Would you love a career that you can do for as long as you wanted to, make great pay, see all states in all seasons, and make a difference every day? You should seriously consider trucking. That’s what FreightWorks’ own Gary Joubert discovered as he went back to the industry that helped him get by in college. After a fulfilling career in corporate and trying his hand in managing a construction company, he found himself getting drawn back to an opportunity that pays him well and makes him happy.
Gary Joubert is a FreightWorks' Professional Driver
know the drivers out there most of them are trying to do a good job provide for their family
Trucking has changed so many people's lives and I've met so many people whose lives have changed Welcome to Night for the mile delivered by freightworks one of America's fastest growing podcasts actually produced by Trucking indicted to tell a story compelling driver's story I need to do something big streets all here right now it's life by the mile delivered by freightworks I'm your host Butch walpe now listen before we go any further like subscribe be a part of the Life by the mile family the way we're able to bring two episodes per week is when you engage so please do that it is a delight to have Gary Joe bear who's with us today he's got an incredible story I'm going to take the opportunity to ask some questions and let him wax eloquent about a number of different topics but remember become part of the life of the mile family it's important for you to like share subscribe and engage Gary welcome thank thank you it's great to be here now listen I love I love pronouncing your last name but tell me a little bit about its origin the origin uh the Jew bears were uh French uh huguenots in France and they left France I went all over the world a lot of them moved down to South Africa and became winemakers um and after that they settled there and got into Agriculture and also some came to the U.S because there were obviously a lot of french-speaking people in the U.S and french-speaking part of Louisiana so they settled where the acadians settled uh in Louisiana and so around Saint Landry Parish which is kind of central kind of South Central Louisiana so that's where my uh my answer is settled great now listen I'm just going to hit this head-on there are major misconceptions in the marketplace about professional drivers you know when you say professional driver or over-the-road truck driver lots of people have Impressions about what that may look like I want you to break that down by telling your story you're somebody that's had a very interesting set of whistle stops vocationally can you describe for people kind of how it started and how you ended up in driving so I had been a career professional with a major conglomerate um sweet big Swedish company for many years I gave that up to follow my ex's career and she's had a very very successful career and when things didn't work out I moved on and owned owned some businesses in construction which I really didn't enjoy and then a few years ago I started thinking about what am I going to do is I go get a little older and move forward in my life and what do I want to do to provide for my retirement have a good life work with nice people a little be a little bit on your own or on my own uh enjoy things so I went to uh I I had this great idea I said I should really get into Trucking well it's one of the ways I paid my way through college okay I had my CDL when I was in college it wasn't called a CDL then it was called the chauffeur's license okay and all you had to do was pass I think it was a 30 question test and pretty much the hand us uh driver's license or a chauffeur's license and pretty much hand you the keys don't hit anything so I had driven in college so I looked at where am I going to go what am I going to do and I thought you know what Trucking was awfully good to me to pay my way through and I've always enjoyed traveling I've always enjoyed driving around the country and when I worked in Construction Services I spent my time driving around and loved it and drove all over the mostly the eastern U.S and the Northeast and so I really loved it and I really enjoyed it so what can I do to make a nice living right and I had looked through for financial jobs I have a good find decent fine Financial background I could I should say and they were just very low paying and the other thing is no one would talk to me I I sent out hundreds of resumes and no one would talk to me no one was responding to calls or whatever and these were nice paying jobs but they were 70 80 000 a year and and no one truly would uh would talk to me call me back or no responses so I thought let me do something different so when the pandemic hit that's when I really locked into it I finished a project and I was working on a construction project doing Finance work in Georgia okay and when that finished up I said okay it's time to do something different so I went to truck driving school in Killeen Texas okay A little plug for them for atds applying school there out of Texas and Oklahoma and I so I went there paid my own money paid my own way because I wanted the independence to be able to do that and I was I'm lucky I'm lucky enough to be able to do that and so I went to there I was gone out of school a company out of Nebraska picked me up I drove for them for about six months okay and then I started looking around where can I go to to a place that suits me a little bit better and so then I went to I found two companies one in Cleveland Tennessee okay great works okay and I actually drove and visited both of them how did how did you learn about okay I learned on on the on the um internet I typed in six months experience who would who would do that now I we require a year here at freightworks but I was kind of looking around who would who would accept me sure so I thought they