Featured Over-the-Road Driver
|Type of driver||Over-the-Road Driver|
|With Schneider||2 years|
|Hometown||Green Bay, WI|
|Miles on the road||120,000|
|Can't live without|
Helping others every day
When faced with tragedy, most people just long for a way to survive it. Schneider Driver Instructor Ron relied on his strong faith after a devastating time in his life and not only survived; but thrived. Ron climbed into the cab of a Schneider truck, hit the highway and found his life’s purpose along the way.
The Path Not Taken
Ron’s journey to truck driving began in his youth when he and his dad watched 18-wheelers cruise along the road and tagged along with other family friends who drove. It continued during church Sundays in high school; a fellow congregation member’s kind-but-firm attitude had an enormous impact on Ron’s life. The man also happened to be a Schneider driver at the time. Ron even drove during his summers throughout college for his now-father-in-law’s company, but he headed down a different path once he had his music education degree in hand.
After spending three years teaching K-12 bands and choirs, Ron became a minister of music in large churches and worked his way up the church ladder before becoming an Ordained Minister in 2003. All the while, he supplemented his family’s income as a substitute teacher.
Ron began his Masters program of Transformational Leadership in 2008, hoping to transition into another career where he could use his years of teaching and training adults. But fate was about to deal him a very different hand.
The Road to Recovery
Ron and his family suffered a great loss in 2011 when his second son Justin, a Combat Engineer in the U.S. Army, was killed in action in Afghanistan. Emotionally unable to continue being a pastor, Ron passed the local church on to new leadership. He spent the next 18 months completing his Masters program while working as a life and business coach within his close community. Though he was trying to use his skills in transformational leadership to help others, Ron was still struggling with the death of his son and eventually realized he needed to transform his own life.
“I needed time alone to consider and weigh the events of my life,” recalled Ron. “I found great opportunity on the road with Schneider to do just that.”
Ron became a Schneider Over-the-Road driver in 2013.
“I originally sought to spend less mental energy, but ultimately, driving took more,” recalls Ron. “It was a good distraction that helped me on the road to recovery.”
A Leap of Faith
As Ron began to mend from the loss of his son, his desire to teach resurfaced.
“As I drove mile after mile, my heart began to heal and I rediscovered my desire to help people,” Ron said.
When an opportunity to become a training engineer popped up in February of 2014, Ron jumped at the chance. Seven months later, he was promoted to driving instructor.
“As a driver, every interaction I had with a customer, a fellow driver or a member of the motoring public was an opportunity to make a difference in the world,” noted Ron.
“As a training engineer I’ve found working with driving instructors and new drivers to be a valuable way to help others navigate their way through the transportation industry. What I love about being an instructor is that I’m ultimately affecting more people and unlocking their potential.”
Ron believes Schneider has the best training in the nation.
“After being in it for awhile and noticing what other drivers didn’t know when I was on the road, I can honestly say Schneider has the best trainers in the nation,” he said. “You need to have the right stuff to work for Schneider: integrity, an independent spirit, the ability to work hard and pride in your work.”
Integrity is one of the main reasons Ron continues to believe in Schneider.
“I drive for Schneider because of the values listed on my shoulder badge: Integrity, Respect, Excellence, Safety First and Always. Other companies may have the same info, but we live it. It’s not just on a billboard, it’s in our procedures.”
When Ron is not training other drivers how to navigate the country’s open roads, he spends most of his time outdoors and still enjoys travelling, especially out East. “My wife and I enjoy going to Arlington National Cemetery to visit our son.”
And when he retires, Ron plans to drive to all the places he didn’t spend enough time at while he was on the road. In the meantime, Ron’s journey with Schneider is just beginning.
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