A Tribute Worthy Of Thanks

A Tribute Worthy Of Thanks


By Brad Bentley

This is the time of year when Americans reflect on the things for which they are most thankful. Earlier this week, I was reminded of how thankful our country should be to have people with purpose like Morrill and Karen Worcester, founders of Worcester Wreath Company, who began the non-profit group Wreaths Across America in 2007 with the goal of honoring military veterans by placing wreaths at the grave sites of fallen soldiers.

Wreaths Across America’s mission of Remember, Honor, Teach is carried out in part by coordinating wreath laying ceremonies on a specified Saturday in December. For years, this occurred only at Arlington National Cemetery, but has recently expanded to veterans’ cemeteries and other locations in all 50 states and beyond.

Part of Wreaths Across America rapid growth is the result of the generosity of the trucking industry, and this year they’re counting on truckers for a little more help. That assistance will come in the form of the trucking industry’s first annual rolling tribute, which kicked off this Tuesday (November 26), when the Worcesters teamed up with Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) and Pilot Flying J to hand out 100s of free wreaths to any professional truck driver who wanted one at the Pilot Travel Center in Milford, Conn.

Karen and Morrill Worcester are on a mission to place a wreath on every fallen soldier’s headstone at Arlington National Cemetery.

Karen and Morrill Worcester are on a mission to place a wreath on every fallen soldier’s headstone at Arlington National Cemetery.

Pottle’s Transportation’s Bob Sousa, an Army veteran, delivered several pallets of wreaths to Connecticut for the event, where local volunteers joined in the efforts to reach as many drivers as possible. I was in Washington, D.C. on Monday for the unloading of the 2013 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, so I decided to make the trek up I-95 as well.

In between trips back and forth to the fuel island to talk to drivers, Morrill Worcester told the various media outlets present that we wouldn’t enjoy the freedoms we have today if it wasn’t for what the veterans have done. “They’ve stepped up time and time again, all down through history,” Morrill stated.

I asked Karen Worcester why they chose to drive to a location nine hours away from their headquarters in Maine instead of choosing a truck stop that was closer. “We knew this was a busy truck stop and are trying to get as many wreaths as possible to veterans’ graves,” Karen said. “We wouldn’t be doing trucking or anything else we do without the sacrifices of those men and women, so embracing those families at the holidays is important for us to do.”

Nationwide, donations to Wreaths Across America are up by 20%, but the Worcesters said support for Arlington has dipped as more people get involved with wreath-laying ceremonies in their local communities. The rolling tribute was a way to create more awareness for Arlington National Cemetery, where the Worcesters will travel for this year’s Wreaths Across America Day on December 14.

Mission accomplished.

There was a steady flow of traffic all day at the Pilot Travel Center in Milford, where drivers received zip ties to attach a wreath to the grill of their truck onsite as an immediate show of support. Many drivers were shocked that the wreaths were free, but all were appreciative of the efforts to honor our veterans.

Morrill Worcester attaches a wreath to the grill of a truck as the driver was fueling.

Morrill Worcester attaches a wreath to the grill of a truck as the driver was fueling.

“We gave the wreaths away with one stipulation – that on National Wreaths Across America Day they take that wreath off their truck and find a veteran’s grave to place it upon. This idea started after seeing many of our volunteer professional drivers participating in the annual escort to Arlington remove the wreaths affixed to the grill of their rigs, and place it on a headstone once we made it to the cemetery,” Morrill said. “This very personal expression of gratitude was shared in pictures and online and became a symbol of how dedicated the trucking industry is to supporting our nation’s military.”

Drivers participating in the rolling tribute were also asked to photograph and share their experience online using #rollingtribute. Each driver’s wreath is one half of a Patriot Pair, with an additional remembrance wreath donated by the Worcesters set will be laid at Arlington National Cemetery. Worcester Wreath Company is donating the first 2,000 wreaths in the hopes that all professional drivers will want to become part of the rolling tribute.

