Local Driver Moves Into Safety Management

J.B. Hunt driver Tim made the move from the truck to the office.

“I still look back to those first six months of working for J.B. Hunt as really what made me realize that this is the place that I wanted to finish my career,” J.B. Hunt Area Risk Manager Tim said.

When Tim first interviewed for a J.B. Hunt dedicated truck driving job in Texas in 2011, he didn’t know if he’d meet the hiring requirements. But that didn’t stop him.

Being an over the road driver for a number of years, Tim hadn’t driven a reefer or operated a pallet jack, but he insisted that he had the ambition and intellect to learn quickly, given the right amount of training.

The account manager showed interested in learning more about Tim and his driving experience and invited him to join the fleet.

“They took a chance on me and hired me anyway,” he said. “He [the manager] didn’t make it feel like an interview. He made it feel like he truly was interested in what I could contribute to the business, as well as what they could do for me as an employee for their company.”

From his first day, Tim was recognized for his strong work ethic. “My personal experience is, I was rewarded very quickly for my hard work and dedication to the company. I never felt like an alpha code or a truck number. I always felt like I was a person,” he said.

Tim quickly reaped the rewards for being ambitious and willing to go the extra mile. “By meeting deadlines, not calling in sick, not showing up late, and doing the job that was asked of me, you get some of those difficult routes… within two weeks of me hiring on, I had a route,” he said. “It was a pretty service critical route and to me, that was a reward because it was the consistency. Consistent days off, consistent route, and they were consistent in the equipment I was using versus a slip seat truck. I got a dedicated truck for that route… when you’re a driver, those are the things important to rewarding you.”

Due to personal challenges from a recent divorce, Tim was having difficulty finding transportation to the terminal to work his late-night shifts. Since he didn’t want to be an unreliable driver, he called in with the intent to quit, but his manager wouldn’t have it.

“They offered me to sleep in a sleeper truck. Get to my shift during the night before, get my 10-hour break in the truck. The facility had shower facilities if I needed them. They absolutely accommodated me being able to get my sleep, still freshen up before my shift, and then proceed to cover my route like I normally did,” he said. “They absolutely went out of their way to make sure that I was able to stay on and be rested… Again, that meant a lot to me. It wasn’t about covering the load as much as it was about taking care of the person.”

Over the next year, Tim continued to excel as a local dedicated driver – receiving Driver of the Month award and being a runner up for the Driver of the Year award. His managers asked him to take on a new challenge and fill in as a night dispatcher when needed. He became responsible for making sure the equipment was available and assigned to drivers, and deliveries were made on time. “Once I did that for a while, I knew that was something I wanted to do,” Tim said. “I let them know that I was interested in becoming a manager full time.”

J.B. Hunt had acquired new business and opened an operations supervisor position. Tim applied and was hired to take on a new role in driver development, on-time delivery service, payroll and safety reviews.

“When I started to see the way that dedicated was built and how they have a direct impact on drivers, making the deliveries, taking care of the equipment and literally, the way I see it, it is a business within a business. Yes, we work for J.B. Hunt, but whatever account you are on, you run your own small business,” he said. “I was a manager for 10 years at Target… I loved working with people, I loved training people, so the idea of going into the office and being able to utilize all the years I had of driving experience to relate to the drivers, the management experience to be able to do the financial end and run the business, became very appealing to me pretty quickly.”

J.B. Hunt was looking to fill a position for an area risk manager and with his experience as a truck driver and a manager, Tim thought it was an ideal move for his career.

“Because of the appeal of having been a manager, having been a driver, and the two of those things together, basically kind of seemed to make sense. I was always safe as a driver. I had a million miles, I didn’t have a lot of issues with DOT, lobbying and compliance and all of that,” he said. “What better way to serve J.B. Hunt then to be in a position where I can utilize every skill I’ve ever required, both in previous jobs in driving and in operations and be that true support…”

As an area risk manager, Tim oversees the safety and compliance of numerous accounts, manager and driver development, as well as offers support to the operations team.

After a number of years as an area risk manager in Texas, Tim’s wife was eager to move closer to her family in California. He found himself looking again to J.B. Hunt for support, and this time it was to move across the country. Tim reached out to his supervisor to explain his family situation and to keep him in mind if there were any opportunities that would allow him to work for J.B. Hunt in California.

Seven days later there was an opening for his current position – an area risk manager – in California. Tim’s supervisor referred him to the California manager, she took a chance and offered him the job.

“The reason why I thought that was important, to me, which is what always keeps me around here is, she [California manager] knew of me, but nobody out here [California] really knew me. They could have easily posted that position and hired somebody within their own region and they didn’t. They took a chance,” he said.

Today, Tim is still a J.B. Hunt area risk manager and living in California with his wife and family. He offers advice to drivers interested in moving off the road and taking advantage of other opportunities within the company. “The best advice I can give any driver is work hard, be dedicated and learn all you can from anyone willing to share. J.B. Hunt rewards those very basic characteristics. Positive attitude goes a long way,” he said.

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Interested in driving and growing your career with J.B. Hunt? Call 1-877-791-9458 to learn about over the road, regional or local truck driving jobs or contract opportunities. Feel free to also fill out our short form online.

 

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