Tag Archive: Cross-border driver

  1. Three Things a Trucker Should Know During Their First Year

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    You may have heard a trucker say that the first year of trucking is the toughest; however, it is also an exciting time for new drivers to prepare for learning the ropes of the road and the obstacles that come with it. As a new driver, the first year is all about observing and absorbing everything you can so that you feel fully prepared when the time comes to take on the long haul on your own.

    The first year in your truck is a transitional phase; learning the ins and outs of a new job can be nerve-wracking. Utilizing this time is the first step in gaining the skills required to be a safe and professional driver. Whether you’re just starting your career on the road or considering a career in trucking, follow these three tips to start your first year in a truck off on the right foot!

    The Basics

    Truck driving is a big adjustment mentally and physically for individuals entering their first year on the road. “It’s the true test of finding out whether a career in driving is for you,” said Sheldon Wheeler, our Corporate Driver Service and Fleet Safety Manager. Depending on the position you’re interested in, you could be sitting for extended periods of time on an over the road position compared to a more local position, where you are actively jumping in and out of the truck often. Adapting to extended times away from home and new experiences are also critical in overcoming the first few weeks in the driver’s seat.

    It is important to know what you like and what you are comfortable with. There is always an opportunity at The Erb Group to grow and move into new positions and passions that suit your needs and lifestyle. Your happiness is significant in enjoying the day-to-day responsibilities of being a driver; be extra mindful of your intuition!

    Key Connections 

    Driver Services is the number one contact you should stay connected with within year one. From the first day, as an entry level driver, a driver gets partnered up with a driver trainer for eight weeks at Erb. “During training, we attempt to prepare you and create a minimal place of anxiety for when you are ready to go out and establish your own rhythm of the road.” Said Sheldon. 

    Maintaining a good connection with driver services early on allows you to find yourself and your surroundings as a new driver. Without an established routine, driver services can advocate and help you to build connections with peers and other important people in the delivery/pickup process when you need help with a specific situation. Additionally, our driver services team hosts mandatory safety training meetings annually for all drivers with a different theme for each session to ensure our drivers stay educated, engaged and safe! Once you are familiar with the business and processes, the key communication primarily lies between peers, dispatchers, and your coach.

    Communication

    As a driver, good communication skills are an asset. Being on the road alone often means that you need to maintain many lines of communication. “Don’t make yourself feel isolated – there is a network around you that wants to see you succeed. Your success is our success,” said Sheldon. Developing your own voice and advocating for yourself is important. Especially if you’re struggling with work relationships, your truck or just a tough day. At The Erb Group, we value our drivers’ mental health and well-being and understand how investing in our employees’ health helps them excel in their jobs.

    Reflecting on his time at Erb, Sheldon explains, “It’s exciting and great, I’ve been in the industry for 38 years, and I love it more every day.” The first year in a truck can be tough, but it’s a great way to travel, develop and experience new things. If you are passionate about driving, you can quickly move up and gain skills that lead to bigger and better opportunities. Throughout your 365 days of new driving experiences, remember to give yourself ease and use these three tips to help you truck through the new adventures that lie ahead.

    Interested in driving for The Erb Group of Companies? Check out our updated job board postings here. Please note that we request one year of driving experience; however, once you have reached the 10 -12-month mark, we encourage you to contact our recruiting team to start learning about the application process. Email us at recruiting@erbgroup.com when you are ready to make some cool moves!

    To read this blog in French, please click here.

  2. Building a Trucking Career That Fits Your Lifestyle

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    One of our long-standing drivers, Ritch Thiessen, based out of our Baden Terminal, has been surrounded by trucking since he was a young boy. Growing up with his parents owning a trucking company, he was keen to be in the passenger seat, learning the value of transportation and the fundamentals of being safety conscious. “I didn’t choose trucking,” he explained, “trucking chose me, and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”

    Being so heavily influenced by truck driving, Ritch wasn’t surprised when he heard a knock at the door one night. Vernon Erb and his then young son, Wendell Erb, had come for dinner to discuss with his parents how they could work together to help deliver goods with The Erb Group’s new but quickly growing client base. In the 1970s, just after Vernon received his PCV license, he and Wendell were looking for someone to help distribute meat from Burns Meats Ltd., Canada Packers Ltd. This was the start of his family’s long-standing work relationship with the Erb family and a piece of Ritch’s story in becoming part of The Erb Group’s driver workforce.

