Profile For Steve

Steve's Info

  • Location:
    Cedar Falls, IA

  • Driving Status:
    Experienced Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    2 years, 5 months ago

Steve's Bio

After spending over 20 years in the debt collection and outsourced call center industry, climbing the corporate ladder, I began my trucking career at age 46. I drove OTR for over a year, then linehaul for the next 6. After a brief stint managing a group of yard dogs at a Target DC, I joined Estes Express Lines as a P&D driver in July 2019.

Steve's Photo Gallery

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Posted:  5 months, 1 week ago

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Has anyone ever been a yard dog?

Been there, done that! The job is all about safety. Show up for work on time and don't cause too much damage, and you'll have a job as long as you want!

The move requests were all communicated via an in-cab computer. You click to confirm each step of the move, and when completed, you go to the next one on the list.

Pay attention to trailer and door numbers. When things are busy, it's easy to make a mistake.

I should update my bio. This picture is about 2 years old. Since July 2019 I've been a P&D driver for Estes Express.

The picture is cool (to me, anyway) because it was a summary of my driving career up til then. Started OTR through USA Truck's sponsored program. After about 2 years moved to LME (now defunct) as a linehaul driver for another 6. After a brief stint as a hostler, joined Estes.

Good luck and have fun!

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Posted:  6 months, 3 weeks ago

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Things Are Bad, Running Out of Time

When I read the phrase "I'm all head", it made me chuckle, and it also struck a nerve.

Sounds like something I would've said!

I'll try to be brief. I have three thoughts:

1. Use your intelligence and management experience to tell them what they need to hear tomorrow. You've demonstrated that you are a good person and employee. Now you need to convince them that it's a good idea to keep you on long enough to demonstrate that you are proficient at backing.

2. When backing, it may be that you're too focused on single points (the tandems, the rear corner of the trailer, the position of the wheel.) Try to focus on the whole trailer. Stick your head out of the window and look down the entire length. Watch not only how the back responds, but where you need to move the nose. It may be contrary to a lot of good advice, but you're really moving the front of the trailer with your tractor (imagine pushing a shopping cart backwards). So, if you only fixate on the back, you can lose the big picture

3. Assuming you succeed ( I'll assume even if you're not feeling it 😁) Google "obsessive rumination". My head is a great place to visit, but you wouldn't want to live there! I'm 56 now, and struggled with overthinking things until very recently.

It ain't over 'til it's over, and even when it is, there's always the next game to play!

-Steve

Posted:  2 years, 5 months ago

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Kenworth dashboard height

Cwc touched on another point about the alignment of the mirrors. When I was a rookie and having the typical backing issues, my trainer made me lower my seat so that the mirrors were closer to eye level. Like setting up a shot on a pool table, get lower and you can better see where your trailer is pointed when backing.

Posted:  2 years, 5 months ago

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Weekend Trucking Job Ideas?

G-Town is right, as usual! The other replies are good advice, also. I'm not on a mission to bring new-found respect to yard drivers (shaggers, yard dogs, jockeys, spotters, whatever you wanna call us!), but don't overlook part time opportunities at any large DC or manufacturer.

Posted:  2 years, 5 months ago

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Backing Problem With AutoShift Trans

Don't know if I have a lot to add, but when I drove linehaul and had to "slip seat", there was a big difference from truck to truck, even though they were the same make/model/year. One tip to try is keeping the RPMs up with your throttle, and using your left foot on the brake to control your speed. This may not be a "manufacturer's recommended" technique, and may lead to the clutch overheating message Susan mentioned, but it could help in some situations.

Posted:  2 years, 5 months ago

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From The Corporate Environment To Trucking

Thanks for the welcome, Bruce! I'll try to be more brief in the future!

Posted:  2 years, 5 months ago

View Topic:

From The Corporate Environment To Trucking

Brett - after possibly setting the record for long-time lurking (at least 5 years!), this post made me finally register. I was in a corporate environment for over 23 years, 22 of them being in a management role. Without boring everyone with the details, I'll try to give some input that might be helpful.

First of all, I always find it interesting how many people will start talking about the things that are unique to "their industry". I've learned that while there are industry-specific issues, rules, and regulations, its the people who are unique. The challenges are in how people react and adapt to the issues, not the issues themselves. In my specific example, a person who can understand and adapt to the many federal rules and regulations surrounding working as a bill collector would have no problem dealing with HOS. A person who decides to bend or ignore the rules and operate in the "grey" will do so no matter what their chosen profession.

To someone who is considering a transition from a corporate environment to trucking, the only thing they need to worry about is their own mindset. I always found humor in that many of my colleagues were, in my opinion, somewhat elitist. They would avoid places like the employee break room, as they felt uncomfortable dealing with the gripes and complaints of employees. Every industry has their version of "terminal rats". I always felt at home there, and thought it was one of the most valuable ways to spend my time - listening to employees and responding to their issues. So if you are a hands-on manager, you will have no problem. If you enjoy sitting in meetings, writing on whiteboards and sending out directives via email, you may have more difficulty.

Seabee-J mentioned humility. I agree. In my journey, I went from travelling on airlines, driving full-sized rentals, and staying in nice hotels, to riding the Greyhound to share a motel room with a stranger half my age at my first orientation. I won't say that I enjoyed every minute, but I will say that overall, I absolutely loved the adventure. At my low points trucking, like the one New Years Eve I spent parked overnight at a Dollar General distribution center, I sometimes wondered to myself "why did I want to be a trucker?" But that feeling was quickly replaced by me laughing to myself as I drove through some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world - thinking about my friends sitting in a windowless conference room arguing over the format of some mundane spreadsheet.

I wish I had found your website before I actually jumped in, but I was fortunate enough to have taken the right route into this new career. I went to a company sponsored training program (C1 driving school in Springfield, MO) and then spent almost 2 years with USA Truck. The first year was OTR, then I got on to a dedicated account and was home every weekend. I then took a local linehaul position. After almost 6 years of running nights, and after this last winter season in Iowa made me dread getting on the road one too many times, I decided to look at opportunities to have a more "normal" schedule that would fit my family life better. I considered working P&D and staying with my employer, but was by happenstance put in touch with a company that had a need for a site manager for a contract with a large distribution center. I now manage a team of shag drivers, but typically still work at least a few hours a day, several days a week moving trailers with my team.

Finally, a huge "thank you" to Brett, all of the moderators, and members for this website. I hope you all understand and appreciate how special this site is. Its not really just about trucking. Its about how we treat, relate, and react to each other. Its about how we accept new challenges and approach the unexpected problems thrown our way. If someone has the right attitude, they will find success in any industry they choose to pursue a career in. If they don't, it doesn't matter what field they go into.

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