October 8 2011
Well, I am just about ready to Roll to the SWIFT Driving Academy in Millington Tennessee. I have a Airport shuttle van ready and on his way up to my house. Dave's Limo seems to know how to drop people off at the right place at the Airport. I am going to check this place out and find out about how easy It is to recap all of the things that I was working on in the past couple of weeks and the past couple of Months and within the past Year. I also had nearly a Year of training on the weekends in my old School. This refresher School should be a lot of fun and naturally lead to better things in Truck Driving. I can although see the potential for pressure on me to perform in this environment. It is a Trucking company School and a first step at that of course. I think that they have a little harder program than most, on the beginners because of their longer days (11 hours) from 5 O'clock in the morning to 6-7 PM in the evening and only 3 weeks to cover everything. I don't see It as a problem because I have been doing all of these skills already, but for anybody else, Oh my God! I just Hope that they are quick and patient learners. Everybody is different You know, some people need a few Months to a Year to learn all of the things that they are teaching. People like me will probably just start Alley Docking and doing the "harder" parts of the course and then It will simply be up to me to leave them with the impression that they can Trust me for doing the jobs. Anybody can B.S. the company by calling them about me but It's not all that much to drive a Class A Truck if You have done It for 3 to 5 Months already. It is just like driving a car only a little bit differently. Keeping a close watch is the main thing with a Truck. Somebody told me once just keep Your DMV clean and Your record free of accidents and DAC reports and You will have no problems getting a job in the Trucking Industry.
I arrived in Memphis Tennessee early this evening, about 6:30 Central Standard Time on the Mesaba Airlines Delta connection Flight, a Canadair900 regional Jet. It was the same kind of Jet as I flew to Dallas Love Field last January. It was a smooth flight with just a little bit of bumpyness. We left Philadelphia on time at a different gate than they origionally scheduled me for from the D terminal and It was nice but a little bit expensive, because I had to separate the baggage into 2 bags and pay $35.00 extra for the 2nd bag and then of course I had to buy a 2nd bag for $20 at the Montgomeryville Army and Navy store. I always buy military stuff packs. Right now I have a total of 2 tent bags and 3 smaller green stuff bags with shoulder straps that are half full and will easily stuff into the larger black tent bags.
The Aircraft was beautifull, I am in the process of uploading some photographs of It to show You how nice It is and the Flight was so fast that It was hard to believe that we were at the halfway point so early on in the Flight. I like all things Aviation of course and It was just a lot of fun for me. The TSA left me a note in one of my bags that had 3 containers of body wash liquid and energy mixes in It and they opened one of my bags of Fenugreek seeds to inspect It, but nothing was missing. I had to buy a Cab at the Memphis International Airport for $70 to get out to Millington in order to get my room earlier than the 11 PM SWIFT shuttle van and It was worth It. I have a lot of pictures and one Video of my Hotel room that I am also in the process of uploading at the present time. I had a chance to walk outside and down (South) to the next shopping center, the one with the SUBWAY and I stopped at the excellent Mexican restaurant there where the price for 3 Bean and Cheese burritos with a cup of water was only $3.90. They had Good sized burritos there and I really enjoyed them. The only problem with that place is that It closed at 8:30 every evening. I met a couple of graduates from the SWIFT Driving Academy walking up the road back to the Hotel and they said that they really Loved the School Very Much. I am back at the Hotel now just resting and recharging all of my batteries in my electronic equipment. Everything made It here in one piece and It seems to me that this trip to Tennessee and the SWIFT Driving Academy is working out well. The people in Tennessee are very nice and polite
I got out of bed at 7 AM at the Admiralty Inn in Millington TN and went down to the Meeting room to have breakfast just to check out what they were serving. It was'nt much, just quick oatmeal and grits and biscuits. They did'nt have any pancakes or Waffles. I did'nt mind It too much because I am on a diet and I just stayed with the quick grits and oatmeal.
I decided to go outside and to powerwalk a lot, through the whole North End of town and down to the Walgreens and the SUBWAY stores. I bought some mineral oil for $1.69 for dewaxing my ears from the Kroger store and some Q tips from the Dollar General store. I did'nt really feel the need to eat anything because I was finishing the bag of fenugreek seeds that the Homeland Security people had opened in my checked bags. There were a lot of loose Fenugreek seeds in my backpack and they were starting to spill out on the floor so I just thought that I would begin to eat cupfulls of them in order to help to use them up.
Millington is a nice town with nice friendly people and It is apparently close to the railroad tracks and a small airport. I could hear the Freight Trains off and on all day and half of the night. The small airplanes were more active Today, Saturday.
