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Trucking with Passion

Trucking is often viewed as a cold industry. The industry is made of up of big heavy machines, a varied group of people, and is one of the largest industries in the country. Much of the technology focus is on reducing incidents and making trucks safer or more aerodynamic. With all that steel and grit how can an industry like trucking have any kind of passion or heart? To those interested in venturing out and taking a look at the real industry of transportation you will find an industry full of passionate people.

When we mention the month of September we often think of kids going back to school and business communities getting back to normal after a long summer spent on vacation with families. In the trucking industry the month of September is a time when we show how passionate we really are as an industry and how important we are to the economy and society.
Let me show you how we do that.

First September is a month that we celebrate drivers with National Trucking Week on both sides of the border. It is held the first two weeks of September and is a time for carriers and those associated with the industry to toot their own horn to the public by promoting the fact that a truck touches most of the products we have in our daily lives. Taking that message to the general public is of great importance as we thank those that drive long miles to get goods on the shelf of your favourite store. Then there is the passion side and their is no shortage of it in transportation.

September is a month when the passion of the industry really shines. It is hard not to see the passion as they are on every roadway in the Province of Ontario among others. Those big machines that look scary on the road are driven by people that have the biggest hearts in the country and a pride for the industry that you won’t find anywhere else. Drivers love their trucks and once you have the opportunity to be around these fabulous machines you will love the trucks too. Convoys are a popular way for the industry to show off their attributes and do good at the same time. In fact great is the word that should be used as drivers have raised thousands of dollars for charities over the years and continue to step up every year. The money is one thing, but it is the joy on the faces of the people involved that really make the difference.

I recently attended an event for the Special Olympics that raised Trucking for a Cureover $70,000 dollars to help special needs athletes compete in their chosen fields. Although the money raised was impressive when you saw the faces of those kids as they rode in the trucks the smiles were ear to ear. That alone keeps these drivers coming back each year and helping the cause. Another cause that has been in the forefront is organizations like Trucking for a Cure that not only raise funds and awareness for breast cancer research but celebrate women in the industry. This convoy has various locations and has been a leader in the industry for raising funds for cancer research. In fact they are having their convoy in Woodstock on September 23rd this year. You can learn more at www.truckingforacure.com .

So if you think the industry is only made up of machines and cold steel you couldn’t be further from the truth. This industry is made up of heart and soul with good people behind the wheel. All you have to do is get out and experience it.

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

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Trucking is Extremely Important for Disaster Relief

It has been a rough month for the Southern States and many parts of the Caribbean. Names like Harvey and Irma are regularly mentioned in the news as these hurricanes have caused devastation throughout the regions. When disasters such as these happen many services are required and the transportation industry usually gets the call.

 

How does the trucking industry get involved?

How involved a company gets involved with this type of operation will depend greatly on how the type of equipment they have, the areas they are authorized for, and the size of the fleet. Some companies may send supplies on their own, but for the most part carriers able to help will be listed with Government agencies as willing to help out in these situations. Many times there will also be a call out to the transportation industry for a certain amount or types of equipment depending on the needs of the situation.

If you think about what is required during disasters different Hurricane-Disastermaterials are required at different times. When the incident happens the basics normally required include water, food, and medical supplies. Once these primary supplies are received then items like clothing and building materials will be required. One of the biggest issues that are noted many times are having items sent that are not required. There have been countless stories of loads of clothing and other items being sent to an area and the loads have to be trashed because it is not what people required at the time or there was no way to handle the freight. Make sure you follow the needs listed by the agency websites or requested instructions so that items required are what will be received on location.

Do drivers get paid for disaster relief?

When you hear politicians dedicating billions of dollars to a situation that money is to cover expenses of rebuilding the region. Price gouging is unethical and illegal in many areas, but that being said many times this is a profitable time for some companies because things have to happen right away. Carriers are paid good rates and usually everything is covered from detention time to miles run and more. While this may seem profitable it isn’t all gravy. There will be extended times away from home and long hours performing the relief efforts. This won’t be an eight hour shift.

Everyone can get involved

The good thing is that no matter how big or small your carrier is they can be involved. There are one truck carriers involved and fleets with thousands of trucks involved. They are all involved in a way that benefits the relief efforts the best. In fact if you look at the latest relief efforts happening in Florida they have people with pick up trucks delivering water and supplies from the local distribution centre to the victims.

