Focus on Las Vegas

Truck Driving Jobs in Las Vegas

No doubt nearly every American is familiar with Sin City. Often called the entertainment capital of the world, Las Vegas has plenty to offer in the field of amusement and pleasure. Movies like The Hangover and Ocean’s 11 show some of the antics Las Vegas visitors can get into and have made the city a destination for millions of visitors every year. But the bustling metropolis has a surprising amount of opportunities for the truck driver looking for work, too.

While the area known as Las Vegas was first discovered by Indians over 10,000 years ago, the first European to explore the territory was Rafael Rivera in 1829. Around this time, the lush value was named Las Vegas, which is Spanish for The Meadows. Eventually, more people started to settle in Las Vegas and in 1864, Nevada became the 36th state in the Union. The main industry at the time was mining. As Las Vegas began to grow, agriculture and the railroad were introduced and began to transform the Vegas economy. The start of WWII brought military production into Las Vegas, which still employs many people.

Today, the economy of Las Vegas is seen as mainly tourist driven but still has many needs for truck drivers. Due to the revenue garnered from the gambling industry, many taxes for individuals and corporations are low or non existent. This brings new businesses to Vegas every year, which will need drivers for many of their daily tasks. Drivers in Vegas could find themselves delivering slot machines, as there are gaming manufacturers located in Las Vegas, or even furniture, as the world’s largest furniture showroom, World Market Center, is in Vegas. Drivers could also take part in delivering building materials, as construction has grown after the recession and people are building more hotels and condominiums again.

Truckers hauling through the city can rely on roads like Interstate 15 and U.S. 95. I-15 goes through Las Vegas and all the way to Canada while providing access to California, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, and Montana. U.S. 95 also goes to Canada and goes through California, Arizona, Oregon, and Idaho. There are two rail services and four airports in Las Vegas for intermodal transportation.

As many opportunities as there are for trucking jobs, there are even more for leisure activities. For starters, the casinos provide countless hours of entertainment, and many hotels and resorts provide visitors with great musical and performance acts. For higher brow folk, Vegas has a variety of museums like the Neon Museum, the Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, and the National Atomic Testing Museum, just to name a few. If you’re ready for a trucking job in Vegas, then check out their jobs page here.

Truck Driver Redefined

Truck Driver HelpWhat is a truck driver? According to the Collins English Dictionary, a truck driver is defined as a person who drives a truck as a means of earning a living. Sure, this common definition is correct, but more times than none, truck drivers are doing more than just earning a living on the road. While acting as the backbone of our economy, truckers are faced with annoying traffic jams, hectic storm conditions, and nail biting deadlines. And that’s only a small glimpse into the life of a trucker. While on the road, a trucker’s life never seems to slow down. Yet somehow, every day, truckers are finding ways to go above and beyond their defined duty.

The right place at the right time

Our first story of a trucker going beyond the ordinary comes to us from Oklahoma. Brian Dunn, a truck driver from Florida, was recently deemed a hero, after saving a little boy’s life during a deadly crash. While hauling a load through Oklahoma, Dunn saw a car flip off an overpass onto the road below. Upon seeing the crash, Dunn quickly stopped his truck and ran to offer help. It didn’t take him long to realize that there was a little boy inside the car. The boy, 2-year-old Caleb Hall, was upside down and still buckled up in his car seat crying. Dunn, who has children himself, put all of his attention on getting Caleb free.

“It was mangled, the door was crushed, I don’t know how I got it open,” Dunn said. “I just kept pulling and pulling and it finally let go. … I got him out and I just kind of like held him for a few minutes, kind of, like I said, pictured my kids, you know?”

Michelle Hall, Caleb’s mother, didn’t survive the crash. According to troopers, she died on the scene. After the crash, Michelle Hall’s family contacted Dunn to thank him and call him a hero.

Convoy celebrates Hannah’s life

In other pro-trucker news, a group of truck drivers went beyond their defined duty and came together to honor a teen’s life. Hannah Williams’ life was remembered this November, when a convoy of truckers traveled to her memorial service in Vancouver, Washington. Hannah passed away on October 23 from a rare brain cancer known as, neuro pino blastoma. In respect for Hannah’s life, the group decorated their truckers with purple reminders and traveled down Interstate 5.

