Driver Solutions Graduate Interview with John Carpenter - Part 1

Today, we bring you part 1 of our 4 part interview with John Carpenter.  John came through the Driver Solutions training program in July of 2010 and has been driivng with USA Truck ever since. 

Find out more about why John decided to get into truck driving, what it's like working for USA Truck, and how many miles he's getting each week. 

Q: What were you doing before trucking and how did you get into it?
A: Well, I will be 36 this year.  Back when I was 18 or 19, I was working for Coca-Cola and got a taste of driving trucks.  My grandfather drove trucks and I’ve been around trucks a lot of my life because other family members worked jobs where it always seemed like trucks were around.  I always found trucks to be very interesting, but at the time you had to be 25 to drive a truck for Coca-Cola and I didn’t want to wait.  So, I went into restaurants and bars business doing some management.  Later in life, I decided it was time to look back into the truck driving.  I ran across Driver Solutions & C1 Training.  They had a trucking school campus near me and it seemed to make sense.  I filled out the application and talked with a recruiter.  Everything worked out for me and I got started with USA Truck. 

Q: Why truck driving?
A: I am a business savvy guy.  From a business standpoint, the trucking industry is almost recession proof.  There is always going to be a need for trucks and deliveries to be made. From a personal standpoint, I love the travel, freedom, and flexibility that come with a trucking career.  I have the sense of being my own boss and for the most part, I am.  Now I do have a fleet manager, but on the day-to-day there is a lot of freedom.

Q: What is it like working for USA Truck?
A: USA Truck is a very supportive company.  I have a fleet manager that I talk with on a daily basis and he assigns me loads by working through the freight coordinator.  Right now, I am usually out around 5 weeks at a time and then I get 5 days off.  It’s almost like a mini vacation after putting in several weeks of hard work. 

As far as miles, I am getting about 3500 miles per week and for the most part other drivers I talk with are getting right around 2200 or so miles on average.  Last week was my go-home week and I was still able to get 2100 miles working Tues-Thurs.  I take my breaks, don’t abuse my time, and stick to my schedule. 

There are some times when things don’t work out as planned.  Just last week, I wasn’t able to make it home when I was originally scheduled.  That’s to be expected in this industry, but the important thing was my fleet manager put forth the effort and I could tell he really tried to get me back home – it just didn’t work out that way.  It still meant a lot that he took the time to try to work things out.

Overall though, I have a blast with my fleet manager and he keeps me moving.

Be sure to check back tomorrow for part 2 of our interview with John to learn more about his training experience and how he balances life on the road with family time.