I woke up yesterday Afternoon at about 12 O'clock and immediately started into a conversation with my Sister Ann about when I would be able to get into the SWIFT Driving Academy in Millington TN. We talked and talked about the Airfare and the location of the School and the Terminal and then we decided to contact SWIFT at their Headquarters in Phoenix AZ in order to try to sort out the situation with the previous application and the newer paperwork. My Sister was in a really hyped mood for the subject of giving me an Airline ticket and shuttle van rides for my Birthday so she did the phone calling at first. She called SWIFT and asked to speak to Mario Padilla, my School recruiter and she just got his voicemail, so we were kind of wondering where to go from there, since that was what I was receiving myself for the past (2) days, and I was not receiving any E-Mail from him at the same time. Well anyway, Ann called back again to ask for another School recruiter and she got some woman by the name of Sherry, who did'nt have any Idea of where my application and background check and medical card was from the Harrisburg PA Orientation. It just seemed to disappear. I remembered that I had some paperwork that I had FAXed in to Mario earlier with the processor's name on It, so I told her where It was, while I was still trying to eat my breakfast. Luckily for me Ann was in such a hyped mood for the subject of getting me down to the SWIFT Driving Academy that she stayed right with the subject and She even set a deadline for 2 O'clock in the afternoon for getting all of the contacts in and the paperwork together. Well, she finally found the papers that I had FAXed in to Mario earlier, next to the copier in the basement, the ones where It gave a direct phone # for Mario and listed the processor girl's name on It. She was able to find some other phone #'s on the papers and began calling them, hoping to get through to Mario, and she actually did so that was Cool of her.
I spoke to Mario and he told me that he had all of the information that he needed to proceed with the SWIFT Driving Academy registration, The DAC request and previous employment checks and the DMVR paperwork so that much was O.K. except that he said that they do not have any refresher courses anymore at The SWIFT Driving Academy and he wondered if I would still be interested in taking the whole course. I said that I would and I gave him two possible dates that I might be interested in starting It and then he said that he would have to send me an E-Mail with a company pretest DOT Quiz in It and some Online Training modules. He said that I should be able to finish them by the end of the Week and I can keep reloading them until I pass them with a grade of 80 percent or greater.
Ann 'cept after me to continue working with the Online Quiz so I continued to work on It for the next 5 hours until I was finished with It, other than giving my Mother a quick trip up to Ambler to get to her hair appointment. My Dog Boy Angelo was not very happy with It, since he had to go out to the Parks to get his walks in but I at least did everything, mostly Video presentations, on the Online Training modules, like a mini Orientation online. There were a number of common sense practical knowledge modules that were supposed to be based upon the Driver's manual from the State that You are coming from to the Academy. If You have studied various endorsements or General Knowledge courses on Combination Vehicles in the past as I have in (2) company's and in a flashcard machine that I got from Ebay a long time ago, then It's no problem to pass the Quizzes in the pre admission to the SWIFT Driving Academy. I passed most of them with 90's but I failed a couple of them by getting only 70's, so I had to do about 3 10 -15 Question modules over again. I came up with a "program grade" of 92 percent for the whole Video Training Module. All in All it looked to me like there were probably a few hundred questions to answer.
After I finished the Quizzes I decided to take my Dog Boy Angelo out to the Barnes and Noble store and run him around the Shopping center parking lot out there then my Friend Dan called me on the phone on the way up there and he asked if I could come by his place first. I did that and he started to get along with my Friend Angelo very well, then I went with him up to the Walmart and we bought some SUBWAY Pizza and I waited out in the car with the Laptop and studied some King School Video presentations about Airports in Sectional Charts and descriptions of Airspace classifications. I got home at about 1 O'clock AM and had some more Iced tea and Fenugreek. I think that I ended this Week O.K. when I consider that I am finished (finally) on signing up with the SWIFT Driving Academy and I am cleared to roll, as soon as I can work out the Airfare and the shuttle van schedule with Ann and then I know It's a lot but I may just be able to get a subsidy from Ann and My Mother for a private room at the Memphis TN Admiralty Inn, in Millington. The only problem there with the rooms is that they will charge by the week rather than by the day, so I am just Hoping that I will pass the Diabetic and High Blood Pressure check ups on the first day of the Orientation. They would send me home to get some BP readings or Pills if I don't pass right at their level. I am not sure of what to make of It yet. It could be that since I have passed the Orientation at SWIFT and that I already have a SWIFT medical card on file that I will not have to be retested so soon. At least that is what some other people from the Academy have been saying during Orientation in Harrisburg.