The group of truckers were brought together through the West Coast Log Facebook site, where they heard about her story from her father, a log trucker named Jeff Roberts. Upon hearing of Hannah’s battle with brain cancer, many truckers offered their support.

“This little girl showed such strength and perseverance through something that none of us can imagine happening,” said Tina Comer, a California truck driver. “We all came together for her… we work in the same industry as her father and it was a common ground.”

The two stories that I shared with you about truckers going above and beyond their duty are only just the tip of the iceberg. There are many stories out there that are very similar to these. And with that in mind, it’s easy to see that maybe it’s time we redefine the truck driver.

OSHA delivers for whistleblower protection

Gaines Motor Lines Inc., Tim Gaines, and Rick Tompkins have been ordered by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to pay more than $1,070,123 in compensation to four of the company’s former truck drivers. The drivers were terminated by the Hickory, N.C.-based carrier in violation of the whistleblower protection provision of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA) implemented by the 9/11 Commission.

OSHA regulations

The four employees were allegedly fired for participating in a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) inspection audit held onsite at the Gaines Motor Lines’ facility February 28 – March 1, 2012. Following the audit, citations were issued against Gaines Motor Lines on March 8, 2012. The whistleblower complaint says that company officials then retaliated against the four drivers with terminations, layoffs, and removal of employee benefits.

“Workers in this industry must be able to raise safety concerns with federal officials without fear of retaliation,” said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. “Participating in an on-site inspection helps to ensure safer conditions for truck drivers and vehicles on the road. Employers undermining these protections through intimidation and adverse conduct will not be tolerated.”

One of the four employees died in early 2013, but the order includes preliminary reinstatement for the remaining three drivers. Also included in the order are compensatory damages of $215,657 and punitive damages of $675,000.

Along with the whistleblower provisions of the STAA, OSHA enforces 21 additional statutes that protect employees who report various violations of regulations involving employee protection issues such as workplace safety, health care, and motor vehicle safety. Under a 1970 OSHA Act, employers must provide a safe and healthful workplace for employees.

Additionally, employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who raise concerns or who provide protected information to either the employer or the government regarding violations of regulations. Any employee who feels their whistleblower rights have been violated may file a complaint with the Secretary of Labor to be investigated by OSHA. More detailed information on employee whistleblower rights may be accessed at  The Whistleblower Protection Program’s website.

Trucker Featured on “20/20” Friday Night

Over the past year-and-a-half, Loren West, has traveled through 44 states and four Canadian provinces, only to find what it really means to be a truck driver. West is a former truck driver from Wisconsin who decided to sit down with reporters from ABC’s show “20/20” to reveal to them a day in the life of a truck driver.

Highway

According to West, his life has always been driven by challenges. When his wife proposed the idea of becoming a truck driver, West knew he had to take the leap. Before deciding to become an over-the-road trucker, West worked in an office for thirteen years, and like most people, he had no clue what a trucker’s job really entailed. Quickly, West graduated CDL school and was hired on by a well-known company in the industry. Life was great.

Upon making a haul or two, West realized that the trucking lifestyle wasn’t as glamorous, as it once had seemed. “Traffic jams, blinding sun, freezing rain and road construction are conditions most commuters deal with on their way to work, but truckers deal with these obstacles (and many more) all day and every day as part of daily life. Multiply that times 18 wheels, 80,000 pounds, and a 70-foot rig, and it equates to a grueling way to earn a living,” said West.

After a while, West became comfortable with the idea of being a truck driver. He was getting the hang of things, and enjoying all of the beautiful places he got to see. When he was on the road, West would post pictures and videos onto his Facebook page for all his followers to see. According to West, many of his followers were awed by the places he had been.

rainy roadBut still, that hasn’t been enough to keep West trucking along. “Not long after the miles piled up and the wanderlust wore off, I concluded that truck driving is basically a factory job with a pleasant view. Long hours, low pay and constant deadlines are unavoidable,” said West.

From there, West decided that trucking wasn’t for him right now. According to ABC News, West isn’t ruling out another go behind the wheel though. West claims that he’s “gained an enormous amount of respect for the men and women who pilot their rigs through dangerous neighborhoods and weave past and through a motoring public more concerned with checking their phones than their mirrors.”

