Dash Cam to the Rescue!

Nicholas was recently parked at a truck stop when another truck attempted to back into the spot next to him.

Nicholas was out walking his dog, when he realized the truck was backing in awfully close to his shiny, green, brand new 2020 Mack. As he approached his truck he realized it had been hit. When the other driver denied hitting the truck and left the scene, Nicholas was left with frustration and a damaged truck.

Fortunately, the Dash Cam caught the entire incident and we were able to send it to the other carrier.

This is why Marvin Keller has invested in the latest technology – in order to protect you as a driver and the company as our provider.

A refreshing call in!

We received a phone call from a motorist who was driving behind a Marvin Keller truck on Halsted St. in Chicago. We usually expect the worst from a call in, but this phone call was completely different. The person complimented our driver saying he obeyed all the traffic laws, signaled in advance, and was incredibly professional. The caller also said that we hired a good one and congratulated us on finding such a driver

The driver is Marc Bear, and we can’t say enough great things about him! He is the epitome of integrity, not only is he a top notch driver, he also shares our MK Values. He recently called our accounting assistant, Claire, to let her know he received too much on one of his paychecks. He ended up being reimbursed for a truck wash that was charged to his fuel card and not paid for by his personal card.

Big thanks to Marc for all his hard work and for being an MK PRO. A BIG thank you to all our drivers who make the roads safe and our job a joy to do.

MK Pro Points Program

We are so excited to announce the MK Pro Shop program! The MK Pro Shop is a points program for our Drivers. For doing a great job, you can win all kinds of swag ranging from goodies for your truck to a flat screen TV! Listen to this week’s episode for all the details.


Just a thought I had today, But You want your Truck to run the best, so you take the time, money, etc to do maintenance and upkeep to keep it going strong right?

Why not put time, money and maintenance into the person driving that truck so that it keeps going strong?

The entire purpose of eating is to fuel the complex systems that function in your body—so feeding it the best nutrients possible is essential. Those nutrients, like calcium and potassium, directly influence bodily tasks like hormone creation and heartbeat regulation.

The perks to eating healthy are endless—it lowers your risk for health issues, improves confidence, increases energy, aids in weight management, and sets a good example for family and friends.

Please know that you do not need to be overly restrictive or perfect with your eating habits to see success. Making small measured changes over time and striving for balanced nutrition is key to reframing your eating habits.

As I have mentioned before, ONE OF MY FAVORITE parts is that better mental health comes with a healthier lifestyle.

A positive state of mind will increase motivation, renew your energy, and help you make good choices. It also improves your ability to handle the inevitable stresses of life and maintain positive relationships with those around you.


Bedtime snacks… We’ve all heard several takes on this. Don’t eat after 8 or it will turn into fat. Eat nothing after dinner; in fact, brush your teeth right away so that you are not tempted to eat after dinner.

Don’t go to bed hungry. Certain snacks can help you sleep, so a snack is a good thing… What it boils down to is this: a bedtime snack can help you sleep well, or it can disrupt your sleep and your weight control endeavors. It depends on what you eat and how much.

Here are some facts.

Our digestive tracts work best when we are upright… and even better if we are moving. If you eat certain foods, or too much food before bed, it can cause acid reflux or heartburn. In addition, digestion can interfere with relaxation as it requires the body to expend energy, and if you eat too much, it could also cause you to have to go to the bathroom during the middle of the night. But… hunger can also disrupt sleep… so what is the right thing to do?

Eat any large meals early in the day when the body can best use the energy that food supplies.

  • Don’t eat a heavy meal within 4 hours of going to bed.
  • Don’t eat or drink caffeinated foods/drinks after noon.
  • A small snack before bed to stave off hunger is OK if it is figured into your daily caloric intake of food.
  • If you wake up hungry, and it doesn’t pass, eat a small (not more than 150 calorie) snack.
  • Carbohydrate-rich foods are preferred as they raise your level of tryptophan, which is calming.
  • Protein-rich foods are more difficult to digest, so keep protein to a small amount. Healthy Bed-time Snacks to Eat Alone or Combine
  • Berries, Bananas, Apples
  • Low or non-fat yogurt
  • Butter-free popcorn
  • Cereal (high-fiber, low or no sugar) with skim milk or almond milk (1 serving)
  • Avocados
  • Turkey
  • 1/2 to 1 oz. Cheese
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter or almond butter

18 Wheels and a 12-Speed Bike

I found an article about a guy that brings his Bicycle over the road with him, very interesting. A couple things he says, “Have you ever had the feeling while visiting a place that you love that you might not ever be back again? I had that feeling today. In the time it took some drivers to sit down and watch TV in the lounge, I did the follow.”

-I got my bike and set course for some place I had never been before.

-I met a homeless woman named Pam and gave her my sandwich and some water. I talked to her about whatever she wanted to talk about; being homeless in 90 degree weather is no picnic.

-I went to the courthouse to see if there were any protests going on today, but there were not.

-I watched the boats on the harbor.

-I nearly fell off my bike startled when the USS Constellation fired its cannons for the tourists.

-I took a lot of pictures.

Listen to that voice in your gut pushing you into action. This might actually be your last day here.

Screen Shot 2019-03-27 at 12.46.31 PM.png

There are so many Beautiful and fun places to explore by bicycle! ☺

Over Coming Behavioral Hurdles That Keep You from Doing What You Want to Do!

“Behavior is the most challenging thing to change in one’s life because it is so imbedded into our minds. We may not even realize what we are doing. In order to make positive lifestyle changes, you first must recognize that you will have daily hurdles to jump over, and for some, these hurdles are harder to overcome than for others depending on your personality and habits. I like to refer to the following hurdles, but others may call them excuses. The Reason I refer to them as hurdles is because they’re linked together. A hurdle can jump over 1 hurdle, hit the next one and knock it down, but then get back up and jump over the remaining ones, still finishing the race.”

“I’m too old.”  YOU’RE NEVER TOO OLD TO DO SOMETHING TO ENHANCE YOUR HEALTH AND WELL BEING. No matter how old we are, we want to feel our best.

“I just don’t care.”  YOU MAY NOT CARE AT THIS MOMENT, BUT TIME DOESN’T STAND STILL. You are going to grow older, things are going to change, and if you don’t take the time to take care of your lifestyle, your chances of becoming unwell and developing disease will increase.

“There is no hope for me.”  THERE IS HOPE FOR EVERYONE. We can all make positive changes in our lives. They don’t have to be big changes all at once; even small, healthy change is significant.


These are just a couple hurdles in people’s lives, but you can work through them and overcome them.

Attitude! THIS CAN MAKE YOU OR BREAK YOU. Be positive about yourself and what you can accomplish. You can make positive changes to feel better and BE better. Take the words: Can’t and won’t out of your vocabulary. Be aware of your thinking.  Note: a positive attitude doesn’t happen overnight, but it WILL happen if you stay aware and keep working at it!

Brandis personal Daily Reminder

Develop a STRONG mind and you will live a STRONG life.

If you are not willing to learn no one can you. If you are determined to Learn NO ONE can stop you.

Calculate a Caloric Deficit for Weight Loss

In order to lose one to two pounds per week (generally considered a healthy, reasonable goal), you need to burn 500 to 1,000 calories more per day than you consume — or between 3,500 and 7,000 calories per week.

Losing weight more quickly than this, isn’t recommended by most major health organizations. It’s usually unsustainable and can lead to nutrient deficiencies, muscle loss and a stalled metabolism.

To create that caloric deficit (meaning you burn more calories than you consume), you first need to figure out how much you’re consuming and how many calories per day you burn without exercise. You can use an online calorie calculator.

But you must be sure that you add exercise without increasing your calorie intake. If you eat more calories in response to exercise, it won’t result in weight loss.

The study, published in Obesity in 2012, reported that exercise-only participants lost 2.4 percent of their body weight and diet only participants lost 8.5 percent. Those who dieted and exercised lost 10.8 percent, making the combination strategy most effective

For example, a 155-pound person burns 2,000 calories per day and eats 2,000 calories will maintain her weight. But, if she exercises and burns an extra 500 calories per day — perhaps by jogging at 5 mph for 45 minutes — but continues to consume 2,000 calories, she can lose a pound per week. Her efforts can be compounded by cutting an additional 250 to 500 calories out of her diet

Is Cardio or Strength Training Better for Weight Loss?

Exercise helps burn calories and also maintains lean muscle mass while you’re losing weight. If you reduce calories without exercise, one-quarter of every pound you lose comes from lean muscle mass. Muscle also requires more calories for your body to sustain, so it boosts your metabolism.

