Off To Stevens Transport On Monday The 10th, After 20+ Years Off The Road

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Brian K.'s Comment
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Off to Stevens Transport on Monday the 10th, after 20+ years off the road

First of all, for those who thought you may be to old to start a driving career, go for it. I am in my late 60's. I drove during the 70's, 80's & 90's but had a desk job for the past 24 years. Now that I am retired, I going back on the road for a few years.

I know there are a couple of people in these forums that suggested I might want to keep looking for another place to start and I appreciate your opinion. But Stevens was the only place in the past 2 to 3 months that would take me with no recent experience and since since I have my CDL the recruiter said, if you can believe him, the refresher course would only be a few days to maybe a week depending on my skills training.

I have to find out if I can still do it. Not all the bull crap stuff the company may ask me to do but the driving, dealing with the traffic, the hours behind the wheel, waiting to get loaded/unloaded, working with dispatchers, truck stop parking etc... those kind of things.

So I am leaving this Sunday and starting orientation on Monday. If anyone is interested, I'll try and update the blog with my experiences objectively while at Stevens. I'm excited and apprehensive at the same time,

Brian

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
PackRat's Comment
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Good luck and we would enjoy reading of your unique experience there.

Rob T.'s Comment
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I'd love to see how your experience is compared to what the others had mentioned. Also how you adjust to the changes that have occurred especially for the equipment.

Good luck!

Brian K.'s Comment
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Hi All,

Well I'm here at Stevens Transport. Arrived Sunday afternoon and the Stevens van picked me up at the airport. When I got to the Luna Lodge, where Stevens keep there drivers, the motel was full and they had to put me in an overflow room. Monday after coming back from my first day of training I was assigned a permanent room. Here are few facts I know for sure:

1) They do not pay for your travel to Stevens

2) They do not pay for your room.

3) They front you $70.00 a week for food.

They will front you the money for travel, food, and the room but you have to pay it back a little each week when you start driving. Since I am doing the 3 week refresher course It will cost $600.00 for the motel. I paid for my own travel and will not take the food advance money.

So what did I do on my first day, mostly paper work and waiting around. Complete half of the physical. Tomorrow morning I will finish the physical. That's about it for day one.

What did I think about the place so far? They seemed a little disorganized. They kind of make you feel like you in 5th grade. How, they would say things like stand here, don't leave this spot, what did I just tell you, things like that. I have to admit, there had to be at least 50 students or more in the school and each group of students were at different levels. It reminded me of a factory but for students. So I would imagine, at least in the beginning, the trainers needs to keep a short leash on the student or it could get out of control. Covid wise, there was lots of Plexiglas between seats or chairs are set apart. Everyone pretty much kept their mask on as well.

I haven't got anything other companies to compare it but for the first day I would say it was just OK. Nothing to write home about. Hoping as each day goes by and trainer gets to know you the 5th grade attitude will go away.

I keep updating the page when I can.

Brian

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.
Old School's Comment
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What did I think about the place so far?... They kind of make you feel like you in 5th grade. How, they would say things like stand here, don't leave this spot, what did I just tell you, things like that.
Hoping as each day goes by and trainer gets to know you the 5th grade attitude will go away.

Brian, don't fool yourself with your own perceptions. When you go to a trucking job orientation you have to approach it like it is a month long interview. We've been telling people this for years now. The instructors are famous for telling you something ridiculous like, "I've got to go do something. I'm not sure how long I will be gone, but I don't want any of you to leave this room while I'm gone." That sounds like something you'd say to a bunch of kids right? Well, the truth is they want to make sure which ones in the group will actually follow directions no matter how ridiculous they seem. Truck drivers are the "low man on the totem pole" in every trucking operation. They sometimes are told to do stuff that they might question. They don't get to see the "bigger picture" their managers may be working on. Really great truck drivers can follow directions explicitly even if they don't understand the reasoning behind it.

There is a famous trucking company that sends people home from orientation for walking on their grass. They have a clearly visible sign outside telling the new drivers to "Stay Off The Grass." Their point is how important it is for truck drivers to pay attention to signs. They figure people who can't do it at their "job interview" don't deserve a position on that team.

Brian K.'s Comment
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Thanks Old School,

That's how the first day at Stevens made me feel. So I am taking your post to heart. Today was very uneventful. There was a computer glitch which caused me and a couple of other student to have to redo some medical info online before they could continue with the physical. One student had to redo the online form 3 times. I start at 7:30 and finally finished the physical around 12:30. Did a little more paper work after lunch. They did not have much else for us to do so the trainer put us on the simulator for a couple of hours and then off to the motel.

That's it for day 2

See you all later!

Brian

Anne A. (momcat)'s Comment
member avatar

Following as well, Brian~!

No advice to give ya; just a trucker's wife for 20'ish years, LoL. . . . kudos to starting over; I'm excited to follow ya!

Best wishes;

~ Anne ~

good-luck.gif good-luck-2.gif good-luck.gif

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Brian K.'s Comment
member avatar

Sitting here at Stevens, lunch time, and thought I give you all an update.

Day 3, 4, and 5 that would be Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, has been really slow for my group. We were told the instructors are waiting for a group of student paper testing for their permit so we can join them. My group is small, remember we are in a refresher course. There was 7 but we are down to 4. One left, don't know why, one did not get past the physical, and the other had a family emergency.

Days 3, 4, and 5 have been basically just doing review of pre-trip and spending some time on the simulator. It's all good I guess, just taking one day at a time. Some of the my group and other students are getting a little frustrated and I can see why but you need to go with the flow and not let it bother you.

But what I can say is the stories some of the students have told me concerning why they are here makes me more appreciative of what I have at home and my financial status. I not wealthy, I just retire and my wife is still working and I could go without a job but I have one kid and he will be ready for college in a year and hopefully the money I might make here will help him out with a car, living expenses, and tuition.

Many of the students here come with very little money in hopes Stevens Transport will be the answer to their financial needs. Some of the reasons make me a little sad and I truly hope they all succeed here and get to where they need in life. Hope they all pass and enjoy life on the road.

I have a goal which I will share late in the blog but first I want to see if i can make to getting a truck and running solo. I will explain more later.

Have a nice weekend and I will be back next Monday or Tuesday with more updates.

Brian pre-Stevens driver, lol

Brian K.'s Comment
member avatar

Good Morning,

Short update on Saturday's school stuff. Saturday was once again pre-trip review. We all stood around the truck and trailer while the instructor explain how we are to point and say things in order to past the pre-trip. I'm getting mix messages about what we need to know for pre-trip vs what the students who are working to get their CDL permit need to know. Since my group has their CDL one instructor said will not be graded and we do not have to recite the pre-trip info verbatim. Guess I will know more in the days to come.

I was also told Monday will be more pre-trip and on Tuesday we will start with the driving maneuvers. Can't wait for that.

That's it for Saturday. FYI, Saturday was a half day, in at 7 am out by 12.

See you all next week. Brian

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.
Trucking Bunny's Comment
member avatar

I am excited to find your post! I am starting the Refresher course at Stevens next Monday (Jan 25th) and this gives me an idea of what I may experience. It also is allowing me to keep my expectations in check. I hope my refresher is shorter - but seeing as the first few days of yours seemed to be a lot of "hurry up and wait" - I can imagine it may take longer than anticipated. It's all good - I am not going to Stevens for the short game. I am going for the experience. Whatever that may look like - I will take it all in stride!

I look forward to future updates!

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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