How I Got To Where I Am In Trucking

Topic 32428 | Page 1

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Ryan B.'s Comment
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I have decided to create this thread as encouragement for others. Really, it transcends trucking.

Ok, so to begin, my journey into trucking is definitely not typical, but it's certainly not unheard of. I have a felony conviction from 2003 that requires me to register. I was sentenced to 15 years in prison. I served 9 years in prison (including time in the county jail. I served time on parole from 2012 until 2018. When I first got out of prison, I looked into getting my CDL through company-paid training. I quickly discovered that this wasn't going to be possible FOR ME until I completed parole and had some work history established.

It took me a while to be able to find employment, but eventually I did. Fast forward to 2018, I chose to revisit getting my CDL, once off parole. I had steady work history established, never terminated from any of the jobs I held, and solid references. Company-sponsored training wasn't an option because of my background. I applied with all of them.

I looked into going through a trucking school with my own money. I didn't have enough saved up and didn't qualify for the loan options offered at some of the schools. I also discovered that some schools won't take students with certain background issues.

So, I continued working and started saving up money. The WIOA grant was an option, but I chose to pay my own way. Personal decision and nothing more. I finally had the funds saved up to go to school at 160 Driving Academy in Toledo.

I was supposed to start school late in February 2020, but my class ended up being over-enrolled. Those enrolled in the class the latest were pushed back to a future date. Then COVID happens and the school is shutdown. They school was shutdown until July of 2020 when classes were allowed to resume. I got in the first Monday after Independence Day. I completed training August 14th, 2020. I passed my test August 31, 2020.

I was led to believe that when I get into school that the school will have me set up with a job before I graduate. Plenty of recruiters came through, and none of these companies were willing to give me a chance. A couple of the recruiters were ones I had already spoken to when I was looking at company-sponsored training, so they already knew that I wasn't eligible for hire.

It took me 7 months to find a company willing to hire me. I have been working for the same company since. This company actually denied my application back when I was in school. I applied again, and the recruiter was like, "We can't hire you." Then before I hung up after thanking her for her time, she told me to hold on. A few minutes later, she told me that I would have an interview with a safety manager, an operations manager, and a VP of personnel. She told me to prepare to talk about what happened with my criminal case and to discuss what I have done with my life since.

I was completely open and transparent during that interview. They told me at the end of it that they would discuss hiring me among themselves and that my recruiter would get back with me in no more than 3 days to inform me either yes or no. 2 days later, I get a call that I am hired.

I run OTR for this company. I am fully compliant with my legal obligations in having to register. When I was applying with different companies and trying to find one willing to give me a shot, I found a lot of information that I have since discovered is misinformation. There are people putting out there that individuals having to register can't get a CDL. That's untrue. There are people out there saying that a person in my position can't run OTR. That's untrue.

I am sure that many here will have strong opinions about what I have written. My purpose in doing this is to encourage anyone facing a difficult situation that if you persevere, if you refuse to give up, you can achieve your goal. Don't give up. Don't give in. Keep fighting. You can succeed. You can overcome.

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.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

WIOA:

WIOA - Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (aka WIA)

Formerly known as the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), the WIOA was established in 1998 to prepare youth, adults and dislocated workers for entry and reentry into the workforce. WIOA training funds are designed to serve laid-off individuals, older youth and adults who are in need of training to enter or reenter the labor market. A lot of truck drivers get funding for their CDL training through WIOA.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Ryan, that is a great story about your history. Thanks for sharing it!

One question, though. Was your jail cell bigger than the inside of your truck?

Ryan B.'s Comment
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Ryan, that is a great story about your history. Thanks for sharing it!

One question, though. Was your jail cell bigger than the inside of your truck?

Thank you.

Barely.

Steve L.'s Comment
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Ryan B; Thanks for this post. I believe it's imperative for people to know there is a chance for redemption and/or a way to move beyond the challenges of the past.

See this fence? I wasted almost $10k having someone attempt to build this. Then, THEN, I had this built, by a man who'd been in prison for nine years. I looked him in the eye. He was honest with me; about the job and about his past. I paid him $18k+ for this fence job. I'd hire him again in a heartbeat. 0238186001664848019.jpg

My prayer for you is that your journey continues on a positive path. Hang in there!

Ryan B.'s Comment
member avatar

Ryan B; Thanks for this post. I believe it's imperative for people to know there is a chance for redemption and/or a way to move beyond the challenges of the past.

See this fence? I wasted almost $10k having someone attempt to build this. Then, THEN, I had this built, by a man who'd been in prison for nine years. I looked him in the eye. He was honest with me; about the job and about his past. I paid him $18k+ for this fence job. I'd hire him again in a heartbeat. 0238186001664848019.jpg

My prayer for you is that your journey continues on a positive path. Hang in there!

That's an awesome addition to this thread. I have come a long way since making some very poor choices. I have a family now that I am building. My wife of one year now is wonderful and supportive. Praise God for what he has been able to do with me and through me over the past decade.

Big Scott (CFI's biggest 's Comment
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Excellent post and attitude. Keep up the great work.

Ryan B.'s Comment
member avatar

Excellent post and attitude. Keep up the great work.

I very much appreciate that encouragement. I can certainly use it.

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