Kevin Hester is no stranger to truck driving. He’s spent the last decade perfecting his skill driving a tractor-trailer and transporting freight up and down the east coast. Kevin graduated from Roadmaster in 2006 while he was an employee of DHL.
“Before I went to Roadmaster I was driving a local, 24-foot box truck for DHL,” he says. When DHL closed, Kevin became a driver for C. R. England before driving for the post office, a position he held for four years. Today, Kevin drives for a company called Wolfpak where he hauls insulation along the east coast in one of the coolest trucks around.
“It’s a Kenworth W900 L. Every time I post a picture on the Roadmaster Graduates Group page, it always gets a bunch of likes. It’s not something you see every day.”
We asked Kevin if these kinds of investments are indicators that you should stay with your carrier.
“Yes, because any driver with a couple of years experience will know that if a company takes really good care of their trucks and their equipment, then they’re also going to take really good care of their drivers.”
As a seasoned truck driver, Kevin is certain that a career in the Truck Driving Industry is promising so long as CDL drivers put in the work needed to succeed.
“You can make a really good career out of [truck driving]. You have to stick with it and you have to keep your background and CDL clean. That’s your ticket to work, that’s your bread and butter. You keep that clean and there’s no limit to what you can do after a couple of years.[pullquote align=”left”]“…if you do enough research when you’re looking for your next employer, if you decide you want to go to another employer, there won’t be any surprises when you walk in the front door.”[/pullquote]
“I’m 34 years old, and a lot of people at my age would rather sit on the couch and play video games all day. I mean, I love video games as much as anybody else, but when it comes time to put food in my stomach and a roof over my head I’ve got to work. A lot of people want something for nothing or they want the most for doing the least amount of work. When they get into trucking they expect it to be one thing and find out that it’s the opposite. You actually have to work.”
During our conversation, Kevin gave some advice for new CDL trained truck drivers to help them be successful and safe in their new career:
“The best piece of advice would be to never drive beyond your ability to see and stop. You know if you can’t see far enough ahead, you’ve got to slow down.” Kevin advises not to put yourself in situations that require you to use safety training to begin with, if avoidable. “If you feel like you’re not safe, you need to take that into consideration.”
Kevin says, “One thing I’ve learned after all these years is that when your body is fatigued it will shut down no matter what you’re doing. So if you’re driving, your body will shut down and you will fall asleep behind the wheel. The best thing is, if you’re fatigued, to pull over and sleep. The truck and the load are not worth your life.”
Financial Plan for the Future
“Never assume you know everything, because there is always something new to learn.”
“With your first job, all you need to worry about is getting the experience under your belt. Your first job should ideally set you up for your second job, and your second job should set you up for retirement.
“When I look into employers, I look for employers that offer things like 401k matching, medical and dental benefits, stuff like that, basically things that would benefit my family more than what would just benefit me.”
Why should your second job set you up for retirement?
“Because if you do enough research when you’re looking for your next employer, if you decide you want to go to another employer, there won’t be any surprises when you walk in the front door.”
When it comes to truck drivers, Kevin believes everyone should know a couple of things:
“A lot of people think that because I’m driving a truck I earn the respect of everyone else out there, but that’s not how it is. Respect is earned and never given. So, as long as you don’t expect everybody to respect you because of what you do out here on the road, then you’re not going to have any issues.”
…and above all, “Never assume you know everything, because there is always something new to learn.”
*wage information provided by Werner Enterprises