Roehl Driver Training From Start To End.....

Topic 2938 | Page 5

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Jim M.'s Comment
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So excited for you Wine Taster, it has been a great journal to follow. All the best come the end of the week and Phase 1.

Peace

Wine Taster's Comment
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Day 17 of training: (Friday)

Today, we were supposed to go on the road. This morning was the same as others. Up at 0500 and at the driving range by 0615. We did our pre trip. We hooked up to the trailer and then we did the pre trip again. We were told to hit the range and do some 45 degree backing training. We did backing maneuvers until lunch. After lunch, we washed, vacuumed, cleaned the windows on the truck and parked it after unhooking. Then, we went inside to the classroom for our final week three test. It was easy and it was open book. We all passed. After that Kevin had us go into the office and take pictures. We all knew it was for our employee badges that will be issued to us tomorrow. Kevin gave us our official trucking school completion certificates. He stated we had all done a good job.

So, tomorrow we will officially become Roehl employees. School is complete. Wow! I actually made it through. Tomorrow will be really busy. We will have to do a lot of company paperwork and classes. Kevin said that we should not expect to get out before 1600. Then we have to drive 5 to 6 hours to Gary, IN. That will put us hitting Chicago right at rush hour. We will have class at 1200 on Saturday and all day Sunday for flatbed securement.

School has been a great experience. I still have some much to learn but the foundation is there, I think.

Rockin' Rick's Comment
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Congrats, WT!

Peter M.'s Comment
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Hey Wine Taster;

Thanks for a truly inspiring and informational set of first posts.

I am just beginning the process of deciding 1. If this is the career path I want to choose (after 25+ years of doing something entirely different) and 2. Which option sounds better - private, in-state school or company-sponsored training.

For me at this juncture, I am leaning toward the former, obtaining the skills, training, and licensing required by my state of CT through a private training facility, then settling in with a company through their course, training and hopefully a job. My only problem with this path is the money to fund the training, I don't have it being out of work for two months, I just have to keep reading, studying, applying, all the things you suggest and well praying.

Thanks again for a great journal!

Jim

I hear ya, Jim. I can completely identify. I hope everything works out the way you want it to.

Pete

Company-sponsored Training:

A Company-Sponsored Training Program is a school that is owned and operated by a trucking company.

The schooling often requires little or no money up front. Instead of paying up-front tuition you will sign an agreement to work for the company for a specified amount of time after graduation, usually around a year, at a slightly lower rate of pay in order to pay for the training.

If you choose to quit working for the company before your year is up, they will normally require you to pay back a prorated amount of money for the schooling. The amount you pay back will be comparable to what you would have paid if you went to an independently owned school.

Company-sponsored training can be an excellent way to get your career underway if you can't afford the tuition up front for private schooling.

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.

Rockin' Rick's Comment
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Jim,

Check with your local state workforce, aka unemployment office. They have a program some of the guys in my school used called WIA. Not everyone qualifies for it, but it's worth checking out if you haven't already.

Rick

Wine Taster's Comment
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I goofed up on my last post.... that was Thursday not Friday.

Day 18 of training: (Friday)

Wisconsin CDL Training is completed. Today, Bill, Mike and I were all officially offered jobs with Roehl Transport, Inc. It is now time to upgrade my profile from in school to student driver. We started early this morning at 0630. It was a ton of paperwork to get completed. We had to go over fuel accounts. We had a powerpoint on the qualcomm. We had Roehl voicemails to set up. It took all morning. Lunch was provided for us today by the company.

The flatbed operations manager came in to talk with us. He also had our fleet managers with him. He explained how the fleet has grown in the past few years. He explained where the future expansions in the flatbed division were focused. Each of the fleet managers greeted us and let us ask questions. Every person seemed to be very hard working and genuine.

Then we were given our EFS cards. We had to call in and set our pin numbers up. These cards are used for fuel mostly. You can use them to get an advance. We can also use the EFS checks to pay lumpers and things like that. Anyway, I was really surprised to find a large balance of money on mine. We were told that money was placed there for us. It was based on the miles we drove to get to and from school. Basically, it was enough money to cover my gas to and from school. I drove almost 1400 miles to school and will have 1400 home soon. It was enough to cover all my gas money I had spent. Surprised and appreciative. They said it was a graduation gift for doing a good job in school.

After lunch, we did the Roehl Safe Seven. It is a driving safety program that has been developed by Roehl. It has consistently lowered the accidents in the fleet since it was introduced. It was abundantly clear that Roehl puts safety before everything else. It is one of the values of the company.

