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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Deciding on a Trucking Career, Part VI

(This is Part VI of a series, “Deciding on a Career”.  I would suggest reading Parts I through V first, they were posted earlier in this blog.)

So, it’s July of 1993, and I have just made the biggest change of my life by packing up and moving to Utah.  Being pretty certain that the opportunity with Ryder and Coke was a good one, I wasn’t too fearful.  Our customer has sales centers throughout the inter-mountain west, the drivers, I found were pretty well satisfied and all went pretty smooth.  I was able to settle in and enjoy my job traveling throughout the beautiful western states.

The early part of 1994, our Senior Logistics Manager’s responsibilities were growing.  Ryder had signed new business in Salt Lake, Las Vegas, Phoenix and other areas and those were reporting to our Senior Manager in Salt Lake.  At one of our safety meetings, he announced that he was looking for 4 drivers to step up and become Driver Trainers.  The position would involve traveling to the other locations he was responsible for whenever needed for training, emergency relief driving, what ever was needed.  While not driving, we were to help out in the recruitment, hiring and training of new drivers wherever and whenever they were needed.  I submitted a resume to be considered and after an interview, I was picked as one of the four.  So began my 18 years and counting as a trainer!

The next nine years were quite a whirlwind in my life.  Ryder’s business was growing rapidly and Craig’s responsibilities were growing with accounts in Denver, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Seattle reporting to him.  During some extended periods, we were traveling constantly, spending weeks at a time assisting at start-ups, hiring and training drivers and backing up drivers at every location he was responsible for.  We were so busy at one point, I did a start-up at a remote location by myself and flew to Medford, OR.  I spent nearly a month meeting with the customer, hiring two drivers, equipping a couple of tractors, setting up the on board computers and training the drivers.

One of our major customers had remote locations in Alaska and Hawaii and I spent five weeks on Oahu with Craig doing a start-up.  Pretty heady stuff for a cheese-head truck driver from Wisconsin!  While working with Craig in Hawaii, he received a promotion to Director of Customer Logistics!  It was a special time and I was proud to be working for him.  The one thing I will always be grateful to Craig for, is he taught me how to work!  He was a hard man to keep up with but he was always willing to step in and do whatever he expected us to do.  I found out that when you bust your butt and do a good job, you may be drop dead tired at the end of the day, but there is a lot of satisfaction in a job well done!

So, throughout the rest of the 1990’s and into the early 2000’s, I was gone quite a bit.  In the early 2000’s, Ryder reorganized, moved teams around and Craig left for a role as Vice-President at another company.  Having spent all those years traveling, I was more than ready to spend more time at home!  Our customer has production centers in Salt Lake City and Idaho and we keep plenty busy with about 50 drivers handling their transportation needs.  We just added a couple of drivers that are domiciled in Phoenix this year.  In fact, I spent a couple weeks down there training and that was the first time in years that I had to fly anywhere.  So, life goes on and all in all, I can say that so far, I’ve had a pretty good trucking career!  In fact, it must have been good, as I married a truck driver!

You’ll have to check back for that story! Dan

Link to Part VII - The End (for now) - As of 2/22/13, the story continues!

Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII

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