Cardiovascular exercise, which involves raising the heart rate for an extended period of time, such as cycling or running will burn a lot of calories per minute as compared to strength training. But strength training is better at developing muscle mass when compared to cardio.

You may burn just about 100 calories per half-hour session of strength training but reap numerous, additional benefits. Ten weeks of resistance training can increase your lean muscle mass by 3 pounds, decrease your fat weight by 4 pounds and increase your metabolic rate by 7 percent, reports research published in a 2012 issue of Current Sports Medicine Reports. A balanced approach to exercise that includes both forms is best for your health and weight loss.


Food, Sleep, Exercise: Why You Seriously Need All 3 to Be Successful


It’s lunch time. You’ve been working since six o’clock in the morning. When those hunger pangs strike, the most appealing option seems to be greasy, ultra-convenient fast food. The last thing you want is a paltry little meal like a salad. But what are those excessive calories found in burgers and fries actually doing to your post-lunch productivity?

What you eat affects your productivity in different ways, so eat smart.


When your work life is demanding, you keep weird hours. You get to the office early, before the suns up, and you leave late, after dark. At home, you take out your laptop to “finish up a few things.” Three hours later, you crawl into bed. And then you wake up before the sun does to do it all again—constantly in a fog.

Maybe it just kind of comes with the job. Even if you play the role of night owl and early bird, there are still steps you can take to ensure you’re getting adequate rest. But first, why is it so important?

Sleep deprivation has been linked to higher levels of stress, higher blood pressure levels and lower brain function. It’s safe to say your performance will suffer if you aren’t catching enough ZZZs.


Stress can get the best of us at times, and what could be better for you than melting your problems (and fat) away with every rep, stride or lift at the gym? Not much. Working out is a great outlet for relieving stress, to distract you from daily pressures—and to get fit at the same time. Regular exercise wards off depression and a host of other mental blocks that make success hard to achieve.

As much as the idea of “falling on your sword” seems romantic, we can’t expect to kill ourselves with work and get very far.

 Of course, we could talk about exercising more until we’re blue in the face. The important thing is that we actually get out and do it. Schedule 30 minutes to an hour of workout time into your day. Don’t promise yourself you’ll do it at lunch or when you get off. Nine times out of 10, the drain of the day prevents us from lifting a finger when we get back to the truck/home. Instead, treat your workout as an essential aspect of your success. It’s not just something you should do; it’s something you must do.


4-Minute Fit: The Metabolism Accelerator

The fitness guru and long-haul trucker shared tips from his new book, “4-Minute Fit: The Metabolism Accelerator for the Time Crunched, Deskbound, and Stressed Out. He became a trucker in 2008 after searching for a job that would allow him to travel. As a truck driver, Baleka said his metabolism plummeted, and within weeks of spending all day sitting down, he gained 10 percent of his body weight. He decided to retake control of his health, and then help other truck drivers do the same. Baleka eventually became a full-time fitness coach for the trucking company Prime Inc., where he has worked with thousands of truck drivers to help them stay fit and healthy while on the road.

Here are Baleka’s top three metabolism-boosting tips:

  1. “Get 4 minutes of rigorous exercise a day”

Baleka recommends getting at least four minutes of any kind of rigorous exercise every day. Here are some ideas to name a few:

-Jumping Jacks

-Quick walks around your truck

-Jump rope

-Push ups

This activity will spike your metabolism, even if it is only done for four minutes, according to Baleka, who recommends slowly easing into up to 15 minutes of rigorous exercise every day.


  1. “Spike your metabolism every 3 hours with food”

Eating a healthy snack every three hours can help keep your metabolism high. Here are 10 healthy snacks for the Road:


-Hard boiled Eggs

-Trail Mix (with lots of natural or lightly salted nuts and dried fruit)

-Fruit w/ Peanut Butter (look for brands with little to no sugar)

-Veggies w/ Hummus

-Beef Jerky

-Yogurt/Cottage Cheese w/ granola and/or Berries

-Deli Rollups

-Tuna Pouch

-Cheese “small portion” (string cheese, cut up cheddar cheese, add a few almonds or walnuts and few slices of apple or berries)

Baleka said he found that many truck drivers would only eat one or two meals a day, which can have a crippling effect on your metabolism.

  1. “Sleep the pounds off”

Baleka adds that sleep deprivation can be a big contributor to weight gain, and a lack of sleep can inhibit the body from regulating your metabolism properly.



Starting off, I want to see if we can get anyone, just one person to change small things about what they intake each day. I want to provide information and help tips.

I don’t want anyone to just take everything I send out to heart, but if you could change a couple things over time, over not changing anything at all, then I have helped in some way, and that is my purpose. I know that knowledge is power. Overtime after listening and following healthy people, I tend to follow suit or think about things more than if I am not listening and learning them at all.  


We all know that fiber is beneficial. It not only promotes health, but it also helps to reduce the risk for some chronic diseases. For instance, fiber prevents constipation, hemorrhoids and diverticulosis. Fiber works in the small intestine to cause a sense of fullness, trap cholesterol, and slow the absorption of sugar. It helps to regulate weight management. Fiber is also linked to the prevention of some cancers especially colon and breast cancer. In addition, it helps lower LDL cholesterol and the total cholesterol, therefore reducing the risk of heart disease. It helps lower blood sugar, therefore helping to better manage diabetes.

Excellent food sources of fiber include : turnip greens, mustard greens, collard greens, navy beans, avocados, acorn squash, broccoli, whole wheat pasta, barley, berries, pears, artichoke, lentils, peas, oats, chia seeds.

Very good sources of dietary fiber include : romaine lettuce, celery, Swiss chard, spinach, fennel, asparagus, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, green beans, cauliflower, carrots, tomatoes, beets, bell peppers, shiitake mushrooms, kale, pinto beans, black beans, kidney beans, oranges, whole wheat, flax seeds, coriander seeds, cloves, cinnamon, and oregano.

Good sources of dietary fiber include : apricots, grapefruit, banana, figs, pineapple, cantaloupe, plums, papaya, kiwifruit, apple, sweet potato, summer squash, onions, eggplant, yam, leeks, olives, crimini mushrooms, potatoes, corn, rye, quinoa, buckwheat, spelt, garbonzo beans, soybean, miso, sesame seeds, rosemary, black pepper, cayenne pepper, dill, and turmeric.

Consider fiber supplements. Food is the best way to get fiber, but if your fiber intake is really low, adding supplements to your diet will help! Some popular supplements are psyllium, guar fiber, and glucomannan. Don’t drink fruit juices instead of eating fruit. After juices have been pressed, they have no fiber in them. Eating enough fiber is important! The recommended intake of fiber is 32 grams per day. If you are not able to get 32grams, being able to intake more than you were before, that is a step in the right direction. ☺  


Podcast Episodes 7+8

This week in the podcast, we sit down with one of our veteran drivers, Nick, along with the head of our maintenance team, Greg Sullivan!

Tune in to hear the interviews.

Podcast Update

In the newest episodes of the podcast, in episode 5 Joe shares some company updates while in episode 6 we have a great interview with the official MK CDL School.

MK Podcast / Ep 3 + 4

This week, we have two episodes for you! We have a Joe Update with episode 3 and an interview with one of our Drivers, Bruce, for episode 4.

We’d love to hear what you think so far! If you have any comments or story suggestions,
send them over to marvinkellerpodcast@gmail.com.

MK Podcast / Ep 2

Joe gives an update from the Marvin Keller HQ. The new quarterly is out, we have upgrades in the Blue Tree System, and Joe shares some notes from a Safety Conference. Big thank you to our own Jason Skowronski for our show music!

The Marvin Keller Podcast

We’re excited to introduce the official MK Podcast. Uploaded every week, episodes will contain updates, stories, and more. If there is something you’d like to hear on the podcast, please let us know at marvinkellerpodcast@gmail.com

Episode One: 
This week, Joe updates us on what’s been going on starting with the Family Fun Fiesta and a progress report on the CDL Training School. We have shirts for the Drivers as a Thank You gift, so please pick one up when you stop by HQ!

Introducing the Marvin Keller CDL Training Program


Ted Niebrugge is the CDL instructor for the Marvin Keller training program. Previously, he was a driver for Marvin Keller. He was also a driving instructor for 160 Driving Academy. Ted loves to help people by giving them more opportunities in the marketplace. While teaching at 160, Ted met many people who’s lives were changed when they received their CDL and were able to move onto better things.

Dylan is Ted’s first CDL student at MK. Dylan has successfully passed his written test and currently working on his road test. Before coming to the CDL training program, Dylan was previously working in a factory and was ready for a change. Congratulations to Dylan and welcome to the team, Ted! 