Another new option of support for all professional drivers this year is called Trucking’s Patriot Pair, which can be ordered online at http://www.truckloadofrespect.com and shipped directly to the driver’s specified address. With a donation amount of $30, drivers will receive one wreath and fasteners for display on the grill of their tractor, and a second wreath will be placed on a veteran’s headstone at Arlington National Cemetery. In addition, all drivers who donate will receive a Wreaths Across America window decal.

I truly believe that Thanksgiving is the one day that is purely American, and I left Connecticut with a renewed sense of patriotism, as did hundreds of truckers that are now using their big rigs to deliver a strong message this holiday season.

Because of the efforts of Morrill and Karen Worcester, these specially-adorned trucks are rolling down America’s highways with wreaths to pay tribute to service members who made the ultimate sacrifice.

For that, we should all be thankful.

Shannon Smith Puts Female Drivers In The National Spotlight

 Women In Trucking Member Featured In Oprah Magazine

When Shannon Smith learned about the Women In Trucking Association in 2007, she immediately joined the organization.  She never imagined that it would result in a feature story in Oprah’s magazine, O.

In 2008 Shannon was interviewed by Career World magazine where she talked about her childhood desire to drive a truck.  The story was discovered by Jeanne Marie Laskas, who is writing a book about people who work in the unrecognized jobs that support America.  Laskas wrote the article for O Magazine that appears in this month’s (June 2012) issue.

Shannon runs solo for a small fleet leased to Landstar Inway.  She hauls everything from caskets to ketchup with her International 9400 Eagle, but her dream is to drive Navistar’s Lonestar model.

Shannon joined Women In Trucking Association because she enjoys meeting fellow members, who she refers to as her sisters.  She makes it a goal to attend the annual “Salute to Women Behind the Wheel,” at the Mid-America Trucking Show each spring.

The number of women who are professional drivers consists of only five percent of the industry, or about 200,000 and the number of black female drivers is even smaller.  “I consider everyone the same, regardless of whether they are black or white, male or female, or young or old,” Shannon said.  She feels that as long as everyone is doing his or her job, they should just be considered the same.

As a child, Shannon watched the trucks along the highway in her home state of Georgia, and she imagined herself at the wheel of one of those rigs, tugging on the air horn to the delight of the next generation of children.  “One day I’m gonna blow that horn,” she said.

Shannon’s dad, a diesel mechanic, advised her to learn how to fix an engine if she wanted to drive a big rig, so when a recruiter called her one day, she asked him if the Army could teach her to fix trucks.  He said they could, so she spent the next six years with the Reserves as a heavy-duty mechanic.

At the age of 23, Shannon attended truck-driving school and began her career as a professional driver.  She currently lives in Cleveland with her boyfriend, Michael, and her two cats.

“Shannon’s story has done more to show women that they can have a great career as a professional driver by sharing her story in O Magazine than this industry could have imagined,” said Ellen Voie, Women In Trucking’s President/CEO.  Watch for Smith’s story in Laskas’ upcoming book, “Hidden America,” to be released in September by Putnam.

The article can be read at http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Shannon-Sputter-Smith-Female-Truckers

Women In Trucking was established to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments and minimize obstacles faced by women working in the trucking industry.  Membership is not limited to women, as sixteen percent of its members are men who support the mission.  Women In Trucking is supported by its members and the generous support of Gold Level Partners; BendixDaimler Truck NAFrito-Lay North America Great Dane TrailersHyundai Translead and Walmart and Silver Level partner: C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc.  For more information visit www.WomenInTrucking.org or call 888-464-9482.





The Encroaching Indulgence Factor

By Dan Baker

For the past couple of years, I have been writing this article with the generational process in mind. We have talked about the old timers, the Boomers, the X’ers and the millennial group, and have tried to make sense out of how we can each deal with the other. We have talked about how:

  • We have moved from the giving generation to the receiving generation.
  • From the work ethic to the leisure ethic.
  • From a sense of deferred gratification to a sense of immediate gratification.
  • From inner motivation to reward based motivation.
  • From learning and remembering to storing and accessing.
  • From one-on-one relationships to the Facebook generation.
  • From accountability to accommodation…………

And I could go on for a long time talking about all the differences between the older versus the emerging generations.