From his 15 months of roaming the roads, West was able to compile list of his best/worst routes to drive. His list of favorites includes obvious choices from the Western US, but also higlights Interstate 68 across Maryland’s panhandle. And everyone who drives through Boston, Chicago, or Brooklyn can certainly relate to West’s frustration of least favorite cities to drive.

RemoteTo learn more about Loren West’s story, tune in to ABC’s “20/20” this Friday, Nov. 22 at 10 pm ET.

Highway Rhythm | Alternative Routes

highway rhythm Life on the road can can be fruitful yet frustrating. The new destinations and people provide excitement and a love for travel that can’t be satisfied by just watching the Travel Channel after work. But the long days and nights away from home can make the road seem more empty than enchanting. Sometimes, finding the perfect song that captures the conflicted feelings of the road can help the trip run smoothly and remind you that you’re not alone on the long freeway, even if you feel like it.

I have found that the songs compiled here do just that. Even the more upbeat ones, like “Ways to Go,” and “Chicago,” still remind you of what’s waiting on the other side of your week long shift, your real purpose for driving. The other, more moody songs like “Always for You,” and “In the Backseat,” further put emphasis on the family and relationships your tireless driving supports.

highway rhythm

Win Butler of Arcade Fire
by Nikola Spasenoski / Shutterstock.com

Now some of this music may be new to you, and it might not sound like the music you’re used to, but I urge you to just give it a try. The first time I listened to music outside of my usual pop artists’ tunes was actually in my car. A friend had burned me a CD of bizarre music that I couldn’t get out of my head. After I got used to these sounds, I realized it was pretty refreshing to hear music that didn’t sound like the usual stuff on the radio. Slowly but surely, Local Natives replaced Lady Gaga (although there will always be a special place in my heart for Gaga), and I couldn’t drive anywhere without my new favorite bands accompanying me. Some of these artists are fairly recent, but they are nowhere near the whole span of alternative/indie music.

So give a few of these songs a listen if you haven’t heard them before, and if you already lean on Pitchfork for your musical recommendations, then let me know what I left out.

1. GROUPLOVE – “Ways to Go”

“I’ve got a little bit longer, I’ve got a ways to go…”

2. Free the Robots – “Lonely Traveler”

3. Empire of the Sun – “Tiger by my Side”

“Seen about a million roads…”

4. Kavinsky – “Nightcall”

5. M83 – “Highway of Endless Dreams”

“7 A.M., dusty road I’m gonna drive until it burns my bones…”

6. Sufjan Stevens – “Chicago”

7. The Album Leaf – “Always for You”

“For years and years I’ve chased this day…”

8. Arcade Fire – “In the Backseat”

9. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes – “Home”

“Home, let me come home, home is wherever I’m with you…”

10. Local Natives – “World News”

Heartland Express acquires Gordon Trucking

HeartlandNorth Liberty, Iowa-based Heartland Express has purchased Pacific, Wash.-based Gordon Trucking (GTI) in a deal valued at $300 million. Michael Gerdin, CEO and president of Heartland, says Gordon Trucking is an excellent fit and the combined revenue of the two trucking peers will reach $1 billion. This will reinforce Heartland with 5,000 drivers and establish the company as the fifth largest asset-based trucking company in the country.

Gerdin had this to say regarding the acquisition:

“We searched for many years for the best fit to expand our capabilities for customers, our opportunities for drivers, and our growth for our stockholders. With GTI, Heartland acquires a major presence in the West, affording the combined customer base significant capacity nationwide through what is expected to be one of the five largest asset-based truckload fleets in North America.”

Larry Gordon, founder of Gordon Trucking, said the owners were reluctant to sell the company but feels very confident about the upcoming transition. “Through these transactions, our people have the opportunity to build on a strong foundation, learn best practices, contribute to an industry leader, and gain access to new customers and geographies. We believe in the transactions and in our ability to contribute greatly to the combined company.”

Gordon logo

Gordon Trucking’s primary emphasis is on dry van markets but also derives about 14 percent of its revenue from refrigerated operations and seven percent from freight brokerage operations. Key markets are in Washington, Oregon, California, and Idaho.

Now, Heartland will be operating from Washington to Florida and from Pennsylvania to southern California, which increases the company’s customer base and geographic coverage. Heartland stock shares rose 1.1 percent to $14.48 after the announcement and has risen about 10 percent this year overall.

