Posts written by LLarimore

Author Bio: Lakin joined the CFI team in February 2015 and is Communications Editor. She plays an important role in social media and internal publications like Drive Line to keep drivers engaged and informed. Lakin is a valuable asset to the team and hopes the blog is a useful resource for drivers and inspires them to live a healthier lifestyle. She attained her degree in Mass Communications from Missouri Southern State University located in Joplin, Missouri. She enjoys talking to drivers and sharing their story using all avenues of communication.

July 28th, 2017

James Smith has been driving for CFI as an Independent Contractor since 2015. While most drivers sit behind the wheel of a an 18-wheeler, Smith prefers his 20-wheeler. Smith built a lift on the back of his truck for his Harley Davidson so he is always able to pursue his passion.

How long have you been driving? 32 years and I seem to learn [new] stuff all of the time.

What made you pursue this career path? I got talked into it at a young age and kind of fell in love with it. I get to travel all over the country and I get paid to see all kinds of cool stuff. I liked this job so much I got my son into it. He actually drives for CFI too and lives down in Laredo. I have to laugh because most people pay thousands of dollars to travel overseas for vacation, but there are so many awesome things to do here in the United States. I actually ended up at Mt. Rushmore at the 20th Anniversary and ran into a guy who worked on it. That was really cool. There is more to see in this country then you know.

What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned over the years? Patience. Most of the guys laugh at me because [when] I hit traffic jams I don’t care. I just kind of relax and pull through it. I don’t let any of this upset me. Something else I would [say] is time management. If you can’t get that right you’re going to screw up every aspect of this job.

What is your favorite aspect of driving? The travel part of it. I get to meet a lot of really cool people and if I had a chance I would do this all over again.

Hobbies? I’ve been riding since I was 16. My dad was Harley man as far back as I can remember. My brothers and I all ride and meet up when we can to go riding. I have three children, two sons and a daughter, and the only one that doesn’t ride is my middle son. I have always had a bike on the truck. I worked with a moving company for 16 years and when I did that I could just put my bike in the trailer. When I started hauling freight I did some research and ended up building a lift for my Harley. I like taking the bike because [I think] you need to get away from the truck. I’ll usually have to do a 34 hour restart after six days and when that happens I will take the bike off the truck and just go. One of my favorite rides is from Miami, Florida and driving down to the Keys. Driving down that stretch of highway with the ocean on both sides, doesn’t get any better than that.

Would you say it’s important for professional drivers to have hobbies outside the truck? Absolutely. The biggest thing is to try and stay healthy so you can enjoy your hobbies. Choose a parking spot far away from the building and walk around the building a couple of times before going in. Sitting in the truck all of the time will make you crazy and hate the job. I don’t eat bread or drink, but I do smoke so I make sure I walk a lot during the day. When I stop for the day I don’t just sit in the truck. Doing a pre-trip inspection two or three times a day gives you another reason to get out and walk around. I would also add that you need to make sure your hobbies don’t interfere with your job. For example, an Xbox is one of the worst hobbies you can have because it doesn’t get you out of your truck. I have guys tell me they were late to a customer because they got caught up playing a game or overslept because they stayed up too late the night before playing games. You need fresh air, you need move around.

Why do you like to ride? You get to meet a lot of cool people. Like I said, my kids love to ride. In fact, my son took a ride with some people up to New Jersey and I rode up and met them. I usually go up to D.C. and ride in the Rolling Thunder, which is a ride for Veterans. A couple of weeks ago I ended up in Yuma and the Harley dealership there was having a poker run, so I took the bike off for a couple of hours and then came back to the truck. [Riding] is addictive. You meet some really cool people. I have brothers that live in Maryland when I get out that way that’s what we do, we plan to ride. Down in Laredo, there are about five of us with bikes and we like to meet up to ride. The terminal manager down there ended up making a motorcycle parking area just for us.

Favorite place you visited: Arizona. You can be in Phoenix and go to Flagstaff and it’s like you changed countries. You go from desert and rock formations to bears, elk, buffalo and hundred foot trees. The world changes in just five miles. It’s awesome. I try to work as hard as I can during the week so I have to do a 34 hour restart over the weekend.

Advice for others: Keep your mind open. Never be afraid to ask a question. The second you think you know everything about this job you need to get out of the truck because that is when you get reckless.

Don’t always stop at the same stop. When you can, try to go someplace different so you have something new to look at. There’s a lot of interesting stuff to learn about the country, you just have to keep an eye open.

