|Type of driver||Over-the-Road Driver|
|With Schneider||8 years|
|Hometown||Pine Hill, AL|
|Miles on the road||322,815|
|Can't live without||Music|
It’s hard to beat the view from the driver’s seat, and as an Over-the-Road driver, Debbie Ballard welcomes the opportunity to hit the open road and explore. Having spent many years as a church secretary and photographer, Debbie was ready to try something new.
Her interest in driving started after a conversation with a friend who was working as a driving instructor at the local community college. With her rooting Debbie on, she decided to take a leap of faith and embark on a new career. She made that leap about eight years ago, and since day one, she has been proud to be a member of the Schneider family.
Ready to tackle her new path, finding the right fit was a must. An employer that truly cared for its associates while also offering a great compensation and benefits package were the most important items on Debbie’s list. After researching her options, Schneider was a natural fit.
“Schneider is the complete package. Other companies only care about the load, and there’s a lack of emphasis on driver safety and rapport. I’m treated like a real person—family, actually—and that makes all the difference.”
One such example is when Debbie, a die-hard University of Alabama fan, was scheduled to be home on New Year’s Eve. Not only was she excited for a few days off, but it would give her plenty of time to settle in before her team took to the field New Year’s Day for the Sugar Bowl. Because of a snafu on a load schedule, getting home on time was an unlikely prospect. Just as she was coming to terms with the fact that she may have to listen to the game on the radio, Debbie received a call from one of her leaders. He had gone above and beyond and facilitated a schedule that would get her home for the late-game kickoff.
“What other employer would do that? None that I know of! That’s truly putting the person first.”
While driving has Debbie on the road a lot, coming home means she gets to indulge in some of her favorite activities. When not cheering on the Crimson Tide (Roll Tide!), Debbie enjoys working on her photography, reading and writing poetry. And depending on the season, she’s not shy about going deer hunting, fishing or gator hunting (don’t worry, Debbie’s not in harm’s way; she just watches).
“I grew up in the country with four brothers and two sisters, so being outdoors is like second nature to me.”
As for the future, Debbie has her sights set on turning her associate’s degree in marketing into a bachelor’s degree and to continue seeing all parts of the country. First up on the traveling bucket list? The Pacific Ocean.
“I’ve driven to California several times, but I’ve never made it to the coast. My plan is to get there this year.”
While Debbie loves the South and the small town she calls home, Schneider has helped her see more of the U.S. through life on the road. From the respect she receives as a driver to the ability to experience new things, driving has truly provided the fresh start Debbie was looking for. Making a career change isn’t always easy, but this is one leap that has definitely paid off.
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