The American Trucking Associations recently held a Veteran-Ready Summit, bringing together experts from the military and freight transportation sector to discuss onboarding more former soldiers.
“Companies are begging for more,” American Trucking Associations Executive Vice President for Advocacy Bill Sullivan. “They want people who want to work hard.”
A panel discussion held during the summit, called “Veterans Trucking Transition: Experts Turn Tactical to Practical,” provided a platform for four veterans to speak about their trucking careers and experiences. As fleet operations are keenly aware, military veterans possess the traits necessary for success in the trucking trades. Delivering 72 percent of America’s goods and materials to communities involves a similar type of service to country.
When former soldiers transition to civilian life, their training and mindset deliver proven success. A 2016 study concluded that veterans rank among the most reliable and safe CDL professionals. The average post-military trucker reportedly incurred 42 percent fewer collisions than those who had not served. The same demographic logged 98 percent more miles. Former military drivers experienced 59 percent less early leaving and 68 percent fewer terminations.
Former U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. James Rose works as a contract driver for Prime Inc. He indicated that trucking is akin to military service because it’s mission-focused. He noted that trucking is a “very, very lucrative industry” that provides opportunities to generate significant wealth. But he also pointed out that transitioning to civilian life and a brand new career comes with a certain “discomfort of the unknown.” That’s largely because the armed forces involve uniform policies that are well-known and understood by military personnel. The former marine serves on Prime’s driver advisory board where he makes a difference.
After serving in the Army for eight years, Christian Gonzales took a post at Clean Harbors, a waste management operation. The former MP has risen through the ranks to a leadership position and encourages freight transportation companies to tap veterans.
“Make them leaders in your companies,” Gonzales reportedly said.
He jointly leads Clean Harbors’ resource group that works with veteran truckers to make social connections outside work. The company now stands on Military.com’s Top 25 Veteran Employers. The ongoing efforts to attract veterans to the trucking industry have been successful over the years. Of the more than 18 million veterans in the U.S., approximately 10 percent work in the trucking sector. But with a talent shortage estimated at more than 80,000, industry leaders appear to be doubling down on their outreach to people returning to civilian careers.
“We’re in a war for talent, and so are you,” Brig. Gen. John Cushing, deputy commanding general for the U.S. Army Recruiting Command, reportedly said during Veteran-Ready Summit.