|Type of driver||Tanker Driver|
|With Schneider||12 months|
|Miles on the road||120,000|
|Can't live without||Notebook and a good pen to document stories and experiences|
With a natural curiosity and sense of adventure, Lucas Karcher is known for taking the road less traveled. Lucas started his journey by earning a college degree but quickly learned that a 9-5 desk job did not suit him. After graduation, Lucas packed his backpack to start exploring while teaching English in South America. “I learn by meeting new people, hearing their unique stories, and seeing new things. These experiences do not always come from a classroom or an office.”
Although Lucas caught the travel bug, the time came when he had to buckle down and look into career options. “My practical side told me to get a good job with stability, but I did not want to compromise my sense of adventure. A friend, who knows me well, was actually the one to spark the idea of getting my CDL, a perfect combination of the two.”
“Even though I am a free spirit, I always do my homework,” noted Lucas.
“I took all the variables of trucking into consideration – lifestyle, opportunities available and the actual work – and felt like it was the path for me.”
After meeting with several recruiters, Lucas hit the road at Schneider as a tanker truck driver in October of 2012. “Schneider impressed me right out of the gate, from how the employees carry themselves to how they operate overall as a company,” he recalled. Lucas has already clocked 120,000 plus miles to date (approximately 35 trips to South America).
Of all the options, driving for the company’s Bulk chemical division appealed to Lucas most. “A big factor of why I wanted to become a tanker driver is because of my fascination with how things are made. I think it is pretty neat to see where the things we use everyday come from,” he enthusiastically admitted.
Lucas also thrives on the challenges that come with being a tanker driver.
“I love how demanding it is – there is no room for error. You are dealing with different chemicals, which are sometimes hazardous. You always have to know how to work with and handle them. With every step of the way, I am pushed to learn and adapt.”
Driving for the Bulk division is also a perfect fit for Lucas’ lifestyle. “As a Schneider Tanker driver, I work really, really hard, but I also get paid to travel the country. Then, I get six consecutive days off a month to come home and relax with friends and family.”
Why does Lucas see his future with Schneider? “It is truly one of the most driver-friendly companies – they treat us with respect and keep us happy. More importantly, they offer the best training in the industry so tanker drivers are well prepared before they start out on their own. I cannot count how many times I heard (and still hear) the motto, ‘safety first and always.’”
After being with Schneider for about a year, Lucas was asked to put his teaching skills to use as a Training Engineer (or TE). “This was a big change of pace for me,” he stated. “I thrive on working with and helping people. My first student recently passed his final exam. It is so rewarding to see someone get better and better everyday and gain confidence.”
Not only does Lucas enjoy passing along his knowledge to others, but he also uses the time on the road to expand his own. “I listen to a lot of audio books on different subjects. There are various works of fiction and non-fiction, including college texts.”
Lucas betters his mind while he also further develops his taste buds. He takes advantage of the company car at Schneider's facility locations to explore all areas of the country. “I always ask the locals where the best food is in the area and then find a restaurant, whether it is Chinese food in L.A. or cheese curds in Wisconsin.”
Lucas is the first to admit that being on the road can be hard work. “You need to know what you want out of work and life. At times, it is really hard to be away from the people you care about. There are days when I feel like I may live and breathe on coffee.”
However, Lucas can’t imagine another career path.
“Driving forces you to fine-tune so many traits – I am more organized, patient, calm and adaptable. I have control over my life and my income, and I am building and working towards a future for my family.”
Lucas will keep driving as long as he continues to learn and grow. “It has only been a year, but it has already been a heck of an adventure. These experiences continue to make me a better driver and a better man.”
Update: This profile was written in 2013. Check out Lucas’ three-part 2015 blog series for more on how he has progressed with Schneider:
>>>Blog post: All-Star Follow-up, Pt. 1: Where Are They Now?
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