Also, I think that many of our current problems in trucking can be traced to this whole generational evolution that is so prevalent in our world today. In many industries, the evolution seems to have been rather seamless.  But in those industries that depend on interpersonal relationships, and people skills, the generational evolution has been huge.

Our newer generations have been raised in a much more permissive environment, where people skills and common sense were not primary requirements for success. They are high tech – low touch people, who are smarter than most of us put together.

But the real problem is that they are an entitlement generation, who expects to be given what the older generations had to earn on their own. And in fact, we accommodate that need by re-structuring our companies to serve those millennial expectations.

But the result of all that recalibration to fit their needs is that the older generations see that, and realize it’s not a bad way to live. So, all of a sudden, a lot of the old work ethic folks are expecting the same treatment as we are having to give to the younger folks, and that “creeping indulgence factor” is starting to affect us all.

And as one who works the people side of the street in this industry, I think it’s a good change. Today, whether you are dealing with an old timer, or a new millennial, you have got to move from telling to asking. You have to change over from demanding to suggesting.

Today, top leadership people from all over the country have to re-think how they work with their people. And though we old timers love to talk about the old “kick-butt-take-names” culture we were raised in, we expect more from our company today.

Like the guy that said to his fellow worker, “the only difference between my boss and the Pope is that all the Pope wants you to kiss is his ring!”  Today, the days of kissing up are over. Today, we build cultures that include, support, encourage and build the best out of our people, regardless of their age or generation.

So, for all you old guys and gals that complain about the newer generations, stop a moment, and realize that they have brought us a better world that demands that we all realize what we should have known all along: If you’re in the trucking business today, first of all, you’re in the people business. And then, secondly, you’re in the trucking business.

New York Highway Safety System Goes Live

Wireless Roadside Inspection Technology Promises Safety and Efficiency

New York’s commercial truck inspection program is getting a lot smarter because of a 5.9 GHz Dedicated Short Range Communication (DSRC) Real-Time Clearance system developed by Kapsch TrafficCom North America, a subsidiary of Kapsch TrafficCom AG. Equipped-vehicles will be able to electronically report the driver’s identity, the fleet company’s safety record and the vehicle’s health.  The system was developed for use by the New York State Department of Transportation and the New York State Thruway Authority and was funded through a cost-shared product development agreement with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

“Commercial trucking is the backbone of our economy and provides the vital services of transportation and distribution to foster growth and prosperity,” said Francis J. Murray Jr., President and CEO of NYSERDA. “We are proud to join forces with Kapsch TrafficCom to develop the next generation vehicle transponder enabling increased efficiencies in both freight transportation and safety inspections.”

The key component for this project has been the development of a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) Aftermarket On-Board Unit (OBU).  This in-vehicle device facilitates high-speed communication with the roadside transceivers of the 5.9 GHz DSRC system. The OBU functions automatically when approaching an inspection facility, and informs the driver of needed actions with audible tones and in-cab lights, eliminating issues with driver distraction.

The DSRC system is now live at New York’s truck inspection facility outside Schodack, NY.   The current phase of the pilot involves twenty participating vehicles and drivers.  The system focuses on accurately identifying the driver and his driving record.   Future phases will report real-time truck safety issues including brakes, service records, mileage, etc.

Chris Murray, President and CEO, Kapsch TrafficCom North America said, “We are pleased to have had the opportunity to develop this DRSC system with the New York Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) and the New York State Thruway Authority (NYSTA) that provides game-changing technology that can greatly enhance traffic safety across the nation.”

DSRC systems create a technology backbone that will allow the NYSDOT to add multiple capabilities now and into the future.  The real-time information capabilities provided by this type of an Intelligent Transportation System could deliver the State of New York millions of dollars in greenhouse gas emission savings, transportation corridor planning, and efficiencies in traffic management and commercial vehicle inspections.

This project is also supporting broader efforts by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration as well as many of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Connected Vehicle program goals.  The New York State commercial vehicle inspection system is an extension of safety services now being developed under the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Connected Vehicle program.