September 23 2011
I have really been trying to connect all of he loose ends around my home and work on getting down to Memphis TN for the Millington TN Swift Driving Academy. I was working through my Congresswoman's office, Allison Schwartz, to get some Federal grants or Student assistance for the School if It has a Federal Code; which I don't think It has so I will probably be paying all of the tuition money myself at one point or another.
The one thing that I don't like about the Swift Driving Academy School is that they don't have a phone number available for the School on their website, even though the School has a website. The other problem with It is if You are asked to leave It they may try to collect all of the tuition money as if You stayed for the whole course.
The School lasts for 23 days and starts at 6 AM everyday and ends about 6 PM everyday, for 6 days per week so It is a strenuous course. There may be a lot of people who would drop out of It just because of the routine. It is also out in the middle of the countryside, not close to any stores or places to buy food while You are on campus. I don't know how this is going to work out for me, unless I buy a few Hoagies everyday. This is what I would eat on the OTR runs on the Truck.
The other problem that I have found with SWIFT is that the Hotel that they list on their Website costs a little bit more for an individual room upgrade, about $57 per day compared to the same price to upgrade a room at their 3 day Orientation.
I would very much like to go to It anyway, because of all of the Praise It has received, by people that I have met personally. I have heard that It is one of the best Schools in the Country for Class A certification or refresher courses. It is supposed to be divided into intensive "boot camp" classroom days and then weeks of "State level" parking and Yard tests. The on the road instruction is done in urban enviornments and in purposely challenging situations. Everyone is graded vigorously.
If this is an accurate description of It, I am interested in going there to polish up my CDL skills. I have'nt had a lot of classroom work in mapping and Logging and simulator work, or the Qualcom and GPS equipment, much less the 45 deg Alley Dock parking and maybe they will let me practice a few 90 deg parallel parking jobs.
In my last (2) companys I was supposed to learn these things on the road, but It just seemed that there was never enough time to get in all of the brushing up work to make It a really smooth experience whenever I was finished with everything. I am just Hoping that this will be everything that I will need to blend in to the Orientation Road test of course, and then a few weeks later my "testing out" examination. I have a total of 5 Months of codriving experience, mainly OTR and I have done 100 ProTread internet Computer Based Training modules as well as 100 modules at Werner Enterprises so this will probably be no different, but may just do the job.
I am going to try to find the Lowest prices on Transportation through Airfarewatchdog.com, and then right after my Birthday. I will try to also get a private room so that I can work seriously on all of the new Internet based education modules. I am fairly confident that everything will be O.K., even though I have'nt operated a rig in about 4 Months and at my last job, It was more like a practical refresher course and I had completely abandoned doing double clutching in favor of floating gears on the company before that one. I think the the SWIFT driving academy will probably change the momentum of my progress in my CDL career.
The only problem with getting involved in Class A CDL work though is the amount of time that I have to be away from home on my first 3 Months, when I am needed at home to be sure and then I have to Hope that Truck driving will change from my Solo probationary OTR work to going on to local dedicated runs for the Dollar Stores.
What a whacko day! I was trying to avoid Ann as much as humanly possible because I know what she wants for me to do, just jump on an Amtrak and to roll down to Millington TN in order to get started on my SWIFT Driving Academy school ASAP. I would of course, but when I thought about 1. The price of It and 2. The distance to Memphis, divided into two Amtrak trains, Wow! 39 plus hours, so I just thought I will argue to go later rather than sooner, since Airfarewatchdog.com/Expedia will get me a much better deal. It turned out to be quite an argument and It just completely disgusted me. I will be happy to go to the SWIFT Driving Academy, but in a reasonable amount of time, coming and going to It.
I will work like a Dog if I ever get into a private room at the Memphis Swift Driving Academy. My goal is always to do as many computer modules as possible whenever I have the time, and naturally I will feel as though I have nothing but time when I have my private room. It is getting me a little bit P.O'd though when I think of what the price is that Werner Enterprises charges for an upgrade to a private room compared to what SWIFT charges to upgrade to a private room. SWIFT is 2X higher. There's just so much that I am willing to do, but It keeps me thinking of working.
I am just imagining what a nice experience It will be going to the SWIFT Driving Academy near Memphis TN, in Millington TN. The skills won't be new to me, I have already some (3) Months of Over the Road driving experience, and In shifting gears, and I am actually better recently in double clutching than I was when I first started working with the FFE. I am really looking forward to sitting in class working on Log books, simulated Log books, Mapping and Navigation and using the Qualcom. I have already been taught on an average level and have done this kind of work before so I am not worried about It in the slightest way. It will also be cool to do the 45 deg parking.
