I've Applied To Attend Driver Training At Swift Academy Phoenix

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Michael B.'s Comment
member avatar

9 September 2022 Today was my last day of work at my non-CDL job. For my next job, if all goes well, I will be a driver with Swift Transportation! My Swift Driver Academy experience begins in three days, on Monday, September 12. So my first week at the academy happens to be Trucker Appreciation Week!

My boss at the job I left today is also a friend. He’s concerned I chose Swift, because he’s heard negative things about the company and its drivers. He has trucker friends and they send him memes about Swift every once in a while. I told him this is something I’ve been researching for a few years, and that I am aware of Swift’s image problem with some in the trucking community. I told him I chose Swift because I believe it is the best local option for aspiring CDL drivers in Phoenix. He’s also concerned about the tuition I will have to pay back if things don’t go as planned. I told him how things go is almost entirely on me, and that I am committed to making them go as planned. I will do whatever needs to be done. This is my new direction. I am eager to learn what the academy has to teach and look forward to the grand adventures that are sure to follow.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Search the internet long enough and your former boss could find negative memes for any company.

Swift gets a bad look from some because they are the largest truckload carrier in the USA. Most trucks, most seen. Be prepared to hear more from ignorant souls.

Anne A. (and sometimes To's Comment
member avatar

9 September 2022 Today was my last day of work at my non-CDL job. For my next job, if all goes well, I will be a driver with Swift Transportation! My Swift Driver Academy experience begins in three days, on Monday, September 12. So my first week at the academy happens to be Trucker Appreciation Week!

My boss at the job I left today is also a friend. He’s concerned I chose Swift, because he’s heard negative things about the company and its drivers. He has trucker friends and they send him memes about Swift every once in a while. I told him this is something I’ve been researching for a few years, and that I am aware of Swift’s image problem with some in the trucking community. I told him I chose Swift because I believe it is the best local option for aspiring CDL drivers in Phoenix. He’s also concerned about the tuition I will have to pay back if things don’t go as planned. I told him how things go is almost entirely on me, and that I am committed to making them go as planned. I will do whatever needs to be done. This is my new direction. I am eager to learn what the academy has to teach and look forward to the grand adventures that are sure to follow.

Good luck, good sir!

I've been following also; you've gotten TOTALLY sage advice above, not much to add, but for... Ditto, PackRat & G'Town.

As a 19 year driver he is, my other half has NOTHING negative to say about Swift, quite contrary. The naysayers, the jokesters have already moved on; heckling others, and still lacking 'their' CDL's .. of course.

Follow this new direction with all the willingness you've got within; you'll be fine, from reading your above!

Best wishes tomorrow plus; embark, enjoy, and encompass!

~ Anne & Tom ~

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

ps: Excellent read. Following, as well.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Michael B.'s Comment
member avatar

PackRat I appreciate the input. I'm sure I'll have plenty of opportunities to let stuff people say roll off my back.

Search the internet long enough and your former boss could find negative memes for any company.

Swift gets a bad look from some because they are the largest truckload carrier in the USA. Most trucks, most seen. Be prepared to hear more from ignorant souls.

Michael B.'s Comment
member avatar

Hello Anne & Tom! I am so glad to hear I'm joining a family and not just an employer at Swift! Thank you for following along. I predict a "long, strange trip" in my "Truckin'" adventure!

double-quotes-start.png

9 September 2022 Today was my last day of work at my non-CDL job. For my next job, if all goes well, I will be a driver with Swift Transportation! My Swift Driver Academy experience begins in three days, on Monday, September 12. So my first week at the academy happens to be Trucker Appreciation Week!

