Starting Soon With Wilson Logistics

Topic 30202 | Page 1

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Craig M.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey all, or I guess I should say all y'all, representing Texas!

I've been working with a recruiter at Wilson Logistics and am tentatively scheduled to start training at their St Louis facility June 7th. I say tentatively because I still need to obtain my CLP before they can confirm the start date. That said, I've gone through the application process, have been accepted, and am taking my CLP exams in the morning.

Although I'll be a new driver, I have some experience in and around the industry, both growing up and in my professional life. My father was a driver for the majority of his career, and in fact, just sold his truck and permanently retired this year, in his 70's. Most of his time was in log trucks, then specialty heavy hauling but the last few years he was on o/o hauling gravel locally to him in the PNW. As a kid I used to ride along with him alot during the summer, and was always tasked with washing his rig during those periods.

After spending much of the 90's in the Army, my first real career oriented job was in heavy duty truck financing. I spent 11 years with the Associates / CitiCapital / Ge Capital in various roles doing both truck finance and wholesale (dealer) finance through the 2000's. I was ultimately laid off during the 2009 recession as a District Sales Manager and moved over to the Commercial Energy sector.

I spent another 10 years there, before vowing to escape the cubicle / office world forever. I had a lot of success but always hated spending my days behind a desk. Since 2 or our 3 kids were grown and on their own, and our last started high school, we dicided it was time for me to do something I wanted, rather than just doing whatever I had to to support my family.

In 2019 I started a small business, unfortunately Covid pretty much killed it after about a year. Luckily we had the savings to get by, and my wife has a good career, and although I had to close the business I didn't leave buried in debt. I've been kicking around low paying jobs for the last 6 months and have finally decided to give trucking a shot, as I've always been interested.

On the personal level, I've always been a diy'er, a car guy, and we love remote camping. I've always been very independent and valued alone time, and have traveled quite a bit solo.

So that's where I'm at.. I've been studying and taking practice tests, and am pretty confident on the written tests, so hopefully tomorrow will just be good news.

I've also been playing with video equipment and editing for a few years, and plan to document as much of all of this as possible in vlog format, so I'll be sure to share the channel when I start getting content up.

I've enjoyed reading through other diaries here, and appreciate the info I have acquired, and hope to share my own experiences to 'pay it forward'.

Thanks for indulging me in my long intro, and... More to come!

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

CLP:

Commercial Learner's Permit

Before getting their CDL, commercial drivers will receive their commercial learner's permit (CLP) upon passing the written portion of the CDL exam. They will not have to retake the written exam to get their CDL.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Hello Craig, Welcome to our forum!

Thanks for telling us about yourself. Wilson is a great operation. You can do very well there.

It's great that you are willing to share your experience with us. So many people read these diaries. We really appreciate each of you who contribute to them.

I appreciate you telling us about yourself and why you chose to do this. Truckers are such a diverse group of people. I am also a Texan, and I started my trucking career at 53. Have you ever seen this conversation on the various backgrounds that truckers come from? Check out What Did You Do Before Becoming A Truck Driver?

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
member avatar

Howdy, Craig, and welcome from ME, as well!!

I'll be excited to follow your diary here, and elsewhere, also! I wish you the best; Wilson is an awesome company, as the diaries here will show.

Speaking of, Old School has a MARVELOUS diary/vlog, on blogspot. You can access it by clicking the 'on the web' link, in his Trucking Truth profile. It's an AWESOME read!!!

Again, welcome!!

~ Anne ~

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

Craig M.'s Comment
member avatar

Hello Craig, Welcome to our forum!

Thanks for telling us about yourself. Wilson is a great operation. You can do very well there.

It's great that you are willing to share your experience with us. So many people read these diaries. We really appreciate each of you who contribute to them.

I appreciate you telling us about yourself and why you chose to do this. Truckers are such a diverse group of people. I am also a Texan, and I started my trucking career at 53. Have you ever seen this conversation on the various backgrounds that truckers come from? Check out What Did You Do Before Becoming A Truck Driver?

I hadn't seen that, I'll have to check it out.

There certainly seem to be alot of us starting this career later in life.. I just hit 46.. Thanks!

Howdy, Craig, and welcome from ME, as well!!

I'll be excited to follow your diary here, and elsewhere, also! I wish you the best; Wilson is an awesome company, as the diaries here will show.

Speaking of, Old School has a MARVELOUS diary/vlog, on blogspot. You can access it by clicking the 'on the web' link, in his Trucking Truth profile. It's an AWESOME read!!!

Again, welcome!!

~ Anne ~

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

I'll check that out as well, thanks!

Passed the CLP tests today.. 6 wrong out of 115 questions total.. I'm stoked!

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

CLP:

Commercial Learner's Permit

Before getting their CDL, commercial drivers will receive their commercial learner's permit (CLP) upon passing the written portion of the CDL exam. They will not have to retake the written exam to get their CDL.

Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
member avatar
Passed the CLP tests today.. 6 wrong out of 115 questions total.. I'm stoked!

Hail yeah; that's AWESOME !!! Major KUDOS, good sir!!

Now, after you digest all we've already thrown on you, here's a couple more....sorry!