July 7th, 2017

Pictured left to right: Driver Advocate Jeff Thurlow, Safety Manager Traci Crane, Director of Safety Jeff Yarnall, Vice President of Maintenance Randy Cornell, Digital Media Designer Dan Allison, Professional Driver Bob Ward, President Tim Staroba, Safety Specialist Shannon Mitchell, Vice President of Logistics Bill Carter and Vice President of Operations Mexico Mike Cervin.

Professional Driver Bob Ward was recently recognized for driving Three Million Miles at our Joplin, Mo., headquarters during a July Safety Meeting.

Ward started with CFI in 1990 after his family moved to Texas.

“I previously operated heavy equipment, ran bulldozers et cetera, in San Jose, California. After my son was born, my wife and I decided that we wanted to live someplace less urban. My dad had a ranch in Texas at the time so we decided to move there,” he said.

After attending truck driving school in Waco, Texas, Ward saw an ad for CFI and decided to give it a go. Nearly 27 years later, he still enjoys being behind the wheel.

“It is a lot of fun for me,” he said. “You just go to work every day and do your job and then one day before you know it, you have [driven] three million miles.”

Ward started as an over-the-road driver and currently runs a dedicated route in Texas saying “for me, that’s the biggest change over the years, being able to be home every night.”

Other than that, not much has changed.

“From day one we have always had the best trailers, the best trucks and the best people. I worked for Werner, pulled for (other companies) and still we have the best,” he said.

Ward urges fellow drivers to be patient advising them that it’s “the most important key in safe driving.”

Ward and his wife of 33 years, Gayle, live in Cameron, Texas. Their son, Kevin, is a special education teacher and a football coach at a local high school.

“He took after my wife in that area,” he said. “My wife was a teacher’s aide for a special education teacher when our son was young.” His hobbies include golfing, yard work and enjoying time with his family at home. He served four years in the United States Air Force during the Vietnam War.

While he has been entertaining the idea of retirement, he says it’s still a few years out.

“I enjoy the solitude of driving,” he said. “It doesn’t feel like three million miles.” 

 Congratulations Bob on this achievement!

 

June 12th, 2017

We recently held a photo contest asking people to show us what drives them to succeed. Whether it’s family, friends or a personal aspiration, we all have something or someone that inspires us to succeed each day.

Our “What drives you?” contest ran for the month of May and asked people to show us what motivates them. Congratulations to our three lucky winners Mariana Storm, Chris Breen and Kevin Lewis!

The winning entries are below.

Mariana Storm

How did you get into trucking?  “I started driving school [over] two years ago when my youngest son graduated high school. My husband has been with CFI since 1996 and has over two million miles. Once I was done with school, I started driving team with him. He taught me discipline and good business practices.

Explain how your picture motivates you: “To help our business we went to a workshop where I listened to Larry Winget talk about his philosophy about money. I took his book and read it. It helped me to understand how to change my way of thinking about money. I never want to be poor or live pay check to pay check again. I am so grateful for CFI for giving us the opportunity to be financially secure. “You’re Broke Because You Want To Be” by Wingett whipped my but to get to working.”

Advice for others: “It is from the book. ‘Do what you say you are going to do, when you say you are going to do it.”

Chris Breen

How did you get into trucking?  “I’ve been in the trucking industry for 13 years and have been around trucks pretty much my whole life. I had a few uncles that drove and then my little brother started driving and enjoyed it. So, I figured I’d go for it. Also, I come from a military family that traveled a lot, I figured it would be a good fit and it has been.”

Explain how your picture motivates you: “My photo is of my wife and me. She travels with me full time and trucking is what brought us together. It has given us a place to grow together and build our relationship. It also is what provides the means for the life we live.”

Advice for others: “Try and learn something new every day and if you can, pass that knowledge to others. Be patient and remember no matter how stupid the question may seem to you, that person is trying to learn something new and needs your help. We were all rookies at one time. Remember every stone you drop creates a ripple. Try and make that stone constructive and not destructive.”

Kevin Lewis

How did you get into trucking?  “I’ve been driving for 17 years now. Prior to driving, I was working at a cotton mill. I would watch the trucks come up to the loading docks and would talk to the drivers while they waited. There was a rumor going around that they were going to close the mill so I started talking to a friend of mine about driving and ended up going to school. ”

Explain how your picture motivates you: “The picture is of my wife. She had been riding with me and then ended up going to school at Crowder and now we run team together. It’s hard being away from home, but having her with me helps a lot. It’s a good support system for both of us.”

Advice for others: “Don’t hesitate to ask for advice. When I first started, I was hesitant to ask for help and it caused some problems. You’ll avoid jams and mistakes if you just ask and not assume.”