My boss at the job I left today is also a friend. He’s concerned I chose Swift, because he’s heard negative things about the company and its drivers. He has trucker friends and they send him memes about Swift every once in a while. I told him this is something I’ve been researching for a few years, and that I am aware of Swift’s image problem with some in the trucking community. I told him I chose Swift because I believe it is the best local option for aspiring CDL drivers in Phoenix. He’s also concerned about the tuition I will have to pay back if things don’t go as planned. I told him how things go is almost entirely on me, and that I am committed to making them go as planned. I will do whatever needs to be done. This is my new direction. I am eager to learn what the academy has to teach and look forward to the grand adventures that are sure to follow.

double-quotes-end.png

Good luck, good sir!

I've been following also; you've gotten TOTALLY sage advice above, not much to add, but for... Ditto, PackRat & G'Town.

As a 19 year driver he is, my other half has NOTHING negative to say about Swift, quite contrary. The naysayers, the jokesters have already moved on; heckling others, and still lacking 'their' CDL's .. of course.

Follow this new direction with all the willingness you've got within; you'll be fine, from reading your above!

Best wishes tomorrow plus; embark, enjoy, and encompass!

~ Anne & Tom ~

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

ps: Excellent read. Following, as well.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Michael B.'s Comment
member avatar

12 September 2022 First day at Swift Driver Academy and I am really happy. Our trainer is named Charles, and if any of you experienced drivers came up through Swift in Texas or in Arizona, I bet you know who I’m talking about. He’s a real character! He’s been training for Swift in the classroom, on the pad, and as a mentor driver for many years. What I love about Charles is he forces us to think for ourselves. We spent most of our first day learning about air brake systems. Toward the end of the day, he guided us through an air brakes practice test. We all did really well, and it’s because of how Richard teaches. He does not just teach us the correct answers, he insists we think through all the answers in the multiple choice questions to prove for ourselves why the other answers are wrong. This is super smart. I’ve found my first Swift mentor. Richard is a rock star.

A quick breakdown of the day. I arrived at the Swift headquarters and parked between Building 11 and the Jake Brake Cafe as instructed, and waited at the nearby shuttle pickup to be transferred to the school. Several other students were there when I arrived. A man in an oversized golf card rolled up and asked us if we wanted a ride to the academy since he was headed that way. We all hopped in. The driver was an instructor at Top Gun, another training program at the Phoenix headquarters. He told me he’d been with Swft more than 30 years. Now that’s longevity! It was a pleasure to meet someone so accomplished.

The academy itself is a pretty small building. It has two classrooms, a break room, administrative offices and restrooms. We clock in and out by scanning the bar codes on the back of our state-issued driver’s licenses. We had breaks every hour, and each break was 10 minutes long, except for lunch, which was a full hour. The classrooms are set up with long tables that seat up to four students each. Each student station has a Chromebook (baby laptop) that we use to take tests and to follow along with instruction given by Charles. Some of the students in our class attended virtually, from Utah and Montana. I think there were only 8 or 10 of us actually in the classroom in Phoenix.

Our class had the good fortune of starting during driver appreciation week, so lunch is provided by the company every day this week. Yay! Today I chose a turkey sandwich, along with fresh fruit and potato salad. After lunch, it was more air brake instruction, followed by that practice test. A little before 5 pm, we all clocked out and boarded the shuttle bus. Some of us were dropped in the lot where our cars were parked, while others stayed on the bus to be dropped off at their hotel.

Charles said we’re all headed to the DMV on Thursday to take our written tests to get our learner permits. I’m so excited to be on this somewhat fast path to a driving career, and very grateful to have an instructor like Charles.

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.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

DWI:

Driving While Intoxicated

Anne A. (and sometimes To's Comment
member avatar

12 September 2022 First day at Swift Driver Academy and I am really happy. Our trainer is named Charles, and if any of you experienced drivers came up through Swift in Texas or in Arizona, I bet you know who I’m talking about. He’s a real character! He’s been training for Swift in the classroom, on the pad, and as a mentor driver for many years. What I love about Charles is he forces us to think for ourselves. We spent most of our first day learning about air brake systems. Toward the end of the day, he guided us through an air brakes practice test. We all did really well, and it’s because of how Richard teaches. He does not just teach us the correct answers, he insists we think through all the answers in the multiple choice questions to prove for ourselves why the other answers are wrong. This is super smart. I’ve found my first Swift mentor. Richard is a rock star.

