Roehl Company-Sponsored Program - Day To Day

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Razorkeen's Comment
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Evening all. I figured that since after arriving to the Roehl compound for my first day, I have found that some of us recruits have been given drastically different information from our recruiters, I would start a thread to clarify as much as I can while going through the program. I will also be giving a day to day log on what we did, my thoughts on it, and my personal opinions on the training. I know for a fact that at least two of my fellow recruits will see this so please feel free to chime in with anything you'd like to add regarding the program, or call out my BS if I managed to slip some in.

First, before I start the day to day log, there seemed to be several key points that differed from what my recruiter explained to me. I know one other individual in the program had the same recruiter and was given the same information. The trainers have been made aware of this and have stated they would look into it. Normally I wouldn't throw someone under the bus for minor misinformation, but this was some pretty drastic stuff that could turn some from Roehl just because of the information given. Firstly, I was originally informed that I would be required to provide my own transportation to the compound. This is completely false. Roehl got me a rental car on their dime and they are also reimbursing me for my gas. There is currently some confusion as to the exact details on the reimbursement, but it is there. Several others also received a bus ticket instead of a rental, or drove their own vehicle and will be reimbursed on gas as well. Secondly, myself and another recruit were told we would be required to fund our meals for our time here in training. Now while this wasn't a huge deciding factor in my school choice as I had found that this is the case at the majority of company sponsored programs, it did cause myself and another a good amount of stress and anxiety that was completely unnecessary. While staying at the Woodfield Inn located at Roehls Marshfield, WI location you are served breakfast in the attached restaurant. While I wouldn't consider this exactly a spread, they do have some options. For lunch, you select what you would like from a menu that is passed around each day. The menu includes a variety of salads, wraps, and sandwiches. This is provided at no cost to you. Lastly, you are given a $10 meal voucher each day to use on dinner in the restaurant that is attached to the hotel. The final bit of false information I can think of is that we would be running from 0700-1900 every day for 6 1/2 days a week. In reality, it is 0700-1700 5 1/2 days a week. Not a large difference, but it is what it is.

This may seem trivial to some, while to others they are large problems to misinform people on. Personally, aside from the stress from making sure I had funding while my family would also be taken care of while I was gone, the largest issue I found was that once I arrived and we all had different information, some of those that were informed correctly that meals would be provided had a small moment of "now what" when they discovered some of us were told meals were not provided, any they didn't bring much in the way of funds with them. Food for thought.

Since I am already halfway over my maximum allowed characters, I will begin a new post to outline my experience so far on a training standpoint since I've finished my rant regarding the recruiters information.

- Razor

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

DWI:

Driving While Intoxicated

Philly Fan 's Comment
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Razor, Thanks for your posts please keep them coming. This is a great forum. Where are attending Roehl training? What division are you getting on with?

Razorkeen's Comment
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Here we go.

Pre-hire: If you're looking at Roehl, I suggest you start the process at least a good month before you wish to leave. It took me exactly one month to proceed through their process. Initially it took roughly a week to receive the initial phone call from them to set up the phone interview. The phone interview was pretty standard. After agreeing to the commitment, I was sent a link with a number to call to set up my DOT physical. I called the clinic, and was informed the next appointment I could get into was two weeks away. A little disappointed, I went ahead and got it lined up. After informing my recruiter, it became a hurry up and wait situation. I used the time to study for my CDL permit and tried to get my affairs squared away before I left. Finally the day before my appointment, I was called by the clinic and was informed that the only doctor able to administer the physical in their office had decided to take a vacation day on the day of my appointment. I had to drive an hour away to their clinic in another town instead. While initially more than a little P.Oed that they had waited until the day before, I turned it into a good thing by driving another 15 minutes after the appointment and took a visit to Cabelas. For those fellow fathers of young ones like myself (or mothers,) a truly proud father moment is walking into Cabelas with your one year old in your arms and having him give a rather loud squeal and begin clapping his hands pretty much trumps most of them in my book. Once the physical was finished, I obtained my CDL permit and started getting my bags packed. I would be leaving for Roehl in two more weeks.

