A Prime Example: How to Start a New Career in Trucking

A Prime Example: How to Start a New Career in Trucking

Edwin P., an employee of 3 years, shares his story on how he got started in the trucking industry and really found a home with Prime.

My journey began in September 2008, at that time I was working from home as an IT analyst for a major bank. The day after Labor Day, I received a call from my manager, telling me the words no one wants to hear: “You’ve been laid off.” For the next six months, I looked for jobs and went to countless interviews, only to be told that “we’ll be contacting you soon” … or “we have just begun interviewing folks.“

Then, one day at a Veterans Job Fair, I saw something that caught my eye: a flyer for a trucking school.  I decided to take a closer look at the trucking industry and what I needed to get started in a trucking career. I found out what the schools were asking for, and soon started looking at companies that would not only teach me how to drive a truck, but help me get started with a career in the field as well. While searching the Internet, I found companies that would teach and train me to get my CDL, and other companies that would train me so I could get a job with them. I found one company that would do both: Prime Inc. in Springfield, Mo.

I started researching Prime and found a lot of good things about the company. I sent in my application and soon was accepted to come to Prime and start my driving career. It started in April 2009, with a week of orientation at the company’s training facilities. While there I met a lot of folks who welcomed me to the Prime family. Then, on that Friday, I met my instructor/ trainer, Dylan Krikwood.  He and I would be together in a truck for three weeks of training, but first I had to earn my CDL.

I returned to Prime’s instruction pad to prepare myself to get ready for my test in three steps: pre-trip, backing, and a road test. In May 2009, I did it! I passed all three on my first try and earned my CDL, and was immediately hired as a trainee with Prime.

I then went on the road with Dylan for 50,000 miles of training, learning everything that I needed to know about procedures, paperwork, how to handle situations at shippers and receivers, and everyday duties that need to be done while on the road. I returned in August 2009 to upgrade toward getting my own truck, which I did. After getting my own truck, I was off and running on my own in a new career with Prime.

I have met a lot of great people at Prime who have helped me along the way, from the owner of the company, Mr. Robert Low, to my fleet manager, back office staff, and maintenance folks. Along the way I have learned that my trucking career wasn’t a job; it’s a lifestyle, and one that is very rewarding in many ways. That’s why I soon decided to become a certified CDL instructor, because I wanted to give back what I was taught and help others get started in the trucking industry – to get their lives started on an exciting new career path, just like I did.

In working with students, sometimes I sense fear, stress, and anxiety, and I see the looks on their faces that seem to ask, “Can I do this?” or “What in the world am I getting myself into?” But then I also see the satisfaction and excitement on their faces as they get their new career started. Through it all, what I tell them is this: I was that same way as they are now, so I know what they’re going through. Many of my students are preparing to leave their families for the next several months to start their careers. I reassure them that they’re starting a new and rewarding career/lifestyle as a professional driver, and their families will be proud of them and their accomplishments.

I have taught all kinds of students from all walks of life, and have made great friends along the way. During my two years as an instructor, I have taught twenty students, and each of them has passed their CDL tests; in fact,  thirteen of them got their CDLs on their first attempt, and a good portion of them are still with Prime. The fact that I had the opportunity to help them to start their new career with Prime is extremely gratifying, and I have enjoyed every minute of it.

Last year I was invited to attend the instructors awards banquet; only the top ten instructors are invited. It was my first time to go, I was so thrilled! It turns out that I was one of the top five of instructors – I couldn’t believe it!

I have three wonderful children, and I have done my best to be there and support them through their high school years. But my daughter – the youngest – struggled through high school as I spent a lot of time gone during the past three years while on the road. I wasn’t there to give her the support that I had given my sons, and when she graduated this past June, I felt hurt and that I had let her down. So much so, that I decided to pursue other companies that might allow me more time at home.

In July I left Prime and went to another company based in Omaha, Neb. Leaving a company like Prime and going to another one, naturally you start to compare the differences.  Such as how a company runs their drivers, the different policies and procedures, and the equipment they have. Well, it wasn’t long till Prime wanted to see if they could help; they called me and asked, if they had a position that would get me home more, would I come back? I told them that if that right opportunity came around, I would be there in a heartbeat.

It didn’t take long for the folks at Prime to get back to me with that opportunity;  it came by the way of running intermodal right from my home in Chicago, and the great part of it was I would be home more. It didn’t take long for me to give them a decision – in fact, I gave them the answer that very next day: I would like to come back home to where it all started, and to the people who I had enjoyed working with, coming back home to Prime Inc.

Prime has been great to me and my family, especially the support that I get from my fleet manager and everyone there at Prime. They’re my second family, and I couldn’t ask for anything better.


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