April 22 2011
I just wanted to let You know what my experiences have been with the Werner Allentown PA Orientation program and what it has to offer and what You need to be carefull of in getting started in It.
I just called in to their recruiter line that they had advertised on their web page and they put me right in touch with a recruiter from my local area of Eastern Pennsylvania. I was offered an OTR route in the Eastern half of the United States called the Drivers choice route.
It seems as though right now that there were hardly any openings of specific choice even though a lot of people are out there hopping around from one starter Truck company to another.
I was given an appointment to go to the Orientation about 30-40 miles away from my home and so I checked in to the Allentown Quality Inn which is about 15 mins away from the Werner Allentown Terminal. It was a nice Suburban Hotel with Good sized rooms, with a lot of glass in them, allowing a pleasant view of a semi wooded area. They are not far, about a mile from downtown Allentown.
They are kind of far from restaurants although there is Chineese food available for delivery for $1 and 3 kinds of Pizza delivery also available and they have a Shuttle run every evening to the Target shopping center for the SUBWAY and other kinds of food.
The Shuttle Van to Werner runs every Morning at about 6:45 to the Werner Orientation, which lasts about 12 hours, and leaves the Terminal at about 7 PM and that is if You want to stay for that long in order to work on their E Learning computer classes.
The Instructor left at about 5 PM but encouraged us to finish our work required for the completion of our training and to stay for as long as we needed in order to do It.
You can potentially finish all of Your required computer work there at the terminal within 12 hours. I did all of mine except for the Qualcom Videos and Quizzes because the Qualcom course usually starts on the next day.
I am not sure what they have on the second day of Orientation but I have heard that It is just more computer work and maybe a Simulator. They have a lot of prerecorded Videos that they project onto a large screen in the two training rooms that they use to Train.
The First day, You have to do Your Drug Screening and physical exams at about 8 AM and they will do a Diabetes screening finger stick test, and their upper limit for the test is at 160 mg/dcl. I flunked mine, not having fasted and having eaten breakfast just an hour before my test, where mine was 80 points above their limit.
They sent me home, nicely asking me to just get the blood sugar better under control, and to get a note from my Doctor and then come back to the terminal within 30 days. I was invited to stay for the whole Orientation though, "so that It would be out of my way" and that was cool I thought.
They also photographed everybody for I.D. badges before the physical and issued everybody a Driver number and a First Data card.
They started explaining what we were required to do with our packet of a Werner Log Book, Safety Regulations Book and Hazmat Book etc. and what things that we needed to have on the Training Truck, like certain forms that our trainer would have to fill out. The Orientation manager mentioned that most people would probably have a few trainers, unless we really got along Good with the first one. There were lines on the Training paperwork to allow for 4 Trainers.
They had a class on what benefits are available and how much they would cost with copays and things like that, and that went quickly.
We had some pizza for lunch and there was a Food Truck outside in the parking lot twice, in order to serve us some polish and Italian sandwiches. I ate a plate of beans and rice. There was also some Ice cream and sodas in the vending machines.
The bathroom was kind of strange in the classroom building in that it was always locked and that You had to sign in for a key to use it. I just used the one in the drivers lounge next door, they said that was also available and You should use it before Orientation and they monopolize the training room bathroom for the medical tests.
Compared to the FFE Orientation, Werner's was a light version, but just as effective a two day Orientation as needs to be.
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did you go to a trucking school prior to Werner? I'm in AIT in Phoenix and I'm just wondering how long I'm going to be stuck in orientation coming up in a couple of weeks.
Well... I'm going to ask Werner anyway.
Thanks for sharing your story! See you out there one of these times!
April 23 2011
Hello Mr. V and the Group:
I will go back to Werner ASAP mainly due to the reason that I do not have an income right now, and I would just hate to lose whatever skills that I have at Shifting a 10 speed Truck at this point in time. It gave me a big ego boost to go through the 2 day Werner Orientation program and to get reaquainted with Trucking and Truck drivers again, It just felt like I was doing something very Professional for a change.
The Werner CBT program or Computer Based Training Program is only about a day and a half altogether, and I would say very Professionally presented by an actual Truck School Instructor and State examiner, an a avid Motorcyclist. I was very impressed about how Werner (ALLPA) in Allentown conscisely presented the Class, and showed us about how to Operate the Qualcom equipment. We had a 12 hour day on the 1st Day and a 7 hour Day on the 2nd Day. We ate Pizza for one meal a day each day and It did'nt seem to be to strict or discouraging at all.