Day Zero(5 MAR 16): 20:00 - I had my bags packed and loaded into my rental car. I cut out of the house at exactly 2000. I won't bore you with the standard driving, but I made good time. I had plans to meet up with my wife and son who were in northern IL visiting some family. I pulled up where she was staying at 0740 of 6 MAR 16. After breakfast and spending some time with her and the little one, I hopped back into the car at around 1300 and took off north. I pulled into Marshfield, WI at roughly 1720 and found the motel. I got to my room and unpacked my bag before going out to grab an early dinner. I had to meet the shuttle in the lobby at 1900 to return my rental, and I had every intention of racking out early after that. Alas, 1900 came and I was informed the airport I would be returning the car to was around 40 minutes away. After all was said and done, I got back to the hotel at around 2100. Early enough maybe, but considering I had been running since 0800 on Saturday, I disagree. All in all, it was a very long trip but had a few upsides. I did get to spend several hours with my family. Also, I lucked out and managed to get what I would refer to as a pretty good guy as a roommate.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

Pre-hire:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Razorkeen's Comment
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Day One(7 MAR 16): 0500 - My alarm definitely didn't make a friend after the long two days before when it went off at 0500. After a few minutes of groggy cursing, I managed to stumble into the shower and wake myself up. After some lounging around my roommate and I headed down to the lobby at around 0600 to get some breakfast. One problem, breakfast didn't open until closer to 0630. After shoving some food down my gullet, we headed outside to meet the shuttle that arrived at roughly 0640 to take us the several miles to the training facility. We arrived at roughly 0700 and all piled out and into the classroom where we had several books and the hiring paperwork waiting for us. Our class has 6 students. 5 of us are going flatbed, and one is going dry van. We began filling out the paperwork until we had reached a certain point. After this, at around 0800, we had to move into another area of the building and provide our DL/SSC/Passport (If you had one) and take a picture for our Roehl employee ID. We also had to fill out a federal form certifying we had the right to work in the US. After this, we all moved to another room for our physical abilities test. I will attempt to include each part of it, but it went by so fast I may omit something on accident. First, BP was taken to determine if you would go home before even starting the test. I believe I was told that you must be under 180/110 or you would be DQed. They are expecting a fair amount of nerves so don't sweat it. I normally run around 125/80 but I had a 161/89 this time. She chalked it up to nerves and the fact that I had a thick shirt on. I cannot stand tests that can send me home when I'm not directly in control of how I do. Next came a series of exercises you must do. Your heart rate is then measured after each. My maximum heart rate was 176 to continue the program. I will be the first to tell you that I have gotten out of shape with a string of jobs that required long hours on my rear. I don't plan to make that same mistake with my trucking career. Anyway, the highest I ever got was 135, so the majority of people will have no issues with the tests. Your maximum HR is determined by your age and weight. From here on I will use the letters HRT to signify when your heart rate is checked.

The first test was a simple squat down and read a sheet of paper attached to the wall, return to standing, then back down for 20 seconds before standing back up. One knee and hand was allowed on the ground if needed, however you could not grab anything for assistance going up or down. HRT.

Second, we had to simulate climbing into the back of a truck while maintaining three points of contact. Not much to expand on. HRT.

Third, it was time for 10 squats. Simple enough, at least one hand has to touch the ground. No knees allowed. HRT.

Fourth, we had to squat and pick up a basket that was 25lbs and had to carry it 25 feet down and 25 feet back before squatting down and placing it back on the floor. Next the weight was bumped up to 70lbs, same drill. HRT.

Fifth, we moved to a table to a crate that was 20 lbs and were required to lift it from waist to shoulder height 3 times. Weight was bumped to 40lbs and repeated. HRT.

Sixth, we moved to a push/pull bar. First we were required to pull on the bar three times, each time had to be over 120lbs of force. Next we had to push on the bar with a minimum of 100lbs of force each time. HRT.

Seventh, we moved to a lat station and had to do three standing lat pull-downs of 80lbs. HRT.

Eighth, we moved to a small rolled up tarp. We were required to squat down and pick the tarp up. after getting it to chest level, we had to curl the tarp waist to chest two times before placing it back on the ground.

Ninth, we were required to walk across a balance beam that was approx. 10 feet long, pivot around and walk back. You were allowed one retry before failing this portion.