A quick breakdown of the day. I arrived at the Swift headquarters and parked between Building 11 and the Jake Brake Cafe as instructed, and waited at the nearby shuttle pickup to be transferred to the school. Several other students were there when I arrived. A man in an oversized golf card rolled up and asked us if we wanted a ride to the academy since he was headed that way. We all hopped in. The driver was an instructor at Top Gun, another training program at the Phoenix headquarters. He told me he’d been with Swft more than 30 years. Now that’s longevity! It was a pleasure to meet someone so accomplished.

The academy itself is a pretty small building. It has two classrooms, a break room, administrative offices and restrooms. We clock in and out by scanning the bar codes on the back of our state-issued driver’s licenses. We had breaks every hour, and each break was 10 minutes long, except for lunch, which was a full hour. The classrooms are set up with long tables that seat up to four students each. Each student station has a Chromebook (baby laptop) that we use to take tests and to follow along with instruction given by Charles. Some of the students in our class attended virtually, from Utah and Montana. I think there were only 8 or 10 of us actually in the classroom in Phoenix.

Our class had the good fortune of starting during driver appreciation week, so lunch is provided by the company every day this week. Yay! Today I chose a turkey sandwich, along with fresh fruit and potato salad. After lunch, it was more air brake instruction, followed by that practice test. A little before 5 pm, we all clocked out and boarded the shuttle bus. Some of us were dropped in the lot where our cars were parked, while others stayed on the bus to be dropped off at their hotel.

Charles said we’re all headed to the DMV on Thursday to take our written tests to get our learner permits. I’m so excited to be on this somewhat fast path to a driving career, and very grateful to have an instructor like Charles.

Awesomeness ~ !!

SEE ?!?!? (Love to get a 'told ya so' in the mix.) Your lunch sounds awesome; just my style, too~!!! Yep, There's a thread on that..NTDAW .. in 'General,' by .. me!

Keep at it... and the smaller class size is awesome; might get smaller still!!!

Always find time to study, as you can; High Road CDL Training ProgramHigh Road CDL Training Program.

Best forward!! (And reverse, as they'll teach you, LoL!)

~ Anne ~

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

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.

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.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

DWI:

Driving While Intoxicated

Michael B.'s Comment
member avatar

13 September 2022 Day two at Swift Driver Academy in Phoenix, Arizona.

Yesterday we learned about air brakes, also known here in Arizona as Section 5 of the state CDL manual. Today we covered dang near everything else for the tests we will take two days from now to get our permits. In one content-rich day, we reviewed Section 1 (Introduction), Section 2 (Driving Safely), Section 3 (Transporting Cargo Safely), and Section 6 (Combination Vehicles). I’m guessing sections one, two, and three all qualify as “General Knowledge.” We’ve definitely already covered Air Brakes and Combination Vehicles, which are the names of the other two tests we will be taking on day four of the academy. Some of the info is common sense (release the accelerator if your vehicle starts to skid), but some of it relates to things so specific to trucking that I have no experience with (air leakage rate test for combination vehicles should show less than three psi lost in one minute). Our instructor reminds us often that we are learning a new language together. At the very least, I’d say we are adding highly specialized vocabulary!

We have already lost some students from our class. Apparently, if you don’t stay beyond day three, you are not required to pay any of the tuition. So they are off the hook financially, but it makes me wonder what might have made them change their minds after just one day. I guess everyone has their own path. I’m gonna stay on this one.

Driver appreciation festivities continued today, as they will all week. Today it was BBQ beef and or tacos at lunch. We are getting spoiled for sure! I even scored some swag today, when I took a trucker cap from the Freightliner booth. All it says on it is Detroit. Meaning Detroit Diesel, a Daimler AG company. Daimler also owns Freightliner and Western Star, and even Thomas Built Buses. One of my classmates is from Detroit, and she got a hat as well.