might not I think it said um a year I'm not required but uh requested or something like that yeah so I went ahead and applied um so got a response from reg and uh and we had a very nice discussion over the phone yeah so instead of just coming out I decided to drive out so I left Nebraska drove out and visited Cleveland Tennessee very nice company up there and I I visited freightworks and I was lucky enough to get a tour uh I remember I I remember I remember when you came to kick the tires yeah I sure did met Andy and Joyce and uh reg and Isaac and met the whole team met you we sat around talked for a little while and uh and so I thought okay this is the place I need to be and uh so my career is going from a kind of a corporate uh you know middle manager middle executive whatever you want to call it to to doing different things and owning a company and I realized as I got older it's time to do something different and something that I can do literally do the rest of my life as long as I keep myself healthy as long as I try to stay in shape um uh watch my blood pressure exercise eat right I can do it for a lot of years so and it's something to continually do in your 60s and 70s as long as you stay keep yourself do your best to keep yourself healthy now Gary let me let me ask you this why do you believe people have misconceptions about drivers there are stereotypes misconceptions tell us what some of them are oh wait there's so many well God give us a yeah we we you know we don't shower but once a week um I personally shower every day but we shower once a week we're kind of disgusting we're uneducated um we're not smart we don't make any money I think one person one one friend of mine said what are you making you know forty thousand a year no we make a lot more than that we don't own homes we're homeless these are all the misconceptions that people have many people have laughed at me when I when I decide to do this or when they hear that I've been doing this for a year and so those are some of the misconceptions we have or people have about us and here at uh at freightworks you know there's one gentleman I met that's a he's a helicopter pilot my the head of training at uh where I went to school in Texas he's a commercial pilot I used to haul Freight he's head of the school there and he became a truck driver and so the misconception is that they don't people don't realize there's professionals here from all over the industry all over the different Industries I should say and so those are some of the misconceptions now I will say this you know you go about and and it's a struggle at times you know to to um when people a lot of the not a lot of some of the exceptions or exceptions to the rule is they will throw trash around you know and we try to do best you pick some of that up or whatever but that's some of the exceptions but as a rule you know the the drivers out there most of them are trying to do a good job provide for their family um Trucking has changed so many people's lives and I've met so many people whose lives have changed right if you don't mind me commenting on that there's a young gentleman that lives in Nebraska and I met him one day he was making 11.25 an hour in Oklahoma with two kids at home right barely getting by right within a year that young man moved to Nebraska and he makes over a hundred thousand dollars a year and his wife can stay home and and and he provides for them very very well and the guy was you'll never meet a more prouder man than that gentleman right there and so that's how Trucking changes people's lives for me it has bonded me to people I've created a whole new network of friends especially here at freightworks and great opportunities for us for drivers to go out there and make a very nice living and um and see the whole country we we get to see the country I saw the winners and across the winter in the spring across Iowa and Nebraska and Illinois and the Pennsylvania I've seen the fall through Virginia which was just beautiful in Tennessee Virginia and Georgia and so that's what people don't realize we get to enjoy seeing seeing outside every day you know Gary one of the things that we know just from experience and from the data is so many people don't really understand the rigors of being a driver I mean it it you're you're regulated you've got guidelines you've got federal and state things you've got to manage can you explain for because we have people that are lay people that are not in the industry that are just interested in trucking can you explain what's it like to be a driver so every day if you don't mind me saying what my what my schedule is every day we log on every day we do we do our pre-trip and check the trunk out I'll tell people what that is okay so our pre-trip is an inspection much as you see if you ever fly yeah you see a pilot will go out and check the plane right and check the plane that the plane is airworthy well we do the same thing uh and we check out our um we check out our truck we open the hood we check the belts we check the oil we check the tires we checked um all the steering mechanisms and it doesn't take a lot of time but it takes about a half hour to go and really check over your truck pretty well we checked the tires we checked the tread we checked the lights uh we checked to make sure it's connected this is reinforcing the safety commitments that's right yeah you have to be uh you have to be safety committed and um so we do that every day and you also do a little walk around the evenings to make sure that everything's in good order in case you don't miss anything in the in the mornings so that's how our day starts you get up you make yourself a cup of coffee in your truck which I do I keep a kettle in my truck and so electric kettle so I make myself a little some instant coffee with some milk and there's actually some really good ones out there and