The Gordon family will keep a substantial portion of Heartland stock through 2017 while its co-owners Steve and Scott Gordon will join Heartland’s management team. Gordon Trucking founder Larry Gordon will retire but join Heartland’s board of directors. Steve Gordon said that because the deal is a stock purchase, there will be no layoffs or changes to current operations and business will continue to run as it is. “Over time we’ll look at where we can adopt best practices at both companies to achieve synergy,” he said.

Van Damme and Volvo Make Perfection

When it comes to trucking news, nothing gives me more joy than to introduce this to you. Volvo’s marketing and engineering departments have obviously come together to bring you brilliance and perfection.

Instead of a boring memo or a long stat sheet, Volvo has decided to promote its new Volvo FM Dynamic Steering by letting Jean-Claude Van Damme stand on the side mirrors of two Volvos…

driving backwards….

splitting apart…..

while Enya sings in the background and the sun sets…

and Jean-Claude does the splits.

This is real.

Now when you ask me, “Is Volvo reliable? Is the steering good?”, I can answer, “Volvo’s Dynamic Steering is smooth enough to allow Jean-Claude Van Damme to do a split between two of their trucks while moving. That’s how smooth it is.”

Aside from this amazing feat, the new Volvo FM also features upgraded suspension, extra ton capacity, weight loss (75 kilos less on the truck), improved headlights, and remote controls that make unloading easier.

In all seriousness, this is great for Volvo. They are working hard to increase safety, fuel economy, and weight-load distribution.

I’m sure you quit reading already and watched the video. Enjoy it!

Focus on Houston

Houston

Houston, the largest city of Texas and fourth largest in the United States, has much to offer truck drivers. With over 6 million people living in its metropolitan areas, Houston is always in need of supplies. The city is known for its manufacturing, medical facilities, aerospace work, and arts.

Did you know that the Texas Medical Center in Houston houses the world’s largest healthcare and research facilities? If that is not amazing enough, the Port of Houston is ranked 1st in international tonnage for the United States, providing great intermodal opportunities to to the Texas truck driving jobs market. In fact, Houston was named the number 1 city in job creation for 2013. Houston is busy and growing.

All of these opportunities are enough to fill your time, but Houston also manufactures oilfield equipment. The city’s work with the energy industry ranks with 24 spots on the Fortune 500 including Phillips 66, Spectra Energy, ConocoPhillips, Enterprise Products Partners, Marathon Oil, Apache, and several others. Houston is 2nd only to New York in Fortune 500 companies.

With such a large city and a large volume of business, truckers need good roads. Houston is serviced by I-10 (running from California to Florida) and 1-45, which is a Texas-only interstate that runs from Galveston to Dallas. The Houston freeway system is serviced by several loops which include I-610 that loops around downtown, the medical center, and several neighborhoods.

Need a little downtime? Houston is perfect for that. If you are into sports, you have your choice between the Astros (MLB), the Rockets (NBA), or the Texans (NFL). If that’s not your taste, then you can head to the Galleria, Texas’s largest shopping mall. After some shopping, hit the Houston Theater District and choose between the six performing halls.

There are festivals nearly year round in Houston. The city is home to the world’s largest annual Livestock Show and Rodeo. Other activities include the Houston Greek Festival, Art Car Parade, Houston Auto Show, and the Bayou City Art Festival. If you just want to relax and be outside, visit one of the city’s 337 parks.

Houston is an exciting city filled with truck driving opportunities and a great nightlife. Check out Houston trucking jobs.

Truckers Turn Food Waste to Feast

food cowboys“A mans got to have a code, a creed to live by no matter his job.” These words were spoken by the greatest cowboy of all time: John Wayne. Two modern day cowboys, Roger and Richard Gordon, took their day jobs and transformed them into something more. These two men are the philanthropic minds behind the new program, Food Cowboy, where truckers with rejected food loads can drop them off at the nearest shelter instead of the nearest dumpster.

Richard Gordon has spent years in the food industry and has seen first hand how much food is wasted everyday. His brother, Roger, has been in the trucking industry for nearly 25 years and has also seen his fair share of wasted products. Most times, the food just doesn’t look pretty enough so stores decide to trash it.

While companies are playing survival of the prettiest with loaves of bread and apples, 1 in 6 Americans are not promised a daily meal. Seeing a missed connection, the Gordons decided to create an app that makes it easier for truckers to help the needy.