When a simple seatbelt could save you

Do you wear your seatbelt running down the road? I’ve met owner-ops that do, I’ve met plenty who don’t. One once told me he’d prefer to take his chances on being rattled around the cab and thrown out during an accident, versus the small possibility he might be trapped in the aftermath of an accident by the seatbelt itself.

CDC: Hundreds of truckers die annually from not wearing seatbelt

33 percent of truckers who died in 2012 crashes had skipped seat belts, but up to 40 percent would have lived if they had buckled …

That way of thinking may be common when it comes to seatbelt usage, but in crashes like one investigated recently in Kentucky, you can be sure it’s wrong if preservation of one’s life when the worst happens is the goal.

The report attached here was put together by the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research agent of the department of public health as part of the state Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation program. It details an investigation of a single-vehicle crash of a straight dump hauling on a two-lane in Kentucky in August of last year. The basics of the wreck included the driver taking a turn in the road perhaps too fast, and leaving the pavement, then rolling the rig off an embankment onto its passenger side, where its fuel tank ruptured and ignited.

Seat Belt Recommendations for Drivers

While proper road-embankment management might have prevented the rupturing of the fuel tank and resulting fire, as singled out in the report, for the driver in this case, the fact that he had not been wearing a seatbelt also looms large in the end result of his tragic passing at age 54 during the crash. The driver was apparently knocked unconscious by the crash and ended up on the passenger side of the vehicle, thus closest to the ground and to the greatest intensity of the subsequent fire. Despite nearby residents’ attempts to get to the driver, the fire was ultimately too intense, witnesses reported, and the driver perished. Had a seatbelt in use prevented his immobilizing nearer the ground, things might have been different.

Read the full report via this link, one that at the least may get you thinking about your own on-road practices. Though I don’t drive truck, I know it did the same for me.

Seatbelt violations trending up in recent years


Results above are from federal data mined for the for-hire trucking population by RigDig Business Intelligence, showing a general upward trend, though the most recent calendar year’s violation numbers were down nationally.

For those concerned about getting out of a vehicle after a crash when a seatbelt release mechanism gets locked, I’m reminded of a recent press release about a crowd-funding campaign for a ‘Cut-N-Go’ seatbelt cutter that is installed on belts and utilized only in an emergency when a belt needs to be cut. Like some other emergency cutters and window-breaking devices, it attaches to the belt itself, but has some unique features as well. Read more about it here.

Introducing… Women at the Wheel


Only 6.2 percent of Truckers are female according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Given this statistic, as a business we asked WHY? Why not more women in trucking?
The answer we came up with is our Women at the Wheel Program. It is designed and managed by women for women, and it is powered with TNT!

Meet Tammy, a veteran Driver with over 800,000 miles of cross country OTR Trucking experience. Tammy dispatches nearly 40 OTR Drivers and takes special interest in helping rookies and students become successful in OTR. She is equipped with the knowledge and experience to effectively train and support you into this career.

Meet Tina, another veteran Driver with 5 years of cross country OTR Trucking experience. Tina trains women students. One her recent students, Amanda, says “Tina is very thorough, offers assistance, and coaches you to make you a better driver.”

Both Tina and Tammy are very dedicated and committed to supporting their Drivers and helping you achieve their goals.

Just 6 percent of America’s truck drivers are women—here’s what it’s like

Originally posted on: https://cnb.cx/2M7bdLy

On a typical day, Lanelle Devlin wakes up around 10 or 11 a.m. and drives a Volvo D13 XE truck with a 53-foot trailer for as many as 11 hours.

A mom, wife and truck driver, Devlin is one of the women who makes up just 6.2 percent of the occupation that’s not male, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The long hours discourage many women from joining the field, but Devlin says she enjoys the adventures of the road and the freedom to work independently.

“I like being on my own and making my own decisions about how I’m going to get the job done,” she tells CNBC Make It.

Lanelle Devlin in front of her Volvo D13 XE truck

Lanelle Devlin in front of her Volvo D13 XE truck

Trucking presents a lot of challenges to women who choose to join the occupation — data from the American Trucking Association shows that over the past 15 years, the number of women in the industry has only increased slightly, from 4.5 to roughly 6 percent.

But it can also present significant opportunities. Truck drivers earned a mean salary of $44,500 last year according to the BLS, 90 percent of truckload fleets offer their drivers paid leave and four out of five private carriers offer their drivers a 401(k) plan with an employee contribution match. Ellen Voie, founder of the non-profit organization Women in Trucking Association, says that a crucial upside of the business is that women tend to be paid fairly for their work.

“Women and men are paid the same as drivers,” Voie says. “A carrier sets the pay based on mileage, hours or percentage of the load. It is not related to age, ethnicity or gender.”

Getting on the road

For the past year, Devlin has driven for freight and transportation company Werner Enterprises. Her family is based in Utah, and so her truck often serves as home. She’s on the road for about three weeks at a time, driving 11 hours or less each day to stay within the legal eight-day limit of 70 hours total. She then takes takes a two-to-three day break to spend time with her family.

Devlin decided to pursue truck driving later in life, but at 55 years old, she’s still the average age of most of her peers in the business, according to the BLS.

Before she received her commercial driver’s license (CDL) last year, Devlin held jobs as a UPS driver, waitress, receptionist and small business owner. For a while she was a stay-at-home mom. But in 2016, her son was diagnosed with Osteoblastoma, a rare bone disease, and her family needed greater financial security.

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Lanelle Devlin with her son Zane and her husband.

Lanelle Devlin with her son Zane and her husband.

“I mean that [diagnosis] kind of felt like somebody hit me in the face,” she says. “He’s 12 years old, and I had him at 43. I didn’t even think I was going to be a mommy, you know. [And at the time], my husband’s insurance sucked.”

This time around Devlin found getting a job more challenging. She was rejected from hourly roles like gym receptionist and delivery person for a donut shop, and so she narrowed her search and started to think about how she could earn money doing something she liked to do.

“I love driving and so I started looking at all these different driving jobs, and all I saw was CDL positions,” she says.

It costs an average of anywhere from $3,000 to $7,000 to earn your license. Devlin says a lot of people don’t know that several state unemployment offices offer grants and scholarships to cover the cost. After coming across an ad about getting your CDL license for free, Devlin called for more details and eventually enrolled in a class with the financial help of a local grant.

Gina Petelle, 60, earned her CDL license in 2003, and says she spent more than five months taking a course that included classroom and book work, as well as driving.

Devlin, who has created a YouTube channel to educate others about the industry, says that picking the wrong school can have a huge impact on your career. “Some schools are essentially flagged as ‘do not hire,’ because companies know they don’t do a good job of training their students.”

A truck driver speaks to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer soon after arriving in the U.S. from Mexico at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry cargo facility in San Diego, California.

Sam Hodgson | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A truck driver speaks to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer soon after arriving in the U.S. from Mexico at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry cargo facility in San Diego, California.

Challenges and opportunities

Unsurprisingly, Voie says that many female drivers are met with criticism from their male peers.

“Women in male-dominated industries need to prove themselves, and the trucking industry isn’t any exception,” she says. “When a female professional driver pulls into a loading dock, she’s often met with skepticism from the men around her, who watch her as she backs the rig.”

Petelle says that in her 15 years as a driver she’s experienced plenty of derogatory remarks. “I’ve had men tell me, ‘Why aren’t you home having babies?'” she says. “And they are usually the older men who are in their 50s and 60s.”

She and Devlin agree that the industry has a long way to go before it becomes more welcoming to women. Petelle, who no longer drives cross-country, says she’s lucky that she’s able to go home every night and sleep in her bed. But for long-distance drivers like Devlin, sleeping options are often limited to parking lots or trucking rest stops, not always the safest environments for women drivers.

“Sometimes the truck stops aren’t the nicest,” says Devlin. “You’ve got the traffic from prostitution and you’ve got people selling drugs. And frankly, a lot of the old time drivers, and even some of the new guys, are just a little disgusting and sometimes the truck stops smell like urine.”


Petelle says she’s had men flash their genitals at her on several occasions, and Devlin says she’s seen men step out of their trucks and urinate on the concrete. “That’s why most truck drivers love Walmart,” says Devlin. “You’ve got food, you’ve got clothes and you’ve got a bathroom.”

And yet, for drivers like Devlin and Petelle, the positives of driving, like pay, benefits and flexibility, outweigh the negatives. The industry is also facing a driver shortage, driving up wages and making now a prime time for women to join the field. Data from ATA indicates that the U.S. could face a shortfall of 174,000 drivers by 2026, a byproduct of an older workforce retiring.

