

Today was the 15th day of training. The end of today marks the halfway point for this class. Today was a shortened day as DMACC was dismissing all classes by noon. There were 6 of us on the concourse today with 1 instructor & today was focused on us passing parallel parking evaluations..I failed....

I also appeared to have made a new enemy today that I certainly should have avoiding making an enemy out if I want to succeed. I had already elaborated on this situation in great detail in the general discussion thread but the short version is that I spoke out in frustration to somebody I shouldn't have & I said something that got misinterpreted to sound worse tham what I was trying to say....

I now have to pass parallel parking on the 1st day after a 10 day break & if I don't....I will apparently be recommended to be dropped from the course....though I've done well on everything up to this point & had limited opportunity to pick up parallel backing.

My eye is still on the prize & I plan on doing everything I can to stay positive and do what I need to do to get through this, hopefully I get a fair opportunity to do so....

More to come after the new year....

Posted:  4 years, 11 months ago

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Personality conflict with instructor, any good advice would be appreciated

Today sucked, some of this will be in my cdl diary too but I am seeking advice & I need to vent as well.

Today was the day for me to be tested on parallel parking again.

I was given an opportunity to practice & nailed it but that didn't count because it was practice... Well time came to actually test on it, I get in a bad position & start work on correcting thing I know, the concourse instructor is on the side of my truck shouting commands to me..I followed them & ran over the cones (this was the result of me trying to follow his commands, not from what I would have done on my own) thing i know, I was told to park the semi & get out so I did...a few moments later, I was handed my paper showing a failing grade.

At this point, I am trying to keep to myself because I am frustrated & at the time I felt that the instructor had steered me toward failure (not necessarily with intent to do so).

Another student had come up & started talking to me about it & I opened my mouth & was honest about how I felt about the situation....not a good this was later relayed to the instructor...

Somewhere through the course of saying "It felt like I was set up for failure" was turned into "He is trying to set me up for failure"... I would find out about this until later in the day.....

After someone else tested, I politely asked for another opportunity to test without any feedback or corrections until I was done. The instructor granted it & I parked it perfectly in a matter of a couple minutes with no pullouts or corrections even. (I am guessing that when I was doing this was also when the other student decided to tell the instructor what I said (with his extra spin to make it sound worse)...anyhow, I walked up to the the instructor after parking the vehicle & asked if we could count that one...his answer was"If you can do it again right now"...

so I go & make another attempt, was a bit excited & gave myself a bad setup, but was in the process of correcting it & hadn't hit any cones...Instructor approaches to let me know time is up & to park the vehicle.....

I was frustrated but didn't think much of it at the time...

fast forward a few minutes, we are all in the shop doing end of the day paperwork.

The instructor waits until other students are far enough away from me & confronts me on what I had apparently said.. During his confrontation, I was called a liar & that I was trying to sabotage his reputation...Truth is, I had nothing against the guy, but I was frustrated & vented to the wrong person...

Next thing I know, I am being informed that a remediation form is being filled out on me & that if I don't straighten out instantly on the 1st day back after several days off, he is going to write a recommendation for me to be removed from the course....

I tried to apologize to him & at the same time explain to him what was actually said but he had no interest in in what I had to say & was so stuck on what someone told him I said that it was irreconcilable...wouldn't let me speak, just wanted to yell at me let me know I f'ed up & crossed the wrong person & left it at that.

This instructor is in charge of doing all of the concourse grading with backing maneuvers...& I still don't believe he had it in for me initially, he certainly does now though.

I am trying to decide between going to the transportation school president to explain the situation & ask for arrangements to be made for another instructor to grade my backing maneuvers (this could backfire if I get assigned one of his buddies) or if I should try to set up a conference with this instructor & the head of the driving school to sort it out... I

I certainly don't feel comfortable trying to pretend nothing happened & cross my fingers in hopes I don't intentionally get thrown under the bus by somebody with an axe to grind.... I also don't want to look like a conspiracy theorist or finger pointer either though, what to do?!??!

