Chad was working 2 jobs and the money he was making just wasn't cutting it. He'd always wanted to be a truck driver, but the timing just hadn't been right. After the Navy, he got married and started a family always thinking that eventually he'd give trucking a try.
So when the former Navyman turned pharmacy technician and part time teacher turned 40, he finally decided to make the leap to become a professional truck driver. Chad came across PAM Transport and liked the company paid CDL training program. He was also determined to take advantage of the first year career advancement opportunities to make more money. Get the scoop on Chad in our interview below...
Q: What were you doing prior to trucking?
A: Pharmacy Technician at Wal-Mart, also taught Pharmacy Tech. prerequisite classes at a local community college.
Q: What made you decide to become a trucker?
A: The money was so-so with my 2 jobs, but I’ve always wanted to be a trucker. I was in the Navy when I was younger, and when I got out I got married and started a family, life just kind of happened. When I turned 40 and hit a little mid-life crisis, I finally decided I had to go after it.
Q: How was your training experience? Anything that really stuck out?
A: I had previously started with a different company to train, but when I left and decided to go through Driver Solutions, it was a night and day kind of difference. I went to C1 Fort Worth, and I could tell almost immediately that the instructors were really focused in on you. C1 was also really well structured, whereas the company I previously went to get my CDL with was kind of all over the place.
Q: What’s your favorite part about truck driving?
A: The freedom of it. You’re accountable for doing your job, but somebody isn’t always watching over your shoulder. You’re your own boss.
Maximizing the Money
Q: You made the decision to get your HazMat endorsement ASAP, why?
A: I knew having a HazMat on my CDL would mean me making more money on every single load - HazMat or not. I didn't want to wait around. As soon as I graduated from school I started the process, studied, did the fingerprints, testing and all that good stuff. By the time I was done with training with my Mentor and ready to go back home, I had my HazMat endorsement waiting on me. The difference in pay when you have a HazMat is extremely noticeable...especially running as a team.
Why wouldn't I want to start earning more money as soon as I could? It just makes sense.
Q: Why do you think some people delay on the HazMat?
A: I think a lot of drivers have a misunderstanding on what hauling HazMat means. They think it's like your driving around with a bomb in your truck and it's not. For example, my last HazMat run was hauling plastic beads. It varies from person to person, but I haven't really had to haul a whole lot of HazMat loads and I'm getting paid HazMat for each load regardless. I think that's what people need to understand.
Q: You're on your way to becoming a Driver Mentor. What made you want to do that?
A: I've always enjoyed helping people and want to see others succeed. And it doesn't hurt that it's a great way to make more money, too. It's rewarding for me to know that I had a part in helping to make someone a safe, processional driver. I know that if I stick with this, I can earn some great money and really make a difference. This is the next step for me and my career.
Q: How’s your overall experience been with PAM Transport?
A: It’s been good. The first 3-6 months are the toughest, with adjusting to a new lifestyle while dealing with being away from home. But I stay busy, I really don’t sit much. I've also been able to take advantage of some opportunities to make more money pretty quickly, so that's been good as well.
Q: How’s your relationship with your dispatcher? How important is it to maintain a good relationship?
A: I have a great relationship with my dispatcher. I always tell new drivers that I meet either in person or on Driver Solutions’ Students and Alumni group that as soon as they get the chance, introduce yourself to your dispatcher. It puts a face with your name and truck number, and helps to build a real relationship.
Q: Favorite part about the company?
A: I really like that our freight is generally dry-van, no touch, and drop and hook. There’s usually a quick turnaround because of this, whereas with other types of freight I could get caught waiting for hours.
Q: Coolest place PAM has taken you?
A: Drove through the mountains of California on I-40.
More PAM Driver Interviews
Glenn is also a Mentor at PAM Transport who took a break from his busy schedule to tell us all about his journey so far.