Driven Too Far Trucking Podcast

November 7, 2022
a red semi truck driving on a highway through the mountains.

Driven Too Far: The Truth About Trucking podcast Helps Over The Road Truck Drivers balance their career and families. Hosted by Andrew Winkler, General Manager of Carriers, this trucking podcast will give you an inside look into the world of trucking.

Work-Life Balance for Professional Drivers 

Is it possible for a long-haul driver to have both a career and the family they love?

Yes, and this podcast is where you’ll get directions to a destination not found on any map. Andrew Winkler is the General Manager of Chief Carriers with over 30 years of experience in the trucking industry. In this trucking podcast, Andrew will give you an inside look into the life of a professional truck driver. He’ll also give you professional advice on work-life balance as a truck driver.

Without further ado, Andrew Winkler in his own words.

Like many of you, I started my transportation career in the mid-nineties as a student driver. I was young, with nothing holding me back, and had always had a love for big trucks. I drove over the road primarily in the eastern, two-thirds of the United States, pulling a reefer through congested cities and hitting those early morning dock appointments in places that were never met for big trucks. I was enjoying my traveling career, and as luck would have it, I found a new infatuation with a great lady in my hometown. As the relationship grew, I knew I was probably gonna have to make a choice, and that was either her or the truck. I chose her and snagged an opportunity with the company to move to the dark side. You got it. I went into dispatch. I enjoyed the new role. The challenge of putting those pieces together every day was awesome. It was like building a house of cards. One thing falls apart and you have to rebuild the entire plan for the day.

Relationships With The Home Office and Dispatch 

I quickly learned that the relationship between the driver and the home office can be a contentious one, but I’m telling you it doesn’t have to be that way. Most of the issues that we face really came down to two different things. First, a communication issue between the parties where critical details were left out. Assumptions are the mother of all screw-ups and let’s be honest, we make way too many assumptions about who knows what and it costs us dearly down the road. The second is the lack of understanding or maybe just respect for the other person’s role in accomplishing that goal or task. We all think we could do the other person’s job, but the truth is we probably have no idea what the other party goes through on a daily basis.

Best Fleets to Drive For 

In this trucking podcast you’ll learn about what makes the best fleets to drive for but first, a little bit about my quest.

I’m approaching 30 years in the industry and I can tell you there’s always been a driver shortage. It’s nothing new and I doubt it’s ever gonna go away. The conclusion I’ve come up with is that we haven’t always given the driver the best environments to work in. We’re taking too many things for granted and fail to acknowledge the human side of their needs to do this really tough job. In 2012, I learned about an industry contest called the best fleets to drive for. The goal of the contest was simple to identify the best driver work environments with four higher truckload carriers operating more than 10 trucks in the United States and Canada. I knew nothing about it, but as the operations manager for that reefer company, I was certainly interested in what it took to earn the designation as one of the best workplaces in the trucking industry.

I jumped all in. I completed the grueling survey assessment of how we ran our company, pay benefits, safety, maintenance, operations, and career advancement. It was all in there over a hundred detailed questions focused on things from a driver’s point of view and what we had to offer. The assessment was followed by a phone interview with the executive team and a validation survey, with at least 25% of our drivers to confirm. We actually did the things we say we do in the assessment Top 20 fleet in North America, the very first year. It was awesome and I was hooked on the idea that we are out to give our professional drivers an outstanding place to work. Fast forward 10 years, and I’m proud to tell you that not only have I got one carrier on the top 20 list for best fleets, but I have also now taken a second company to that top 20 list. I’m one of two people in the US and Canada that has accomplished that, and I’m telling you, it’s an amazing feeling to know that you’ve impacted a lot of drivers’ lives and careers while on this path.

I’m proud to tell you that not only have I got one carrier on the top 20 list for best fleets to drive for, but I have also now taken a second company to that top 20 list. ~ Andrew Winkler

Great Companies To Drive For 

So what’s the secret sauce? There’s nothing secret about it. You just have to be able to look in the mirror and be able to ask yourself if you are the reasons something isn’t working and how you can change that. My journey taught me to listen twice as much as I speak. The answers are right in front of us. If we’re willing to put our ego aside and just listen today, we run our company and often ask ourselves when facing an issue, what would the best fleet do? This guides us down a path to do the right thing by people, our people, not by a policy and industry standard or some spreadsheet. If we put our people first, great things are gonna happen. The American Trucking Association says there is over 4 million class eight trucks and 1.1 million four higher trucking companies. While the best fleets contest is certainly doing its part in our industry, we’re simply not reaching enough drivers to have an impact.

There are a lot of good carriers out there willing to make necessary changes to better the lives of our professional drivers, but the majority of the trucking carriers out there fail to get out of their own way, can’t look in the mirror, and continue to have ridiculous driver turnover. Change simply has to happen. This leads us up to today and why we’re producing this trucking podcast. It’s time to pull back the curtain and give professional drivers some insight on happening within the office walls.

It’s time to pull back the curtain and give professional drivers some insight on happening within the office walls. ~ Andrew Winkler

In this trucking podcast, we’ll tackle topics like how to pick the right carrier for you, what questions to ask a recruiter, driver compensation, and breaking it all down.

  • What to ask a trucking recruiter.
  • Professional driver compensation and benefits.
  • Truck Driver Training
  • Walk-away truck leases
  • Being a company driver.

I look forward to sharing this unique perspective with you on this trucking podcast, Driven Too Far, the Truth About Trucking. With your help, Driven Too Far will quickly become one of the best trucking podcasts to listen to!