NYSERDA offers objective information and analysis, innovative programs, technical expertise, and funding to help New Yorkers increase energy efficiency, save money, use renewable energy, and reduce their reliance on fossil fuels.  NYSERDA professionals work to protect our environment and create clean-energy jobs. A public benefit corporation, NYSERDA has been developing partnerships to advance innovative energy solutions in New York since 1975. For additional information, please visit www.kapschtraffic.com or www.nyserda.ny.gov/.


Con-way Truckload Fleet Gets In-Cab Navigation Equipment Upgrade

Company Installs Advanced NaviGo™ System in All Trucks

Con-way Truckload, a full-truckload carrier and subsidiary of Con-way Inc. (NYSE: CNW), recently announced the installment of Maptuit® NaviGo™ technology in all company trucks and Qualcomm-equipped owner-operator tractors. The in-cab navigation upgrade follows a successful pilot study launched in September 2011.


Fleetwide integration will occur through a developmental period during which NaviGo systems will be individually tested in all trucks at the carrier’s Joplin, Mo., facility. The fleetwide installment and integration process will take an estimated six to eight months to complete.


“This is a significant upgrade of our navigation and communication capabilities that will raise the overall quality and efficiency of our operations,” says Saul Gonzalez, chief operating officer, Con-way Truckload. “By installing NaviGo in our trucks, we hope to improve safety performance, making life a little easier for our drivers and, in return, for our customers.”

 The NaviGo system features several safety, accuracy, efficiency and cost benefits:

Increased driver safety

• Advanced GPS fleet tracking helps drivers avoid hazardous situations and truck-restricted routes, including residential areas, dead-end streets, low bridges, historically dangerous intersections and U-turns

• Clear 2D, 3D, and Driver Safety map guidance views

• Load-specific routing with 30 Hazmat road classes and categories

• Encourages hands-free directions and driver-centric features

Improved driver experience

• Includes an intuitive, large, touch-screen interface with dynamic, near real-time moving maps and easy to view buttons

• Displays route restrictions clearly with recognizable warning symbols

• Provides millions of points of interests (POIs) including truck services, truck stops, rest areas, weigh stations and CAT scales

• Spoken turn-by-turn truck-specific directions and automatic re-route calculation for missed turns

Increased driver efficiency

• Near real-time monitoring, alerting and re-routing capabilities avoid costly detours and areas of traffic congestion

• Route compliance and performance trend reporting features enable dispatchers to assess how well drivers are following route plans, improving on-time delivery and customer satisfaction

Reduced costs

• Detailed route plans, based on vehicle size and load type, reduce tolls, fuel costs and ensure on-time deliveries

• Reduced out-of-route miles increase fuel savings and contribute to Con-way’s sustainability efforts

•  NaviGo is compatible with existing Qualcomm dispatcher systems

Drivers interested in joining the Con-way Truckload team should visit www.true2blue.com, www.facebook.com/CareersatConway/ or call 866-WORK-4-US (866-967-5487).

Follow the company on Twitter: http://twitter.com/ConwayInc

Con-way equipment images are available at www.con-way.com/en/about_con_way/newsroom


Germ Free

Keeping Your Computer Protected From Viruses


By Tom Kelley


No matter what sort of software programs you use, it’s imperative thatVirus you make an effort to keep them up-to-date with the latest patches, fixes and upgrades. Most software vendors have some mechanism for keeping you informed of updates, and many even have the means to automatically keep your computer updated via the internet.

Speaking of keeping up-to-date, this is an important aspect of your next line of defense, virus protection. Even the best anti-virus software won’t protect you from viruses that are created after the software is shipped, unless you keep the “virus definitions” regularly updated.

The average computer user will virtually never be vulnerable to a computer virus – IF – they keep their anti-virus software regularly updated. By regular, we mean that you should check your virus program’s website, or more ideally, use the automated update function at least once a day.

Sooner or later, however, the law of averages will catch up with you and you will be sent a virus for which you may not already have an update. This is where the need for common-sense comes in. As long as you’ve configured your patched and updated e-mail software for maximum security (turn off everything that enables an e-mail message to “automatically” do anything), most e-mail viruses will be harmless unless you do something to activate that virus.