Brett's book is a GREAT read if you've not already seen it:

Becoming A Truck Driver: The Raw Truth About Truck Driving

AND, for the 'fun stuff' that comes next, Daniel B.'s PreTrip guide is second to NONE. (He should patent the darn thing!)

Wish you all the best going forward, & congrats, again!

~ Anne ~

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

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.

CLP:

Commercial Learner's Permit

Before getting their CDL, commercial drivers will receive their commercial learner's permit (CLP) upon passing the written portion of the CDL exam. They will not have to retake the written exam to get their CDL.

Craig M.'s Comment
member avatar

I just finished my first week (orientation week) with Wilson and am overdue for an update! It's been a crazy 5 days and I have been focusing on training and studying, and other than making time to talk to my wife, eating and sleeping, there really hasn't been time for much else.

I'll provide a brief recap of what we did this week, but there have been a number of others who have detailed that out, and I have it to be mostly accurate.

I picked up my rental car from DFW airport last Saturday, and hit the road towards Springfield Sunday morning. After checking in and getting settled I got to sleep in preparation for an early wake up as the Wilson shuttle arrives pretty promptly at 6:45 AM every morning. Breakfast in the hotel is adequate, as is the room, but neither are anything to get excited about.

Monday morning we had a few speakers (Safety, HR, Fleet Manager and Compliance) and they conducted the agility test. That consisted of climbing in and out of the truck, up and down on the catwalk, under the trailer, and into the trailer. Nothing crazy, but we did lose one student Monday as he could not climb into the trailer (weight related). In the afternoon we went through a little more classroom activities and signed our contracts.

Tuesday (and the rest of the week) we spent most of the day outside on the pad. I may jumble some of this, but as I recall, we just started going over pre-trip inspections and straight line backing. After some instruction, everyone got behind the wheel.

Wednesday we covered parallel parking, and spent some more time on pre-trip. We were all tested on the 4 stage air-brake test, and this is a pass or fail exercise. If you can't get through it by Thursday, you go home. There were a couple of trucks out there and we would split up and get instruction then practice various maneuvers. We may have also started some offsets, but it's kind of a blur. In addition to the class, there were a couple of people that had completed the D seat time, and were practicing for their CDL test (really this was the case all week).

Thursday we continued with offsets, more practice on parallel, and got into 90 degree backing. Most of us also got out on the road for a run around town, hitting the freeway as well. A couple that were still having difficulty straight-line backing had some more time with an instructor, the rest of us were left practicing pretty independently, helping each other out on maneuvers and pre-trip.

Today (Friday), we did a little of everything, as well as coupling and uncoupling and back in the classroom for logbook training.

Intermixed each day we got a chance to meet our recruiters, our fleet managers, we at least told who our trainers were, and received our driver numbers and pins, etc.

General stuff: Lunches were pretty good all week. Any time you are not driving or helping another student, plan to study pre-trip. We also spent some time each night in the hotel studying as well, both as a group and individually. I even found myself reciting the 4-stage air-brake inspection in the shower! It's been more work than I expected, but overall a really good experience. We started with 8 slated to train; One didn't show, one was cut on Monday, one quit on Wednesday (he'd been struggling), and one was sent home Thursday (got out of the truck without setting the brakes, which is an automatic send-home). 3 of us leave out in the morning, except me, because my trainer's truck is in the shop. We're hoping to leave Monday but it may be Tuesday or Wednesday, so I'll be back at the facility Monday, getting in some more practice while I wait..

I have been able to pick up everything pretty quickly, and can complete all of the backing maneuvers successfully and on my own. I was also able to get through the 4 stage / in-cab inspection test on the first attempt. I did have a couple of challenges on my city drive, mainly with undercutting turns and not anticipating stops and traffic enough. Every one of us had trouble with something, some more than others, but as long as your engaged and showing progress, the instructors will continue working with you until you get it. I think every-one of the four of us got down on ourselves about something (one straight-line, one on the four-stage, one on-road, etc) but those of us that stuck with it made great improvements. I cannot speak highly enough about the instructors and the company as a whole, so far. You can tell they care about what they are doing, and do not just pay lip-service regarding safety and the family atmosphere.

One thing to note is that they do not pull punches and will tell you straight when there is something you need to work on, or if they don't feel you're putting forth the effort. For some of us that was a great thing, though for some more sensitive, it could be discouraging (like the one that quit). Know that they are doing it for the your benefit as well as theirs, and with things moving as that do, it is critical.

That's all I have for now as I'm really beat, after a very long week. Since I'll be stuck in the hotel for the weekend I will try to get on and add some more thoughts, though I still plan to work on preparing for the pre-trip stuff. I have every intention of passing the CDL test the first time.

I will definitely add some more about the testing process, as we did spend a good amount of time with the students that were already at that phase.

Looking forward to comments!

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

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.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
member avatar

Howdy, Craig !!!

Just stopping in to say 'howdy,' and I'm following along, as well!

Trucker's wife's life has me up at all hours, and am so happy to read your 'settling in' process!

Yep, rest up, good sir . . . you've earned it!!

Best going forward and ALWAYS!

~ Anne ~

ps: Pre trip rock & roll >>> Pre trip; links within links!! (Only for the non faint of heart, of course!)

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

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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