then after that you kind of clean yourself up a little bit and then you start your day you start you start driving down the road right unlike most Industries we're making money normally within 45 minutes of of getting up so we don't drive anywhere we come out of a very comfortable bed great sheets nice blanket we get up I mean we're driving down the road uh um making money and and getting that truck down the road is the most important thing so that's that's how the day is so we log in uh we get our day started our shift starts we have 14 hours basically there's some exceptions in there we have 14 hours to get our day in so we have 14 hours to to to get our 11 hours of driving in of that 11 hours we take a 30 minute break mandatory 30 minute break which isn't that bad in that first eight hours we have to take that it's it's not a bad thing I I personally stopped and fuel get a shower get a bite to eat during that time I might take an hour um and so that's that's some of the things we deal with every day sure the struggles we have is when it comes to dropping and delivering at times we have a Long Detention yeah we have a long time at a um at a shipper receiver that doesn't happen very much at freightworks we are lucky that the company has set up a lot of trailers in different places we do is what is called a lot of drop and hooks we'll drop a trailer hook onto a new one and and we do an inspection you like those we all do yeah everybody likes you Everyone likes those and so uh we might be there for uh oh half hour 45 minutes about the quickest you can do as a half hour but normally it takes about are you over the road or are you on a are you on comores or what I'm on the Kimora's contract out of Gulfport um Gulfport Mississippi so I run normally run from Gulfport Mississippi up to Tennessee here and Pennsylvania is where I normally go okay when I do that I'm dropping a trailer where a local driver will pick it and then go deliver it so I don't have to worry about it I was lucky enough though recently a couple of weeks ago to get sent out to Nevada to deliver some also some titanium dioxide out there okay and then I was lucky enough they sent me over into California with a load of onions okay and then from there I picked up lettuce and drove it all the way back here and I got back here um let's see the Monday uh Monday evening before Thanksgiving okay so a little over a little over a week ago a lot of fun beautiful countryside I drove through around Flagstaff and Northern New Mexico just a beautiful time it was wonderful Arkansas California I was around Santa Cruz driving along the coast seeing the Pacific Ocean just absolutely beautiful that never gets boring does it you know the only time I get boring now is between Mobile and Montgomery Alabama I think I've seen that one enough but but besides that but I've also seen the the fall the fall come through during that time and and it was quite beautiful um so but no seeing the countryside never gets boring it really doesn't I listen to podcasts I listen to some music uh it really doesn't get boring to see you cross beautiful Rivers we see a different view of the river that a car sees of course we're higher up you're higher up and so we look down on a river and whereas everyone's kind of looking out a little bit on the horizon we get to look down on rivers you know Gary one of the things that I've talked to a number of drivers about is just the fact that you learn something new every time you go out and drive and you know my dad was a pilot in the Air Force and commercially and they used to have a saying among Pilots there are old pilots and there are bold Pilots but there are no old bold Pilots can you talk a little bit about just what it's like to keep learning like what are some of the like what does that mean and by the way I'm a uh I'm an instrument rated pilot so yeah so I understand that line about all unbolt Pilots I almost I think I was stupid enough to almost kill myself a few times uh but in trucking it's the same every time you go out you you kind of face different environments you realize uh getting distracted by your phone or your Garmin or whatever your truck gets out of hand right much quicker uh and I think every driver has gone out and looked away for a second and realized they have moved over toward that left Edge right or moved over the lane or hit the rumble strip if every driver has done that and so we have to constantly be vigilant about that that's one thing that's that we learned you learn about you know a trailer gets stuck a little bit how to how to get it uh move where we're adjusting the tandems on the back end okay so we struggle with that sometimes how to fix that how to get how to get a different maneuver go around a different area parking different different weather conditions uh I just I had never gone down a steep downhill before when I went out to California okay so that was interesting you have to set up the truck you gotta I drive a manual so you got to make sure and get um get in the right gear because you cannot shift going downhill right you cannot downshift going downhill you won't you want your RPMs get up it will not do it so you have to set up and go down slowly um what there's an old line I believe it goes something like you can go downhill slowly lots of times but you'll only go downhill fast one time right so it's it's so you have to be careful you've got to use your Jake brake or engine brake as they call it so that was a new experience for me I had never done it I knew how to do it I said 13 speeds or uh 10 speed 10. 