|Type of driver||Over-the-Road Driver|
|With Schneider||8 months|
|Miles on the road||55,000|
|Can't live without||Detroit sports teams|
As an Over-the-Road driver for Schneider, Chris is all too familiar with detours. However, the biggest detour Chris ever took was the one he followed at age 18 that put him on the path that’s led him to exactly where he is today.
Chris and his sister grew up in Flint, Michigan, the former home of General Motors. “My dad drove a forklift at one of GM’s plants for 35 years, and my mom spent 40 years as a cashier at a Meijer store.”
When graduation came, Chris was all set to attend De Vry University. In the months before he left for college, he began sensing that money was getting tight and he felt uneasy with the financial burden his tuition was going to place on his parents. He remembered military recruiters talking to him about opportunities in the Armed Forces and began exploring options in the service.
In July 1999—just two months before he was to start college—Chris signed on with the U.S. Army and headed to Fort Benning, Georgia. Even though his dad was an Army vet himself, he never discussed the big move with either of his parents. “I wanted to be a man—and that meant making a man decision!” he recalled.
For the next 13 years, the military took Chris to some of the world’s most far-flung places, including two stints each in Korea and Iraq. Six months before he transitioned from active duty to the Reserves, Chris set to work on one of his most critical missions: establishing a civilian career.
“I used the government waiver that allows military personnel to get a Commercial Driver’s License and began researching potential employers. One of my main sources was G.I. Jobs magazine. Schneider was the highest-rated trucking company on their Top 100 Military Friendly Employers list. When I learned they offered the military apprenticeship program for those who still have GI Bill® benefits, I applied online and attended their orientation in Green Bay.”
Although the military took Chris to many interesting places around the world, he hadn’t been able to see much of his own country before signing on with Schneider.
“Hands down, the best part about being a driver is that I get to see places I’ve never been before. I mean, I went to New York City and got paid for it! I even had to go into a cave to deliver a load, which was awesome.”
Chris is still amazed at how easy the transition from the military to trucking has been.
“There are just so many similarities between my former life and this one,” he mused.
“The Army taught me to be aware of my surroundings and emphasized safety above all else. It drilled into me the importance of being on time. And because every day was different in the military, I definitely am good at adapting. These are all things that Schneider values and requires of me, too."
“Honestly, I think the hardest part was learning the double-clutch!”
Because he’s so comfortable traveling down new roads, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Chris is open to where his career path leads him, as well.
Being a truck driver is way better than I thought it would be, so I definitely want to see where this takes me,” he said. “The idea of being an owner-operator some day appeals to me, but I’m not in any hurry.”
Spoken like a guy who knows the value of patience—and a good detour!
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