Werner may just be a "starter" company to most people, due to their benefits and It's ease of Operations, but at least they give You a lot of chances to do Your job and go from trainer to trainer if You really need to do It. Their Student grade form has spaces for 5 different Trainers on It.
It seems like OTR is probably going to be the same anywhere, and It is'nt mainly a refrigerated company so It will definitely be a lot of hard work.
The one thing that I don't like out of everything that Werner gives to You is that their Trucks don't seem to have any GPS systems in them at all but they do have EZ Pass and I Pass and the K pass, so that is really impressive in It's completeness.
I have One Month in order to Medically qualify for Werner, in that I have to go home to my Doctor's Office and to get a few daily consecutive Blood glucose tests and then to FAX them in to their Doctor, or just hand them in on a day that their Doctor is in the Office, Wednesdays and Fridays.
April 23 2011
Hello Mr. V. and the Group:
Yes, I went to the Smith and Solomon Commercial Driving School, a big supporteer of Werner Enterprises. I could have obtained a Career Link VIA grant for It, but I was just lucky in order for my Sister to pay $2,500 for It, and that also included the "P" certification. Thank God for Good Family members!
I got paid $150 plus the Hotel room flat rate and 2 breakfasts and the Pizza lun ch from Werner in Two Days so far in my Training with them. I have heard that they will deduct Your Bus fare from Your Orientation Pay, but I did not need a Bus to get there from my home.
I of course asked for an Overweight Diabetic Trainer who could use my services, hopefully in exchange for respecting me on my level of Progress.
May 26 2011
I finally got back in to Werner, and I am enjoying it so far and with little or no problems at this point in time. I got in here on Monday the 23rd and did a few runs with my first trainer up in New England for the Office Max account. I had some Good experiences with the Truck driving, and I was very impressed with the new Qualcom units that look a lot like People net units and have some performance monitors built into them. The performance monitor checks Your:
1. Over RPM's
2. Top gear percentage time
3. Cruise Control percentage time
4. Time on maximum speed or speed within limits
5. Idle time
The first Trainer that I had was very polite to call me from a long distance away and let me know a whole day in advance when he would be in the Allentown PA area in order to pick me up but ultimately My Trainer told me that he is beginning to hate Truck Driving and he looked very depressed and he became silent at times and he had a tendency to flip out once in awhile. I simply asked Werner for another Trainer, because he was becoming too loud and crazy at times, but otherwise he was a fine Gentleman and a Good driver.
We went out on the Office Max runs from the Scranton Distribution Center (D.C.) to Hartford CT at first, where my Trainer seemed to suffer a kind of nervous breakdown, so we repowered the load, shortened our trip but kept a few deliverys to CT and Massechusetts. I drove the Truck about 500 miles in a single day. I really think that there's nothing too difficult about working the Office Depot account for Werner Enterprises and It was a truly positive experience.
I got a call from another Trainer, just a day later and he seems to be a really nice person, a repower specialist from the "driver's choice" route, and a gentle person, someone who respects the Hours of Service so much that he could not make it in to Allentown exactly on the same day that he thought that he would be able to do It, due to the rules about taking 10 hour breaks every day. He informed me from the very beginning that he has some home time coming to him at the end of next week, so that I may only have him for that long or I would have to wait for a few days. I can really appreciate this and I had a long conversation with him, especially about my need to sharpen my gear shifting skills. He told me that he has some Good techniques about how to use the clutch, in slow motion. He told me that I would mainly operate the Truck Solo, so that I could get my hours in. This is cool too. I only need 175 hours right now. This would place me at the Werner "entry level driver" level, outside of the "rookie" level. I guess that this would be appropriate where I am at.
The last two trainers have had "near death experiences" while they have had students. Allen, my latest trainer almost had a train whack his rig, but he really lucked out, so now he has a new rule for his position: never let a student scare him again! Kevin, my first Trainer has seen a lot of accidents along the road, but he has'nt had any himself, being an 18 Year veteran of Werner and a Million mile club member, but one of his students has wrecked, rolled over one of his rigs while he was trying to sleep in the back of It. I think that experience probably hurt him a lot more than he likes to think about.