10 speed so um that was a new thing for me and so every time you do it right oh that was another mistake I made I went and I looked at my bill of lading it said 42 000 pounds of onions well I went and I went and fueled and loaded up and I was overweight and so I I actually uh checked my weight after I had fueled so now I I got to go down the road before I hit a scale I got to go over Donner Pass which I burned a lot of fuel sure and they never pulled me away me but I I was good once I got there but the point is I learned that little trick make sure well that bill of lading says something uh it was it's something I had learned before but it was certainly a reminder to to make sure and check your weight before we heard a lot a lot of details to manage now talk Gary uh also about what it's like to deal with with crazy drivers I mean like you know John Q public out there they they don't understand on-ramps they don't understand exits they don't understand how long it takes you to break just what's it like out there one of the most insane being safe in a truck one of the most important things is following distance we have to be really cognizant of our following distance and keeping at it four seconds is very difficult because so many people or especially in traffic or heavy traffic or up a hill are moving in front of us into that if you want to call it the slow lane or the traveling Lane they're moving in front of us constantly and so we're trying to constantly manage that distance and and manage how far we are manage this keeping safely behind them watching them watching other traffic we're constantly doing that that's the I think that's the toughest thing that we get cut off constantly but John Q public and the common driver doesn't know that if they if they're only 40 feet in front of us they think that's plenty of time or plenty of distance and it's not for us in wet conditions like it is right now outside it's very it's very dangerous for us even though we have ni like brakes and all that right right that that 80 000 pounds is still going to be going down the road when we lock that exactly so very difficult that's the biggest thing you see that advertised or as a public service announcements very often from the states want do not cut off a truck driver most people don't understand what that means and I think I learned a new respect for that as I became a driver yes yes that's that's a it makes learning how to drive a truck makes you a better driver you know I've seen this so many times you've got a left lane where cars are going fast you've got a right lane where the truck is there you've got an on-ramp and the driver expects you to move over right yeah and and they just they don't get it do they uh well I don't think they don't get it I don't think they're trying to be rude it's just I guess so it's naive naivete about what goes on um uh in the um uh what goes on in traffic for us it's very difficult it's very difficult now Gary you've been at freightworks how long uh since July okay now I'd like you to do this for a minute there's so many people it's a fluid industry that go from company to company we have a number of folks we're blessed here that have come and they want to retire here this is going to be their their final home I'd like you to take a few minutes and just talk from your experience as a relatively new driver here at freightworks what are the things that you've experienced and sure that with some of the people that are drivers that listen to and watch this podcast one of the most important things here at freightworks is that everything was is done with the best intention and heart everyone here is trying to do the best they can and everything is done as I said within with the best intentions um everyone looks out for the company looks out for each other when a mistake happens which we all make mistakes it happens most of them are realizing if you look at mistakes it's a decision that was made that we have more information about later and we deem it a mistake but at the time it really was not a mistake it was it was done in with the best intention with the best uh never selfishly um when I say best intention means you you haven't done it with with selfish intent and I think that's one of the best things about this company everyone's trying to help everyone else um talk about being driver first I think that really is um quite says it because I think it's thrown out a lot it is in the industry oh we're a family environment Frameworks never used it it just does it every day right moving that Freight down the road safely is the biggest most important thing we can do and that's what the companies intention is the other thing is as we as we go about our lives they realize everyone here realizes we have a life right a life outside of just exactly moving Freight I get asked all the time excuse me I get asked all the time hey when are you taking more days off when are you going to do your home time oh I'm just going to do 34 and hit the road well I'm a single guy so you know for me it's really easy to do but having time off here is is never a question in fact I get asked when are you going to take more and so um but also we're here as drivers to make good money and so we get as many miles as that truck as they can logistically give us it's never a shortage of Miles here the other thing I really enjoy about the company is most people that work here are from outside the industry everything every issue or problem is looked upon on looked upon with bright eyes with new eyes every problem has a has a new solution to it right I've never heard since I've been here oh I've been doing this for 29 years I know I've never heard this my dispatcher has actually been around in the business for 28 29 years and he's never used that line on me so he gave her another company he does he he fits in really well yeah but besides that most people look at every issue with bright eyes with a new look on thing and that's that's a great thing to work for a company like this well you know Gary it's it's an irony because here I host a a podcast and director of communications and pray works I and I tell people openly I have no background in trucking Logistics but I love to learn and and the whole reason that my office is this Studio freightworks One studio is I love hanging out with the drivers and once you tell a driver I don't know anything about any of this they love to teach you know and uh now the one thing that's a complication sometimes is they'll think because I've got a collared shirt on when they come in and say oh my gears aren't working on the truck and I need it fixed they think somehow I'm equipped to do something about that which I'm not you know um you know Gary what I love about our driving team here is the stories are just so rich and colorful and different and you and you know what you're another example of that and I often say I often say this the mark of a great conversation is it goes really quickly and we're we're about to make our exit here in just a couple of minutes but not before we do something that I really enjoy doing not because I ever wanted to be on QVC but now it is my opportunity to give you a gift thank you for be for being here so I'll tell you real quickly folks and by the way we're going to get a merchandise store up soon very soon you'll have the opportunity to purchase great works and life of the mile merchandise more on that later so we're going to give you a gift the first option is our freightworks one cap that's the freightworks logo there the second option this would over really well at the Mid-America truck show is the life of the mile leather patch with that patriotic Theme by the way we're looking forward to being at mats again if you're there come see us we'll be doing podcasts on site and then it's winter and they call them different things around the country I call it a beanie this is a life of the mile leather patch beanie and so Gary for giving us time today you get to pick one of those I'm going to take the beating and I'll tell you why my head's so big that those caps probably won't even fit my head okay now you know what folks we promised you that life of the mile was going to have honest authentic conversations I don't think anybody's ever volunteered their head was big here on on on the podcast but uh very much and you know what we don't have to mail it we can just wait thank you very much it was very very nice it's a great I love the logo on there yeah it's a it's a great logo you've come up well and you know what life of the mile was chosen as a name for the podcast in a purposeful kind of way because the drivers here professional drivers live life by the mile and and we want you to come to experience what they see through that windshield through their eyes their ears and their experience every day uh Gary if you had one thing that you wanted to uh say now is is your mother gonna watch this uh I'm I'm Gonna Make Her watch it actually make her sit down no my mother is uh uh would love to see this yes I had to uh I couldn't wear my collared golf shirt for this I had to dress appropriately so so yes my mother will be watching this well you know my 90 year old mother in Lancaster Pennsylvania watches the episode so life of the mile and she tells me regularly it doesn't matter how old I am or you are I'm always going to be your mother and she actually makes notes and she'll tell me I don't think that was what you said was right grammatically and I mean at 90 she's still a a pretty good editor on things well let me just ask you to do this real quickly uh is there any message you'd like to give to your fellow drivers because we have a lot of drivers here at freightworks that listen and watch yeah I'd love to you know as we get on the road I think change a little bit about who we are we always say we're professional drivers and I think it's time for us to start acting professionally and dressing more professionally every single day and as we see our competitors out there dressing in pajamas and and dressing poorly I think we need to start dressing better and and I understand we're in a truck for 12 hours 13 hours a day wear whatever you want in there but as we go out in the public and see our see people every day we're the face of this cust of this company we are the face of of We're the people that deal with um with the shippers and receivers every day we need to dress professionally act professionally we want to say we're professional drivers I'd say we need to start doing it more and more every day and that's one thing I'd like to see us do a better job of out in the field and so I think that would be a nice thing for us at freightworks and as an industry as a whole is is look better when you're doing your job we always say like to repeat that we're professional drivers so let's let's look and act that way that's that's an excellent Insight this is life of the mile delivered by freightworks I'm your host Butch malpe we come to you two times every week make sure you subscribe to the YouTube channel like share engage make comments help us grow the audience it's Gary Joe bear he is a driver at freightworks and another illustration of the colorful lives of the men women solos and teams that are part of our company if you're interested in learning how you can become part of our team just go ahead and give us a call click on freightworks you'll find lots of easy information and quick ways for you to speak to a recruiter we're looking forward to being with you again twice every week make sure that you are somebody who is putting the word out that we've got a story to tell and interesting people each and every week thank you Gary thank you thanks for having me thanks for watching this episode you know life by the mile delivered by freightworks is one of the newest largest and fastest growing podcasts actually produced by a trucking company now we want you to like and share this episode if you'd like to see more episodes click here and make sure that you subscribe 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