So if you want to help out in these situations don’t just show up unannounced. There are lots of logistics to be sorted out. Register, answer the requests required, or list your carrier with the appropriate agencies. Don’t get involved for the money! These are terrible situations with people that have lost everything due to the situation. If you want to help, help from the heart not the wallet.

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

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It’s National Trucking Week-Thank a Truck Driver

National Trucking Week happens every year in September in North America. In Canada it is from September 3rd to September 9th, and in the United States it is from September 10th to the 17th. For drivers this may be the most important weeks of the year. Company’s will be holding barbecues, giving out awards, and trying to celebrate the drivers as much as possible. Truck stops and other venues will be doing the same thing as drivers roll through their premises conducting their daily duties trying to show their appreciation for what they do. My question is does this go far enough?

If you think about it does a free hotdog go far enough? What does it say from a celebration standpoint? Drivers get a bad rap in our Man-with-blue-truckindustry because many times what is shown on television is the damage caused by a truck in an incident or times when an illegal substance is found on a trailer at the border. Then the trucking industry gets lots of attention from the media, but it’s the wrong kind. I am not saying that truck drivers are perfect and never do anything wrong that would be insane as some do cause problems and make mistakes. If you look at the numbers in a percentage based equation you will see that the number of issues where truck drivers are involved is very low considering the number of drivers on the road. In Canada alone there are over 300,000 drivers on the road and you can add that to the billions of miles added on to the U.S. drivers operating south of the border. Take those numbers and divide them by the number of incidents on the roadways and you will see that incidents are relatively low for the amount of driving being done over our roadways. Divide those by how many of those were caused by some other motorist’s driving mistakes and the number goes even lower.

Many of my industry friends will say the same thing that we are very good at telling people in our industry how good we are, but not the general public. Oh sure let’s keep giving drivers free hotdogs at the truck stop, but maybe we need to take it a step further. What if we made it similar to a National Holiday where we take a day and really show our appreciation.

What if we were to match a Holiday such as Remembrance Day with of course another name. All drivers are given the day off with pay and the media shows what drivers really do for our Country. Maybe we could have a giant convoy or celebration showing the trucks to the general public and allowing them to meet the people that drive them on a regular basis.

When you look at some of the causes that truck drivers show up for year after year you can see all the good we do. Causes like Trucking for a Cure or Truck Convoy for Special Olympics are just a couple that also happen in the month of September. If you can get out and see the important work and help that the trucking community provides. We do a lot of good whether it is helping in areas of disaster or helping out a great cause, truck drivers are there. Let’s give them the respect they deserve because without them we wouldn’t have anything. This week make sure you thank a truck driver, they deserve it.

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

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3 Tips for a Successful Truck Driving Career

Are you beginning your career as a truck driver and wondering what is the fastest route to success? There are some tips that will help you have a successful career that are very basic and something that everyone can do if they choose to try. I often get people asking what is the shortcut to a successful career? When I tell them the basic points they normally give me a silly grin and usually that means they didn’t get the answer they wanted to hear. They were possibly looking for some tip like if you take this course it will take you to the top of the ladder or if you drive a certain truck it will break down less. The truth is that trucking doesn’t work that way.

The transportation industry is a long term play. Success won’t truck showhappen quickly. Oh sure you will have small wins along the way such as successful loads that you make good money on or you might get a new truck from a company right out of the gate. In reality it will take years to realize how success in the industry will relate to you. That’s because everyone has a different reason for being in the industry and different goals for their careers. Since every career is different this is the best place to start a career plan for success so I am offering you three tips to help you get started.

Tip 1: Research Your Career Options and Set Goals

Step one is the most important, but the one that most people forget to do. Many new drivers haven’t taken the time to think about their career for the long term and write down goals that will define their career. Don’t just think about this year or the next couple of years. When we suggest figuring out what you want people think we are talking about when you want to be home or how many miles you want to run. Think bigger than that and try planning out the direction for your career. What type of work do you like to do? How can you get the most out of your training? What type of money do you want to make? These are the questions you should be asking. Sit down and write out that plan.

Tip 2: Get Quality Training

This step cannot be skipped and some say this reason alone is the reason for the driver shortage. It has been stated that there are many licenced drivers in the industry, but due to non-certified training many of these drivers can’t get jobs which is why on July 2017 Mandatory Entry Level Training came into effect. You have to get quality training to even have the chance to talk with a quality carrier and start your career on the right foot.

Tip 3: Operate Professionally

This tip is one that many new drivers don’t grasp. It is important to operate as professional as possible throughout your career. This includes how you dress, how you act, and the way you do your job. This starts in training with taking good notes, listening and be active with training processes. The important part of working professionally is to improve your career as you go along. Keep improving your training, the way you work, and how you treat others. Keep violations and incidents to a minimum and hold a stable work record. Team that with the goals you have set out in the first tip and it will take you a long way to a successful career.

A successful trucking career is long term endeavor and something that needs to be taken seriously. Talk to anyone that has been in the industry with a successful career and they will tell you that the basics of professionalism will catapult your career with many career options down the road, but you have to prove yourself first.

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

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Truckers help kids get back to school

Truckers help kids get back to school? How do they do that, by dropping them off at the front door? Of course not, well maybe the odd kid, but for the most part you won’t see bobtail rigs driving up to the front door of your public school. Trucking is in the background of every industry and is supporting the kids in the same way. If we were to drop off one kid we would be noticed by everyone and only be helping one child, the one that was dropped off. In trucking we operate in the background and help millions of kids and no one see us.

Truck on highway

If you’re a driver depending on your company’s freight focus you may find you’re extremely busy this time of year hauling into big box stores. You may not even realize that you are helping kids get back to school. You may be just doing your job as you normally do. You may be hauling paper from Northern Massachusetts, brand new pencils from the factory in New Jersey, or backpacks from Northern California. For truck drivers it is just part of their normal work week bringing supplies from factories to store shelves as they do each and every day. This is all done behind the scenes and the general public just knows that the store shelves remain stocked. In fact this process possibly may have happened over time and has been going on since the Spring.

How does it work? Stores know that August is a time when back to school supplies will be in high demand. They place orders for the supplies months before with the manufacturers. That is when the trucking community gets involved in getting these kids back to school. Products are trucked across North America to distribution centres, stores, and supply centres. The public then goes to the stores and purchases the products required. It is one seamless process that happens every year with most products.

So take a moment when you are out buying back to school supplies and think about who is really behind making sure those store shelves are full of your favourite items. When your child wants that backpack with his favourite superhero on it or your teenager require highlighters in every colour realize that it got to the store shelves some how, by truck.

When your child is heading back to school take a look at what they have, do a little inventory of what you bought from the store. You will find most of it was moved by truck. There are probably few items that weren’t brought by truck drivers, lunch! That was made by Mom.

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, consultant, podcast host, and speaker. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

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Great company culture is required for success

Have you ever heard the saying “It takes a man and woman to have a baby, but a neighbourhood to raise a child.” The same can be said about a successful trucking career. It takes a person with passion for the job and quality training to get started but a good company culture to raise a successful driver.

We see this all the time in the industry. A student shows interest in becoming a professional truck driver. They enter into a certified training program and pass their test for the licence. If they get employed by a good company with a culture of safety and team work at the beginning of their career they do well and usually have successful careers.

When people don’t get hired by quality companies we see that they are not as successful and often struggle throughout their career as they search for a company that they feel comfortable working for. Just like a baby, early on in your career is when you are the most vulnerable to receiving information and forming good career habits for the future. Getting into a good company is crucial for your success.

Here is what happens when you don’t get hired with a good Gordon Foods Meetingcompany. If you take just any job you end up working with equipment that is not maintained properly, or drivers are encouraged to work outside of the regulations, or aren’t respected by management. A company like this can lower the moral of driver and cause them to question their choice for entering the industry. They focus much of their time on changing carriers looking for that great company culture.

When a driver has completed a quality training course they now have the training requirements to get hired on with a quality carrier. A good carrier can offer additional training, quality equipment, and works within the regulations helping their drivers have successful careers. This allows a driver to enhance their initial training which will help them identify skills and opportunities for the future. These opportunities form the basis of a career that can progress for a long time.

If you are a new driver looking for a carrier to call home investigating the culture of a company is very important. It can be the difference between a successful career and a mediocre one. Look for a company that believes in safety, has quality equipment, and is working to enhance their driver’s careers with opportunities and additional training. It’s your future!

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, consultant, podcast host, and speaker. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

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Doing the right thing is about decisions

Did you hear about the story on the news this week about a person that stole a suit for a job interview? This bad story turned good with a good-hearted police officer was on all the news channels the other night, but what is the message that this story sends us?