Most viruses arrive as some sort of attachment that must be opened or activated for the virus to infect your computer. This brings us to the single most important piece of advice you’ll ever get regarding a computer. If you don’t know exactly what an attachment is and why it’s being sent to you, don’t open it!!!

It doesn’t matter if the file is coming from somebody you know, or how computer savvy you think that person may be. So let me repeat that last bit of advice, If you don’t know exactly what an attachment is and why it’s being set to you, don’t open it!!!

Mike Schiotis Named 2011 Goodyear North America Highway Hero

2011 Goodyear North America Highway Hero Award winner Mike Schiotis (left), with Mark Pillow, director of business solutions, Goodyear Commercial Tire Systems. Schiotis, who saved a woman from a gun-wielding attacker, received the award at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky.

Spring Hill, Tenn., Truck Driver Rescued Woman From Gun-Wielding Attacker

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has named its 29th North America Highway Hero: a Tennessee-based truck driver who rescued a woman from a gun-wielding attacker.

Chosen from among four finalists, Mike Schiotis of Spring Hill, Tenn., recently accepted the 2011 Goodyear North America Highway Hero Award during the Mid-America Trucking Show.

Schiotis, who works for Seville, Ohio-based Panther Expedited Services Inc., was driving to his destination in Pennsylvania on Nov. 1, 2011, when he saw a woman walking with a man close behind her. Thinking they were injured, he slowed down and noticed that the man was pointing a gun at the woman. Schiotis stopped his truck and the woman began pounding on his door, screaming “Help me! He’s going to kill me!” Schiotis jumped out of his truck and positioned himself between the woman, who was bleeding from the head, and her assailant. He helped the woman into his rig and decided to take her to the next truck stop.

The gun-carrying man got back in his car and began to follow Schiotis’ truck. Schiotis pulled into a truck stop, but decided it was safer to continue down the highway. Meanwhile, he notified the Pennsylvania State Highway Patrol, then used his CB radio to tell other truckers in the area about what was transpiring. Another truck driver, who was behind Schiotis’ 18-wheeler, heard him and took action. Together, they drove side-by-side, weaving back and forth to prevent the gunman from closing in on Schiotis’ tractor. This gave troopers time to catch up with the man and apprehend him.

“We are grateful to Mike Schiotis for his quick thinking and brave actions,” said Phillip Kane, vice president of Goodyear Commercial Tire Systems. “He literally put himself ‘in the line of fire,’ and in all probability, prevented a tragedy from taking place. Mike’s decision to interject himself into this dangerous situation is a powerful example of the selflessness and professionalism exhibited by many of today’s professional truck drivers. Because of his action, a life was saved. For this, Mike Schiotis has earned the right to be called a hero.”

Schiotis and three other truck drivers were selected as finalists for the 2011 North America Highway Hero Award. Other finalists included:

* John Crozman of Black Hawk, S.D., a driver for Long Haul Trucking in Albertville, Minn. While driving down a rest stop access road near Summit, S.D., on Feb. 3, 2011, in the middle of a severe snowstorm, Crozman noticed a candle flickering inside a car that was parked on the side of the highway. Fighting sub-zero winds, Crozman walked to the car and found an elderly couple inside. Ill-equipped for the dangerous weather, they had been trapped in the car for more than four hours. Crozman led the shivering man and woman to his truck and let them spend the night in his warm sleeper cab. The next day, he made sure they were safe and their car was rescued before continuing along his route.

* Melville Farnell of Shelburne, Ontario, a driver for Tupling Farms Produce Inc., also based in Shelburne. Farnell was making a delivery on May 13, 2011, when a car that was traveling in the opposite direction veered into the path of his truck and slammed into it head-on. The impact caused Farnell’s tractor-trailer to jack knife. Diesel fuel began leaking onto the highway. Though shaken, Farnell approached the car, which had come to stop in a ditch. He observed a semi-conscious male in the driver’s seat. Farnell broke the driver’s side window and pulled the much heavier motorist to safety just minutes before the car exploded.