Also does his threat seem a bit harsh for someone who has done well with everything else so far but still has needs some help perfecting parallel backing after a half a dozen attempts at it over 3 days & no experience before that?

Posted:  4 years, 11 months ago

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DMACC (Des Moines Area Community College) December 5 2016-January 20 2017

Day 14:

I had a new instructor this morning & was given the opportunity to get more practice on city driving. The route was similar to yesterdays but with more turns.

Today didn't go quite as smoothly as yesterday. I ran into a couple situations where i got stuck in neutral trying to shift gears. It took me longer than ideal to recover a gear and probably had some ****ed off commuters wondering what the helI was doing.

After the city drive, it was time for lunch. To my surprise, a Werner recruiter came in & brought us lunch. This was not announced in advance like the previous recruiters were.

I hung out & gathered more information on Werner & was able to also ask all the questions I had for them. These aresome of my perceived pros & cons for Werner based on information I gathered today:

pros: -run all 48 states -variety of freight types & scheduling options (flatbed, van, reefer) (otr, regional, dedicated) -tuition reimbursement -va apprenticeship -reasonable cost for health benefits -good rider policy


-during home time i would either take the truck home or find another place to park on my own (closest terminal or drop yard is 100+ miles away -trucks not equipped with inverters & having inverters that hook into battery installed is prohibited.

In conclusion, they would be a suitable option but they aren't at the top of my list either.

Now to the afternoon, more practiceat parallel parking....I'm still a little slow but I can successfully parallel park after getting out & looking a few times.

I'll take it! I feel enough has sunk in that this won't be a real obsyacle to me pulling through.

After this, I turned in my log book & got to leave school for the day on a high note. Tomorrow will be a short day to winter break for the whole community college...Class will be delayed from resuming for all of next week. Hopefully I retain everything that was crammed into my head this week.

More to come!

Posted:  4 years, 11 months ago

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I did it!

🖒🏁 !

Posted:  4 years, 11 months ago

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Parallel parking...

I must say, this post has excellent timing.......

My schooling has been going well for the most part but today was the day that I failed miserably on a test for the 1st time & this is what I was trying to do today.

Posted:  4 years, 11 months ago

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DMACC (Des Moines Area Community College) December 5 2016-January 20 2017

Well I am flawed at counting, Today is day 13 & not yesterday.

Day 13 did start off pretty rough...

I was a few seconds late for class because I had to deal with some last minute stuff at home that caused me to leave later than normal. No sweat as my name hadn't been called for attendance yet & they were still doing that when I walked in. No harm done there but will try not to make a habit out of that...

After that it was time to do pre-trip inspections, I am starting to get a bit better at it but still a little rough, would be in trouble without the cheat sheet still, but I at least know what all the parts look like & know where to look & what to look for with the help of the sheet, more than I could say a few days ago!

After this was done, some of us were tested on our parallel parking ability & this test was graded.

Even though my skills here aren't adequate yet & I only got a small amount of practice on this yesterday, I was one of the ones chosen to test on it....... and I failed.

I didn't hit anything or take out any cones, but I couldn't quite get myself quite right & never made it into where I was supposed to park before my time ran out.

Fortunately I will get more opportunities to re-test, though I am a bit nervous about whether it will sink in, I'm trying to be optimistic though.

This afternoon.... I was selected to do city driving already since I did well enough with shifting & squaring off turns in the country yesterday.

The fact that I was chose to do this is a compliment since a good portion of the class were told they weren't ready for this & were taken out in the country again by different instructors.

I drove 21 miles through a populated area, crossed 3 or 4 train tracks, made about a dozen turns at city stop lights, stopped for a couple of school buses, drove through a roundabout & reacted correctly to a driver that cut real sharply in front of me & had to hit their breaks shortly after.

I never imagined, even a week ago that I would be at a point where I could accomplish this so quickly, and I was nervous going into the day as well, so I am very content!