Apparently the story goes like this. A young person was caught shoplifting in Toronto at a local Walmart. When the police arrived they realized this person was trying to get clothing for a job interview to help change their life around and didn’t know how to go about it. The person was stealing a shirt, tie, and socks for the interview. The police officer on the scene decided not to charge the person, but went in and paid for the items releasing the person with the items. The story was reported to CTV news and went viral on news networks. Here is a link to the story in case you missed it on the news. http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/toronto-police-officer-buys-would-be-thief-the-outfit-he-was-trying-to-steal-1.3536049

Now a suit is not necessarily required for a job in trucking but the circumstances can be translated to any job situation. More important is that truck drivers are making decisions all the time within their daily job functions and having the ability to make proper decisions can make the difference between success and chaos.

I have as big a heart as anyone and truly commend the police officer for making a difficult decision and believing in this person. If the product being stolen was a television set the outcome would have been much different. Looking at this situation as a one off scenario makes it a heart felt story. Here is the problem with the would-be-thief’s decision.

With this story being all over the news every employer will be watching for this person. Breaking the law to show your best foot forward is sugar coating a real problem and removes the factor of trust which is a trait that most employee /employer relationships are based on. There are many places and organizations that help in this area and walking into any clothing charity would have had someone able to point a person in the right direction if they needed the clothing for an interview.

The real question is the next time this person comes up with a challenging decision between right and wrong, how will they go about it? Will they be hoping that the officers or officials showing up in the case of capture will have a soft heart and let them go? If they get away with the action will they think they have the talent to get away with it again in the future? If you remember the news story just a few weeks ago where the truck driver was caught smuggling a full load of people where some of those people died you will realize the importance of being able to make good decisions.

I hope the person in this story takes advantage of the police officer’s kind heart and continues on a life of good, they have been given a pass this time. If there is a next time the circumstances might be quite different. I wish them well.

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, consultant, podcast host, and speaker. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

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How important is the physical truck to your career?

Is the kind of truck you drive an important factor as a driver in your trucking career? The answer to this question will be different for everyone and the importance will range from super important to those that really don’t care. With all the talk about autonomous vehicles you wonder if the driver cares at all?

Depending on where you are in your career and the length of time you have been driving will determine the importance of a truck to you. A truck to many drivers especially those operating in the long haul category will be more important than someone operating in a city delivery operation. A truck to many of us is a home, one that we spend many days, months, and years in doing everything from driving to sleeping and more. It is a home and many of us want it as comfortable as possible.

Then there is the “good looks” machine category. With an industry that is still very much male dominated, cars, trucks, and machines in general are all about looking good. Fancy trucks have been part of the industry from day one and a good looking truck still turns heads and offers a feeling glamour while on the road to this day. Go to any truck show or roll down any highway and you will see trucks that shine and are decked out attracting looks from anyone in the area.

Trucks have been even part of the promotions landscape at many companies and some still operate this way today. The truck you drove with a fleet was a status symbol in the old days. When you started with a fleet you normally would get the older unit in the yard. As the company gained confidence in you they would offer you a nicer truck as drivers moved on or the carrier bought new equipment. After a few years you would be getting new trucks on a regular basis and may even have a say as to what type of options were included. This is when you knew you were at the top of your game. The truck was your promotion as many times increase in pay couldn’t happen. Getting a nicer truck than your colleagues meant that the company valued your performance and recognized you as a professional driver in the fleet.

So the truck has been a very important part of a driver’s career for truck showmany reasons. You may be thinking to yourself that those are nice reasons for caring about a truck but they are not a requirement for safety. You may be correct but let me introduce to you another component, your body! A properly sized comfortable truck can make a huge difference in how your body handles life on the road and how safe you are on the roads.

Many drivers had back problems before they improved the seats over the years making them more comfortable and able to remove the shock from the road through your body. Some drivers have even had leg problems from not being able to adjust the seat properly in smaller cab styles. Comfort plays a huge part in how long someone can drive and how productive they are on the road. Obviously the comfort of a truck is still very important to the driver as Volvo has just announced their VNL series with many new comfort features based on information received from drivers.

