Let me first congratulate you on being TOTAL’s trainer of the year.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I’m very proud.

How long have you been driving trucks?

Just 1.5 years and look at this!

How long have you been driving for TOTAL?

1.5 years TOTAL is the only company I’ve ever driven for.

It’s really impressive to be Driver of The Year with only 1.5 years of driving. How were you able to do that? Number 1 is to work really hard and manage your time well. Not only just not the driving miles, but paperwork, following the rules, truck inspection, and being on time. Take every load you are offered and be willing to drive anywhere in any weather. If you run into delays, you have to communicate that to your FM or Dispatch.

Have you always driven trucks, or did you used to do something else? Actually, in my home country of Turkey, I used to be a gym teacher. In 1998 I came to the US. I lived for 16 years in Los Angeles. Before getting into trucking I managed a retail store.

What was it that made you think you would enjoy truck driving? My family comes from a farming background, and I like to work, I also like to drive. While managing that store in LA I would talk to the driver that always came in.  I also had a friend from Turkey who bought a truck and started hauling vegetables. They’d tell me about going one place or another, making good money, and the bit of freedom that came with it. Those conversations are what got me interested in trucking.

What made you choose TOTAL over different trucking companies?

I had gone to Tampa TDS and TOTAL was one of the places recommended to me by them. I was offered jobs at both places but TOTAL was friendlier and covered the area I lived in.

What do you think it is that makes us different from other trucking companies out there? Friendly people who know you by name, we help each other, I’m happy to work with TOTAL

What do you like most about driving for TOTAL?

I’ve met a lot of really nice people here. People listen to me and I can talk to everybody. Trucking is a difficult job but everyone does everything they can here to make it easier for us.

Not only do I really like the people at TOTAL, but the income is great. I make more money and work fewer hours now than I did managing that store in LA. I was also able to move to Florida and work for TOTAL where my cost of living is half what it was there.

What do you think are the most important skills to have as a driver?

You have to take this job seriously. You have to do everything on time. It’s really important. Do the paperwork, do the inspections. Pre-planning is important too. Learn as much as you can about your pick-up and delivery locations. Know where you are going, how to get there, when they are open or closed, and where can you break nearby. The actual driving is just part of it. Also, if you are polite to people and your day will go better. Finish the whole job.

How do you feel about our equipment? Love it! I started with a truck with 500k on it and it was fine, but I’m really enjoying the new one I just got.

You’ve mentioned a lot of things that you like about TOTAL, but what do you like the most about working with us? I love the people. Everybody smiles and asks how I am. I’ve met a lot of really nice people. They listen to me, and I listen to them. I love it, you have to love this job to make it work. This is difficult work and it can be frustrating, but I thought I could do it. With the help of the people at TOTAL, I have. Communicating with everybody helps me know what’s going on. You’ll never hear me say I cannot make it, or I’m not taking the load. No way. Sometimes there is a scheduling or pickup issue, but that comes with the job.

How do you manage to balance your work and home life? It’s not easy being away from my wife and daughters but it’s worth it. My wife handles the day-to-day but I talk to my daughters at least every other day. They are in Turkey for the summer now so it’s a little more difficult.

Do you have anything you’d like to say about our fleet managers and their support for drivers?

They are here to help, and the better relationship you grow with your FM and the planners the better off you’ll be.

Do you have any tips for other drivers for a stronger relationship with their fleet manager?

Communicate and be reliable. If you can do that well, they can better help you and plan for your next load or home-time. If you are delivering on a weekend don’t wait until the last second to talk to them about your next load. Start talking about that with them on Friday.

What are your suggestions for new drivers to have a productive and satisfying career in trucking? Take this job seriously. Do everything you can to be safe and on time. Do the paperwork and do your inspections. Know where you are going and how to get there. Oh, and drive that extra hour when you have it.

Do you want to give a shout-out to your family, your wife and kids?

I’m very thankful for their support, I couldn’t do this without it.

Is there anything you’d like to say to drivers in the trucking industry at large? A parting message you have for them?

Stay alert, do your pre-trips, and don’t get lazy out there. Number 1, be careful.





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