To attract new talent, the ATA reports that many carriers are now offering competitive benefit packages and salaries that far surpass the $44,500 mean annual wage the BLS reported last year. According to the organization’s most recent survey, some companies are now paying truck load drivers an average of $53,000 per year, while some private fleet drivers are seeing $86,000 salaries.

A truck drives out of the city on Interstate 55 on January 25, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois.

Scott Olson | Getty Images
A truck drives out of the city on Interstate 55 on January 25, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois.

The future of trucking

There are fears that automation and the self-driving trucks being introduced by companies like Uber could put a serious dent in demand for drivers. Uber product lead Alden Woodrow tells The Atlantic that self-driving vehicles will only complement the work of human drivers, as some parts of the job can’t be automated, though the true impact remains to be seen.

As the industry continues trying to attract more drivers, Voie says she is doing her part to ensure that women are aware of the opportunities driving can provide. In 2014, the Women in Trucking Association partnered with the Girl Scouts to create the Girl Scout Transportation Patch. As part of this initiative, Voie and her team travel throughout the U.S. and Canada to tell young women about the many different opportunities in trucking. Her team has also released a doll named Clare, a truck driver, to help introduce little girls to the idea of trucking.

Devlin advises anyone looking to be a truck driver to give it a try, despite the challenges they may face.

“You have to be self-motivated,” she says. “For me, I’m just motivated to do the job bigger, better, faster and more efficient than anyone else.”

“Women at Work” is a CNBC Make It series in which we explore the experiences of women working in majority-male occupations. Does that describe you? Contact courtney.connley@nbcuni.com to share your story.

Like this story? Subscribe to CNBC Make It on YouTube!

Drivers of the Month: Richard Barnett and Gail Wilson

Richard was an electrician before becoming a driver. He decided to go into driving, because he want2017 Barnett Richard.jpged a change. Richard has been driving for over 20 years! He was referred by Gail Wilson, who he befriended while working at Star Transport. Before coming to Marvin Keller, Richard worked for Certified Express, in Neosho, MO. He decided to switch because he no longer wanted to haul refrigerated freight. Richard also owns four additional trucks. One of those trucks is also leased to Marvin Keller. Richard lives out of his truck, and enjoys staying out. When he isn’t driving, Richard spends time with his family and friends. He enjoys catching up on his tv shows and going to musicals. Everyone loves Richard! Richard is well known around the Marvin Keller office. He is always in a good mood, and doesn’t know a stranger. He is always willing to help out, and do what’s best for the company. He is the true definition of a team player. He is a joy to work with, and a well-rounded teammate. We are proud to have him on the team!


2017 Wilson GailBefore entering the trucking industry, Gail was a
Regional Manager for Subway. She decided to go into trucking because she knew she could be a great
driver, and could make a substantial living for her family. Gail has been driving for over 20 years. She started her career with Star Transport, and even worked alongside Marvin Keller’s Frank Rich! She then went on to HVH
before coming aboard. When Gail isn’t driving, she

enjoys spending time with her family and boating.Gail is an asset to the Marvin Keller Team. She has years of
experience, and a vast knowledge of the trucking industry. She is always willing to chip in and help out. She goes above and beyond for Marvin Keller! Gail has referred several owner operators to Marvin Keller. We greatly appreciate her willingness to grow the fleet.
We are grateful for Gail!

Maintenance Award: Aaron Maldonado

2017 Maldonado.jpg

Aaron Maldonado started with MK on 6/17/17 as a student, a family man who works the Flex 2 schedule which keeps him out for 21 days. Driving is in his blood, and has many family members who have driven or are still driving trucks. Aaron came to us from Lakeland CDL school in Mattoon and  received his OTR training from renowned Trainer Frankie Rich. Aaron gets around great, leaves out timely, does well on Pnet system and is a hard runner for MK, definitely an asset for our MK team. He takes pride in his work and also the upkeep of his truck and any equipment issues therefore Greg Sullivan has nominated Aaron for the  Maintenance award.

Trainer Spotlight: Tina Barlow

2018 Barlow Tina2

I do it to help other people.
I love giving, it makes me feel good.“”
~Tina Barlow. 

Tina Barlow is the newest member of the Marvin Keller Training Team and recently completed training her second student. Initially, Tina was a little apprehensive about training; being her own toughest critic she wasn’t sure if she had what it takes to be a trainer. With over three years of experience at Marvin Keller, previous flatbed experience, her outgoing personality and desire to help others, there was never a doubt that Tina would be a successful trainer. Tina continues to grow and develop as a Driver and a Trainer and shares those experiences with her trainees. Tina is a valuable part of the Marvin Keller Team and we are very excited she has joined the team to mentor new Drivers sharing her knowledge as a Marvin Keller Trainer.

NEW Referral Program

Referral Program

Now through September 15, 2018

A key to Marvin Keller’s success is the incredible quality of our drivers. To grow our fleet, we depend on our drivers to help us recruit talent. We want drivers that will match Marvin Keller’s reputation for quality. Instead of spending more cash on advertisements, we want to reward our own family members who bring in fantastic people. With the referral program, we are awarding those who bring in new drivers with an Omaha Steak Premier Selection Package as well as a cash bonus!

Each driver lead earns $100 (in addition to the Driver Referral Bonus which is $1000). To be eligible to apply, drivers must live in a hiring area, complete and online application (or in person), and speak with Greg or Aleta.

If the driver is hired from a referral, the person responsible for the referral will receive $500. After 30 days, the referee will receive the Omaha Steak gift. After 90 days, the payout will be $250.

Program Rules

All Marvin Keller employees, except Human Resources Personnel,
Recruiting Personnel, and Managers with hiring authority over the

referred candidates are eligible to refer candidates.

All candidates will be evaluated for employment consistent with
Marvin Keller policies and procedures.

Bonuses effective until 09/15/18

Screen Shot 2018-06-06 at 11.48.06 AM

“Trucks are for Girls” Day Hosted by Marvin Keller Trucking

Area Girl Scouts now have another patch to show they learned about something new.  Marvin Keller Trucking recently partnered with the Women in Trucking Association to sponsor a Trucks are for Girls Event for local Girl Scouts on Saturday, May 19th.  Marvin Keller invited Girl Scout troops from Moultrie and Shelby Counties for a fun-filled morning of learning.  The purpose of the event was to teach the girls about the importance of trucking to our economy while they were able to get an up close view of a tractor-trailer.  At the event, the Girl Scouts visited several activity stations throughout the Marvin Keller facility.  They received their own dispatch, saw a pre-trip inspection, got to climb in a trailer, and even took a ride in a semi-truck.  Volunteers who work at Marvin Keller were on site to help the Girl Scouts with the activities and answer any questions they had about the transportation industry.  They wrapped up the day with lunch that was catered by Griffin’s BBQ Crew Catering.  The girls each received a Transportation Patch, which was created by the Women in Trucking Association in 2014.  The Marvin Keller team hopes they left with a better understanding of what keeps America moving and perhaps evolve into a future career in distribution, logistics, commercial driving, or other rewarding occupations. Group 2 (1).jpeg

12 Tips on How to Maintain a Healthy Relationship While Traveling For Work

Originally posted on: Huffington Post


If you, like millions of other professionals, frequently travel for business, you might have mixed feelings toward this obligation. While it can be exciting to visit new locations and make interesting contacts, the demands of being away for an extended period can cause both physical and mental exhaustion, putting strain on your home life.

In particular, traveling for your job could potentially take a negative toll if you are married or in a serious relationship. Attending meetings around the country or even across the globe, while your significant other stays behind, can be stressful and taxing for both parties. Therefore, it’s crucial that each of you strive to bridge the geographical distance by consistently meeting one another’s emotional needs. Communication is key for any relationship, but it doubles in importance when that relationship must stand the test of travel.

So, to keep communication open and romance alive, try these practical tips on maintaining a healthy bond with your partner, in the midst of catching a business class flight.

Be Open and Honest 
If you’re preparing to embark on a work-related trip, be aware of your partner’s needsahead of time. A simple and effective way to figure this out is by taking the Love Language Test together. Based on your significant other’s “love language,” you can determine how to show him/her affection while you’re away. Before leaving for the airport, both of you should also address any unresolved conflicts or misunderstandings. You won’t want to deal with argumentative phone calls after entertaining clients all day, so settle that tension and kiss goodbye on a positive note.

Know the End Date
Nothing stretches out time and distance like ambiguity, so make sure to clarify when exactly you will be home. This way, your significant other will have a specific date on the calendar to look forward to. While you’re apart, discuss ideas for a romantic date night that you both would enjoy upon your return, and when the trip is over, demonstratively convey your excitement to be reunited again.

