Retired Engineer Wants To Get Into OTR Trucking, But Having No Success.

Topic 26049 | Page 1

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RichG.'s Comment
member avatar

So, I've read up on all the thoughts, issues, problems, benefits, joys, evils, etc. of being a Trucker, and still I want in. Problem: four years ago, I parted from an evil employer, took half a year to look around, then gave up, retired early at 62 and went blue water sailing.

So I check in with all the companies looking to train, and all want a work history from the last three years. I have none. I can clear sail through a rough night squall, but apparently, not on the road in a truck.

I had a successful career as an electrical engineer, but as I got older, felt it wise to age proof better and got my accounting degree (and some work). But the reality is that no company really wants an "old guy" in their company whether in high tech, or accounting. I've always kept up with technology, social media, and the like, you know, just to stay relevant.

I thought perhaps I'd look more attractive to a hiring company if I got my DOT Card, CDL testing completed, Hazemat started, and TWIC. This isn't what they desire from me.... just the last three years in verifiable work history. So do I have to work some stupid job for three years to gain a current work history...???

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.

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.

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.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Richard, the three year verification is a post 9/11 federal mandate. Homeland Security was concerned that terrorists from other countries would be training people to get trucking jobs and inflict damage with big trucks much like they did with airplanes. So... what they really need is a way to verify where you've been and what you've been up to for the last three years. A lot of companies will accept notarized letters from friends (not relatives) stating they have first hand knowledge of your early retirement and what you've been doing. The phone numbers of each witness must be included for verification.

Start putting that together. Have a minimum of three letters. Not everyone will accept this, but some will. It's probably going to be your only way of getting your foot in the door. Once you've established yourself somewhere for one full year of safe driving all kinds of opportunities will open up.

Save those copies of the letters. You'll need them each time you apply for a new opportunity. They will still be needed until you have ten years verifiable work history established. Once you've got some experience you'll be required to provide a ten year history.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

What part of the country are you residing in? They basically have to be able to verify where you were and what you were doing.. also you must live within the hiring area of whatever trucking company you apply to. Some companies are pickier on work history than others.

If you're in south Florida its difficult to find a driving job starting out.

RichG.'s Comment
member avatar

Post 9/11 has been the death of me. I had an aviation business that died that day...nothing could fly for six months. I was on a sailboat in the Strait of Juan de Fuca straddling the US and Canada with a warship from each country flanking my every move for an entire day. Now almost twenty years later, it's biting me again...

I live a stone's throw from MA on the NH coast. Within the sweet spot of several hiring zones according to many trucking company websites. It doesn't matter though as I'd move wherever to make this work. I plan on pretty much living in the truck. I lived in Marin County CA for almost thirty years, west coast is a nice location...

'Old School', thank you for the sage advice as you have often given to this forum. Do I interact with company recruiters, begging for the chance, or someone with more decision making? On-line applications don't exactly offer a spot for this type of addendum.

'Susan', thanks for your input. Any suggestions for companies with "relaxed" work history requirements?

Funny, when I decided to retire, it never dawned on me to keep track of my whereabouts, timetables, and collecting references. Thought my logbook would be enough. I'll have to see if I can find some of those dolphins I ran with in the South Pacific for a letter or two.

Logbook:

A written or electronic record of a driver's duty status which must be maintained at all times. The driver records the amount of time spent driving, on-duty not driving, in the sleeper berth, or off duty. The enforcement of the Hours Of Service Rules (HOS) are based upon the entries put in a driver's logbook.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Richard, you must be about 2 hrs from me... work and live in Concord NH.