Though I am proud of what I was accomplishing this afternoon it wasn't perfect, my downshifting is still a lot rougher than ideal and I ran into a couple moments where I had to stop the vehicle in a higher gear than I deal & start over from 2nd but the afternoon was a success overall. I was also easier on the instructor's back today than yesterday :)

Now if I can only get parallel parking down and memorize more of the pre-trip inspection!

Hopefully, some of this syncs in tomorrow.

More to come!

Posted:  4 years, 11 months ago

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DMACC (Des Moines Area Community College) December 5 2016-January 20 2017

Well, day 13 is now in the books,

Day 13 was also the 1st day we were given the opportunity to drive on public roads. Fortunately, I'm not superstitious.

Today did feel rough but I learned from it & didn't hit anything so it seems like it went well enough.

Another student wasn't as fortunate & hit a concrete barrier on DMACC's concourse. From what we were told, He is fortunate that it happened on DMACC property & not a public road. This is because the school keeps this information private as long as it happens on their property & no damage is done to property that doesn't belong to the school

As far as how my day went :

The morning started with the usual pre-trip inspection. I am getting more accustomed but still probably wouldn't pass it if I were to be tested on it right now. Hopefully the amount of practice I get over the next couple weeks will get me there.

I spent the rest of the morning practicing parallel parking on the concourse, definitely some work to do there! This was followed up by lunch..

After lunch, my partner & I were driven out to a rural area by our instructor so that we may get a feel for actual driving, lots of practice on upshifting & downshifting today....I am at the point where I can generally find the right gear & can recover if I don't...a lot better than I thought I'd be at this point.

I did inadvertently float a couple gears today & the instructor informed me that I'm not supposed to know how to do that......yet.

He just wants me to get it used to double clutching more consistently so I don't fail when being evaluated by the d.o.t.

He also joked that riding with me is hard on his back because I bounce the trailer more than ideal but stated that I was doing well for day 2 of driving in the same sentence.

After an afternoon of driving out in the farmland, we made our way back & called it a day (once we updated our log books & had an instructor sign off that is..)

That's it for the day, more to come.

Posted:  4 years, 11 months ago

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DMACC (Des Moines Area Community College) December 5 2016-January 20 2017

Well today was the day...My 37th birthday & more importantly....My 1st day ever driving a semi, just a fun coincidence.

We started off with introductions from the rest of the instructors. The rest of them introduced themselves & presented short biographies detailing their driving experience.

After this, it was time for our pre-trip inspections. The instructors walked us through those again today. Starting tomorrow, we will be attempting to do them ourselves with the instructors their to correct us as we go.

After this, it was time to familiarize ourselves with actually trying to drive the vehicles. As expected, it was intimidating when it was my turn to hop in the driver's seat.

I had to hesitate a bit on even the simple task of figuring out how to release the parking break to get started.

Personally, I'm the type that can ace every test on paper & memorize the sreps a thousand types... but the first time i try to actually do something i freeze until I get a feel for it.

Once I finally got the vehicle rolling though, it wasn't that bad...The gears are definitely a lot more forgiving on the actual truck than they were on the simulator(I never want to touch that thing again!)

Yes, I did grind a gear here & there but I got the idea down & the instructor me & my partner rode with felt that I did pretty well for someone who has never done a manual transmission before....I must say, I believe the unforgiving simulator did cause me to do better today than I otherwise would have.

We did also get a couple of cracks at straight line backing, that was no sweat...will probably be much more challenging when we start doing angles.

Our lunch was brought in by a recruiter from Schneider today.

There really wasn't that much of an opportunity for a question and answer session simply because he spent all the time we had trying to sell us on Schneider.

During this, he answered some of the questions I would have had & I was able to write down a lot of their pros:

-a lot of variety with types of freight (van, reefer, flatbed, tanker, intermodal) & types of routes (otr, regional, dedicated) -They have a terminal about 15 miles from home & I can park personal vehicle there. -tuition reimbursement -I can have family members 10 or older ride along after 6 months of safe driving -They work with the va apprenticeship program

No real cons that I noted, but I also have some questions that were left unanswered.

I am definitely interested in them & plan on reaching out to them to get more information & fill in the blanks...

