How did you get started doing this work?
I originally got my CDL license back in 1990 and worked in Houston driving locally for a building materials company. After I moved back to San Antonio, I ended up running shipping/receiving and managing overall logistics for a large law firm for 15 years. It was a great experience, but office work is a very different feel and I was ready to get back into driving. For me, being outdoors is something I really enjoy, and driving is definitely a great way to get out of the office.
So about two years ago I went back and got my CDL again, and I’ve been with Texas Materials for a year and a half now.
Do you have any advice for others looking to get into this field?
Start slow and pay attention. Learn as much as you can from the older guys. I have trained five drivers since I’ve been here, and I always tell them to be safe, take their time and learn the ropes so they can perfect their skills.
It’s also important to choose a good training program and learn as much as you can before you start working in the industry. When you’re looking for jobs, choose a good company that will also spend time training you before just sending you out there. Before I came to Texas Materials, I went over the road for a little while. I’d never done that kind of driving before and it was a little bit challenging. But the good thing was I did have that prior experience, so I can tell you that good training makes all the difference.
Tell us more about new driver training at Texas Materials.
When a new driver joins the team, I or another driver will do a ride-along with them. On the first day, they just ride on the passenger side while I drive and show them all the controls. I actually go to a job site and perform all the types of duties they would be expected to do, including loading and dumping materials, etc. And they just watch for a few days until they’re ready to get in the driver’s seat.
Then I’ll observe them while they’re operating the truck and I give them pointers and make sure they’re up to speed before they head out on jobs on their own.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born and raised here in Texas. I like riding horses, and it’s actually been part of my family for decades. My grandfather was a master horse trainer in Gonzales where I grew up, and I’ve been riding longer than I can remember – since I was 3 or 4 years old.
I also love sports, and in my spare time I coach my nephew’s t-ball league. I do my best to be involved in my community as much as I can.