So when going to work for carriers take into account the truck. It will be your home, your income generator, and your status in the company. You want it to be safe, comfortable, and look good. It will surprise you how it changes the way you feel and the way you drive when you have a nice looking comfortable truck. Over a 25 year career it can have a factor in lifestyle and health so do take into account the type of equipment of a carrier. The truck is a major factor in your career as a professional driver, take it seriously.

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, consultant, podcast host, and speaker. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

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Fast Money is Never Worth the Consequences

Being an owner operator is a serious step that many drivers go into without doing their homework. Once into the world of business it can overwhelm some to the point that they take drastic measures to repair the damage and make things worse. We see it all the time in the industry, a driver buys a truck and becomes a business owner. They now have choices for their load assignments and some start to get picky on what they haul or where they go. They start getting behind on payments or maintenance and get so far behind that they resort to hauling a load that will bring in quick cash with major consequences if caught.

No doubt you heard the tragic story of the driver that was hauling a load of people that was caught after a Walmart employee noticed suspicious activity when the driver went to buy some water. One hundred people were found in the back of a trailer with ten of them now pronounced dead with possibly more as days go on.

The details of this case are just being released so at the time of this Truck on highwayarticle we don’t know the reason that this driver decided to take a load of this magnitude. It has been stated by many enforcement agencies over the years that almost every time someone takes a load such as the one mentioned above it is for financial gain. The truck driver was driving a custom truck that the driver had taken months to buy from a custom truck shop that is also now being investigated about the purchase.

The reason I assume this driver made a wrong decision on how to catch up in financial situation is due to the facts of the story. Professional smugglers don’t buy custom trucks as a truck like that will bring unwanted attention to the driver. The driver has been mentioned as a nice person and spent months going back and forth to buy the truck. That sounds like a lot of work to lose it all hauling illegal goods.

If you are thinking of becoming an owner operator realize it is a big step to going into business. Unfortunately business is an up and down proposition and many get into trouble. There has to be an evaluation to what will change a situation and whether a load is worth taking. This is for the driver to decide based on their own internal judgements. Anything illegal should certainly be off the option table and not something considered to bring finances back in line. The driver in this case assuming the scenario is as mentioned would have been better to declare bankruptcy than to do what he did. He is now looking at years in jail, possibly the death penalty and much more. Any companies associated with him from his lease carrier to the shop that built the truck are all under scrutiny due to his actions. No load is worth that type of action.

You can read the full story here to date at this website. https://www.ksat.com/news/custom-truck-shop-blasted-online-for-selling-semi-truck-to-human-smuggling-suspect-owner-says

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, consultant, podcast host, and speaker. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

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A look at a trucking career without a plan!

I was recently reading about a driver that was having trouble in his career. He had been bouncing around to different companies and from the information given from this person I believe they were choosing companies based on the wrong criteria in the first place. Most people miss the most critical step to creating a successful plan, the plan!

Do you even know what you want?

John always wanted to drive long haul. He just got his licence and wanted to get going down the road so badly he could taste it. He was advised that he needed to have a plan in place for his career, but not being a planning kind of person John skipped this step. He would find something he said to himself. Planning is a waste of time.

Through a friend John managed to get a job with a small carrier in his local area. At first he was happy even though they paid a lot less than the industry standard. Then they stopped giving him enough work to fill out a week. He heard about another opportunity through another friend and started running team. The team operation ended quickly due to personal issues between John and the other driver.

John then decided to try working for the large carriers that often take new people from the industry but found the training he had was not good enough to qualify for the job. He thought it was just competition from the industry but in fact it was lack of quality training from the non-certified school he attended.

John sat at his kitchen table frustrated. He had been in the industry for just under a year. He had taken two months of training at a school that charged him around $1500.00 and here he was jobless and out of work.

John decided to call a consultant in the industry to find out what his options are. The first thing the consultant did was evaluate where John is now and where he wants to go. He put together a plan and laid it out for John. The plan started with one sentence that had nothing to do with trucking. The sentence was……”What do you want to do?”

Most new drivers I talk with avoid the most basic part of starting a Class photonew career. They don’t want to put the plan in place about how you might get to the end result. Take some time to think about the operation you want to be part of and the type of company you want to work for. If our friend John had put a plan in place and started that at the beginning he would have realized that the training he received did not help his career, but hinder it. He was bouncing around without knowing whether he was improving or ruining career path. Don’t be John, be you with a plan!

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, consultant, podcast host, and speaker. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

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