    Flexibility of Positions

    Ritch recently transitioned from being a long-term International Cross Border Truck Driver to a Local Driver with a route from Leamington to Windsor. Ritch liked the cross-border long-haul lifestyle because he could make extra money, travel, and choose the length of his routes, but his needs changed as time passed. “I don’t like sitting for 11 hours a day. Doing local runs, I work four days a week, and I could do up to 15 stops a day,” Ritch explained. With all the moving around during local routes, the first few days were more physical than he expected, but Ritch can now fall asleep effortlessly and in his own bed every night. The benefits include more than just a good night’s sleep. After swapping into this new position within the company, he mentions, “if the fast pace of local driving doesn’t work out, I still have the option to go back to long hauls without risking job security.”

    Building Connections

    Throughout his time at The Erb Group and finding new trucking experiences and opportunities, Ritch bonded with Wayne Baechler, a close friend and mentor within the company. When Ritch was looking to expand his expertise, Wayne was the first person to offer him a recommendation and reference; he was also the person who helped Ritch re-enter the roster at The Erb Group. Ritch returned to the company because he wanted to prove that he could do better and allow himself more opportunities to grow professionally. “Wayne gave me a chance where other people wouldn’t,” he explained, “and I’ve heard this before from other drivers. Once you work for Erb, there is no comparison. It’s a large company but operates as a family-owned business.”

    Still settling into his new local role, Ritch plans to play out his passion for trucking with us until retirement. In addition to being behind the steering wheel, there is so much more to the job than just driving, like knowing your product, reefer, and temperature settings; however, it only makes the job more rewarding after a successful day of deliveries. Learning new things isn’t easy, “you’re going to have good days and bad days no matter where you work,” Ritch explained, but patience is key to being in it for the long haul. If you’re looking for a career that will fuel your desire for driving, take the turn into a position in transportation.

    Interested in driving for the Erb Group of Companies? Check out our updated job postings here. Please note that we request one year of driving experience; however, once you have reached the 10–12-month mark, we encourage you to contact our recruiting team to start learning about the application process. Email us at recruiting@erbgroup.com when you are ready to make some cool moves. 

  3. Five reasons why you should consider a career in trucking

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    Want to jump into a second career? Are you deciding what driving school to attend? Are you debating on following in a family members’ footsteps to become a professional truck driver? No one’s path to trucking, or any career is linear. Everyone has their own story of why they chose a career in the transportation industry.

    At The Erb Group of Companies, we have drivers from all walks of life. A large portion of our driver workforce are in their 50s. However, we are seeing a new generation of drivers coming into the industry. Our workforce has seen several female drivers emerging, and millennials applying to job roles.

    Are you still on the fence and wondering if a career in trucking is right for you? We’ve outlined five reasons why you may want to consider a career in trucking.

    Job Security

    As a specialist in temperature-controlled transportation and logistics, we are in a unique position to always have shipment demands. There is always a need for perishable food items. They are and will always be in demand; meaning you are never without job security. Even during the pandemic, our drivers remained busy, still on the roads, delivering items throughout North America. Trucking also plays a vital role in the Canadian and U.S. economy. According to Transport Canada, roughly 30,000 trucks cross the Canada-U.S. border every day, carrying an estimated $1 billion in goods. In 2021, there were 324,200 truck drivers in Canada, an increase from 300,000 drivers in 2020.

    Career Pathways

    For most truck drivers, this is a second career. However, you can still move through the ranks or find roles that suit your preferences and lifestyle. As a current employee, you have access to job postings before they are listed externally. This allows you to have the first pick at applying for your next cool move.

    Community-driven

    Community and family-based values are embedded into our foundation. We don’t always shout about our community involvement, but you won’t go a week or month without hearing about The Erb Group of Companies pitching in to help. Our latest involvement includes driving mattresses donated by a local company to a community youth shelter. Food drives, sponsoring local playgrounds or celebrating females in the industry are few a few initiatives you can get involved with.

    Freedom and Independence

    Not a fan of the office cubicle? Truck driving is a great way to see our North American landscape. Our drivers like the independent lifestyle they get while on the road. If you want a real treat, our long-haul cross-border drivers get the amazing experience to see some pretty wicked sunsets.

    Flexible Schedule

    Want to still be able to come home at night? You can become a Local Driver. Want to live a life on the road? You can find roles as a long-haul driver within Canada or cross-border. Let’s drop a myth buster fact right now. Not all truck drivers are away from home for 2-3 weeks at a time. You have the flexibility to find a job opportunity and get the hours that suit your lifestyle. Speak with our recruiters or managers to learn about how you can push your career forward.

    Learn more about how the trucking industry is evolving by visiting Canadian Trucking Alliance’s “Choose to Truck” campaign. Know someone that may benefit from reading this? Share the link with a friend.

