As a third-generation truck driver, Rodney Childress has spent 40+ years in the industry. He was a long-haul driver for 25 years before turning to local when his son was born 3 years ago. Rodney now hauls drop-and-hook trailers in Texas by tapping into Powerloop (an Uber Freight affiliate).
“My passion is driving trucks,” Rodney said. He compares this passion to an ever-burning flame. “When you put a log on the fire, the flames go up. Every time I get in my truck and I start it up, I’m like that fire with a new log.”
We caught up with Rodney in Dallas at the 2019 Great American Truck Show to find out more about his journey in trucking.
What do you love about driving trucks?
When I was first riding with my dad as a little boy and I told him I wanted to drive trucks, he said, ‘No, go and do something else.’ And then he said, ‘But if you have it in your heart that you love to drive, then you go and do it.’ I used to get in my car and just drive. I went to a truck driving school in 1992 and it was one of the best decisions I ever made.
What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Making sure that I follow every single rule and regulation every day. I have to focus on all the DOT regulations and drive safely. In this day and age with cell phones, people can take pictures or call to report bad driving. I never want that, so I have to stay focused.
As a professional truck driver, I have responsibilities to take care of the truck that I drive. I have to carry myself professionally, and I have to dress and talk professionally when I go into the shipper or receiver.
What advice do you have for someone just starting out in trucking?
I’ve trained 37 drivers including my wife. I talk to each person before they even get into the truck, and I want to know the answer to one question: ‘Why do you want to drive a truck?’ The mind and the heart both have to be in sync.
Also, do your research. Don’t just go with the first company you see. Get with the company that best fits you and that you can care about. I made mistakes jumping from company to company, but I learned as I got older and more experienced than companies matter.
What do you like about working with Uber Freight?
The Powerloop trailers are new. I don’t have to worry about breakdowns or anything. The other thing is that we deal with an Uber rep who cares about us. If we have a situation come up, he’s right there to listen and understand. When he calls us and asks if we can do something, we’ll do it.
To me, it’s a working relationship. We’re friends even though we’ve never met each other. We know that Uber Freight has our back and we have Uber Freight’s back. I hope that as Uber grows, we as a company can grow with them.
What are you hoping to see in the future of trucking?
I’m hoping that the technology for driverless trucks is researched very carefully so it doesn't cause accidents. In a lot of years over the road, I’ve seen accidents involving trucks. I’ve had to jump out of my truck to run and help a driver who’s been in an accident.
When people see a truck driving down the road without a driver in it, they may panic. I want to see the advertising go out to the public about how safe it will be. I want to see them take their time and get it right to be as safe as possible.
Interested in working with Powerloop? Learn more about the trailer pool program here.
The views expressed in this post are solely of the individual being feature. Experiences may vary.