This is the first in a three-part series by Schneider All-Star Lucas Karcher. Since publishing his All-Star profile about two years ago, Lucas has been a shining example of continued career progress. In part one of this series, he’ll walk us through his incredible journey. In part two, he’ll share what he wishes he knew as a new driver. In part three, he’ll describe life as a Schneider All-Star, including a story about the difference he made in someone’s life.
At the risk of sounding like a cliché, Schneider provides great opportunities to grow and move around within the company, fostering opportunity for promotions from within. It’s one of the things I highly respect about the company and one of the reasons I’ve stayed with Schneider.
Hit the Ground Running
If you told three-years-ago me what I would be doing today, I would not have believed you. Since making the transition from English teacher in South America to Schneider driver in October 2012, I have collected more experiences than I could have imagined. In the past three years, I have visited 48 states, six Canadian provinces, moved across the country and held four different positions within Schneider. Throughout that time I was able to learn and grow a tremendous amount.
Continued Career Growth in New Roles
I began my career at Schneider as a Tanker driver. After driving solo for a little over a year, I became a Bulk Training Engineer. As a Training Engineer, I took students over the road after they completed the first part of their training. It was my job to help the students learn more about the trucking industry and adapt to life as a truck driver.
Spending 10 days with complete strangers in a small cab was challenging at times – you need to get to know them and their communication style – but it was one of the most rewarding jobs I have ever had. Drivers already had the technical basics down and know what to do in their role, and I was able to mentor them on making the driving lifestyle work for them so they could stay healthy and maintain their sanity.
In March of 2015, I moved from Asheville, N.C. to Houston, Texas to work as an In-Truck Trainer at the Houston Bulk Schneider Training Academy. As an In-Truck Trainer, I worked with new students throughout the first part of their training. In that role, I was able to help the students learn and develop the skills needed to ensure good, safe and successful driving careers such as coupling and uncoupling, backing, loading and unloading and trip planning.
I also went in-depth about rules and regulations, company policies and procedures. The way we train goes above and beyond the duty it requires, and that’s for a reason. Everything trainers do and teach is designed to keep our drivers and the motoring public safe.
In June of 2015, I became the Driver Safety Leader for Schneider Bulk. In this role, I am the leader of all new drivers we hire for Schneider Bulk. Ultimately, my job is to help and support them as they move through the training program. If they have any questions, concerns or issues, I do my best to assist them while maintaining balance with the needs of the company. My experiences as both a driver and as a trainer have been very helpful in this role.
Supportive Leadership Leads to Unlimited Opportunity
It’s an unfortunate stereotype and untruth that Schneider is viewed as a starter company or a training company. Anyone who asks himself or herself what they want out of a career will be impressed with the opportunities Schneider provides.
There are a lot of career paths within Schneider, driving or otherwise. Drive all over the country or stay near your hometown. Drive solo or with a partner. Use your experience to train other drivers. Get into the office, become a diesel technician or work in a warehouse. Work in customer service, operations or finance. Schneider treats employees as people, and that’s why we have so many Million Mile drivers and why so many people come back to Schneider.
Schneider has the best people in the industry, and that’s what makes being part of the company so special. In my time with Schneider, I have had the opportunity to work with some great leaders and mentors whose continual help and support has taken me to where I am.
In addition to great leadership, we also have the best training in the industry, especially for Tanker drivers. There are always courses available to Schneider associates who are interested in learning new skills and challenging themselves with new opportunities. A number of my friends – including former students – have also moved into training and leadership roles. It has been exciting to work with them as we grow with the company.
When Teaching and Driving Meet
I love being able to work with new drivers and help them begin their Schneider career. I understand that it is a big change of pace for many of our new drivers, and I remember how challenging it was to learn and execute proper technique when I started driving. One of the most rewarding things about my current role is seeing a new driver’s skills and confidence grow. It is my goal to assist all of the new drivers I work with in the way that my leaders and mentors helped me.
Want to see if Schneider has a career for you? Check out the various career paths Schneider offers.
Make sure to read part two on what he wishes he knew as a new driver.
Do you imagine yourself as more of a truck driver or an office associate?