  4. Is trucking a good career choice?

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    Amrit Nijjar, is a 25-year-old Punjabi Canadian who recently passed his three-month probation at The Erb Group of Companies to become a full-time AZ US Local Driver. Initially, he went to trade school to be an auto mechanic. He worked in the field for a short period but didn’t feel that he was progressing or making the salary at the rate he hoped.

    Amrit explained, “I’m part of a multi-generational trucking family. My grandfather, dad, and uncles all drive trucks. I saw them work as owner-operators and start their own trucking company. Since I wasn’t making the money I needed as a mechanic, I started to work for a company that had no family ties.”

    Bumping into other drivers on the road, Amrit began to hear more and more about The Erb Group of Companies from fellow drivers. “I was the first in my family to make the leap to a mainstream trucking company outside of the Indian community. Although I loved working with my community, I needed to make my next career step. The support system and training I have experienced in the short time at Erb feels like night and day difference. While on the road, I noticed Erb trucks were always well-maintained. As they say, happy drivers, happy company.”

    Typical Day

    Amrit mainly does local runs in Mississauga and every so often crosses the border into Buffalo. He adds, “I like to sleep at home every night. I’m engaged and ready to get married soon. I’m able to stay local but still do cross-border, which allows me to keep that balance. It’s the best of both worlds.”

    A typical day starts early, between 4-7 AM. He liaises with dispatch to get all his paperwork, followed by a pre-trip inspection and filling out the paperwork. Later he checks his satellite messages before heading out to do pick-ups and deliveries.

    Career Aspirations

    “I have two mentors at Erb that I really value. Driver Supervisor, Tracy Quinn, has always believed in me and continues to guide me. Fred is guy who started off as a driver and now works in the office within the Driver Services department. I think it’s valuable to have mentors when you’re new to the industry.”

    Amrit hopes to become an in-cab trainer in the future. “From the very first day, Tracy has believed in me and has seen my good work ethic when it comes to paperwork. After my probation, I hope to become an in-cab trainer. I feel like I can help more drivers do their jobs efficiently and accurately. It’s very fulfilling.” In just a short period, Amrit describes himself as becoming a more safety-conscious driver through patience and sharing of tips between colleagues.

    He continues to be an advocate for the industry and is always trying to convince friends to come into trucking. Amrit adds, “It’s a fun and challenging career to get into. Every day is different. The change of pace is what I really value, and money comes second.”

    Interested in driving for The Erb Group of Companies? Check out our job postings here. We do request one year of driving experience; however, once you have reached the 10–12-month mark, we encourage you to reach out to our recruiting team to start learning about the application process. Please email us at recruiting@erbgroup.com when you are ready to make cool moves!

     

  5. Trucking is multi-generational

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    The trucking sector sees multiple generations from a single-family pass through a company, building a legacy of their own. Specifically, at The Erb Group of Companies, you’ll see multiple family members working across our terminal network. At our Baden terminal, Brianna and her dad Jeff are an example of a multi-generational trucking family. Jeff started working at Erb in 2003 and has been with the company for 19 years as an owner-operator cross-border driver. Once his oldest, Hailey, was ready to jump into her first job, he recommended that she start at Erb doing part-time work. Hailey worked for a few years as a Weekend Prior Notice Clerk. In 2015, Hailey was ready for her next chapter, which was moving away for college. To replace Hailey, Jeff suggested his youngest daughter, Brianna.

    Brianna started working for the company in 2015 and is still working with us today on a part-time basis. The 23-year-old works full-time for a daycare in Baden during the week. “It was my first full-time job, and the team has continued to be so accommodating as I balance my ECE work with my weekend hours.” Brianna is responsible for setting up customs paperwork for LTL drivers, making sure they have entry numbers to ensure drivers have a smooth cross-border experience. While Brianna is in the office, her dad is out on the road. “My dad is normally gone two to three nights a week. Since he’s been with Erb for quite some time, he can pick and choose his routes. I think he likes being on the road but only goes as far as Michigan.” Trucking doesn’t stop with Jeff and his two daughters. Brianna also has one uncle working as a truck driver and another working as a mechanic technician at other trucking companies.

    Fond trucking memories

    The O’Neill family has many fond memories throughout the years. Brianna recalls, “When I was younger, I wanted to be a truck driver. I used to play with his diecast trucks, but not the fancy ones. Dad wouldn’t let me touch those! I also used to play the virtual transport truck simulators.”

    “I remember vividly going on trips with him and sleeping in the bunk. Sometimes the terrain wasn’t the most pleasant, but it was still fun that I got to spend time with him.” She continues, “when you have a dad as a truck driver, you understand that he may not always be home. But when he was home, you have vivid memories of those times. I remember him at my soccer games and dance recitals.”