* John Neumeier of Russia, Ohio, a driver for Bohman Trucking, also based in Russia. Neumeier was loading his milk delivery truck around 9 p.m. on Nov. 14, 2011, when a car driving down a nearby road missed a curve and plunged into an eight-foot-deep pond. As the car began to sink, Neumeier spotted the driver’s cell phone light. Knowing he had little time to waste, he grabbed a large wrench, dove into the pond, and beat on the driver’s side window until it broke. Neumeier pulled the driver, a 65-year-old man, out by his feet and hauled him to shore. The man was taken away by ambulance.

“Each of these finalists is a Highway Hero in his own right,” said Kane. “Each man rescued someone who was in life-threatening peril. We are honored to recognize these selfless gentlemen for their acts of courage and compassion.”

Founded by Goodyear in 1983, the Highway Hero program honors professional truck drivers for the often unnoticed rescues and roadside assistance they provide as their jobs take them across the United States and Canada.

To nominate a driver for the 2012 Goodyear North America Highway Hero Award, visit http://www.goodyeartrucktires.com/newsroom/highway-heroes/hero-overview.aspx.  An independent panel of judges will review nominations and help select next year’s honorees.


It’s Jumbo Bluegill Time

By Don Kirk

It is an oddity that everyone loves to catch bluegill, but few anglers, and especially those who qualify as “seasoned,” rarely rank these feisty sunfish among their favorite quarries. When you consider bluegill are most people’s first catch, the first fish you introduce children and grandchildren to catching, and how many otherwise “busted” fishing vacations were rescued by the colorful little battlers, it is a real crying shame.  I, for one, am not ashamed to say those bluegills are the only fish I can cast to with a relative certainty of success.  To me, being a dedicated musky fisherman is like a fellow saying he will only marry a prom queen with one brown eye and one blue eye. What are the odds of him hooking up, eh?

Bluegills are found in incredible abundance in the US from sea to shining sea and purple majesties. Be it a lake, or a pond, or a creek, or a river, or a reservoir, you can bet on finding great fishing for these bantamweight fighters. They are admirably reliable when it comes to munching on a cricket or a redworm, and during June hand-sized adults are quite preoccupied with nesting in shallow shoreline areas where they are easily caught. If you are an over the road driver with little time to spend with younger members of your family, these dime a dozen sunfish are a true Godsend.

Odds are you live closer to more great bluegill fishing water than you can cover fishing everyday this month.  State DNRs (Department of Natural Resources) as well as many counties and municipalities maintain small lakes and ponds purely for the fishing fun of the public. As many as not have fishing piers extending out in shallow areas where these sunfish live, and inexpensive boat rentals are often available. About all you need to get started or to introduce a youngster to bluegill fishing is a cane pole, bobbers, hooks, a can of worms or crickets, and, of course,  your fishing license.

During June, it possible to catch a limit of “plate-size” bluegill  ten-to-twenty feet from the shoreline where these fish create washtub-size, round nests. Using their tail they sweep the bottom completely free of pebbles and debris and eggs are laid and fry are reared. Adult bluegill tenaciously guard their nests.  Often you can locate one or two active nests by walking around the shoreline or by cruising by a boat.  This is where you want to fish. This is especially true during a full moon when every big bream in the neighbor will be there to spawn.

Bait is the traditional approach to catching bluegill, and frankly most anglers never graduate beyond it.  Redworms, wax worms, maggots, and crickets are the most popular natural offerings, and everyone dedicated bluegill catching specialists has their own favorite. I prefer wax worms, which are not only cooperative when it comes to spiking them on a hook, but also their tough outer shell makes stealing them difficult by bait rouging bream.  It has been rumored that chunks of hotdogs work well, but my kids and “grands” always ate up the bait, so I can only pass it along as hearsay.

When the big bluegill are on the nest in June, true aficionados of the species use ultra light spinning tackle to toss 1/32 and 1/16 ounce leadhead jelly grubs out and retrieve right through the nests. It is great fun battling a one-pound bull in on two-pound test on a rod that resembled a long toothpick.  I do love a challenge that come with fast gratification, which is why many years ago I fell in love with fly fishing for bluegill. The “glob” sound made by a big bluegill taking a popping bug from the surface of an other tranquil farm pond is as sweet as the flutter of angels’ wings.  Once secured by the barb of your hook, you  can bet the rent that this little fish thinks it’s a runaway locomotive in miniature. Never-say-die is the credo of these little fish when tangling with a fly rod welding human.  Cork-bodied popping bugs, sponge-bodied flies and deer hair poppers all have well deserved reputations as bluegill topwater takers.

