“There’s really not a lot of good opportunities out there for Veterans like J.B. Hunt is offering,” military Veteran Lamarr explained.
Marine Veterans Lamarr and Manuel first got on board with J.B. Hunt through the Hunt’s Heroes apprenticeship program as local and regional truck drivers and then utilized their driving knowledge to move into fleet management. Their rewarding careers at J.B. Hunt began with a simple web search.
“I was on the internet looking for anything military friendly, and J.B. Hunt was everywhere as far as searching for any opportunity that would look out for a Veteran with next to no experience, besides training in the military,” Lamarr said.
Through the Hunt’s Heroes apprenticeship, J.B. Hunt hires and trains transitioning soldiers and Veterans for local and regional CDL A truck driving jobs. Recruiters work closely with Veterans to help them obtain schooling, a CDL A license and the necessary behind-the-wheel training to begin their trucking career.
Lamarr didn’t have any military driving experience, but thanks to his J.B. Hunt recruiter, he felt at ease with the apprenticeship process. “The recruiter told me all about it and got me all set up. It was an easy process. Answered any questions I had. He stayed in touch with me and I could just give him a call,” Lamarr said.
Unlike Lamarr, Manuel had some experience driving trucks in the military but with CDL A schooling and training, he quickly realized driving a tractor trailer was considerably different. “I already knew how to drive big trucks but not long trucks. Height wise, they were the same as military, but length was a little bit different. Especially, backing into different spots,” Manuel said. “I was out there every day with my trainer. He took the time to take me to empty parking lots and teach me how to back in really well. How to get to customers and know what they need. Overall, the training was pretty good.”
The two drove with J.B. Hunt’s Intermodal division out of Chicago – Manuel ran regional and Lamarr ran local. They both enjoyed the benefits of the job – freedom to explore and make good money.
“I like the open road a lot. I liked going to different cities and customers. I liked exploring. I really liked driving trucks,” Manuel said.
“It’s about who really wants it, that’s what I liked about being a driver. My paycheck was what I made it. If I wanted to work longer, I got paid more. If I knew how to run my hours efficiently, I got paid more. If I did things safer than other drivers, I got recognized for it,” Lamarr added.
After the Veterans gained driving experience, they decided to pursue more training to become fleet managers. Both had experience doing similar job duties in the military and believed their truck driving experience and military skills would allow them to excel in fleet management.
“In my last unit, I was a chief dispatcher, so I was in charge of all our runs. I would send our drivers to go different places and tell them what to do,” Manuel said. “I was like, you know, I’d like to do what I was doing back in the military. That’s why I decided to apply for the [fleet manager] position.”
“When I saw what the fleet managers were doing, it really reminded me of what I was doing in the military as an administrator specialist. I was used to helping the different Marines with applications and going from one duty station to the next duty station,” Lamarr said. “The fleet manager role and kind of being that administrative assistant to the operations manager, kind of bridging that gap between drivers and planners and helping facilitate that everything gets done safely and properly. It kind of resonated with me…”
The two continue to grow in their careers at J.B. Hunt and are grateful that they joined the company as Hunt’s Heroes truck drivers first.
“I think it helped me a lot, being a driver first. Here, they have a ride along, but they only do it for a day. If the driver has a good day, they only see the good day. But there are times that you have bad days,” Manuel said. “I know how a driver will feel in certain situations. The frustration over time…Time is everything for these drivers. One hour will make a difference whether they will make it home today. I know what they need quicker, so they can make it home to their families.”
“I can feel where the drivers are coming from and I can talk with other managers in the office who haven’t been a driver and enlighten them and they’ll be like, oh, okay, that makes sense. Being on both sides of the field is definitely an advantage,” Lamarr added.
As for the Hunt’s Heroes apprenticeship, Lamarr is actively telling all his military buddies and encouraging them to sign on.
“The Hunt’s Heroes program is awesome. I like it. I tell everybody. Any of my military buddies that I can get a hold of, I tell them about it. Especially the ones that are having the same struggles I did about finding where to go and what to do,” Lamarr said.
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Are you a military Veteran interested in our Hunt’s Heroes apprenticeship and becoming a local or regional truck driver? Learn more about J.B. Hunt’s Veteran jobs by calling 1-800-207-6097 or fill out our short form, and we’ll contact you.