Technical College In Georgia, My 2nd Career Begins

Topic 15195 | Page 1

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GaGator's Comment
member avatar

Hi all, I begin this topic in hopes that I can help someone along the way. A little background first. I am 60 years old, worked for one of the 2nd largest computer company in the world for 33 years before being sent out to pasture. I worked my way up from the very bottom to a corporate position and was making A LOT OF MONEY before being shown the door. I searched for positions for 6 months and learned first hand that age discrimination is alive in well in the computer industry. I am a researcher, so I spent countless hours looking for a job that would allow me to work until my planned retirement age of 65, possibly beyond. I come from a hard working "lower middle class" family and consider myself to have a strong work ethic. I am not afraid to get my hands dirty, work long hours, or pay my dues to get ahead. I have done this before, and my success at my last company is proof that what Brett and others say here is true, you have to pay dues! Any other train of thought, in my opinion, will be counter productive in this industry, as it is in most other large companies.

I chose to go to a technical college instead of training with a company. I did this to allow myself greater control of where I will work. I am about half way through my training with a graduation date of 8-10-16. I plan to get my license and immediately get my hazmat , tanker, and double/triple endorsements. (why not set tough goals?) I consider myself very lucky, I landed in a small class with only 7 students during the summer semester, and we are getting twice the backing/driving practice of a typical class. I stay after for extra practice, and come in on days off to practice even more. To get this opportunity, I drive 75 miles to a school in another city.

My #1 problem right now is choosing the right company! Believe me folks, I spend hours researching the differences and no two are the same. I plan on working for my first company a year, so the choice is my greatest concern, and what keeps me up a night. I am located in South Georgia and home time is one of my top priorities, I want to see my wife, and have a life outside the truck. While in it, I will work my butt off. Any advice, or ideas would be greatly appreciated.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

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.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Welcome. Our paths to trucking are similar...I started driving full time over 4 years ago at the age of 54 after 30+ years of fighting the wars of corporate IT. There are several drivers on the forum who started late 50's, early 60's so you are not alone. It can be done. My advice;...try not to overthink your first company. We constantly reinforce the concept that good drivers can usually be successful no matter where they work. I started with Swift 4 years ago, continue to drive for Swift on their Walmart Dedicated Account and at this point in my life, no good reason to leave them.

Maybe the below links can help you out. Even though you are currently in school, the High Road Training Program could be of benefit.

Trucking Company Reviews

Good luck and let us know how else we can assist.

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.

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.

's Comment
member avatar

Hey GaGator! I'm in the Valdosta class and will graduate on 8-10-2016 as well. We have had some great training. It seems as if you and I are similar. I retired from the military (11.1 yrs USMC, 10.2 yrs Army) and then worked as a consultant for a DOD firm on a contract for the past 8 years until the contract was discontinued in May 2015. Although I have an AA degree and am now only one course shy of completing my BA degree, I too came to the conclusion that there is age discrimination (I'll be 54 in November) in corporate America. Anyway, this allows me to pursue a career in trucking, which has interested me since childhood. I actually had planned on only serving four years in the Marine Corps and then entering the trucking industry, but I found myself wanting that military retirement and I'm glad I went that route. Now though, I am exciting to enter the trucking arena. The cool thing about having a military retirement is that I do not have to look for a trucking job based on what benefits they provide such as health insurance, dental, etc..., because I already have great retirement benefits.

Please keep in touch and let me know how your job search goes. I too would like a job where I can get home on "most" weekends so I can spend some time with my wife. I have communicated with a CT Transportation recruiter several times, they are on the low end of the pay scale. The best thing about CT is they get you home on weekends.

Like you, I am a research-aholic as it pertains to everything. Man, I'm talking about....I will research the heck out of something as small as a battery charger just to make sure that battery charger will do the job I want it to do, and then I will conduct even more research in order to find the best deal on that battery charger! The same goes with my job search for my first trucking job. Even though I have conducted a ton of research over the past several months, I still haven't settled on a company as of yet. I too am going to get my hazmat endorsement as well as my doubles/triples and TWIC card, so I may be more attractive to a company.

Again, please keep in touch and let me know when you settle on a company. I will do the same!

Geo.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

Doubles:

Refers to pulling two trailers at the same time, otherwise known as "pups" or "pup trailers" because they're only about 28 feet long. However there are some states that allow doubles that are each 48 feet in length.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

GaGator's Comment
member avatar

Hi folks,

Thanks for the great responses, both are very helpful. G-Town probably has a good point, after about 4 months of research, I am still undecided. I have narrowed down my choices to threat this time, but I am in no way comfortable with my conclusions. These are my thoughts at this time

Epes - They have a local terminal and do a ton of work for the Lowes distribution center just across the street. The Lowes lot is full of Epes trailers. I have made 2 trips to the terminal, and can never catch a driver. I have spoken to the dispatchers and have seen/felt no red flags. Possible downsides are low 401k match and pay is not the best. The local terminal is however a major plus. I found a small number of employee ratings for the company, but most are good.

Roehl - A smaller carrier, but I have been impressed with their online presence and discussions with recruiters. I get the impression they are very process driven and tend to micromanage, but hey, I am so used to that environment! As a new trucker, well established rules and sticking to them appeal to me. Also, I consider their home time to be the best in the business for a new driver. They speak and write of safety first. Lots of online feedback, most is good. Possible downsides terminal 200 miles away, and I hardly ever see their trucks on the road here, and believe me I look and pay attention to this aspect.

Companies I like but scare me a little

Schneider - Huge company! Good recruiters, but 2 things I do not like. They pay household goods mileage, this alone tells me they choose to live in the past and use this to their advantage, not the drivers. I also read that they charge the driver to administer per-diem, I cannot get an answer when I ask this question and this concerns me. Mega companies in general make me suspicious.

US Express - Bad recruiter here, terrible attitude, no passion, and he could not tell me how they pay miles. I got the feeling he cared less whether I came to work there. I actually wrote to their HR about the experience. The fact that they have not responded tells me a lot about the company, I will give them a couple more days and hope to get another recruiter to speak to.

Mysteries ??

Cypress Trucking - Told me I was "out of area" I am 100 miles from a terminal and they are now recruiting locally. I even spoke to HR and I felt they were blowing me off. Could this be age discrimination? I don't know, but I have a perfect work history and a clean driving record. Something turned them off, and I would love to know what it is?

TMC - Turned me down, like Cypress, a flatbed company, is there something common here? do flatbed companies want younger drivers? I am OK with the rejections, but not knowing why drives me nuts!

Conclusion: I could research for the next 10 years and not be sure I am going with the right company. This is incompatible with my way of doing business, and I must adjust, but I am not there yet. I don't 100% trust anything I read, or that a recruiter says. Every company has haters, and also truckers that love them, so what can you really believe. The idea of finding drivers in truck stops to speak to is easier said than done. Almost none of them wear anything that will allow you to identify them. Ii will not knock on doors in the parking lot since I would not appreciate it myself.

Sorry for the "book" here folks, but this is a very frustrating and stressful decision that I find almost impossible. Any choice will be a leap of faith because I can find nothing solid that i' really believe in. A strange new world for a newbie like me!

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Dispatcher:

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.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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.

Jaguwar's Comment
member avatar

I see no one answered on your last post, that's probably because anything we could say is pure speculation. I'm gonna venture with one guess, however: the flatbed companies? Flatbed apparently very physically intensive and demanding work, and while they might not want to discriminate against you, they might be hesitant to hire someone who, by nature of no longer being a "spring chicken" might, maybe, be more likely to injure himself on the job. Yes, there are older people who do that work, but most have been doing it for years, and one would hope they would make up for some of the difficulty with the simple experience of knowing how to move around without hurting themselves just looking at a damned load.

Just a possibility.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Tanker Man's Comment
member avatar

Gator did you ever decide on a company or are you still going down that road?

's Comment
member avatar

Gator, what happened?

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