Tenth, the final test was to climb a ladder approx 25 feet, touch the ceiling, and climb back down. End of test.

All of this took until roughly 1000 for everyone to finish. Once returning to the classroom we finished all of our paperwork, had a small break, then began several power-points. At 1130 was Lunch. Once we began again at 1230, we began to log our day so far on a paper log to learn the system. After one more power-point, at roughly 1300 we split into two groups of 3. One group went out to the truck, and my group went to the simulator. We began to practice our shifting as soon as we sat down. We took turns doing this until roughly 1445. At this point we had a 15 minute break and the groups switched. I'll tell you now, I never expected to be tossed into a truck at day one with around 30 minutes of simulator time. Surprisingly we all did, in my opinion, very well for the level of practice we had had. And talk about a rush. At least for myself. I do believe I am hooked. We stayed in the truck taking turns until around 1640 when we headed back into the class room for a few last minute questions before heading back to the hotel. Day one is done, and it was incredible.

- Razor

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.
Razorkeen's Comment
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As a last thought today, I have to say that I firmly believe Roehl has an amazing program. While I wasn't expecting to start driving my first day, I have to say it was the best thing that could have happened. I have always thrived when tossed in head first and told to swim or drown. While this was not anywhere near as rushed, we were encouraged every step of the way that there was no point in over thinking the driving, and to relax and let our instincts take over. I happen to be one of those individuals who learns better by doing. I personally do not believe I could have found a better program to be a part of, and I fully look forward to driving for the company that embraces this teaching style and is giving me this chance.

I'll leave it at that and stop the KoolAid overdose.

- Razor

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
ProudArmyMom's Comment
member avatar

As a last thought today, I have to say that I firmly believe Roehl has an amazing program. While I wasn't expecting to start driving my first day, I have to say it was the best thing that could have happened. I have always thrived when tossed in head first and told to swim or drown. While this was not anywhere near as rushed, we were encouraged every step of the way that there was no point in over thinking the driving, and to relax and let our instincts take over. I happen to be one of those individuals who learns better by doing. I personally do not believe I could have found a better program to be a part of, and I fully look forward to driving for the company that embraces this teaching style and is giving me this chance.

I'll leave it at that and stop the KoolAid overdose.

- Razor

Razor:

I am reading & following your posts w/great interest. I have applied at Roehl & my recruiter is waiting to hear back from my drug tests. My trucking school start date will be finalized then. You weren't kidding about the month turn around. Been 3 weeks for me so far.

My recruiter had told me about the provided food & correct class hours. But rental car reimbursement? What? That never came up. I was gonna drive my car from ATL to WI. I was told about the gas reimbursement only. Greyhound was never an option cause I'm too old to sleep w/one eye open. The bus scene from Planes, Trains & Automobiles always comes to mind.

Please continue your posts so I will have a good idea of what I'm in for. Thanks for the great info.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Razorkeen's Comment
member avatar

Razor, Thanks for your posts please keep them coming. This is a great forum. Where are attending Roehl training? What division are you getting on with?

I chose to go with the flatbed division which required me to attend their Marshfield, WI location. It's the only compound they offer the flatbed training at.

double-quotes-start.png

As a last thought today, I have to say that I firmly believe Roehl has an amazing program. While I wasn't expecting to start driving my first day, I have to say it was the best thing that could have happened. I have always thrived when tossed in head first and told to swim or drown. While this was not anywhere near as rushed, we were encouraged every step of the way that there was no point in over thinking the driving, and to relax and let our instincts take over. I happen to be one of those individuals who learns better by doing. I personally do not believe I could have found a better program to be a part of, and I fully look forward to driving for the company that embraces this teaching style and is giving me this chance.

I'll leave it at that and stop the KoolAid overdose.

- Razor

double-quotes-end.png

Razor:

I am reading & following your posts w/great interest. I have applied at Roehl & my recruiter is waiting to hear back from my drug tests. My trucking school start date will be finalized then. You weren't kidding about the month turn around. Been 3 weeks for me so far.

My recruiter had told me about the provided food & correct class hours. But rental car reimbursement? What? That never came up. I was gonna drive my car from ATL to WI. I was told about the gas reimbursement only. Greyhound was never an option cause I'm too old to sleep w/one eye open. The bus scene from Planes, Trains & Automobiles always comes to mind.

