Monday, April 6, 2009

A New Start

I enjoy articles that recognize trucking as an industry that weathers economic storm. In a modern society we will always produce goods in one part of the country that need to be shipped to another part. It is not feasible economically to have a plant everywhere there are consumers, you can’t grow certain fruits and veggies just anywhere and unless we all go out a buy a chicken we need to get our eggs shipped from farm to market so we can make an ommelot every now and then. Here’s the story of a guy in Amarillo, Texas who changed industries in light of the current economy.

A New Start

Shaky Job Market Drives People to Trucking

After five years at an oilrig, Ben Touchstone was laid off. Leaving him, like many others, looking for a new start.

"I read the newspaper everyday, everyday I'd find four or five places that needed a truck driver," he said about his job search. "And all of them required a CDL."

Which led him to Amarillo College's Truck Driving Academy. The school prepares students to get their commercial driver's license (CDL).

"Once you have the CDL you can drive a school bus, a greyhound. You will have license to do that," said Robert Mathews, Truck Driving Academy Director of Operations.

Elen Harding joined the class to become a bus driver when her career in nursing took a wrong turn.

"I decided since that's not working out, I'd go here and do something different and make a better life for myself," Harding said.

"People want to go to work. You tell me where you can go for six weeks and come out with a profession," said Mathews.

Mathews says his classes remain full because of the high demand for truck drivers, especially in our area.

"This is I-40 corridor, everything goes past here from coast to coast," he added.

For Touchstone, who has been out of work since November, the opportunity of work is something he doesn't want to pass up.

"I just want a job," he said, “a job in an industry that won't run dry.”

In my decades in this industry I’ve seen shortages of trucks and shortages of loads. As a freight broker you work with both sides. Many truck drivers drive for a while then when they want off the road some they train to be freight brokers. No training is ever wasted because it gives you more options and keeps your brain muscle in shape. Now is a great time to learn something new, switch careers and start a new adventure. It may be scarey but worth working through the fear.

If you are even considering any job in the transportation industry, give me a call. I’ve worked in most of those jobs and love to tak about my experiences. Have a great week as we reflect on approaching Easter.

Moving forward,

Jeff Roach

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