As fun as catching bluegill is, eating them just adds to their reputation. I only keep the ones which are big enough to fillet, rolling the fillets in cornmeal so I can cook them golden brown in sizzling peanut oil.  It takes a mess of bluegill for a meal of these two-bite fillets, but man oh man, what a gastronomic treat they are.

For more articles and information designed for the professional driver who loves to fish, visit Don Kirk’s web site at www.interstatesportsman.com. He is also on the Interstate Sportsman show on Sirius/XM (Open Road channel 106) each Thursday morning a 7:30am ET, and Saturday morning at 9:00am ET.

Grow Your Knowledge

It Pays To Keep Learning

By Tom Kelley

For many in our industry, a driving job is a destination. Older couples and individuals who may have spent their earlier years “tied” to a desk, or in some form of indoor occupation, have long aspired to get out on the open road and see the country while earning a living.

For others, a truck driving job is just the first step on a career path that can provide a lifetime of opportunity and growth within the trucking industry. In fact, many of today’s most successful trucking companies require that those seeking management positions actually spend some time at the wheel before advancing into a supervisory role.

Obviously, the first step on a career path in the trucking industry is to learn and practice the necessary skills to acquire a CDL with the endorsements for air-brakes and combination trailers. Many carriers also require a HazMat endorsement as an entry-level requirement, but even if they don’t, adding this endorsement will enable flexibility in your choice of jobs and loads. Similarly, a tank endorsement on your CDL will provide more possibilities for employment.

So let’s say you’ve got your CDL with the endorsements to drive anything that moves and you’re content to spend a few years on the road. What skills can you add that will help your career, both in the long and short term?

One important skill, rarely stressed in any form of organized education, is public speaking. We’re not talking about getting up in front of

10,000 people and making a presentation, but having some public speaking skill can be just as valuable while telling a lengthy joke at the lunch counter or giving directions over the phone, as it is to the politician running for office.

More importantly, confidence in your speaking skills will make it easier to communicate and deal with employers, shippers and others that you encounter on the job. As your career progresses, public speaking skills can be a benefit in dispatch, sales and management positions. Several organized groups provide opportunities to develop speaking skills.

Within our industry, groups such as Trucker Buddy are involved in arranging for truckers to make classroom visits and talk about trucking to school children.

Another skill that can help right now, as well as in your future career pursuits, is some basic accounting knowledge. As your career progresses, being able to understand finances and communicate effectively with finance personnel is a vital business skill.

Whether your career aspirations involve dispatching, sales, or even the CEO’s office, it’s important to stay informed. Read anything you can find covering information on the trucking industry. Most importantly, listen and ask questions. No amount of formal training can ever replace what you’ll learn by being right in the middle of real-life daily fleet operations, so take advantage of the free education that’s around you every day.



Can You Haul It?

Make Sure Your Skills Are Up To Your Claims

By Tom Kelley

When chatting on the CB or at the lunch counter, it’s one thing to be confident of your abilities, but quite another to back up grand claims.

An old construction joke illustrates the risk of bragging.

Frank, a strong young man at the construction site, was bragging that he could outdo anyone in a feat of strength. He made a special case of making fun of John, one of the older workmen. After several minutes, John had enough.

“Why don’t you put your money where your mouth is?” John said. “I will bet a week’s wages that I can haul something in a wheelbarrow over to that outbuilding that you won’t be able to wheel back.”

“You’re on, old man,” Frank the braggart replied. “It’s a bet! Let’s see what you got.”

John reached out and grabbed the wheelbarrow by the handles. Then, nodding to the young man, he said, “All right. Get in.”

Remember, as smart and skilled as you think you may be, there’s always somebody out there who is smarter and/or more skilled.