Hi Joseph and Tracy, let me first congratulate you both on being our Team of the Year! That’s fantastic. 

J&T: Thank you.

What do you think it takes to become the Team of the Year at TOTAL?

J: I guess hard work and dedication.

T: Same, and safety. Right.

How long have you guys been driving trucks?

J: I’ve just started driving in 93.

T: I’ve been driving going on six years now.

How long have you been driving for TOTAL?

J: It’s been about five years all together.

T: Yeah, it’s been about five.

What did you do before you drove trucks?

T: I was the CNA.

J: I worked in construction until I went to truck driving school back in ‘93. I’ve pretty much been driving trucks ever since.

What was it that made you think you might enjoy getting into truck driving?

J: Well, my brother and I were living together. He’d seen ads for truck driving schools and said, “Hey, you want to drive a truck?”. So we went and we did it.

You went through the CDL school together? That’s cool, is he still driving trucks?

J: No. Unfortunately, about four years later he died in an accident. He was helping another driver out on the side of the road and another truck hit and killed them both.

Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that, Joe. He was obviously a good man. What about you, Tracy? What is your origin story?

T: Oh, I had always thought about doing it, but I had two small kids to raise. When I met Joey he was driving and I don’t know, I just decided to actually go to CDL school.

Once you came out of the school, did you train with Joe? 

T: Yes, I trained with Joe.

That’s got to be both great and difficult at times, right? 

T: (laughing) Yeah, it’s a bit of both at times.

There are a lot of trucking companies out there, what was it that made you two decide to come to TOTAL? 

J: The pay package and benefit package are solid and it’s closer to home.

T: When I was in the school, TOTAL came to the school and talked to us and then I told Joe about TOTAL. J: To me, they sounded better than the other companies. We liked the drop and hook and the speed of the trucks too. We did work for two other companies before we came to TOTAL,  but  I kept talking to him about coming in here.  I’m glad we finally did.

We’re glad you did too. Having worked at other trucking companies, what do you think makes TOTAL different from other trucking companies?

J: It’s just better. Better pay, better clients… We’ve found everybody is nice and helpful and treat you like family.

What was your experience in that regard with other companies?

J: I worked with a couple of smaller companies. I chose to work with a lot of small companies. But that was because of faster trucks and being able to get away with stuff we can’t do now. I used to be an outlaw trucker (laughs). I was one of the world’s worst. My record is from Los Angeles to Maine in about 59 hours..

Wow, what made you veer away from outlaw trucking and come into corporate trucking?

J: I had no choice. The government stepped in and everyone had to go to electronic logs (laughs).

How was it adjusting to being a law-abiding trucker?

J: I’m fine with it. I mean, I get to team with Tracy. We get the miles because we’re always moving and that’s what it’s all about. You know, no matter the cpm if you’re not getting the miles, you’re not getting paid. You’re not making any money If you don’t get the miles.

Right? Well, you’re clearly reformed because otherwise, you two wouldn’t be our Team of The Year. So again, congratulations on the turnaround. 

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

J: That’s a tough one. I guess, do your job. You’ve just got to do the best job you can on whatever you’re doing.

T: It helps if you give up a lot of personal time.

J: You’ve got to be flexible. Things change so often. I mean, you never know when something’s gonna’ come up. The more detailed a pre-plan the harder it is to stick to. We just try to get there as quickly as we can. If we have time to take a break or stop at Walmart, do some shopping, and fill the truck up or whatever. So for actual planning, I look at how many miles we gotta go, figure about how much time it takes to get there and get after it.

What do you like most about working with TOTAL?

T: Just everything, we feel like we belong here.

J: Honestly, we’re not the most social. We’re running so much that we don’t really hang out at the terminals much unless we have to wash clothes or something like that. But everybody’s been helpful and friendly.

How is your relationship with your fleet manager?

T: Good.

J: We’ve been working with him for about a year, we haven’t met him in person yet though, he works at home. Sometimes things are a little confusing and we need more details but we like that we can just email him. He’s always prompt about getting back to us.

T: He’s very good about being back with us. Very good. He’s usually got a pre-plan before our load is dropped.

How do you balance your work in home life?

J: Well, we used to be gone for three weeks and we’d make bonus and then go home for a week. With stuff slowing down a bit we’ve been staying out as long as it takes to get the bonus and then coming home.

T: Then we get to see the grandkids.

Do you have any tips for other drivers to have a stronger relationship with our fleet managers?

J: Just communicate and get the loads delivered.

What do you think it takes to become TOTAL’s Team of the Year?  

J: We try not to be late for anything. We get the trailers repaired that other drivers leave with defects.

T: We just try to make appointments and do the best job we can.

Do you have any suggestions for new drivers to have a productive and satisfying career in trucking?

T: Don’t get frustrated. Just keep trying, you’ll get it. I know I used to get frustrated with the backing.

Is there anything you’d like to say to drivers in the trucking industry at large? 

J: Be more courteous. Trucking out here is not like it used to be. People are so impolite.

T: Same thing, definitely be more courteous.

Thank you for taking the time to talk to us and again, congratulations. 

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