Talk to Each Other Regularly
This may seem like a no-brainer, but many couples forget to stay connected throughout the day. Maintaining continuous dialogue while traveling is critical because, otherwise, that “out of sight, out of mind” mentality could become your new reality. To avoid this, agree upon a communication schedule for the duration of your trip. Text each other “good morning,” call him/her on your lunch break, and plan a Skype date every night. Get creative and send photos or videos documenting your adventures. Post sweet messages or silly anecdotes on one another’s social media accounts. But, above all, commit to keeping in touch as your top priority.


Agree on a Budget
Carefully track how much money you’re spending while away from a regular routine and make sure your partner is doing the same while home alone. It’s tempting to indulge in room service or grab an after-hours drink with coworkers, but be frugal whenever possible. Remember that your partner might feel like ordering take-out instead of cooking for just him/herself, so you each should account for individual expenditures. Set a budget beforehand then strive not to exceed that predetermined limit. Saving versus spending is a sensitive debate within any relationship, so don’t let the pressures of distance aggravate your financial situation.

Keep Your Partner in the Loop 
Although you might be in a different time zone, that’s no excuse to fall off your significant other’s grid. Inform him/her of where you’ll be staying, what your schedule will entail, and which colleagues you’re traveling with. These details provide a sense of comfort, knowing you both are remaining active in one another’s lives. Tell your partner about the sights you encountered or the people you met, then listen attentively as he/she recounts what happened back at home.

Call When You Say You’re Going to Call
Often, people who travel for business struggle to keep that cliched “I’ll call you tonight around 7:30” commitment. Making promises, then failing to deliver fuels underlying tension that eventually escalates into a dispute. You’ll feel guilty and your partner will feel neglected, so simply honor your end of the communication bargain. Even set reminders on your phone, and something work-related prevents you from calling at the appropriated time, send an apologetic text message. He/she will understand and appreciate the heads-up.


Do Things Together Separately
This may sound like a paradox, but you can still participate in couples’ bonding activities while apart. Read a book series together, watch the same TV drama on Netflix, listen to identical music playlists or podcasts, train for a 5K event, mud run or cycling race that you can jointly compete in. Pursuing similar interests creates closeness despite the miles between you and fosters stimulating conversation topics, rather than just recapping your business meetings.

Continue to Express Your Love
Ensuring that romantic intimacy doesn’t fizzle out can be a daunting task when you and your significant other must forego face-to-face contact for extended periods. So, keep the spark alive by surprising him/her with “thinking of you” momentos, like a postcard or touristy trinket from your travels. Arrange for flowers to be delivered to his/her doorstep during your time spent apart. Or, before boarding the plane, leave love notes scattered around the house for your partner to stumble upon while you’re away. Have fun with this because even the most trivial romantic gestures will remind you both that “absence truly does make the heart grow fonder.”

Focus On Each Other
When talking by phone or video, make sure you focus on your partner, not on what may be going on around you. Paul Moore, a businessman and the marketing strategist for Aries, has had extensive experience learning how to maintain relationships while on the road over his 28 years of marriage. He shares what he’s learned from his experience: “When you’re spending time with your loved ones, be fully present and committed to them. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by your phone and work pressures. It’s far better to spend 5 minutes fully focused on your spouse than to spend 30 distracted minutes where they don’t feel you’re really focused on them.

Pursue Your Own Hobbies and Continue Living Life
It’s important to maintain personal interests and carve out some “me time.” Then, when you and your partner touch base, update one another on these individual pursuits, such as playing an instrument, going for a bike ride, trying out a recipe, dabbling in photography, or whatever you enjoy. Although you’ll understandably miss each other, avoid wallowing in these feelings. Keep pressing forward and nurturing yourself emotionally.

Travel With Your Partner
If you’re given advance notice about an upcoming business trip, set aside enough funds to take your partner along for the ride. While you’re working throughout the day, suggest that he/she go sight-seeing and offer personal recommendations if you’ve previously visited this destination. Then, meet up when the workday ends for a romantic evening on the town. If your schedule and budget allows, stay for an extra weekend and make more lifelong memories. Even job-related traveling can be relaxing when you turn it into a couples’ getaway.

Use Technology Well
While becoming absorbed with LED screens can often distract us from investing in real-world relationships, when used tactfully, technology can also enhance the connectionbetween you and your significant other. Here are a few suggestions on putting your gadgets to work:

  • Program the calendar or alarm on your smartphone to alert you when it’s time for a text or phone call.
  • Download Skype or Google Hangout, so you can see each other via video chat.
  • If your partner loves receiving gifts, send him/her something special (with a personalized note) from his/her favorite online retailer.
  • Share photos and videos via social media as a unique way to catch up on each other’s daily activities.


There’s no doubt that being separated from your partner can pose a significant relational challenge. However, you can make the best of this situation by prioritizing your relationship, no matter how far away your career endeavors might take you. By implementing these tips into the next travel itinerary, you might even notice that you and your partner are getting to know each other like never before.

This article originally appeared on The Good Men Project. Reprinted with permission.

A new mobile communication solution is on the horizon

The company has entered into a new agreement with Blue Tree Systems, Inc. and will begin replacing our current units beginning in February, 2018.  We are excited about this new telematics solution.  Our team evaluated all the usual suspects (competitors) and chose Blue Tree.  The top reasons for the change were primarily based on an increase in downtime and a reduction in reliability with our current provider, plus the advanced age of our hardware.    

Some of the improvements include a more robust navigation system featuring Tom-Tom and a better user experience inside the portal.  We will have a new metric, called the “anticipation indicator”, which measures the time between braking and acceleration where a longer duration is an indicator of safe
defensive driving.  This monitors the old driving cliche of “one foot on the brake and one foot on the accelerator”.

Claire Brickey has been appointed as the Blue Tree Champion responsible for coordinating and providing oversight for the implementation team.  The Total-Mail/TMW integration has proven to be a  challenge but we are working through the expected bugs and will be performing tests on the old company van before proceeding to the work flow testing of the (4) installed units.  After the test phase has been completed in a couple of weeks we will move into the installation phase and hope to have all units installed by the end of Q1.  The system may operate differently than you are used to but it is very simple to catch on and we will be here to support everyone through the implementation.  Instructional videos will be made available soon.

Customer Spotlight ADM

The Daniels Linseed Co was founded in 1902 in Minneapolis, MN
and re-named Archer Daniels Midland Company in 1923.  Today, ADM is
one of the largest agricultural processor and food  ingredient providers in the world.   We have been hauling freight for ADM for many years
but in 2017 we saw a 30% increase in the number of orders they are
booking with Marvin Keller.  This growth is because of the excellent service and on-time delivery we provide for them. We primarily haul outbound freight from the Decatur, IL facility and deliver to 36 different states including Georgia, North Carolina, Michigan, Iowa, Tennessee, and Texas.  

The products are containers of cooking oil, pan sprays, and shortening–made from corn, sunflower seeds, canola, or peanuts.  Some other products are Lysine, Threonine, and Arcon, which are animal feed
ingredients, as well as Sorbitol Crystalline which is used in gum and “chewy” foods. The ADM plant is the largest employer in Decatur and has over 4000 employees.   We are proud to be a top carrier for them
and hope to continue to see growth and new opportunities.

Leveraging Your Routing Guide

Originally posted on: http://www.inboundlogistics.com/cms/article/leveraging-your-routing-guide/

A routing guide plays an important role in setting the strategy for carrier selection. It is essentially a shipper’s guide to choosing a carrier to move a particular shipment. While there are many forms of routing guides, an increasing number of companies switched from paper to online portals and beyond to enhanced transportation management system technology that enables dynamic routing guides for maximum cost savings and service improvement.

Steve Barber, vice president of operations at Transplace, offers the following tips to get the most out of your routing guide.

1. Balance your routing guide approach. Determine what lanes you want in your routing guide versus how much goes into a backup matrix or spot market. You can realize savings or protect important capacity by tweaking your routing guide to correspond with spot market rates in a particular area.

2. Select your mode first, then your carrier. Before you choose a specific carrier, make a mode decision based on cost, as opposed to more general weight or cube guidelines. Then use your routing guide to select the right truck, intermodal, less-than-truckload, or parcel carrier based on the logistics strategy.

3. Base your guide on your overall logistics strategy. Factor in the importance you place on using asset-based carriers versus third-party logistics providers, customer service standards, and cost savings goals.

4. Use data. Keeping careful track of historical lane, performance, and cost data for your carrier base is critical to ongoing routing guide strategy.

5. Leverage technology. Paper routing guides, and even static routing guides available via a portal, are no longer adequate. Advanced transportation management systems are available to shippers of all sizes managing all supply chain complexities, and can give your organization a cost savings and efficiency boost.