I continue to be impressed by our instructor, Charles. He’s got a few sayings, and I’m gonna try to collect and share some of them so I don’t forget. After he introduces something new to us, and he’s done talking about it, he says, “Anybody got any questions about that?” We hear it several times per day. Sometimes several times per hour. And any time he shares insight from his nearly 20 years as a driver and trainer with Swift, he tells us he has just given us foresight on a (insert day of the week). Yesterday his tips and tricks were “Foresight on a Monday.” Today they were “Foresight on a Tuesday.” Guess what it’s gonna be tomorrow?

Charles continues to push us to think of our long-term purpose for learning what he’s teaching because we are going to use what we learned about air brakes and skid control in real life, pretty darn quick. “You can’t just know the answer for the test,” he said. “You have to know the whole process for your career.”

And that, my friends, is foresight on a Tuesday.

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.

Combination Vehicle:

A vehicle with two separate parts - the power unit (tractor) and the trailer. Tractor-trailers are considered combination vehicles.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

I'm enjoying your diary Michael. It's really well done so far.

Michael B.'s Comment
member avatar

Wednesday 14 September 2022 Day three at Swift Driver Academy, Phoenix, Arizona

Today we finished covering all the info that will appear on our three learner permit tests. After that we reviewed some of the sections just to reinforce what we’ve learned. Tomorrow morning, after we get to class and get clocked in, our permit test day will begin. Our instructor, Charles, will confirm we have the necessary personal documents for our permit tests, then take us to the DMV (here in Arizona it’s actually the MVD). Once there we will take three written tests. The tests are called general knowledge, air brakes and combination vehicles. Each test requires an 80% correct score to pass. Anything under 80% is a fail. If we fail any of the tests, we will return the next day (Friday) and take the failed portions again.

I don’t want to jinx it, but I feel very calm about the tests. Are the stakes kinda high? Yes. Any failure would be a setback. But I don’t think I will fail any of the tests. We may well have literally been taught the answers. I won’t know for sure until I take the tests. But more importantly, we were taught to think. We were taught to read each question twice. And to read all the possible answers twice. And to ask ourselves regarding every answer, is this a true statement based on what I’ve learned from the manual. I think everything is going to go really well tomorrow. I’d wager we will all leave the MVD with our permits.

Rewinding the day a bit, we all had lunch on the company again because we are still in the midst of the annual on-site party that is Driver Appreciation Week. When I got to the front of the lunch line, I was asked by a familiar face behind the buffet line whether I wanted a hamburger or a hot dog. That familiar face was Ken McBee, who I’ve seen several times online in Swift company videos. His candid comments on driver life at Swift are one of the reasons I chose this company for training and for work after graduation. I’d like to be part of a company where senior leadership is approachable. That is exactly how he seemed. Senior Vice President of Driver Retention is his title, but today, he was just one of many company volunteers, handing out food to hundreds of drivers to thank them for their work. It’s hard not to appreciate a guy who slings burgers and dogs for others during his own lunch break.

I also got to meet Kort Chase, who appears in some videos with Ken McBee. Kort is the vice president of recruiting at Swift, and he really stands out in the videos for his high energy and positive attitude. I recognized him immediately when he walked into the giant tent where lunch was being served. I walked up and introduced myself and thanked him for the videos, because, again, they really helped me choose Swift. He was gracious and kind and spent several minutes with me, asking me about my experience so far with the academy. I told him all my expectations have been exceeded, and that my trainer, Charles, is the best I’ve experienced in several industries. That made him smile real big. Like me, Kort is a big Charles fan.

It’s been a whirlwind three days at the academy. I’m excited about tomorrow’s tests. These are the baby steps we take to begin an epic journey. I’m ready for my next steps.

Combination Vehicle:

A vehicle with two separate parts - the power unit (tractor) and the trailer. Tractor-trailers are considered combination vehicles.

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.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

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.

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