Robert Blau, more commonly known as BB, started his career in a manufacturing factory as an assembler. By the age of 27, he was daydreaming and counting the days until retirement from the factory. All that changed after BB had a talk with a good buddy. His friend had just started working at Schneider as a truck driver. This conversation set the wheels of a new career for BB into motion.
BB spent time at trucking school and worked for an owner-operator for one year before Al Schneider hired him on January 12, 1978. “Because I have worked at Schneider for so many years, my starting date feels almost like a birthday.” Since then, BB has worked in multiple divisions, traveled throughout North America (48 states and all territories in Canada) and driven millions of miles.
“Schneider is privately owned, provides good equipment and benefits, runs a safe and legal business and offers stability as they have been in business since 1935. Schneider truly treats employees like their family. It also helps that they pay me.”
When asked about his favorite place in the country, BB explained that his treasured place will always be home near family; however, he feels like he retired 35 years ago and became a paid tourist.
“There is beauty in every state. I love the desert, the ocean, New York City and Chicago and the mountains. Every day of work I see different things and have conversations with new people.”
Although BB loves his job, he recognizes that being a truck driver is not easy. “It is difficult, very challenging. The variables are constantly changing. Road and weather conditions are just the start of it, but we are still tasked as an individual to get from Point A to Point B on time for the customer.”
BB currently works in the bulk division and is responsible for hauling chemicals. “Every driver has different challenges, but I feel I have a very important job and an additional sense of responsibility when I am hauling chemicals, which are most likely hazardous materials. There are additional factors you need to be aware of as a tanker driver such as surge, how the liquid shifts when you accelerate and when you stop. Schneider requires drivers adhere to strict rules and provides the needed training.”
Every day is different on the road, but a typical day might begin with a load assignment. “I pick up the empty trailer and do pre-trip preparations to make sure the trailer is safe and ready for a load.” Following preparation, BB takes the trailer to the shipper to pick up the load and heads out on the road. As BB is an over-the-road driver, his assignment could range from 300 to 3,000 miles. Once the haul arrives safely at the destination, BB oversees the unloading process. “I have a real sense of ownership as a tanker driver. Not only are we responsible for getting the load to the destination, we always make sure it is unloaded correctly.”
BB also has the privilege to work in house and train a couple of months a year. He has a lot of experience and knowledge that he wants to pass along to future drivers and loves training almost as much as being on the road.
BB’s advice for future drivers: “Have a good life, live the American dream. That’s what I’m doing: Truck driving is not only my job, it is my hobby.”
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