Dallas L.'s Comment
member avatar

I can relate sir. I had 13 years experience, & a very clean driving record. I had to get out of the truck to help my mom take care of my dad, he had a major surgery and she really needed my help to watch over him at night in the hospital. Now he's at home & I stayed with him for few more yrs. Thank the amazing great Lord he's still doing good, but he'll never be the same. I've probably applied to almost every trucking company out there, & everyone says " not enough "recent" experience.. or they act like they cant belive I wasn't at the hospital with my father. I understand they don't know me etc. But I have no criminal background, they can run my license! Tho I dont have my hazmat or TWIC card , but it's still kinda amazing they just blow me off! I even had one recruiter lady tell me my work history was weak : o .. & didnt care bout my situation!! I cant buy my own truck simply because I dnt have a downpayment & most bankers want a 12 to 15 % downpayment.. my DOT card was just renewed but that's still not acceptable. I would go out with a trainer, if I could, but they always come back & say " our safety dept says you dont have anything from the last 3 years, so we can't bring you in" I may just give up on my CDL & get 2 jobs. I hope you end up having lot better luck than myself sir.... #StayBlessed

So, I've read up on all the thoughts, issues, problems, benefits, joys, evils, etc. of being a Trucker, and still I want in. Problem: four years ago, I parted from an evil employer, took half a year to look around, then gave up, retired early at 62 and went blue water sailing.

So I check in with all the companies looking to train, and all want a work history from the last three years. I have none. I can clear sail through a rough night squall, but apparently, not on the road in a truck.

I had a successful career as an electrical engineer, but as I got older, felt it wise to age proof better and got my accounting degree (and some work). But the reality is that no company really wants an "old guy" in their company whether in high tech, or accounting. I've always kept up with technology, social media, and the like, you know, just to stay relevant.

I thought perhaps I'd look more attractive to a hiring company if I got my DOT Card, CDL testing completed, Hazemat started, and TWIC. This isn't what they desire from me.... just the last three years in verifiable work history. So do I have to work some stupid job for three years to gain a current work history...???

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.

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

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.

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.
Tractor Man's Comment
member avatar

It sounds like you have had a long and successful career in other fields. I would list all of your previous careers, dates, employers, etc. Get notarized letters from friends and colleagues stating you have been retired and traveling. It seems that many of these megas have no problem filling their schools and trucks with recent immigrants, some whom even have difficulty with speaking english. I doubt many of them have a verifiable 3+ year employment record. If I were you, I would dig a bit deeper with these recruiters. You can make it happen. Good luck!

smile.gifgood-luck.gif

Private P.'s Comment
member avatar

If you haven't already, I'd suggest you try talking with Wiltrans. They have one of the better ab initio programs, like to hire people running second/third careers, and are generally willing to work with you for unusual circumstances.

The pay isn't industry leading, but it isn't bad, and you can always put in a year with them and move on, if that's a concern.

(Full disclosure: I went through the Jim Palmer and initio program.)

Army 's Comment
member avatar

If you haven't already, I'd suggest you try talking with Wiltrans. They have one of the better ab initio programs, like to hire people running second/third careers, and are generally willing to work with you for unusual circumstances.

The pay isn't industry leading, but it isn't bad, and you can always put in a year with them and move on, if that's a concern.

(Full disclosure: I went through the Jim Palmer and initio program.)

My son drives for Wil-Trans and they treat him well and he wouldn't consider it a starter company. What is a "ab initio program"?

Wil-Trans:

Darrel Wilson bought his first tractor in 1980 at age 20, but, being too young to meet OTR age requirements, he leased the truck out and hired a driver.

Through growth and acquisition, Wil-Trans now employs over 200 drivers, and has a long-standing partnership with Prime, Inc. to haul their refrigerated freight. The family of businesses also includes Jim Palmer Trucking and O & S Trucking.

Private P.'s Comment
member avatar

Ab initio is Latin for from the beginning, not commonly used in trucking, but is used elsewhere for programs where they teach you everything you need to get all of the licenses and certifications you need for any given job.

As far as the question of it being a starter company goes....it both is and isn't.

Given that they'll train you (and pay for the mistakes you're going to make in the first 6-12 months), by the strictest definition, it is. That being said, there are plenty of drivers who come to the Wilson family of companies with plenty of experience in the field (and not just because the company they had been working for got bought.).

As I said, the pay is good, but you can certainly make more money elsewhere after putting in your time....I'm not 100 percent sure you can make more money and be treated better than Wilson, though.

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