Trucking is a wonderfully small world, and anyone who’s been on the road much at all knows how frequently people in the business cross paths. Case in point: Just days after we had posted a couple of Allie Knight’s videos for the recent Dash Cam of the Week: Mellow out (and only because they caught our eye—we weren’t familiar with her YouTube channel before), Executive Editor Sean Kilcarr happened to catch a driver discussion she participated in at the annual ALK Summit.
And, as always, it’s a pleasant surprise to hear from truckers who are enthusiastic about their work. (We know there a plenty of you out there, and we wish you’d drop us a line more often.)
The key to Knight’s enjoyment of her time on the road is simple enough:
“I was attracted to this job because I am basically paid to travel. I also really love logistics: I think it’s super cool,” she said. “I’ve turned my trucking career into a lifestyle; my whole life has changed. I got to visit 48 states in six months; I had a great dispatcher.”
And she makes the most of it. She tries to schedule side trips in new areas, rather than being stuck in the truck at the dock for hours.
She also credits technology with helping her manage the downtime and “have more fun on the road”—to say nothing of the high-tech business tools she uses.
“We’ve been brought up on technology; we expect it to be there,” she said, referring to the new generation of drivers. “It’s important; it is how I get my loads, get in touch with dispatch, track my MPG. I’m interested in all the ‘stupid little numbers’ because that will help me make myself better.”
But Knight’s not oblivious to the difficulties truck drivers face. Along with the “generational gap,” Knight stressed that other aspects of the industry – especially driver training and orientation – need to “evolve” and evolve quickly.
“Trucking right now is not a welcoming culture,” she said. “Things are changing, though. The younger generation is going to ask: What am I going to get out of this? So you have to promote who you are as a company.”
Indeed, she left two motor carriers before joining Jim Palmer Trucking because she disliked being “treated like a number” and having things changed without telling her, such as being assigned a new dispatcher with no forewarning.
“The Jim Palmer recruiters called me every day, even during orientation; that showed someone cared. That gave you someone to talk to when things were not going well,” Knight said. “That plus being given a comfortable truck, which is my home on the road, is an important part of that culture change. I feel like I am part of a team; that I am making a difference.
“But everyone is in the truck for their own reason.”
You can ride along with Knight on a recent Midwest run here: