For National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, Life By The Mile sits down with seasoned driver Shawn O’Malley. Shawn has seen many roads near and far in his 30+ years as a professional driver. His early days included serving as a Marine police officer serving our country. In this episode, he speaks about what it means to be a “road warrior”, how professional driving has changed so much through the years, practical tips on being a safe driver, and insights derived from his colorful life. It’s an interesting open-hearted conversation you won’t want to miss. The FreightWorks family is broad, diverse, and growing. If you’re a driver looking for a new home check us out.
Shawn O'Malley is a US Marines' Veteran and Freightworks' Professional Driver
I didn't really understand very much in this world right but I really do think being a mother is probably the best training you get you the whole you get the whole range and learn to organize you learn to to relate you learn to do many things
Welcome to Night for the mile delivered by freightworks one of America's fastest growing podcasts actually produced by Trucking he died at the tell story compelling driver's story I need to do something like industry all here right now
host Butch Maltby and you know what we love having you join us but make sure you subscribe to the YouTube channel like share engage help us grow the audience and as you do that it allows us to keep coming two times uh every week and I'm so grateful today have a friend who's here everybody's a friend because we're all part of the family and kid is technically listed as an HR secretary but you do a whole lot more than that so we're just gonna talk a little bit today about you know pulling back the curtain on some of the things that happen when new drivers come and when they on board and I love it when we get people that take enough time away from their desk and their work to come sit in that chair so thanks for doing this all right well thank you very much for having me Butch okay now I'm going to start out by saying something that the audience will probably want to say which is you've got a a beautiful accent where is it from well I'm from Northern Ireland but I know Andy's been on so you've you've heard his accent but apparently I have a little more than he has yeah so you you you were born there you grew up there yes born and grew up there until we came to the United States in 1992 so right and when we talk about freightworks being a family there's maybe not a better expression of that and you and Andy and also Jordan that's right we're all in here yes all in together and we and we we like we like that so much it's one of the things about the company that we say often is that we are a family well let's let's talk a little bit about the specific things that you do so if I was just uh if I had a group of fifth graders that were sitting here how would you describe what you do every day well I do a quite a wide variety of things but um I'm mainly involved with keeping up the drivers they're what's called their dqf files their driver qualification files and um that's very important but it is very important because at any point we could be dot audited we we'd never know and so it's very important that everything is in their file that makes us compliance and makes them compliant as drivers and when um when I first came to freightworks which was in or uh September of 2016 freightworks had taken off running and there was a lot of elements that were in place but they needed to be a little firmer in place right and so one of the main things that I did from the beginning from when I first came in was made sure that the driver's files were up to date back then we had 40 drivers now we've got probably 140 so things so you were able to help create some systems yes and some structure because when you have a company that starts as a biodiesel company you bid online for a truck you get a truck and then you're off to the races yeah you really need people that have god-given abilities to help create structure right as well is that you well I like to have my ducks in a row yes so um I started working at that and then we found out there were more ducks that we didn't even know about that needed to be in that row as well so it's been it's been a great job I thoroughly enjoy working at freightworks and I was very very grateful that Josh took the risk of bringing me in when when he did um I helped at that point Andy had um the the lady who helped him out moved to another job so there was an opening and Andy asked did Josh feel like I could do it so and I came and I I really do enjoy my job um one of the things involved in keeping up the driver's files is that I'm through the course of the year I'm in touch with the drivers regularly whenever their medical needs to be they need to go and do another DOT physical which they have to do every year um I contact them about that um also if they get new endorsements in their CDLs they you know they get all that into me and many different things we do an annual review on every driver every year depending on their higher date so that's something that I'm in touch with the drivers and I really enjoy that contact and then as my job is developed I also do more and more what would be more purely HR responsibilities and the onboarding benefits and different things like that so there's different many things that I need to talk to them about or they need to talk to me about and I I enjoy in my job I'm probably I'm the one who takes the picture of their CDL when they first come okay so um as the numbers have grown I still believe when one of them walks in the door I know their name you know I can I haven't lost I know I know them and that's another part of the job that I enjoy because I'm doing some of the onboarding for their payroll their taxes their you know those kind of things I get to know them we get to sit and talk about you know their families where they're from and I enjoy that I enjoy I feel like I know them and I hope they feel like they know me because I want them to feel welcome when they first come in that door right and continue to feel welcome as they continue used to come in that that is so good and it puts you in the position and doesn't it where you you get to see the diversity yeah the drivers that we have talk a little bit because people will ask me sometimes right what are what are the drivers like and there's no one answer so if you it's a very colorful picture it really is so how would you describe the freightworks drivers we have everything from what to what yeah well with age-wise we're from young to old older than me older than you know and I I have to chuckle sometimes because on on our software when I put in their age if they're over 60 a little um alert comes up that this is an A number that is greater than 60 do I want to proceed I don't know quite why but certainly we we take our drivers we have 60 year olds 70 year olds and we've got 20 22 year olds and the whole range so we get that and we get people from all over the country which is great and really you talk about my accent well they they like to you know they notice that pretty early on in our conversation but we have we have drivers from we have a one from Lebanon we have um two from Cuba we've got uh Martin from England and uh a Jamaican so we have we have drivers from different parts of the of the world as well and uh I enjoy that women women and men former veterans in the military yes people that have made mid-career changes can you think former businessman who have done very well in business and they've just decided to go that different direction and all types and and I enjoy that enjoy meeting them all what are the things uh let's assume for a minute I'm a prospective driver what are the basic things that a potential driver at freightworks needs to understand that they ought to have an order that will paperwork wise and all you know what I'm asking in other words what is it they basically need to have right taken hold of well of course they have to have their medical and their CDL all up to date and that they're qualified to work in the United States all those kind of things but I a number of them come in with their folders very well organized they know where all their different papers are birth certificate I I have to social security cards you know we have some that have been in the back pocket in that wallet for many years and there's not a lot left to them right but um they they come in prepared most of them are very well prepared they've learned you know they these these records are important and they need to know where they are and um if they're if they're stopped in an inspection they need to know where everything is in place they have to have certain handbooks in their truck that we issue at orientation um they even have to have one within arm's length it can't be in the back in the back Bank it has to so they're very well prepared and they they know you know Trucking is very regulated I was shocked when I first came on board of all the rules and regulations that you know most of the drivers know well as they have as have been experienced in trucking but um some of the regulation books that the truckers have to have in their truck you almost need to be a lawyer to to understand it's really something and you know it's been said and I believe it's true the airline industry in the trucking industry are the two most probably regulated Industries out there right right that's right and another aspect of my job is I am keep up with the random drug tests okay 50 of our drivers have to be drug tested every year randomly in other words they don't get very much notice at all and I make those calls okay we need you to go here to do this drug test and so it's that's a little challenge sometimes to get them when they have time to do it but they're still on duty driving or so and that's uh I've learned a lot through that they we have a network of um facilities throughout the country that we can send them to and so sometimes they you know they have to do it they always have to do it at short notice but I've got my little Google map out on my satellite picture to see could they stop there and very important park a truck and trailer at this little urgent care or is there somewhere nearby right so I've got to know part of the the country just through finding them places to go and they're they always go very well and and then we're also a clinic our own office some of us are trained to do those drug tests so when they some of them can do them right here and when they come into the yard which is great so so it's managing a lot of details it is in a process and now what is it you're noticing is there anything you're noticing about dry you know the market changes and we get drivers of all different sorts uh recently we've had a number of drivers on board are you noticing anything different uh I would say in our company we've had a more younger drivers in the last probably six months than what we had in previous Years or or um probably our average age in the past would have been more I would have said 50s but we have had a number of younger drivers and that's refreshing I enjoy you know meeting them most of them are some of them are younger than my youngest son and kind of places places me and places them but I enjoy that I enjoy seeing some of the younger generation coming in and and settling into Freight works and enjoying it here so when a driver comes and they go through orientation how long is that typically typically it's three days it's three day orientation what can they in general expect well um they do um of course nowadays there's a bunch of apps they have to download for to monitor their speeds to CAT Scale to so that they don't have to pay at the cat scale it'll be a come to the freightworks account they do Hazmat training as we're a Hazmat carrier and the FMCSA at the beginning of February required that every driver who's going to get a HazMat endorsement has to go through a special training so we give that to all our drivers whether they already have a Hazmat or not and then they do their safety training with um with Andy with my husband and hours of service there's a whole lot comes into those regulations um we do well of course we do payroll get them all onboarded in their payroll and their benefits and so it's it's I always feel for the drivers because I know they get a lot of information in a short period of time and I always reassure them this will all make sense as you as you go forward yeah it can be a deluge information you can and I always tell them to just call if you get stuck and if you you know you're not sure what what you actually but why did I download that what was that for just call because there'll always be someone who can help them and we all know what it's like when you first start something you know there's a lot of unknowns and a lot of things that you might not really know how it's going to work but it works and there's always help right and they need a they need a calm voice and they need a caring voice and somebody that will bring peace to them and of course they come from different companies where companies do things differently yes right yeah do you find out yes I do find that I find that quite a lot and they'll say oh well we did it like this so we just take the time and explain well this is the way we do it this is the way we send in our bills this is you know and and that reassures them if you just take the time with them and of course when they come in they're they're going to meet their driver manager and that's a new face for them too but that usually goes very very well as well so well you know one of the things that strikes me and of course because you're a friend and I know your family I I think your ability to multitask may have come out of being a mother as well well I always think of that too because I really didn't have a lot of business in me I wasn't I was I taught for 20 years and I came from a family weren't very busy with the more academic than than business so of course um Andy always I after I did a degree at University in English literature which is not too related to the real world I did a course in a business college for a year and um I always told Andy you know I got the Rose Bowl at the end of the year for the best students he always smiles at me because I didn't really understand very much about the business world right but um I really do think being a mother is probably the best training you get you the whole you get the whole range when you're a mother you learn to organize you learn to relates you learn to do many things and and I I really enjoy the world where I'm in now so it's so good now tell us about your your children tell us about your family well um we have three children my eldest daughter is an attorney that's Hannah and she actually works with the owner of our company Josh farmer and works in his law office and then my middle son Jordan he works here at freightworks he was the the first employee apart from driving he was the office staff and so uh I that's why I know he needed help so right right as a company grew and of course help came and and eventually I came and so um then Jonathan our youngest son he's also an attorney and so we have a very close family and very I'm very grateful for my three children I learn a lot from them and they're all different personalities but they've all got their very particular gifts and and that's a blessing when when you think about the new drivers that come in and of course every company has drivers that come and drivers that go yeah I was thinking of this recently and it was so interesting we did a podcast with a driver that was here and he left yeah and he came and he left and he came back and we sat he sat in that chair and I had this conversation with him and he was you know kind of talking about this I a number of drivers sometimes think the grass is greener yeah somewhere else you'll find that what do you find with all of that yeah well I find that very interesting because I do you see the ones who come back and um I love to see them coming back in that door you know and different things as you say some feel like the the grass is going to be greener somewhere else but you know some of them it's just things going on in their personal life and they just have to do something different for a while and as you say we have heard I think I think we've had two drivers that have been been back and forth four times and um one of them I was it was very sweet because on his fourth application he put as as his references he put Andy and I and I thought that's great he knows he's going to be welcomed here and back in and I was very glad to see him and different ones come back and as I say we're always glad to see them back and um you know because we know this is a this is a stable place for them and they'll be taken care of at freightworks and they haven't always been taken care of other places it's so interesting thing of course we don't bash other companies it's not our value to do that but being here in the freightworks one studio right next to the driver's Lounge I hear a lot I talk to a lot of drivers and and some of the things they've had to endure and experience are very hard that's right where they've said we know that great work says it's a family we hear that because everybody says that yeah and it takes them a little while sometimes to really come to experience that's true yeah that's very true and but if they stay around long enough they'll know it and most of them you know know it right from the start they they feel welcome when they come in to orientation and there'll always be bumps in the road but I know we all try our best to make them feel that we that they're good they're taken care of well even before I came on board as the Director of communications I had the chance to go to a couple of the freightworks barbecues oh yeah and uh it was just so incredible it my mother lives up in Lancaster with around the Amish and it just reminded me of like a big Amish piece but those barbecues are really examples of great work saying we're a family yeah aren't they and it is great because then the drivers can bring their families and we can meet others in their lives as well and and that's part of the that's part of the purpose of it all so that we get to know them better as well as them getting to know us and enjoying just eating with us and and having a time with us you know we also talk about the fact that while people are diverse here and not everybody has a faith commitment those of us in leadership certainly have an anchored relationship a personal relationship with Jesus and we're on a bashed about that and this company is built on biblical foundations and even the people that I talk to drivers that aren't people of Faith they like that yes they mostly like that because when we say we're going to keep our promises it's not just because it's a human commitment it's because God tells us to tell me a little bit about how your faith influences your work well well I've learned in my life and I'm learning that there's there's no mountain that Jesus isn't going to help us get over and um I like to impart that in some way to to the to the drivers and whatever they are going through you know the different ones have the health situations they're difficult family situations that are difficult we've had we've had ones who have lost their you know someone very close to them they're maybe their wife or their mother and and in all of that we want to be there just to encourage them that it's going to be okay and that God is a hold of their life just as he has a hold of our lives so um it's very important to me but I don't maybe say very much some of the time but I just like to reach out to them because as people have reached out to me to make me feel you know that it's everything's going to work out right right and it's it's really so true and what I find with the drivers uh and when I just sit and talk with them I open up my heart with them and just share things God's brought me through and you know and and make it very clear we all have had messy places in life and God's faithful yeah and I find people for the most part listen yes and uh and they're willing and they actually trust that more I mean most people will never see that for example unaccompanied threads we'll have a post that says pray for so and so yes and it's extremely unusual there aren't many companies that do that and when we say we're praying we really we really do and we've seen many many things turn around because of the prayers and you know we have a driver at the moment and he had to go to the emergency room he ended up in hospital and then was moved to another hospital and I know there's the the number of people have been praying for him and and so he sent a little text back yesterday he's getting better and he said he knows it's it's because we've all been praying and so that's that's special well and you know and often what I'll tell the drivers is life is hard enough in trucking and Logistics is not an easy industry you think of weather and breakdowns and demanding customers and things going on at home in so many respects everything that we do is is not just work it's Ministry which I love yeah and it is it's not an easy lifestyle and I've got to appreciate that more and more when as I've got to know the drivers and I I feel for them I feel for just just their everyday work and they eat what can they eat and how can they be healthy and I mean it's not the ordinary run-of-the-mill job at all and so again I always I like to encourage them in the in those areas to see how they're doing and they always like to talk you know that's another thing that I've become very aware of I mean they're in that confined space by themselves for many many hours and I know if I'm driving very far I'm ready to get out of the car and do something different but they're in there and sometimes they're not really talking to anybody much or and so when they maybe come to the office they're they're they're ready to talk and I like to I like to hear what's been going on with them and to listen to them and see see how how things are going with them because they don't have everything that we all have and take for granted every day of company and fellowship and eating together and you know it's it's one of the reasons frankly that uh we we got a hold of launching a podcast because a lot of drivers listen to podcasts and it's a way for them to stay connected this is Ann Kidd she is the human resources secretary but much more than that here at freightworks and you know one of the things we want you to do is make sure that you subscribe to the YouTube channel like share engage make comments it allows us to keep bringing these two episodes each and every week well there comes a point uh in in our podcast where we offer you a gift and I tell people it's like when I do my QVC invitation here and I think I know what you want already but I'll just let people know real quickly this went over really well at mats it was a cap that we did it's got the life of the mile logo and uh people really liked it I think in part because of the Patriotic theme it's going to be cold before we know it and so this life by the mile beanie here uh with the leather patch and then of course we've got the freight works one uh cap and that's the prominent logo that we have in all of our new trucks we're excited by the way to see those new Peterbilts coming in aren't we beautiful they're they're gorgeous and people coming to the picnic are gonna have the opportunity to see what those what those look like and then of course we've got uh our genuine Yeti mugs with the life of the mile logo on one side we've got the freightworks One logo on the other side and I have a sense this may be the one that you want I think I'm going to go for that so we'd love for you to have have that and uh you know I'll fill this one with my hot tea and Andy and I'll sit together and sip it up great well you know and and if people research Yeti they know that yetis are kind of its own culture uh as well so we've got a lot going on in the next week here for the barbecue yeah uh of course next week is also driver appreciate National driver appreciation week we're going to be doing some things during the course of the week for that but each and every day you know when I come in here and sometimes I will on a Saturday yeah it just reminds me there is no such thing as a day off for freightworks is there there's always something going on right and are you the one that gets the verification of Employments yes I do that's another another task and tell people tell people real quickly what those are well um whenever a new driver comes in we need to get um three the past three years of verifications of employment from their previous employee employers so um that just you know shows what how they did at the previous company so that's quite a task that's time consuming to do that have to do Google searches to find out what trucking company that was and and call them and get the the verification stuff putting all those things putting all those things together yes well whether it's it's getting children ready for school or multitasking in a kitchen or whatever it may be all of those skills I know God's using in the role that you're in which is so critical and I have the chance to watch a lot of these new drivers when they come in and they need a calm encouraging voice so often because you know they've left another company or maybe they're coming back into the industry and and from afar I've observed the way that you bring peace to them and it's a it's a real blessing yeah good this is life of the mile delivered by freightworks um your podcast host which multi and we want to let you know that we're going to continue to grow we're going to hit a 100 hundredth episode here soon we got some exciting changes to announce in the days ahead so make sure that you keep being a part of each of our twice a week podcasts and as you do that you'll help us grow this is Ann Kidd and she is our HR secretary but also more than that you're a face of the company for so many of the drivers and we're really grateful that you took time today thank you very much Butch you're sure welcome okay 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 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 to this channel by clicking here we'll see you there
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