Once we completed that, we were given instructions about getting our license transferred when we get home. Kevin congratulated us and said we had been a fun class to teach. Scott, Brian, Dale, Dave and other instructors stopped by throughout the day to congratulate us. The funniest part of the day was when a senior trainer stopped in. He shook my and Bill's hands. Then he hugged Mike. Kevin asked, "Do you guys know each other?" Mike then let the cat out of the bag. This was his father-in-law. The look on Kevins face was priceless. 5 minutes later Kevin was still kind of dazed. Mike had told Bill and I about his father-in-law but did not want others to know because he did not want to be treated different. It was so funny to see the reactions of instructors as they found out.

We headed out. We are all going to Gary, IN for securement training. Bill headed home and Mike and I hit the road after checking out the drivers lounge. We meet Bill in Portage, WI after we had some dinner. Then we all made a train and started the journey to Gary. Well, let me tell you. I was the lead car. It was nerve racking. Trying to figure out what the GPS wanted me to do, keep two cars behind me in site, and dodge the traffic of Chicago. Give me a big truck any day compared to that. We made it to Gary around 2200.

It has been a really long day. Class starts at noon tomorrow so at least we have some down time. It has a been a fun journey through school. I will post some information about the securement training. Then, I will get a few days off before starting Phase 2 of training. Time for some sleep.

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.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

Fleet Manager:

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.
Jim M.'s Comment
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Wine Taster,

That is excellent, all the best brother!

Peter - So far everything is working out: I've enrolled in CDL-A training in CT and begin classes on the 7th of April. It is a 10 week course, graduation is on the 13th of June. I will be taking the specialized training there as well; flatbed, tankers, doubles-triples, etc. and I will have all my endorsements in place as well. Thanks for the encouragement.

Rick - I did check into state WIA, and I have to tell you it is more like PIA, LOL. I have to attend a seminar and fill out an application there (not before hand), they had no openings until April 2nd, my class starts on the 7th. Furthermore it can take anywhere between 12 and 15 weeks to get the money, I will already be out of school and the state does NOT reimburse me, only will pay the school. (I'm a little confused by this but it does not surprise me given the way government programs are run!) It would be nice to shave money off of the $6495 cost of school.

Thanks to you all

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.

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.

Wine Taster's Comment
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Jim,

If you can get them to pay some of the school then do it. That is a long course. Is it cheaper to not do the endorsements? They are easy to get and you will get company specific training for flatbeds and tankers wherever you end up. Not sure it is worth the extra cost if it does indeed cost more for the extra school.

Wine Taster's Comment
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Day 19 of training: (Saturday)

Today, we are in securement training for flatbeds. We were told to be at the class at noon. Well, we ended up sitting in the driver's lounge until everybody came back from lunch at 1300. Luckily, we had planned ahead and ate before arriving because we did not get lunch. We sat through a lot of powerpoints all afternoon. There are so many rules to learn about cargo securement on a flatbed. My head is kind of swimming with so much information. The basics are pretty easy. You take the total weight that is to be secured and divide it by 2. Then you have to figure out the rating of the straps or chains. Divide the total of the weight divided by two by the rating of the chain or strap. Now you know the minimum number of straps you need to be legal.

Example: You have 6 steel plates that weigh 5000 pounds each. Total weight is 30,000 lbs. So, that divided by 2 is 15,000 lbs. Straps rated at 4700 lbs each. 15,000 divided by 4,700 = 3.19. That means I need at least 4 straps. Then you have to figure out there must be two straps in the first 10 feet from the front of the trailer and 1 every 10 feet more. So, if these plates are 56 feet long, I need more than 4 because 2 in the first ten feet and then 5 more for a total of 7.

Wow, all the terms like WLL and augmented weight and all the other stuff will take some time to learn. Then you have to learn the special rules for commodities like logs and steel coils. Tomorrow, we will do a lot of hands on securement so maybe doing it for real will help. I am usually a hands on type person so I am sure it will help. Bad part is, we will be outside and it is supposed to be freezing cold tomorrow.

It is insane how much information I have been shoveling in for the past few weeks. Tomorrow we will finish up securement. Then we will get to head home. A break for a few days before Phase 2 of training starts will be nice. Bill and Mike have been good friends throughout the classes. I am happy that I could meet them. I was very lucky that I was put with these two upstanding guys for all the classes. I really hate to have to say goodbye but I am sure we will cross paths again sometime. After class tonight, we hung out and watched a movie. It was good to relax a bit. Time to get some sleep.

Rockin' Rick's Comment
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Very cool, WT!

I head to Ellenwood today to start Phase 1. Roehl doesn't have any flatbed ops here in FL, but, I'm sticking with them.

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