Please continue your posts so I will have a good idea of what I'm in for. Thanks for the great info.

Karen,

It certainly seemed to take a huge amount of time but with all said and done, after I took care of my test and physical, things moved pretty fast. I noticed in your other topic that you had gotten Roehl to let you train in GA so congrats on the acceptance. Just prepare yourself for things to get rolling extremely quickly once you start. I'm assuming you will be stay at home, but I would still ask about the meal voucher. We have one recruit who drives from home to training each day, and he still receives the meal voucher for the restaurant each night. Best of luck and keep us updated!

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

ProudArmyMom's Comment
member avatar

Razor:

I still can't believe my good fortune that I will be able to attend trucking school 10 miles from my house!!! After 3 weeks of hearing it would be in WI, I had given up.

Yes, I am definitely asking about the food vouchers!!! That's on my final list of questions. I am constantly checking my email for my start date.

Thanks for the heads up & hang in there.

Razorkeen's Comment
member avatar

Day Two(08 Mar 16): 0700 - Waiting in the class room for the instructors to show up. About 5 minutes later, in walked the instructors and informed us we would be working on our turns today. We split back up into our two groups of three and the other group headed out to the truck while mine headed to the simulator. I will be blunt. I absolutely hate that POS simulator. Everything, and I mean everything, feels off. Shifting doesn't feel right, depth perception goes completely out the window, and it will tell you you're hitting a curb even when on the screen you're not. After spending around 30 minutes each on the simulator practicing left and right turns with the trailer, we headed out into the yard to the truck while the other group came inside. For the next 45 minutes everything seemed to go very well. Of course I managed to basically forget everything I had learned about shifting the previous day and managed to bump myself into reverse instead of second as well as mistakenly bumping myself into 9th gear instead of 7th. But after a few minutes everything came back and I began to actually work on my turns. According to my instructor, we all did better than expected. We initially began with just left turns before lunch. Afterward, both groups got into our respective trucks and and began with right turns. Again, my group did well. My instructor felt we were doing well enough that tomorrow we will be hitting the town. In the mean time, after our second break we went out for a "commentary drive" where our instructor drove around town talking us through everything he was doing and looking for. When we returned, we jumped ahead of schedule and the three of us started working on our backing. We did several straight line backs between cones and concrete divider walls with about 3 feet of space on each side of the trailer (don't quote me on the spacing.) After we did much better than expected (again, my trainers words, not mine. I'd never make the claim. Personally I'm still waiting to run myself over while driving.) we moved on to offset backing both left and right. While we were basically walked through this step by step, it was still great practice. Especially getting to practice feathering the clutch. After this it was time to head back to the hotel and grab some chow. All in all, it was nothing short of an amazing day. We are currently a little over a day ahead of schedule. Tomorrow we have, unfortunately, more simulator time planned for backing practices, then we will be taking the trucks onto the roads for some real practice. Time to get some shut eye for what is sure to be an interesting day tomorrow.

As a side note, anyone who comes to Roehls WI location, bring waterproof boots. Currently, both training yards are dirt. And when I say dirt, I mean three inches of mud with small streams running through everywhere. If you ever wanted to know what it was like driving an 18-wheeler in a dirt derby, you'll get to learn.

- Razor

Thomas R.'s Comment
member avatar

As being one of razor's fellow recruits from the other group, I can tell what it's like on our side. The instructors do good at letting you work on what you're having trouble with. My group fell behind razors today because we had a fellow recruit that needed some extra practice. Plus went to get the truck washed before going on the road or doing any backing and the machine messed up so we were stuck in the truck wash for a little while. But so far I feel very confident that I made the right decision by choosing roehl over other companies. It is a fast jam packed program, especially for those coming in with no experience around rigs. I myself was a Mechanic on them for 4 years and have had experience with them but have some habits to break (floating gears, one hand driving, etc). Anyways razor is doing a great job with the details of the day to day

Floating Gears:

An expression used to describe someone who is shifting gears without using the clutch at all. Drivers are taught to "Double Clutch" or press and release the clutch twice for each gear shift. If you're floating gears it means you're simply shifting without using the clutch at all.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

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