Not much more to say about today, other than I am content with how it went...will type more tomorrow.

Posted:  4 years, 11 months ago

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DMACC (Des Moines Area Community College) December 5 2016-January 20 2017

Day 10 has been completed.

Today was a significant one as it was our last day of classroom studies. Next week starts the hands-on portion of our class.

The day started with a couple of videos again. They were both public service videos of sorts. The 1st one was regarding maintaining a healthy lifestyle as a trucker( diet, exercise, overcoming obstacles that odd hours and more difficulty in maintaining a healthy diet for those in our given field of work.

The second video was produced by Truckers against Trafficking. Many of those reading this are hopefully familiar with this organization. Those that aren't, really should do a small bit of research to familiarize yourselves in my opinion. This video had some interviews with truckers have seen trafficking 1st hand.

The disturbing part for me anyway, were the interviews of girls/ women who were kidnapped & coerced into engaging in prostitution against their will, some at a very young age. I actually teared up a couple of times listening to their tragic stories & thankful that they eventually got out of that lifestyle. To me, it is shocking that there are enough truckers out there that are apparently ok with this and help create the demand for it. It's one thing for grown women making the choices on there own, though disgusting, but it disturbs me that young girls can be put to that kind of work against their will and whoever is coercing them can get away with it....enough about that..

After the videos, it was time to take our final written exam.. I got 85/100. It was a passing grade, I'll take it.

It was lunch time after that.

After lunch, we watched our instructor do a full pre-trip inspection of a semi & were informed that we all would be doing one every day from this point for the remainder of the class. In my opinion, this is great as I will need this much hands on practice to have the routine down when it is time to test for my license.

After this, some of us got to do some shifting practice on the simulator. I didn't get to simply because I had already gotten to earlier & classmates who just got their permits this week hadn't had the opportunity yet. I did watch them to see if I could pinpoint anything that may be helpful when I get an opportunity either on the simulator or a truck & I felt that what I saw today helped a little bit anyhow.

We were also given our partner assignments. Starting next week, more instructors are joining our class and it will be a 2 students to 1 instructor ratio for everything we do from this point. That was it for the day, no homework this weekend :)

Posted:  4 years, 11 months ago

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DMACC (Des Moines Area Community College) December 5 2016-January 20 2017

Johnny...just a word of caution, the local FedEx work the recruiter referred to might be Pickup & Delivery (P&D). I would not recommend this as your first job, lots of backing and maneuvering in very close quarters. Higher risk of an incident.

If you pursue a local FedEx opportunity ask if it's P&D and how they will "finish train" before turning you loose solo.

Good luck and keep up the good work.

Thank you for bringing that up G-town. They did go over that. It sounded like most of the city driver jobs were more along the lines of taking freight from the main terminal in Des Moines to smaller hubs within a hundred mile radius ( not final delivery). They would have me pulling doubles quite often and wouldn't have me go anywhere where I needed to do any backing. I just was trying to avoid writing a whole novel for a 1 day journal entry. Even after graduating cdl school, I would still have to start out as a driver apprentice & go through a finishing program. Even during that phase, they would pay 18.70/ hr plus time & a half after 40 hrs.

Once you complete their program & start solo, the pay would bump up to $20 & change/ hr.

That said, this seems like something I would be more interested in down the road anyhow.

I've decided that I really want to give OTR a shot & am set on doing that to start. Most likely, I will want to be around more for my kids when they get into adolescence and will want to be able to get a job more similar to this type of arrangement. I've got the support system in place to make OTR work right now & the more I think about it, the more I want the adventure.

Posted:  4 years, 11 months ago

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Any updated info on West Side Transport or Veriha Trucking?

Hello Big Bird...

I copied what I noted on my journal entry from information I gathered from the West Side recruiter when I had a discussion with her below, some of my pros may be cons for you & vice versa:

During lunch, we had a visit with a recruiter from West Side Transport & the lady was very nice.

