Swift Orientation, Memphis, TN

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Errol V.'s Comment
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Last week I finished the Swift Academy & received my Mississippi CDL-A. Tomorrow (Tuesday January 13) I go to the Swift Terminal in Memphis for orientation. I'll try to keep you updated to what goes on in Swift's Orientation program. I live locally so I won't be in the hotel, but It's a better brand name than the one near the Academy!

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.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Don The Kiwi's Comment
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Congrats Errol on passing.

Look forward to how your orientation goes.

Don The Kiwi's Comment
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Congrats Errol on passing.

Look forward to how your orientation goes.

Errol V.'s Comment
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Day one. I see a pattern: Nothing really happens but some paperwork. We accomplished the traditional drug test, filling out some paperwork. (The Swift people ran all of us through 6 computer terminals where we signed documents on-line.) This is almost exactly what happened on the first day of Academy. But all the little paperwork/documentation details are handled & over with.

About 35 people were there. Listening to the roll call, I feel some people were scheduled but did not show up. Just about half of the class was drivers not from Swift - changing companies, fresh out of commercial CDL schools, etc. They needed to take a driver test. The rest were Swift Academy students of one form or another - no driving today.

Swift treated us all to lunch at the Swift cafeteria - not too bad tasting! I understand they are buying tomorrow, too.

Near the end of the day, the coordinator told us all that today was very slack, but starting tomorrow (Wednesday) we will be In Class - with video recording, Cell Phones off, and business to attend to.

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.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Mikki 's Comment
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Hey Errol I will be attending Swift In Arizona. Best of luck. Love your picture!

Errol V.'s Comment
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Hey Errol I will be attending Swift In Arizona. Best of luck. Love your picture!

Good luck Mikki! (That photo was taken many, many years ago. I just love the expression I have.)

Errol V.'s Comment
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Today was the second day of orientation. Several study units - Hours of Service, (more paperwork to complete) Swift Policy, etc. Then right at the end of the day, the instructor told everyone (all but me stay at hotels) "Tomorrow bring all your luggage to Swift - you will be checking out and going on the road with your mentors."

So, Thursday still has some official orientation, but by the afternoon, we all should be rolling with our Mentors.

And for those vitally interested in getting a paycheck, you will be on the Swift payroll as of that second day of orientation. (Your first paycheck is still about a week and a half away.)

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Errol V.'s Comment
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The last day of orientation was just like the day before - lectures, paperwork, waiting. But we all got our aol impotent Driver Number. Ant at 4pm we meet our Mentors. I'll call my mentor Carlos - not his real name.

Carlos was waiting for me out front. He drives dedicated, so we're limited to the area he works, and he goes home for weekends. So I'll be staying in a hotel in Jackson for the next six or so weekends.

I started driving right away. South to Indian oka, swapped our empty box for a load, then went to Loves for the night.

Errol V.'s Comment
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South to Indian oka,....

I meant Indianola, MS !

Errol V.'s Comment
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Our first full day started at the truck stop in Indianola, MS.

Trip: Indianola to Campti, LA (near Shreveport), Monroe, LA to Crosset, AR

Carlos gets his weekends off, so we deadheaded to Little Rock (130 miles). I'm waiting in a hotel (LA Quinta) till Sunday.

Highlights: For the next six weeks any backing I do will be graded. The backing grade sheet has room for 40 backs.

In one yard I had to do sort of an offset left situation: starting on the right side of some huge concrete blocks, I backed across an alley to stop on the left side of a chain link fence.

In another yard I did a 45° alley dock. I hadn't done a 45° before so Carlos coached me through it. One pull up!

We already have a pickup in Crossett for Sunday. It's not ready, so we drove to LR 2 hours for the weekend. Sunday we drive back to Crossett to start our week.

Deadhead:

To drive with an empty trailer. After delivering your load you will deadhead to a shipper to pick up your next load.

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