Swift Driving Academy Boot Camp
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October 9 2011
Hello SWIFT2012 and the Group:
I don't know if You people know of the SWIFT Driving Academy Millington Tennessee Youtube Videos that were made by a recent graduate. They show a lot of details of the classroom, the course and the range from an insider's POV.
The Youtube Artist's name is ssccrab and his URL on Youtube is:
I just finished the millington academy. What the poster said is true, but for me it was a good environment and a great learning experience. I thrive in a self driven environment and was very lucky to have three room mates that were also there to be serious and learn. The beds are fine. the rooms were clean. This industry is not for those that cannot thrive on their own with little guidance. Like Horace said if you need a supervisor to get you through your day this is not the industry for you. If you decide to take on this training be prepared and be focused. This is not a vacation and at the end they hand you an 80,000lb missle. We have a great responsibility behind the wheel so go in with the intent to find out if you have what it takes to be trusted to be safe and skilled. And please use the time on the range to become at least proficient at backing. It is an aquired skill that you must learn on your own. By the end of the first week I finally understood the term "read your trailer". And it doesn't mean the name on the side....
I'm just finishing up my third week of Swift Driving Academy. Two weeks in Millington (Memphis) and third at home terminal in Greer, SC.
You describe the school in Millington perfectly, 'boot camp'. It was hell, hated the trainers (Dee and Gary), the Admiralty Inn was a dive, the hours were long and got very little sleep. Guessing 33 people started but only 16 finished first two weeks.
Would I do it again? Would I recommend Swift Academy?
I'm glad I did it and I WOULD RECOMMEND Swift to everyone.
If you are trucker, the school would be boring. As we aren't truckers, the school was just that - school. Nobody 'likes' school, and I can't remember the last teacher I 'liked'. But Dee, Gary, and Anthony (Millington, TN) and Bill (Greer, SC) took newbies and taught us to drive.... and with ~6 weeks of driving with a mentor still to come, I foresee Swift turning out some pretty good new truck drivers.
Yes, its simple to call the CDL Training 1-800 #..... it's a whole new ball game when you're actually doing it.
I only count 6 people out of my class as 'not passing' - but just like in grade school, you 'repeat' a week and carry on with life, no big deal, no-one is left behind. The rest of the people who dropped out, ha - excuses range from failed drug test, attempt to hide a serious heart condition, "It will break my nails", noone will help me (ask - you'll get help), to I gotta take care of business at home. Lame excuses at best.
PS: there were about 7 people in my class that had already attended Tech driving school or competing truck company schools - but they were left hanging and found it necessary to come to Swift - a real school.
class #820Last edited: Jun 15, 2012
I'm actually really happy that my fiance and I decided against Swift. He was supposed to attend the Millington Acadamy, however, the recruiter he had (Stephanie) was very uppity, rude, condescending, and many other words that I would like to say about her. We had to reschedule 4 times because of the lack of information, the lateness of information, her own mistakes and blaming them on my fiance.
I finally ended up calling her and talking to her myself using the "legalese" that she so loved to use to my very simple-minded man. I don't think that she liked that very much, but it gave me some giggles to hear her try to keep up with me. After a month of trying to get back on the schedule, we had enough of her games. I called her -being super nice- and said:
"We are no longer in need of your services. You really need to get more training in the service industry. This company would save a lot of revenue if you were not a recruiter- having to spend hundreds of dollars reordering bus tickets (four different times) just to get ONE person to one of your academies because of your persistent lack of communication with your recruits. I pity your supervisor. Have a nice day."
I then hung up the phone.
Moments later, my man received an e-mail from her stating that she apologizes for not being able to help him, and that she appreciated him applying. HA!
I just finished the swift schools last two tests backing and road test. Will be going to take the cdl test back in my home state on tue or wed. I have learned so much in the last three weeks it's mind blowing. The school is very hard, and alot dont make it all the way through. Lets put it this way the class a week before us had four people left out of fourteen, our class has seven left out of sixteen at the start. The first week I didnt go to sleep before 11:30pm and then get up at 4:30am to do all over again. There was no way I was going to get kicked out for bookwork, or a map test, so I did what I had too. I almost got sent home on the straight backing test, but made it. I just passed the offset back and 90back yesterday. Thats how far I have come in two weeks since the straight back test.
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