I know, I know, I finally got around to starting a thread about my latest adventure. But, I have been a bit preoccupied with orientation and my 1st load (3015 miles in 4.75 days).
As some have speculated, I started with Smokey Point Distributing, or SPD. @BoostedTeg was the 1st to guess correctly, and @Lonesome was a close 2nd. And based on the votes on my survey thread, 41 guessed right (@kylefitzy knew ahead of time when I sent him a PM about coming over, but I asked him to keep my secret until I was thru orientation and was rolling)
Yes, SPD is part of Daseke. But Daseke only gets involved and changes things when a company’s management can’t keep profits rolling in. SPD was the 1st company Daseke bought, and they are still running their own show, so that tells me they got their stuff together (unlike my previous Daseke employer, Moore, or should I say no-Moore because they were merged with Wylie and disappeared from the face of the earth) The reason I chose SPD is due in part to a lot of what I remember when I was at Moore. They’re a similar sized company to Moore, big enough to keep freight coming in, but small enough to still have that personal, one on one feeling. Also, they haul more than just one type freight. In fact, if it needs to be hauled on an open deck, they’ll haul it…unlike at Moore where they only did glass, and when it slowed down, you sat a lot. SPD is also small enough that you know people by their 1st name…not just the department they work in. Another thing I like is, in much of the office, you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting someone who use to drive here, so there are endless options to get questions answered if you need advice. Also, I have a half dozen business cards from drivers who have been here a long time who are more than happy to answer the phone when I need guidance. And it isn’t the snarky belittling guidance, it a legitimate source of information. Our Director of Op’s, former team driver for the company, his wife who was his co-driver, is in the recruiting department. The head of safety, former driver. My on-boarding dispatcher, former driver. The other onboarding dispatcher, former driver (who was actually recruited by my dispatcher when they were drivers)…the list goes on.
When things started moving forward getting me to orientation, the recruiter and I spoke or e-mailed daily. When it came time to fly me to Washington for orientation, they got me a flight out of Gainesville instead of a different mega airport that might have been chaper, they spent a little more so it was easier for me to get there. When we got off the plane, we got on a shuttle bus to get us close to the hotel, then when we couldn’t get an Uber, the boss’ wife stopped what she was doing on a Sunday afternoon, hopped in her personal vehile and came and got us on her own time. And the hotel we stayed at wasn’t a low budget roach motel like Creaffer put me in, we stayed at a Best Western Plus.
So far my experiences have been more positive than I anticipated. Is SPD perfect? No, no company is, and if they were then they wouldn’t have hire me. But I get the feeling it will be a lot like it was working for Moore, and I had very few complaints about them. Crap happens, it’s trucking, but how a company works thru the problems makes all the difference, and I get the feeling that they do a good job at that.
I was given a choice of trucks before orientation. Volvo or KW. Manual or auto. I said either model is fine as long as it’s a manual. I got a 2022 T-680 with a 13 speed. Carrier APU, Direct TV, upgraded interior with gauges, not just idiot lights. It had 53,700 miles when I got in it, and still smelled like a new truck. The other 2 guys in orientation got auto-Volvos, but one got changsd to a manual KW before we finished orientation. While the Volvo has more storage, and a bigger fridge, I still prefer KW, even though it is Paccar powered it does ok pulling hills. It will do better once I get re-adjusted to driving a 13…it has been 25 years since I had this many gears to choose from….
Unlike previous places, SPD does it like I prefer. Here is your load, here is where and when it delivers….any questions, call us…then that’s it. No daily b.s. messages on the Peoplenet, no hand holding, no nannying. They hired me to be a professional truck driver, not a smiling monkey behind the wheel, and they expect me to be a professional truck driver. Flatbed may be tough work, but that is what I expected…open deck ain’t for wussies…it’s for truck drivers who want a challenge…and that is what I want. It makes trucking interesting again.
So there you have it…I am a SPD driver, and with the new type of freight, comes a whole new attitude. Like when I started with Moore, I am gonna be in the learning phase for a while, so the arrogant attitude I had pulling a box is gone…I am now taking in as much advice and guidance as I can…