To me these were the pros & cons. (My pros may be cons for some other people & vice versa).

pros: -minimum pay guarantee of 1k week for new otr drivers(must not turn down loads, take unusually long breaks in transit or be late to any properly planned appointments) -good rider & pet policy -good equipment (fairly new trucks equipped with apus & inverters) -better home time than most otr companies (full 48 hours home after 10-14 days out where i live) -does not seem as likely to micromanage as some other companies that will hire new drivers(no driver facing cameras, casual dress code, no grooming policy for hair length, etc.)

cons- -it would be tough to earn too much more than the minimum pay guarantee at their starting pay rate of .35/ mile. You would have to average over 2800 miles a week to get above their minimum -the company is more regional & does a lot of shorter hauls, presumably making it tougher to rack up too much mileage above this as well.

-even otr positions do mostly midwest runs with some east coast, does very little West of Iowa where I'm at (I'd like more variety) -only does dry van (I'm interested in doing flatbed but am open to others) -no tuition reimbursement -no partnership with VA apprenticeship program (this is something that would benefit me specifically that some other companies offer) -cost of benefits are pricier than some of the other companies I'm interested in -they also don't match as much on 401k as other companies I am considering.

Posted:  4 years, 11 months ago

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Any updated info on West Side Transport or Veriha Trucking?

Hello Big Bird,

I'm not sure if I have any information that you don't already have or not but one of West Side Transport's recruiters visited the school I am attending a couple of days ago.

I have a cdl diary that I've been writing titled DMACC (Des Moines Area Community College). On day 7, I highlighted some of their pros & cons from the questions our class had collectively asked her if you want to check it out.

Posted:  4 years, 11 months ago

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DMACC (Des Moines Area Community College) December 5 2016-January 20 2017

Day 9:

Class begun with the instructor handing back our map reading/ trip planning test grades. Everyone in the class passed this one. I got 100% :).

Our instructor took time to recognize me & said that I was the 1st person he's graded who had ever gotten 100% on it. I felt pretty proud of that.

Though I had an advantage over some as this was a skill that I already had plenty of experience with due to prior military experience & also working as a traveling sales rep for some time in the past as well.

After this, it was time for more videos. Our instructor joked that if we hadn't noticed yet, this week is movie week.

The first video we watched today was in regard to maintaining a professional attitude when dealing with customers, dispatchers or anyone else you may have to work with as a professional driver. It showed several role playing scenarios & how different attitudes & behaviors could produce different outcomes & emphasized the importance of trying to empathize from where the other person is coming from in given situations. I feel that the points made in this video are very useful.

After this, we watched a short video on situational awareness & avoiding crime. Many tips were brought up in this video that are also good ones to think about. some included: -Try to stick to well lit & heavily used truck stops if possible -be suspicious of anyone who is overy curious about you load & don't talk about your load -be aware of your surroundings when talking business on the phone -be aware of people or vehicles that seem to be following you -when parking for the night, try to have your trailer back to back with another truck or in any other manner that makes the cargo doors harder to access when possible.

There was a lot more to the video than this but these were the kind of things covered.

After this it was time for lunch.

A local Fedex recruiter came in over our lunch to discuss what kind of opportunities Fedex may have for new cdl holders.

One thing that really makes them attractive is that they offer local work to those with less driving experience & the pay is fairly decent.

They also have very affordable benefits & a pension plan.

They also stressed that they have limited openings & it may be tough to get hired right now but wanted us to be aware of them so that we could keep in contact when interested (and many in our class seem to be).

Initially when I was looking into this I wanted local but I have fallen in love with the idea of the OTR adventure for at least a while anyhow.. This is likely to change a few years down the road so definitely something to keep in mind later.

After lunch, it was time to review last nights reading assignment on weight distribution & laws regarding gross loads & axle weights...I could go into detail but that would take a while & those reading these are either aware of it or will probably be educated on it soon enough as well.

Class was dismissed early today as well. Tomorrow is our last written test. The real fun starts next week!

More to come....

Posted:  4 years, 11 months ago

View Topic:

DMACC (Des Moines Area Community College) December 5 2016-January 20 2017

Thank you for the encouragement G-Town!

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