A Day in the Life.
As the director of marketing and public relations, you can often find me typing away in my office. But, this particular morning, I decided to head out on the road with our driver Dewayne to see what a day might be like for him. From the careful inspection and time he took getting his truck ready for the road, to the checks and double checks once a container was loaded on his trailer, I was amazed by his professionalism, knowledge, carefulness and love for his job. He is a true ambassador of Jetco’s driving to perfection safety culture.
Dewayne’s morning started with getting his daily assignment. After grabbing a cup of coffee, checking in with his driver manager, and saying his “hellos” around the office, he walked out to his bright yellow truck and began his pre-trip check. Walking around his truck, he checked the tires, the lights, the chassis connection…you name it. Every inch of that truck and trailer was checked and double checked. We sat in his truck for a few minutes as he showed me the ins-and-outs of PeopleNet, the software program that allows Jetco to communicate with our drivers, track their hours of service, location, speed, and more. Once all of the information for the load was gathered, we headed out, making a quick stop at the security guard desk to drop off the appropriate paperwork before leaving the Jetco yard. On this particular day, we were going to the Port of Houston to pick up an empty flatrack and deliver it to a customer located not far from our facility on Aldine Bender.
From the minute the tires started rolling, I knew I was in good hands. We often talk about how Jetco drivers are the most professional and safest men and women on the road, and I saw that in action. Dewayne’s eyes never stopped scanning his surroundings. He was always looking far in front and checking his mirrors, taking his time to maneuver the truck and trailer onto I-59 South, which was packed with impatient drivers doing their best to weave in and out of traffic to make it to work on time. “You’ve gotta be alert!” he said, acknowledging a blue Chevy that was cutting people off.
Sitting up high, we could see it all. “I’m proud of this truck,” he said. “Thanks to Jetco’s support, I was able to purchase it, and it’s exactly what I wanted.” Last year, Jetco started a lease purchase program which allows Jetco drivers who have been with the company for at least a year, to purchase their own truck, with the company’s assistance.
Dewayne was all smiles. “I love being a driver for Jetco. Every day is different, and I like the independence of being in my truck all day.”
Originally from Louisiana, Dewayne wasn’t always a driver. After graduating from nursing school, he took up driving when a friend’s father told him he would offer him a job at his own trucking company. And, the rest is history. He joined the Jetco team in 2000, and hasn’t looked back.
When we arrived at the port, Dewayne found a safe place for the port forklift driver to lower the flatracks onto the trailer. The port was buzzing! Trucks were quickly moving by, people were walking between them, and there was a lot of congestion. “This is why you never, ever take off your safety vest! People are moving too fast. They won’t see you! You have to move carefully and slowly,” he said.
The care and time Dewayne took to ensure that the flatrack was properly loaded and that it was safely secured was admirable. He showed me how he ties down the flatrack, chaining it down, then tightening the chains as much as possible. He showed me the tools he uses that are located on the back of his truck, pointing out each one and describing how they support him getting safely back on the road. Once the flatrack was secured, he walked around it, checking each chain, each binder, carefully and methodically. Then, he walked around again. “You have to be sure there are no rocks or large pieces of dirt or debris on the edges,” he said. “You ever drive down the road and some rock flies off a truck? That’s not safe! So we make sure there’s nothing that’s going to hit the windshield of a car next to us on the road or go flying off. Someone could get hurt.”
Then, we were back in the truck again. Dewayne checked in on PeopleNet, before we waited in line with our paperwork to exit. After getting the approval, we were back on the road.
“I like to look around and wonder what other people’s stories are,” he said. “See that truck over there? That’s a long-haul truck. That guy’s probably been on the road for a while. I like to wonder where other drivers have been and where they’re going. Everyone has a story. I’m glad at work at Jetco because most of the hauls are local and regional. I can go home to my family at night.”
When we got back to the north side to deliver the container to a customer, I had my first experience of understanding just how well our drivers are able to maneuver huge trucks and trailers. The two-lane, country road was tight. We reached a stop sign at a “T” in the road, and Dewayne made a turn that was so tight, I’m still not sure how he did it. “Just have to be patient and careful. I’ve been doing this a long time,” he said.
We pulled into our customer’s location, and the men on the yard greeted Dewayne with smiles and handshakes. He told me he comes to this location often and always appreciates how nice and friendly everyone is. “It makes me feel good when I pull up and people know my name – feels like I’m doing something right.”
After a lot of paperwork, our customer’s team helped safely unload the container, then we headed back to the Jetco yard. “And that’s it,” he said. “That’s what I do all day. I drive and pick up and deliver things to people who need them. Best job I can think of. Wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Lisa Sursavage is director of marketing and public relations at Jetco Delivery, and has been with the company for two years. In this role, Lisa is responsible for our internal and external communications, public relations outreach, customer events and social media.