    Jeff explains, “I’ve always had my girls’ names on my truck since 1999. It’s something most truckers do. Keep our family members close to us even if they aren’t. Every time I buy a different truck or get a paint job, I include their name decals.”

    Community-driven

    The Erb Group of Companies has 1,500 employees across its terminal network. Brianna describes Erb as a big company with a small town feel and culture. “Even Vernon’s passing hit home for us, but especially for my dad. He was so accommodating to my dad over the years. We attended the convoy for Vernon at their family home. He was such a positive light at the company. I still remember Vernon coming in on Saturday’s ahead of going to the farm. He had a calming presence, especially on the days that were really busy.”

    Attracting the next generation

    As a Gen Z in the transportation industry, Brianna shared her insights on how trucking companies can better attract the next generation. She explains, “I think the trucking industry needs more attention and recognition. When people think of a truck driver, they always think it’s long periods away from home. But there are so many drivers that just operate within Ontario. These drivers are equally as important to someone who drives the distance to California. You can still be a truck driver and make it home at night and raise a family. The stereotype is that you are never home, but you can be.”

    Do you have a family member who may be interested in the trucking industry? Tag them below in the comments or hit the share button! If you are looking for a company that supports building a legacy for your family, we would love to talk to you, please connect with our recruitment department at recruiting@erbgroup.com. For more information on our evolving trucking industry visit choosetotruck.ca

     

    Halloween at the O’Neill house 

    Jeff and his two daughters

  6. What is it like to be a female truck driver?

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    Although the trucking industry has traditionally been predominately male, there has been a significant increase of female truck drivers emerging into the industry. Katia Barrette, being one herself, entered the industry in 2018 as a Class 1 long- haul driver. After working in various administrative and office jobs for most of her life, she earned her Heavy Vehicle Driver’s License (Class 1) in Quebec one week ahead of her 49th birthday.

    She spent 10 years in the real estate market and felt it didn’t challenge her enough. Reflecting on her upbringing, she says, “My grandfather used to be a truck driver, and it made me think that it could be a lifestyle I may want. In 2018, I was at a point in my life where I wanted to make a drastic change. I wasn’t happy with the life I was leading and decided to switch it up and move into trucking. Today, I don’t just love my job at Erb; I adore it.”

    Road to The Erb Group

    At the beginning of her trucking career, she moved through various companies but made the jump to The Erb Group in November 2019. She explained, “I used to work for other companies, and they took advantage of me, especially as a woman. I made a list of truck companies I wanted to work for, and Erb was always on the top. Whenever I met another Erb driver on the road, they always said they’d been at the company for a long time. There are so many transport companies, and they’re all hiring. But the fact that people stay a long time at Erb makes it look like they are doing something right.”

    Women in Trucking

    In Canada, women make up 3.5% of Canada’s 300,000 truck drivers, according to labor market data from Trucking HR Canada. Katia is one of several female drivers at The Erb Group. She keeps in touch with other female drivers while on the road, through a Facebook group called She Trucking. “I’m very ambitious, and I think that’s why I am good at what I do. Sometimes the job is physically hard, like when the axles don’t want to budge. But it’s our job, so I manage to get it done.” Katia continues, “My piece of advice to younger drivers is that it’s not all rosy and you need to have thick skin. It takes time to learn how to drive, but if you take it slow, you will succeed. Just have patience and go slow. Your confidence will build over time.”

    Confidence is Everything

    “I’ve grown in confidence in the last three years, and I feel like a REAL driver. I was doing a delivery in LA a while back and googled what the area looked like ahead of time to ensure I could back in easily. Once I arrived, I realized it was going to be a tight squeeze. The gentlemen guided me into the docking zone, and I parked in one smooth transition. Once they learned I had only been driving for three years; their faces were shocked. They said most drivers refused to back in and made them unload on the street. It made me feel like a champ.”

    Katia continues, “Another time I had an eagle hit my windshield while driving. I learned to stay calm in tough situations. My previous experience in customer service may have helped me in this area. The windshield completely shattered. I had to transition through different lanes and pull over safely. When I look back on the video footage, I was incredibly calm and confident.”

    Safety is embedded into The Erb Group’s corporate culture, ensuring initiatives and programs are in place across the whole company. The company has been recognized multiple times for being an industry leader, including being awarded TCAs (Truckload Carrier’s Association) Fleet Safety Award twice! For our complete list of awards, click here.

    Her last piece of advice for anyone sitting on the fence, “It’s never too late to make a change. Life is short, and you have to do something that makes you happy. And this job makes me happy.”

    Interested in becoming an Erb International – Cross Border Driver? Check out our job postings here.