I had to lower my Blood Sugar to get into Werner to their minimum level, (less than 160 mg./dcl) at least after a 12 hour fast. This time they did not check my finger prick blood sugar level, just a sample of my urine clearance for sugar. It's always Good. A urine test for diabetes is the usual method that most Trucking companys will use anyway, and a finger prick test is usually off just an hour and a half after eating breakfast.
I am as bad as anybody else right now, in as far as my fasting blood sugar. I had to take an extra 500 mg. Metformin tablet in addition to my regular morning 500 mg. tablet then I started drinking a few shots of 2-3 oz. of Apple Cider Vinegar everyday. I also drank a lot of bitter gourd juice from the local Indian store. I like to use cinnamon with all of this therapy, but I have'nt really been doing it as much as I could have used it I guess. My main problem with the diabetes is the weight, and mine was about 20 pounds higher than optimum for my condition, so the blood sugar was very erratic within the last 30 days. I have'nt been working, just going to the parks and walking the Dog, so inactivity really has been killing me.
I have had some really Good experiences with Werner considering my situation. First, they really did'nt mind if I went home from the Hotel everyday. I live about 35 miles away. I slept at the Hotel about half of the time that I was on call for a trainer, but I had to go to the morning Safety meeting. I blew this off once, by just agreeing with the Trainer to meet him the next day and then I got a really terminal phone message at my home, while I was on my way back up to the Hotel, but my Student Driver manager worked this situation out, because I was already Scheduled to go to work that day, so everything was O.K. in the end and there were no hard feelings.
My Mother is 88 Years old and my Sister is 50 Years old and I have some elderly neighbors who sometimes depend upon me to do some Landscaping for them, so I made a few trips back to the house to check in on them and to do some work. I even brought my Van up to the Hotel with my Dog and nobody had any problems with It. I just had to be available by Cell phone for any Trainers that may come by within a short period of time.
The Greyhound/Carl Bieber Bus service to Quakertown and Philadelphia were available from nearby the Hotel and It only cost $13.00 to go one way, but the problem with it is is that It's a Casino and a Park and Ride bus so It takes about 3 hours to do a 50 Mile one way trip. There is no rail service to Allentown so It is'nt possible to inexpensively carry on packs back and forth like You could do in Harrisburg or Lancaster PA.
There is a regularly scheduled bus between the Allentown Werner Terminal and the Quality Inn and a request service from the Allentown Werner Terminal to the Allentown Greyhound Bus station. The Quality Inn also has a shuttle Van between the Hotel and the Bus station and the Werner Terminal as well as the Walmart and Target stores.
I was'nt sure that I was going to go with Werner at first, thinking that I possibly had a Farm job in Kennett Square PA, and I told Werner this at first, after I came back onboard from my Medical leave, and they said O.K. just let them know, so I went home and left all of my paperwork there for a Weekend, and then after I got my call to go out with my first Trainer, I just went to the Terminal in the morning and picked it all back up again. They were very Good about this and I think that they are probably trying to retain more students.
May 28 2011
Hello Mr. V. and the Group:
I just got done working with my second trainer. No major problems that I can think of, just hassles on his part I think, with his life and with his temper control. I am blessed to not have these kinds of problems in mine right now.
Allen told me that he had just taken up smoking again after having been a non smoker, but he only did this after his elderly Mother started falling a lot and then just recently had a stroke. He apparently has a problem of never taking any breaks for food so he looked to be thin as a rail and kind of ragged looking.
I really did not have many problems with him until we started working in the area of Minersville Berks County (on route 901) when he started taking offense about the way that I was climbing the hills and doing the curves (shifting) with the 9 speed. Those roads leading to the Lowes Pottsville distribution center are incredibly steep and twisting and narrow, so I started having some problems missing gears due to ground speed over there.
I just got finished working with a "repower" run that started out on Thursday Morning this week and It involved a call from an inexperienced Werner dry van driver who wrecked his trailer on a tree branch while attempting a "U turn" out near the Scotts fertilizer plant in Chadds Ford somewhere. He had some bad directions on how to get out to the main road, so he took it upon himself to fix the orientation of his truck.
