Learn to be a Truck Driver

Fox 13 visits Roadmaster Tampa
“They’ve got their own training ground, they help you get the permit, they help you get the license, they help you get the job. A lot of the people who go through here have jobs before they’ve even started the school. They’ve got a pre-hire that has been handed to them when they come to Roadmaster” – Chip Brewster

Chip Brewster:              Good afternoon everybody, I’m Chip Brewster coming to you live from just outside the Florida State Fairgrounds. Actually, we are technically on their property, but most of the year this is the home of Roadmaster Drivers School. The testing grounds, if you will, the practice pad, right?

Brad Ball:                      That’s right.

Chip Brewster:              Right. So this is Brad Ball. He’s the president of Roadmaster Drivers School, and then we’ve got Richard Shor, he’s the admissions advisor.

Chip Brewster:              So Brad, I’m going to start with you. Driving trucks, big ones, there’s actually a need for people to still be trained in this job.

Brad Ball:                      Right. Well, actually right now there’s a shortage of about 50,000 drivers, expected to grow to maybe 160,000 drivers by 2028. So big need, going to continue.

Chip Brewster:              And what is it like as a career? Because it can be a career, there are people that will do this their entire professional lives.

Brad Ball:                      Sure. Well, we take people that are underemployed or unemployed and we put them through a class that’s three to four weeks long and they’re going to learn how to drive a truck. They’re going to start in a job that might be paying them about $47,000 a year to start.

Chip Brewster:              To start?

Brad Ball:                      Yeah.

Chip Brewster:              It starts at 47?

Brad Ball:                      Yeah.

Chip Brewster:              I will tell you unashamed, my college degree in television, my starting job was 22,500.

Brad Ball:                      Wow. We can do better than that.

Chip Brewster:              I know, that was with a college degree, so. And so Richard, our admissions advisor. You don’t need a college degree to come to this program?

RIchard Short:               No, you don’t need a college degree. It’s a three to four week program, a lot of the students out here that you see today came here to do this whether it be because they had family involved in this, they’re looking for the benefits, or they want to see the country. Because being a truck driver, you’re going to see a lot of things.

RIchard Short:               A lot of the stuff that moves around here is done by trucks and so because of that, the business is going to always be around. Brad was talking about the shortage. We always need truck drivers regardless of what’s going on. So we’re here to help them do that, provide that service to them.

Chip Brewster:              Let’s talk about the types of opportunities, because I said in my intro that a lot of your students come in with a job in hand. They’ve got a pre hire.

RIchard Short:               Right. What we want to do is we want to make sure that before we can put them in school, we can have them a job. We don’t want to put them in school if we can’t get them a job.

Chip Brewster:              That’s amazing.

RIchard Short:               Yeah, we don’t want to waste anybody’s time. And the perfect opportunity is to have that job ready for them so when they graduate after that three to four week program, they can start their orientation with that company within the next few days. So they’ve gone from not working and in a month making money.

Chip Brewster:              Wow. Now Brad, we’ve heard that three to four weeks a couple of times. What is the three to four weeks actually consist of to get them to that point?

Brad Ball:                      Well it’s all about safety. The first week is here in the classroom, learning about the safety, learning about the trucks.

Chip Brewster:              Okay.

Brad Ball:                      The second week is on the pad here, learning safe maneuvers in between cones where you can’t hurt anything. And then in the third week we’re going to get you out on the road and in real life situations.

Chip Brewster:              Can I ask you a serious question?

Brad Ball:                      Yeah.

Chip Brewster:              How many cones do you lose a year?

Brad Ball:                      We lose a lot.

Chip Brewster:              But it’s totally fine, that’s a part of the program.

Brad Ball:                      That’s why it’s safe.

Chip Brewster:              And you guys, I’ve been seeing, you know, we’ve only been here a couple hours, but I’ve seen a lot of different maneuvers and tight turns and just skills being practiced.

Brad Ball:                      Right. Well that’s how we work it. The very first week you’re actually learning pre-trip to make sure you’re in a safe truck that has all the tires inflated and the electrical systems working. Once you’re out here on the pad, you’re learning how to safely back and you don’t want to run into anything-

Chip Brewster:              So before you ever get behind the wheel, you learn about the safety, you make sure your truck is ready-

Brad Ball:                      Sure. It’s all about safety.

Chip Brewster:              Before you ever get out on the road, you’re doing the work here-

Brad Ball:                      That’s exactly right.

Chip Brewster:              On your guys’ private training ground. And then once you’ve completed it all, you ring that bell at the entrance to the school.

Brad Ball:                      That’s exactly right. That’s a proud moment.

Chip Brewster:              And you go to your job.

Brad Ball:                      Yep. That’s a proud moment for the student and for their family.

Chip Brewster:              That is awesome. Well pre-trip is, I’m interested in that because you mentioned it. So coming up in our next segment, I’m going to check out what’s involved with this pre-trip thing and we’re going to meet one of the students who’s been going through this program to hear right from the horse’s mouth, if you will, what it’s like to be a part of Roadmasters. Guys.

Chip Brewster:              So let’s talk about the big truck, shall we? We are hanging out at Roadmaster Drivers School. It is in Tampa. They’ve got locations all across the country, but they’re actually headquartered here. The corporate headquarters, the president we were just talking to earlier, which means that obviously we’ve got the best location, that’s just the default.

Chip Brewster:              Wouldn’t you agree Gene?

