This is one in a series of interviews with frontline workers as Today’s Trucking celebrates National Trucking Week, Sept. 5-11.
What can you tell us about your job and the work it includes?
I manage the hiring programs for our fleet of owner operators and company drivers. Essentially it comes down to making sure that applicants know who we are, can find us, can easily apply to our company, and that we are responding quickly and professionally to every person that contacts us about potential employment.
I respond to requests from our operations team to fill specific requisitions, and ensure that we keep a pipeline of drivers for our main line of work, which is drivers for our U.S. open board. This means that there is constant communication between the recruiting department and our safety and training teams to make sure that we are hiring the safest drivers we can find, and then giving them the training that they need to be successful.
How did you come to work in the trucking industry?
My father was involved in transportation, and when I was little he would sometimes take me to the office with him. Later I was able to work with my father during summer vacations and used to pepper him with questions about what I had heard or learned that day. Throughout university and then afterwards I stayed in the industry, although not for the same company and not in the same role.
What do you like the most about your job?
The best part of my job is being able to explore new ways of doing what is, in many ways, still the same job. This means thinking about how the labor market is changing, and how we should anticipate and respond to changes.
For example, recognizing that we have some very entrepreneurial people entering the industry, so thinking about how becoming an owner-operator should be part of a career path. Or how to best use technology to help us become more efficient. For example, our application process is paperless. We have just started using live chat and will soon be promoting “text to apply”.
What is the biggest challenge the trucking industry faces today?
The biggest single challenge is probably how to fairly compensate drivers for the work they perform. We are dealing with a new generation of drivers that have high expectations around earnings and compensated time. It is a big shift for our industry to re-evaluate the traditional pay models and find a new way forward.
Why do you think the trucking industry should be celebrated?
Our industry is so much more than most people realize. The technology that supports us being able to pick up and deliver thousands of loads every day. Keeping products moving even during a pandemic. Reliably getting freight where it is supposed to be, when it is supposed to be there. Safe and professional drivers that have chosen a career that may take them away from home.
This industry is so much more sophisticated than outsiders know.