The problem started out for Allen and I when we just did'nt have any Good directions on how to find the location of the wreck. Allen finally put me on the phone with the driver of the wrecked Truck and I was able to piece together the approximate location of the trailer and the salvagable load. It took us about 4 hours to get to the location, because nobody could clearly tell us where It was located. It happened to be located at a place where the DOT told the driver to park It, in a back lot of Chadds Ford elementary School. We finally located it when we saw a State Police car pull up in the lane next to us on route 1 and I had the courage to ask him about where It was located.
When we got there we found a newer blue Werner 53' dry van trailer split almost in half, because It had rammed into a tree branch while the driver had been following some instructions on the Qualcomm or trip plan on how to exit the plant and to get on to route 1.
The problem with his situation was that he should have probably called the State Police in the first place if he knew that he needed help in backing up his rig, he said a half mile, in order to get out of the back road exit pattern that he was on.
Werner had an insurance adjuster with a camera and a very heavy duty Tow truck on the scene from Ted's in Baltimore MD on and then a second one on the way with a Fork lift and 2 pallet jacks in order to Offload the split trailer and to reload a Good dry van unit that we brought in from Allentown. Everything was accomplished according to plan and to everybody's satisfaction by about 3'Oclock PM.
We started out from Allentown, at the Quality Inn at 5 O'clock in the morning and went around to Bath PA where Werner has a drop yard that they share with US Express and P.A.M we picked up an empty trailer and we were expected to bring it straight down to Chadds Ford PA within about 2 hours and we finally made it at about 11 AM. Werner agreed to pay my Trainer for the waiting time until the cargo was off loaded and we were ready to leave the scene. I simply stayed in the sleeper compartment most of the time until the wrecker crew and the other driver directed all of the work to completion.
My Trainer Allen, was on duty from 4 O'clock in the Morning until that time so he started to run out of hours and he wanted for me to drive the load up to Albany NY from the drop Yard in Bath PA. I hooked up the Trailer of some 45,000 pounds of miracle grow top soil to the Trainer's Peterbilt Tractor. I then drove it with some directions from my Trainer to Modena NY, near Albany. It was one of the only published Truckstops or Thruway rest areas so Allen picked that particular location. We had a major hassle with the log books that lasted for 2 hours when Allen rechecked my daily 14 hours and discovered on the macro that I had only 2.5 hours available, due to the last trainer before him using my hours. We had to call Logs multiple times in order for them to agree to make the hours read 11/11, 14/14 and 70 available.
We arrived at Modena at 10:30 PM and It had been an uneventfull trip other than for my trainer who started screaming at me once about the 45,000 pounds going around an exit ramp at close to the speed written on the sign and another time when some trucks were passing on the right side of our Truck. I think that he probably thought that I could have rode the Left side line better at that time. Otherwise Allen was cool. He told me that I have a lot of potential and that he would be happy to work with me on helping me to pass the "test out" since he has to sign off on me before I can take the written tests and become a "qualified driver" at the end of my 175 hour program.
I know two things that were not a problem in going up route 84 and 87 and they were my "usual" control of speed going up hills in close to the top gear and the speed coming down the hills in close to the top gear. I was right on the speed limit line or a little bit below it for most of my trip up to Modena and It also felt really relaxing to be at those speeds and to take the curves well. I kept alternating my hand grip on the wheel from 10 and 2 O'clock to 9 and 3 O'clock to inside the wheel and then just cupping the wheel slightly or using one hand from time to time. I completely lost my insecuritys about speed and curves from not doing any trucking for 8 weeks on these last 2 runs.
Well, we went up to the Lowes store on 9W in suburban Albany NY and delivered them a 45,000 pound load of topsoil with miracle grow and they were extremely pleased to get it in and then Allen turned the wheel over to me in order to get the empty trailer back to a drop yard in Carteret NJ and then I hooked up another trailer there that had to go out to Minersville PA. Everything was cool going down route 95 to 78 and to route 61 and then as we made our turns from Cressona PA up to Minersville PA and the industrial parks along route 901 to the Lowes distribution center, the gears became harder to shift due to the grades and the resulting ground speed. Allen became completely unhinged by the circumstances of this situation and he just told me then and there to give him his keys back. I can forgive myself of course for being a slow learner on hard mountain driving given the fact that I did'nt get any citations or have any accidents and I was actually doing a lot better than usual. We had a late model Peterbilt and It was equipped with an 9 speed, so there was a lot of difference between an average 10 speed and that configuration.
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