6. Keep it simple. Make sure your strategy and routing guide are as simple as your network will allow. Minor savings may not be worth a multi-tiered, multi-load routing guide. And just because technology makes a certain level of complexity available, doesn’t mean it is the right solution.

7. Know your routing guide depth. How many routing guide carriers do you need for a specific lane? For example, if you have a high-volume route, you may need access to more carriers to ensure that you have all bases covered. If you have a lane with low volume, you might not need as large of a carrier selection.

8. Communicate clearly. Ensure that you carefully communicate carrier awards, expectations, and compliance guidelines with anyone using your routing guide, as well as with your carriers. This includes key information such as ship-to and ship-from locations, drop-trailer, and labeling requirements.

9. Create stakeholder scorecards. Publish stakeholder scorecards weekly to track key performance indicators and data. You’ll want to have scorecards for your ship points—suppliers, distribution centers, and others—as well as your carriers. That way, if something in your routing guide isn’t effective, you can utilize these weekly scorecards to get to the root of the problem and fix it.

10. Stay the course. Set a logistics strategy that works for your organization and stick with it. You can revise your routing guide to make any necessary changes for enhanced efficiency as needed, but a best practice is to completely reconstruct your guide no more than once each year.

The Ultimate Roadtrip with Dusty and Ethan

Dusty Hodge has been in the trucking industry for about 20 years. He’s also the 13th Owner Operator in his family. To say the least, he comes from a trucking family and is proud to be a part of the family’s legacy. Recently, Dusty took his son, Ethan on the road with him.

Ethan has traveled with his dad before and has gotten very good at using the atlas to read maps and tracks their travels by GPS. Dusty has made a point of teaching Ethan more than one method of navigation because, as he tells his son, technology isn’t always dependable. Ethan always enjoys the adventure of traveling from the family farm in Salem and seeing the country with his dad.

On this spring break trip, the two traveled from Illinois to Texas and all the way to Wisconsin. Going from the Texas warmth to the Wisconsin snow, Ethan exclaims, “Dad! Wisconsin is too cold… let’s go back to Texas!”

While on the road, Ethan has picked up all kinds of skills in problem solving and even maintaining the truck with dad.

When Amy (from the Marvin Keller office) posted on People’s Net, she addressed Dusty and Ethan together. Ethan was ecstatic to be a part of the team.



Don Slater originally hired in at MK back in 2012 and came back last May. He is a Lincoln Land College Grad who also worked in manufacturing and resides in Jacksonville. Don works the 4 day work week that offers him more time to spend with family. Tammy Clough nominated Don because he is always punctual and reliable and does a great job of communicating ETA’s, routings, and directions.  Don even goes the extra mile by sharing his suggestions and ideas for improving directions and routings, which is updated in TMW.  Tammy indicated that Don has never been late on load and that she is really feels fortunate to work with Don.  We want to recognize Don for his outstanding work and contributions to MK.  Congratulations Don!


Karl is a Lincoln Land grad who worked at Pam
Transportation before starting at MK  in 2014 and was
nominated for this award by Greg Sullivan.  He is known
for keeping a close eye on the equipment and is proactive with scheduled maintenance and repairs.  Recently Karl unselfishly assisted a fellow MK Driver experiencing slick conditions at a dock and was stuck.  He stayed behind to make sure our Driver was ok and back on the road.  This is great example of demonstrating team work and genuine care for others.  During his free time Karl enjoys time drag racing his Camaro.

President’s Award: DAN EMEL

Nominated by Amy Graven for a great job transition, improvement, and career progression.

Dan Emel recently transitioned from Driver to Owner Operator, and he calls it “…the best thing ever!” With becoming an Owner Operator, Dan has received more pay, is able to choose his own load, and chooses where he wants to go. The transition was incredibly easy as Marvin Keller helped him every step along the way. From all the details from plates, insurance, and everything else, he has had assistance with becoming an Owner Operator. Dan has been able to keep the same truck, and it’s been very well handled throughout its lifetime. The shop guys have been wonderful and helpful when it came to maintenance. Before, Dan never considered being an Owner Operator, but when he looked at the truck payments / lease options with other companies, the cost was outrageous. Through this transition, Dan really experienced what it meant when Marvin Keller is described as a family company. “They look out for you. It’s really like being a part of a family”, Dan explains.


What Is a CDL License, and Why Is It Necessary?

If you’re curious about getting a CDL license, here is a great introductory article to what the experience is like.

Originally posted: https://www.cdlcareernow.com/articles/what-to-expect-from-your-cdl-class

What Is a CDL License, and Why Is It Necessary?

Trucks are ginormous machines, and they take a certain amount of learned skills to be able to operate them. In order to drive a truck, you must have a CDL. A CDL is a specialized driver’s license proving you’re knowledgeable in these vehicles’ ways. There are three types of CDLs available: CDL Class A, B, and C.

  • CDL Class A: This license allows you to operate most types of trucks, single or combined with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more with a towing weight of 10,000 pounds or more. It includes all license classes.

  • CDL Class B: You able to operate single or combined vehicles with a GVWR of 26,001, but what you’re towing must be under 10,000 pounds. You can also operate class C vehicles.

  • CDL Class C: You are able to drive a vehicle carrying a total of 16 passengers, including you, only if it is under 26,001 GVWR. You may also carry hazardous material if it’s under the 26,001 threshold. Class A and B are not allowed.


To get your license, you will enroll in a truck driver training program, either through a private institution, a trucking company, or a community college or trade school. Once you’ve completed your training, which can last from a few weeks to a few months, you’ll take a test on what you’ve learned, both from a practical and hands-on standpoint. If you pass this exam, you’ll get your CDL license and begin the actual training period. From there, you get to hit the road on your own, unless you choose to team drive.

What You Need to Know About Your CDL Training

As mentioned, there are a few different types of truck driver training. There’s no right or wrong version; you need to choose the type of training facility that best fits your circumstances. A few things to consider when you’re trying to make your decision are:

  • Is the school and program accredited? If it is, that means the Department of Education has given its stamp of approval; the school meets stringent educational requirements.

  • Is the school and program certified? If it is, that means the Department of Transportation has approved the school based on the set standards.

  • Is the school and program licensed? If it is, that means the instructors, the curriculum, and the facility have all met the minimum requirements set forth by whichever state you’re being educated in.

  • Is the school listed with the Better Business Bureau? Check its ratings through BBB and other sites that do reviews to help you make an educated decision.

  • Does the school offer any guarantees? Does it make promises that you’ll be well-trained to pass the CDL licensing exam, does it offer job placement, and is there additional training if you need it?

  • What is included in the price of the tuition? Typically, all the necessary supplies, extra help, classroom and over-the-road training are included.

  • Avoid “FREE” training.

  • Make sure the instructors and trainers are fully licensed and professionals in the industry.


So, now you’ve enrolled in truck driver training, or you’re seriously considering it. But you’re curious about what happens once you pay the tuition.

Here’s what to expect you’ll go over in your CDL training:

  • Road signs and their rules and regulations

  • Operating and maneuvering trucks

  • How to read maps and plan out your runs

  • Use of electronic logs

  • Pre- and post-trip vehicle inspection

  • Over-the-road driving

  • Safety procedures

  • Coupling and uncoupling a trailer from your truck

  • Computer training, depending on the school


Your first 40 hours will be focused on classroom training, but you’ll still be taken outside to do some hands-on learning with trucks. The program builds on itself and moves rapidly until you’re actually training on the road. You may start out with a short highway drive at first, but you’ll gradually work your way up until, for the remainder of your training, you’re on the road. Once you’re training behind the wheel, you’ll get a deeper look into:

  • Turning the vehicle

  • Railroad crossing and intersections

  • City and highway driving

  • Pre- and post-trip inspections

  • Testing the brakes

How to Easily Pass All the CDL Exams

Hopefully your program will be well rounded, and your brain will be running over with all the information you need in order to pass the Class A test the first time around.

Here are some pointers to prepare you for passing your road test:

  • If you can, get plenty of practice days leading up to the big one.

  • The night before, get a good night’s sleep. Being well rested keeps your mind alert.

  • Get to the testing facility early so you can familiarize yourself with the area; it will keep you from getting too nervous.


There are some mistakes that are considered acceptable which are:

  • turning too wide

  • missing a shift


Mistakes to try and avoid (at all costs) because they can make or break your opportunity the first time around are:

  • hitting curbs

  • rolling backward during a stop

  • not checking your mirrors


The testing instructor will be looking at other things such as how you’re behaving during the testing, how you handle any pressures coming at you, and whether you’re relaxed and confident. The final word will be the instructors, and you want to come across as being completely competent and ready to take on this career. To pass, you cannot have more than 30 points deducted.