Now, if truckers get to their destination and the stores reject the food, truckers can log on to Food Cowboy to find the nearest food bank. The food bank owners are alerted to an incoming shipment of food and can either reject it or accept it for a meager price of 10 cents a pound. After the load is accepted, the truck driver is notified and has a new place to drop off the load. The app also provides receipts and the necessary forms so the shipper can receive a tax deduction for their donation.

The Gordons believe they have saved about 300,000 pounds of food since they started the company about 3 months ago. They could save more, but some stores are hesitant to donate food, fearing they will be liable if the food makes someone sick. As this company grows in size and influence, barriers to their cause can hopefully be torn down.

So, are you a trucker that feels a pang of regret every time you take decent food to a landfill? Mosey on over to Food Cowboy and see what kind of difference you can make.

Highway Rhythm | I Like that Old Time Rock and Roll

car radio 2

I grew up listening to country music. Somehow or another I ended up with a demo of the Eagles, and I was listening to it one day when my uncle heard it. He asked if I like that kind of music and I said yes. A few weeks later he brought me CDs of the Eagles and Eric Clapton. I had never heard anything like it, and I loved it. That was the beginning.

A few years later, my brother decided to take guitar lessons from a Native American man who moved in down the road from us. He gave my brother Led Zeppelin IV, and a week later, the man disappeared. That was the only lesson either of us ever had in music, but once I had that CD, I was on fire. Thank you mysterious Native American guy!

New rock just does not have the same flare as that old stuff. For this edition of Highway Rhythm, I wanted to focus on the rock from the ’60s and ’70s. We will get to the ’80s in due time.

Obviously, the Beatles were formed in 1960, so they make the list. I admit that I am not the biggest fan of this group, but I know they were part of the grand “breaking out” of rock n’ roll. I stray more towards Creedence Clearwater Revival and those that I feel really jammed.

CCR was already rolling strong, but Jimmy Hendrix was fast becoming a star in the late ’60s. In fact, in 1969, Hendrix was the world’s highest paid performer. Just a year before that, Led Zeppelin emerged in 1968 to forever change the face of rock music.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbHAs much as I love CCR and Hendrix, there has rarely been a band as complete as Led Zeppelin. Every member was innovative and amazing at what they did. Zeppelin battled on until the death of drummer John Bonham in 1980.

One of my other all time favorites from this time is none other than Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band. I went to see him a year ago, and he still has it. I was probably the only person under the age of 50 there. Kids these days…

There are really too many rock and roll greats to list here. If you take the time to think about it, there has never been a time in history in which so many legendary bands were changing the direction of musical history. Even bands like Aerosmith and Queen, who are often thought of as ’80s hair bands were already going strong in the ’70s.

For lack of space, I can only list a few others that I love to hear: Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, The Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Black Sabbath, and AC/DC just to name a few.

My Best of ’60s and ’70s Rock

     1.  Bob Seger

“Night Moves,” “Hollywood Nights,” “Roll Me Away,” and “Travelin’ Man”

     2.  Jimi Hendrix

“All Along the Watchtower,” “Purple Haze,” and “Hey Joe”

    3.  Led Zeppelin

“Ramble On,” “Over the Hills and Far Away,” “Going to California,” and “Communication Breakdown”

    4.  Aerosmith

“Dream On,” “Walk This Way,” and “Last Child”

    5.  Creedence Clearwater Revival

“Green River,” “Bad Moon Rising,” “Up Around the Bend,” “Run Through the Jungle,” and “Born on the Bayou”

    6.  Queen

“We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and “Fat Bottomed Girls”

    7.  Rolling Stones

“Miss You,” “Ruby Tuesday,” “Jumping Jack Flash,” “Angie,” “Gimme Shelter,” and “Paint It Black”

     8.  Pink Floyd

“Learning to Fly,” “Time,” “Comfortably Numb,” “Hey You,” and “Money”

     9.  Lynyrd Skynyrd

“Freebird,” “Simple Man,” “Tuesday’s Gone,” and “Saturday Night Special”

   10.  Black Sabbath

“War Pigs,” “Iron Man,” “Wishing Well,” “Paranoid,” and “Loner”

There’s a start. Now tell me what you think is missing in a comment. What’s your favorite?