Gene:                           Oh yes.

Chip Brewster:              Oh yes. So Gene is one of the students here and tomorrow you graduate the course.

Gene:                           Oh yes, yes.

Chip Brewster:              So congratulations. I know you have to pass the test.

Gene:                           Thank you.

Chip Brewster:              But I know you’re going to pass the test.

Gene:                           I will.

Chip Brewster:              So what got you into Roadmasters? Why did you decide to change careers and come over here?

Gene:                           I decided to change career because I like driving, and when I came here for my first time, they make me love it.

Chip Brewster:              Really?

Gene:                           Oh yes.

Chip Brewster:              So what were you doing before?

Gene:                           I was-

Chip Brewster:              And why do you love it now?

Gene:                           I was driving, I was driving for Uber.

Chip Brewster:              Okay.

Gene:                           And then right now, I kind of see that thing would be better than that and it would able, and is amazing.

Chip Brewster:              Sure. Oh, it’s a whole, I mean it’s still driving, but it’s a very different career, actually.

Gene:                           It’s difficult, yeah, exactly.

Chip Brewster:              Were you-

Gene:                           And-

Chip Brewster:              One of the ones that… Oh, go ahead. No, please.

Gene:                           And one thing I like?

Chip Brewster:              Yeah.

Gene:                           It’s because I want to be able to see the country while I’m making money.

Chip Brewster:              Have you not left Florida before?

Gene:                           No.

Chip Brewster:              That is so cool.

Gene:                           See, it’s exciting.

Chip Brewster:              Yeah, you’re going to tour around, see the sites. Are you going to like try, when you see the sign that says like, world’s largest ball of yarn, are you going to pull off, take a little break and check out the ball of yarn?

Gene:                           Probably.

Chip Brewster:              So this is obviously a very different career.

Gene:                           Yes.

Chip Brewster:              Did you, were you one of those lucky students that you had a job before you even began?

Gene:                           Yes.

Chip Brewster:              That is awesome.

Gene:                           Yeah.

Chip Brewster:              He’s so excited. He’s got a test tomorrow, so let’s not try and rile him up too much. Speaking of your test, I want to put you to the test. So you’ve got the driving down, but before that it had to begin with some safety, this thing pre-trip.

Gene:                           Yes.

Chip Brewster:              I’ve heard this a whole bunch. You’ve probably done it a whole bunch of times, right?

Gene:                           Oh yeah, every day.

Chip Brewster:              Every day. Good. So show it to me, if you don’t mind. I just want to see what’s involved.

Gene:                           All right, what involved in it-

Chip Brewster:              I want to make sure that you’re up to snuff. Yeah.

Gene:                           You know it’s a [inaudible 00:08:14] here, but you need to make sure it’s safe, right?

Chip Brewster:              Yes, absolutely.

Gene:                           So watch it and you need to look that truck visually, make sure it’s not leaning.

Chip Brewster:              I’m looking at it.

Gene:                           On any side.

Chip Brewster:              I’m not seeing any lean. I’m looking down the sides.

Gene:                           All right, now-

Chip Brewster:              All the tires look good, yeah.

Gene:                           Now what to do.

Chip Brewster:              Okay.

Gene:                           You’re going to go through the engine. You open it up.

Chip Brewster:              I got this one. I already did it, two hands. Oh, I got it. I was told they used to be heavier.

Gene:                           Okay, now-

Chip Brewster:              I’m really glad it’s not heavier.

Gene:                           Now usually at Roadmaster they teach you to go to the passenger side.

Chip Brewster:              Okay.

Gene:                           On your passenger side for the engine compartment, what you’re looking at is your exhaust system. First thing you’re looking at is your exhaust system.

Chip Brewster:              Yeah.

Gene:                           That’s right here.

Chip Brewster:              Oh thank you.

Gene:                           And you’re going to make sure that’s properly mounted and secured.

Chip Brewster:              Okay.

Gene:                           There’s no sign of soot, may indicate that it’s leaking.

Chip Brewster:              Okay.

Gene:                           That’s what you’re looking at first off, and it goes all the way to the back of the truck. So you’re going to check it at the back, too.

Chip Brewster:              So you’d walk all the way back there?

Gene:                           Do you want to go there?

Chip Brewster:              I don’t.

Gene:                           Oh you don’t.

Chip Brewster:              I trust you that you checked it.

Gene:                           Oh right. And after that you got your odometer right here. You need to make sure that thing is working properly. It’s properly mounted and secured. That is. You see it?

Chip Brewster:              Yep. Yep.

Gene:                           All right? And we got the belt.

Chip Brewster:              Uh-huh (affirmative), belt.

Gene:                           You need to make sure the belt is working properly. It’s not [inaudible 00:09:21] or cut, it’s not coloring that maybe you know when you’re driving it be, you lost your, you know-

Chip Brewster:              About how far into the pre-trip are we right now?

Gene:                           We’re not far enough.

Chip Brewster:              No?

Gene:                           It just start.

Chip Brewster:              I’m out of time.

Gene:                           Oh, we just start.

Chip Brewster:              It’s an involved process. But it’s a good one, too, because obviously as we talked about, safety is of the utmost importance.

Gene:                           Yes.

Chip Brewster:              Gene, congrats in advance.

Gene:                           All right, thank you man.

Chip Brewster:              Enjoy your new career.

Gene:                           I will, thank you.

Original Story: Fox 13 News