About the CDL Knowledge Test

This is the written segment of your exam; it will test all the classroom learning you did. Specifics such as state rules and regulations will be on the exam, as will be weight limitations. To get a headstart, you can take this free practice exam. It will help you study.

  • Take lots of notes during class and while studying.

  • The test will be done on a computer.

  • It will be multiple choice questions.

  • You need an 80 percent or higher to pass.

  • Go to the state CDL manual and study it.


Once you’ve passed and you have your license tucked away in your wallet, you’re ready to move onto the next stage in your career!

Study: Women veterans make excellent truckers

Originally posted: http://www.trucker.com/news/study-women-veterans-make-excellent-truckers

While fewer truckers are women or veterans, both groups tend to be safer drivers who driver more and stick with the same job longer, according to Omnitracs data.

Josh Fisher | Nov 10, 2017

There are two groups of truck drivers that have fewer accidents, drive more miles and stay in the same job longer: veterans and women. And thanks to federal initiatives to help veterans get jobs in transportation, we should start seeing more women vets piloting trucks on American roads.

Based on data it has been compiling for a decade, Omnitracs says women veterans would make for excellent truck drivers. And those women could find higher pay than the average salary garnered by the average female veterans in the private sector.

“Although women and veterans make up a smaller population in trucking, they are great truckers,” Lauren Domnick, Omnitracs’ director of data and analytics, told American Trucker this week.

According to the Omnitracs study, fewer than 9% of truckers are women. And 19% of all truckers have a military background.

While there are fewer women and veterans driving commercial trucks, those who are tend to be safer than the male truckers who didn’t serve in the military.

With driver retention a growing problem in the trucking industry, Omnitracs’ data shows that women veterans could help solve that problem because both women and veterans tend to stay at the same job longer. The same data shows that women and veterans are more likely to drive more miles and have fewer severe accidents than the average truck driver.

Photo: Terrance Bell, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Lee

Pvt. Kirsten Brown, 508th Transportation Company, adjusts her helmet in preparation for the Light Medium Tactical Vehicle event of her unit’s annual rodeo.

Looking at statistics gathered over the past 12 months (October 2016-September 2017) by Omnitracs, there was not one month that women truckers had a higher turnover rate than men.

There were only two months in the past year that female truck drivers had more severe accidents than men. Looking recent data from July, August and September 2017, women truckers have been behind the wheel for less than 0.1 accidents per 100 drivers; men have more than doubled that with 0.2 accidents per 100 drivers in the same period.

“We saw that women have significantly fewer rollovers and rear-end collisions, which are two very costly accidents for fleets,” Domnick said.

Women have also consistently driven more miles on average than male truckers over the past year. Two months (October 2016 and May 2017) in the past year, women averaged more than 7,500 miles — an average that men never reached.

“I think it’s safe to infer that women are safer drivers in terms of both sever accidents and all accidents,” Domnick said. “That is what the trends indicate.”

These women trucker stats tend to mirror military veteran trucker stats, Domnick of Omnitracs said.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration wants to make it easier for veterans to get work in the transportation industry. Recent initiatives have cleared the path for veterans who drove large vehicles in the military to make it easier to get a commercial driver’s license (CDL).

Recruiters and trucking companies, Domnick noted, are always looking for safe, productive drivers. “Women tend to be safer, have longer tenure and be more productive,” she said. “And veterans have the same trends.”

Owner Operator Tax Deductions

Originally posted: http://fastertruck.com/pages/owner-operator-tax-deductions.html

Owner Operators Trucker Tax Deductions

The Tax Man Cometh: What to Expect as an Owner Operator

For most owner operators out there, filing taxes for the year comes as second nature since they deal with the tax man each and every year. While not the case for every owner operator, most feel as though they have been around long enough to know the ins and outs of their tax bill. However, when you take into account the fact that tax law is one of the most diverse topics, usually changing each year, it doesn’t come as a surprise that some owner operators miss a few things. Because owner operators hold a quite unique position in terms of tax stipulations, it would not hurt to do a little research so you don’t upset the IRS when the tax man comes knocking.

An owner operator is subjected to a different set of tax deductions than, say, the average company employee or company driver; which is the first thing an owner operator needs to keep in mind.

This is where most owner operators run into trouble, especially those who are new to the business. Generally, when working for a trucking company, whether you are a company driver or an owner operator, one will receive one of two tax forms—either a W-2 or 1099—at the end of the year. In most cases, if you are a company employee then you will receive a W-2, which simply means that when you receive your paycheck for the pay period, the necessary taxes have already been deducted. An independent contractor—which most owner operators are classified as—will typically receive a 1099 form which means that they are personally responsible for paying their own taxes.

Most seasoned owner ops are quite familiar with the term “Schedule C,” since it is the form that they need to file in order to report all the income earned on the 1099 tax form;

any other income earned from truck driving is also reported on the Schedule C form as well. When it comes to filing taxes, most folks view the process as daunting, so filling out any extra paperwork is going to seem grueling. However, filing a Schedule C tax form offers a distinct advantage in regards to the fact that it allows owner ops to deduct expenses right down to the dollar. Of course, regular employees can do this too, but the nice folks over at the IRS certainly do not make it the easiest of tasks.

So the big question that you as an owner op might have now is just what exactly can you deduct from your tax bill.

The answer to that question can be summed up with three words—work-related expenses. The beauty behind being able to deduct work-related expenses is that a truck driver’s job is almost exclusively made up of work related expenses. Everything from routine maintenance to the bottle of glass cleaner you purchased to clean the bugs off of your windshield can be deducted in most cases. With that being said, when you realize that something as simple as glass cleaner can be deducted, it should come as no surprise that most truck drivers end up missing a substantial amount of deductions on their tax returns.

To fully understand the vast amount of items that qualify as deductions, you must do your own research as there literally hundreds of items.

Most truckers realize the obvious deductions, such as tools and the more costly expenses. However, in that same respect, most truckers simply look over the fact that they just bought new curtains for the cab, the new log book, or the DOT Physical Exam all of which can be deducted. The value of a receipt has never been more important since any expense related to your job as an owner operator is now a factor on your tax return.

Tags: owner operator trucker tax deductions, irs tax deductions owner operators, owner operator trucking business taxes, smart tax deductions trucking business owners, irs tax forms owner operator trucks.

Putting Art on Wheels and Taking It Back to the Streets


Top, the sides of a truck painted by Remed; bottom, Sergio Mora’s truck. CreditPanci Calvo

MADRID — Jaime Colsa owns a transport company that delivers ordinary consumer goods — computers, food, drinks. The contents of his trucks aren’t eye-catching, but his vehicles certainly are, adorned with paintings showing cartoonlike faces, dogs, brightly colored geometric patterns, spirals and landscapes.

These trucks that crisscross Spain have been painted by artists as part of the Truck Art Project. Financed by Mr. Colsa, the project aims in part to bring street art back to its roots.

“Thanks to people like Banksy, this kind of art has made its way into the gallery,” Mr. Colsa, 45, said here recently. “But I thought it would be interesting and challenging to do the opposite — to get artists out of the gallery or the museum and actually back on the street.”


Jaime Colsa, the owner of a Spanish transport company, is the driving force behind the truck art project.CreditPanci Calvo

Banksy is not among the participants, but many of Mr. Colsa’s truck painters, most of whom are Spanish, started out as street artists, though by now they have also exhibited in major galleries and museums.

Abraham Lacalle, whose work has been shown at the Reina Sofía Museum here, painted what he called a truck’s “explosion,” inspired by thoughts of what could happen to the merchandise transported inside.

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Two years after completing his painting, Mr. Lacalle said in a phone interview that it was strange to see how trucks and vans had more recently also become associated with terrorism, after attacks in Nice, Berlin, London and, earlier this month, Barcelona.

“I painted with some sense of humor, imagining what could happen to the content of a truck in movement,” he said. “Nobody was then thinking about trucks as a tool of terrorism, so a work that was meant to be fun could now unintentionally appear pretty provocative.”


Sergio Mora and the truck he painted. CreditPhotographs by Panci Calvo

The most recent truck was painted by Nuria Mora, whose street art has been included in a show at the Tate Modern in London. Her truck sports a brightly colored geometric abstraction that she described as “a game of balance and tension.”

The truck project was born when Mr. Colsa commissioned an artist, Okuda San Miguel, to paint a mural in 2013 on a warehouse for his company, Palibex, on the outskirts of Madrid. When it was done, Mr. Colsa told Mr. San Miguel that “it was a real shame to have this great work on a warehouse that so few people then get to see it.”

The conversation shifted to whether the painting could have been done on a vehicle rather than a wall. So far, Mr. Colsa has spent about €300,000, or around $327,000, on the truck project, which is overseen by two curators, Fer Francés and Óscar Sanz.

In some ways, Mr. Sanz said, the project was “a wink to 30 years ago,” when artists were decorating “the trains and trucks of New York.” Some of those artists have become more established and also more used to painting on larger areas, like murals on buildings. But painting a truck is different.


Nuria Mora, who painted a truck that sports a brightly colored geometric abstraction that she described as “a game of balance and tension.” CreditPanci Calvo

“Movement makes it something of a fleeting vision,” he said. And, he added, since many of the artists chosen used to tag trucks or subway cars (or had peers who did), they “enjoyed the challenge of returning to where their kind of art started.”

At first, Mr. Colsa said, the response was mixed, both from his drivers and some of his customers. One driver, he said, complained to management, because he believed that his truck had been vandalized and splashed with “horrible paint.” Attitudes, however, have changed.

Some of the truckers “couldn’t understand what kind of idiotic thing had been painted on their truck,” Mr. Colsa said. “But they now see that people really watch them drive past and often photograph their truck, so they’re delighted.”

As the project has grown, more artists have been drawn to it, to the point that Mr. Colsa said he now has a waiting list of artists. Many of them, he said, were drawn to the project because of their interest in the unusual interaction between the artwork and the viewers.

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Top, the sides of a truck painted by Aryz; bottom, the truck painted by Ana Barriga. CreditPanci Calvo

Again it comes down to movement. “Paintings generate a very different experience depending on from where they are watched,” he said. “The viewer normally does the moving to get to see the art, while we’re bringing the art to him, in a very unexpected manner.”

The artists can paint what they want, and also choose among the models in Mr. Colsa’s fleet of trucks. “Some artists prefer a smaller truck, especially if they work with paint brushes and oil,” he said, “while others specifically ask to work on the larger, long-distance trucks, also because they want to imagine how other drivers react when they overtake the truck on a highway.”

Mr. Sanz, one of the curators, said there was interest in replicating the project overseas, including in the United States and Mexico.

In June, Mr. Colsa withdrew the first two trucks that had been painted as part of his project, including Mr. San Miguel’s, because of the wear-and-tear that the paintings had suffered. The more recent artwork, he said, would last longer because the artists were now using a stronger coating to protect their paintings.

“They should last 10 or 12 years without needing any repainting, but not forever,” he said. “This kind of work is meant to live, but also die at some stage.”

Meet Tammy Clough


Tammy is a driver manager with Marvin Keller and is originally from Lovington, IL. She has been with the company for 11 years, and has been a truck driver for 20 years. She studied fine arts and received her masters from UIC. Inspired by her high school teacher, Tammy pursued her degree in the arts. Her master’s thesis project was titled, “Dreamin’, Driving, Route 133” because of all the speeding tickets she was given on Route 133.

Once she decided she wanted a new career move, she chose to pursue her CDL from the driving school, CJ’s.

Tammy loved being a driver because it meant there is no boss over you. She equally loved seeing the country and creating relationships on her route. Being away from home is always hard and missing life events has been tough.

Alongside her partner Debbie, Tammy has raised four kids. They now have grandchildren.

She loves creating watercolors, acrylics, and pencil drawings.

Job Postings Update

Just a reminder to our drivers: If you refer a driver to Marvin Keller, there is a referral bonus for you!

Driver Lead/Application Bonus $100

Each Driver Lead earns $100 (in addition to the Driver Referral Bonus)

Driver Referral Bonus $1000
Total $1000 in 6 months
  Driver Hired $500

  After 90 days $250

  After 6 months $250

We have just updated the job postings, please share it with your friends and network!


Comchek Policy Reminder from the Accounting Team

When a Comdata Check is issued, it is our policy that the Driver MUST turn in the receipt for the purchase….this includes lumpers, parking, truck/trailer repairs, etc.  The receipts can be scanned in via Mobile Capture as a Cash Receipt.  If the receipt is not turned in, the Comchek will be treated as a cash advance and be taken out of your settlement.


All About Caffeine

Originally from: https://www.thetruckersreport.com/library/all-about-caffeine/

The benefits of caffeine have been seen throughout the years. From truckers looking to stay awake during a long haul to students pulling an “all nighter” while studying for an exam to people looking for a pick me up in the mornings on the way to work. Caffeine has been an all natural stimulant used by millions of people every day.

Caffeine is a stimulant that was discovered by a German Chemist named Friedrich Ferdinand Runge in 1819. He originally called it kaffein in German, which in English translated to caffeine.

Over time caffeine was found to be in a variety of foods and drink such as beans, leaves and in some fruits. Its affect was that of a stimulant, and caffeine was found naturally or as an additive to various items such as coffee, tea, energy drinks and soft drinks. The addition of caffeine in these drinks gave users an added boost of energy. However, over time manufacturers of these products began producing drinks without caffeine so that users can enjoy the drinks without the effects of caffeine.

While caffeine has its benefits as a stimulant, and is effective in providing an energy boost, it’s not without its disadvantages. Taken in moderate amounts, caffeine is fine. However, if it is taken in heavier does, it has an addictive quality. Sudden stoppages of caffeine can result in the user experiencing headache, irritability, an inability to concentrate, drowsiness, insomnia and pain in the stomach, upper body, and joints, which can last up to five days.

As with any other additive to a person’s system, caffeine can have different effects on different people. Some people can ingest caffeine and it can keep them awake for hours. Others can take caffeine in the evening and still fall asleep a short time later.

Caffeine has proven to be a useful, natural stimulant for millions of people. Taken in moderation, it can provide drivers with a boost to keep them awake while driving, it can give students the energy they need to stay up all night and study or finish a term paper for class and gives morning commuters the energy to face the early morning traffic. However, research has proven that if overused, it can cause health issues. For more information on the benefits and health concerns of caffeine, we have gathered several online resources:

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10 Best Funny Trucking Video Mishaps – Videos that Will Make Reach for Your Seatbelt!

Originally from: http://www.alltrucking.com/articles/10-best-funny-trucking-video-mishaps-%E2%80%93-videos-will-make-reach-your-seatbelt/

10 Best Funny Trucking Video Mishaps

You know what’s worse than experiencing an embarrassing moment? Having that moment caught on video! Unfortunately for the drivers in these YouTube truck driver videos, their bad luck was captured for all to witness. So let these trucking mishap videos be reminders to always put safety first in your trucking career. Check out these 10 trucking videos mishaps to catch a glimpse of what situations you should try to avoid at all costs when you’re on the road…

2.) Unloading accident.

Look, this is a serious situation no matter how you look at it. We had to keep watching just to make sure the guy gets back up. Fortunately, he springs to his step.

3.) How not to unload a forklift.

While this might not be an 18-wheeler having problems, many drivers understand the complications that can come with working with heavy equipment and transportation. Construction equipment like forklifts can turn a typical workday into a difficult, yet hilarious situation like this one.

4.) Shopping cart accident.

Sometimes, there are challenges at work that require all hands on deck, as this YouTube trucking clip shows. You better believe everyone who saw these shopping carts fly off this truck is going to have to pitch in to help clean this freak accident up.

5.) Truck driver showing his skills.

This one had us on the edge of our seats. SPOILER ALERT: He handles this like a champ. This video should be shown in every CDL training school.

6.) Will it clear?

This is an age old question in the trucking industry. One that every driver has probably been faced with at some time or another. This video compilation shows why you don’t want to make the mistake that these drivers did. Fortunately, the drivers in these videos weren’t hurt in these accidents – even the last driver, who apparently got his child out as well just in the nick of time.

7.) Truck fails compilation.

You have to really feel sorry for the person who has to break it to the customer that their load got lost all over a highway – but at least it’s got 2 thousand views on YouTube!

9.) Sometimes you have to wonder why.

Why in the world did this trucker decide that taking a U-turn would be a good idea? Not sure what they forgot, but it must have been important. The only injury in this video was to the driver’s ego as help had to arrive.

10.) We’re kind cheating with this one.

But isn’t this how we all learn how to love big trucks, life in the country, a simple existence – where sometimes we fall flat on our faces? As this video shows, you start learning life’s lessons when you’re young and having the most truck driver fun. And that you’re gonna fall down a lot. And most importantly, you’re gonna have to pick yourself up more than a few times as you grow up…

So let those videos be reminders that trucking is a serious occupation that requires a lot of good training and time on the road to be successful and safe as possible.