Third Annual Trucker Soccer Tournament

..is over, and it was a great success. Again this year on August 18 and 19th hundreds of truck drivers and their families gathered together in Burr Ridge to participate in this two day event for professional truck drivers. It is known by now that our Tournament supports Shriners Hospital for Children in Chicago. This year too, the Shrine delegation was present and available to give answers to any possible questions our guests and sponsors might have had.

When comes to sponsors we must say we had some exceptional names among them. Interstate Distributor was again our General Sponsor.  Midwest Utility, a big name in the trailer world was one of the sponsors as well as one of the biggest logistics firms in Chicago – Comtrak. For a full list of Tournament sponsors you can visit the Tournament website at www.compasstournament.com. We thank them all for supporting this unique event. Without them the whole organization would be much harder.

Soccer was again the main focus of the Tournament. There were 16 teams playing this year. One of the requirements to participate in the games was that all of the players had to be CDL holders. The news is that this requirement will no longer be enforced in the next year’s Tournament. We will allow all of the members of the Transportation industry to play, which is to say: truck drivers, dispatchers, mechanics… All are welcome to play at the next Fourth Tournament which will be held at the same place on August 17th and 18th of 2013.

This year prizes were taken by: AV Carriers was the best soccer team and they won the First Prize, $3000.00 and a special VIP suite at Toyota Park at the game between Chicago Fire and Houston.

The second place belongs to ABS Trucking and they took home a check on $2000.00.

The third place was won by Unlimited Carriers. They won $1000.00

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At the end of the Tournament, our Famous Compass Truck giveaway was held. Yes, we give away a truck. For free. The only condition is that you have a CDL. And we are not going to change that next year. You still have to have a CDL and be present at the Tournament to win. This year winner was Zdravko Glamoclija from Chicago and he won  the 2007 Volvo VNL 760.

Next year…look out for those drawing tickets. You never know, the next truck we give away might be yours.

You can visit the picture gallery of the Tournament and see moments of those two days, during which all of us had fun, the players, the families, the kids.

Thank you all and see you next year.


A Trucker and a Scholar

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This week’s featured Compass Truck Driving School student is Mr. Adams.  He was chosen among several students because we thought he would be an inspiration to anyone who is on the fence about getting their CDL and entering the world of trucking.

He has been attending Compass Truck Driving School for 4 weeks now and only here for a refresher. As any experienced trucker knows, you can’t be unemployed for too long before you’re considered ‘out of practice’.

Sarah: “What did you do before obtaining you CDL?”

Mr. Adams: “I received my Bachelors degree in Psychology and got my MBA in Accounting.”

Sarah: “That’s great. It’s interesting to me then why you are here, in CDL School, rather than working for a company utilizing your degrees…”

Mr. Adams: “Well, I did work in the business world after college, but it was dying. When I was working as an accounting controller, in sales and customer service, they were laying people off and companies where losing money. “

Sarah:” So how did the idea of becoming a truck driver even pop into your head?”

Mr. Adams: “I had a friend who was a truck driver, that’s how I got into it.”

Sarah:”So why did you actually pursue getting your CDL?”

Mr. Adams: “To be honest with you…I knew that I could make more money as a truck driver. In accounting, you could be capped at making $40,000 and that’s it. As a truck driver, you can make a lot more. Trucking just makes more than other jobs. And you know, trucking was one of the hardest things I ever learned. All the skills, back up and turning, just everything about it was really hard.”

Sarah:”That’s interesting. How did you like the truck driving as a career once you actually started driving for a company?”

Mr. Adams: “ Well, I actually almost gave it up after three months. But then I talked to one of my friends who was an experienced driver and he told me to give it at least six months and then make a decision. So I did. I drove for six months and ended up driving for six to seven years after that.”

Sarah:”So you like it, I take?”

Mr. Adams: “Yes. I love that I get to go to all different kinds of places for work. There’s so many different kinds of people that you meet. It’s so interesting to talk to people from all over the country. “

Sarah: “Where was your favorite place to travel to?”

Mr. Adams:”Well, it’s hard to just say one place that was my favorite. Everywhere I go is a new place so everywhere is my favorite.”

Sarah:”What’s the hardest part about your job?”

Mr. Adams: “The hardest part is entertaining yourself. You are always alone so you have to figure out how to entertain yourself. Also, stressors. It’s hard keeping communication with your loved ones and leaving your family behind when you have to go out on the road for a long period of time. But I manage to keep myself entertained.”

Sarah:”And how do you do that?”

Mr. Adams:”I keep a laptop in the truck. I do different things like program development. I actually developed a program for horse racing. It took me some time, but I finished it and it works.”

Sarah:” Well that’s great. To finish up, give me your overall perception of being a truck driver and any future goals you may have.”

Mr. Adams: “Well, I can say that trucking is not for everybody. I love it though. I get paid [well] to travel. You may be on the road for a few weeks at a time, but then you get to have a few weeks off too. I have hobbies like fishing, playing chess, Texas Hole ‘em, and going to the race track once in a while. So during my time off, I get to enjoy things I like to do.”

 


How much do truck drivers earn?

We wanted to write about truck drivers salary due to the high number of inquiries from our students at Compass Truck Driving School. Obviously, they want to knoe what their earning potential is. Well, this answer depends on a number of factors including geographic location, type of freight halued, experience, etc. We know you’ve probably heard these statistics before, but we wanted to breakdown these statistics from our most recent research. The information below comes from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Indeed.com.

Let’s first compare at how much drivers can earn on a natioanl level. The top three states for truck driver income are Mississippi, Wyoming, New York and Washington earning a medium salary of $68,000, $61,000, $60,000 and $59,000—respectively. Illinois is ninth on the list earning an average salary of $56,000.

We also researched the national average salary by speciality and this is what we found: LTL haulers can earn the most at an average of $84,000, followed by regional drivers earning average of $67,000 and flat bed drivers at $60,000. Auto haulers, tank drivers and local drivers just behind flat bed.

Remember that these numbers are averages and earnings can be much higher and much lower, depending on the individual. For example, if you are an over-the-road owner operator, earnings can reach as high as $213,000 and independent contractors can earn up to $187,000.

One trend that is for certain is that the national average truck driver’s salary is going up! Take a look at the chart provided by indeed.com….Image


Common Transportation hosts lunch for our students

Another feast in making at Compass Trucking Business Services. Common Transportation will host a lunch for the students of the Truck Driving School this upcoming Friday on April 13th, 2012. We will make a great day out of this Friday 13th. One of our promises to our students, when they come to our trucking school is that we will do everything in our power to secure them a job before they even graduate. All of these efforts as a part of fulfilling this promise. Many transportation companies are already lined up to host a lunch and present them self to our students. All the candidates need to do is study hard, pass all the test, have great food and choose where they want to work. Neat eh? We think so.

Common Transportation is a trucking company which is offering many great things to its truck drivers. One of the possibilities is the variety of choice when comes to what kind of freight the drivers want to haul. Common has dry vans, reefers and flat bed freight. There are Drop&Hook and delivery opportunities. The company runs all 48 states. There is no forced dispatch and the drivers have 24/7 on road support via text messaging.

Fuel cards and personal advances are also available, and the company is ready to help with the CDL school tuition. This is based on the length a driver is ready to drive for Common. After a year, the CDL education will be practically for free. Retention of truck drivers is one of the biggest priorities for Common. They want to build a string driving team with drivers that stay and drive for the company for a long time. Common is ready to help the new driver gain experience and after some time to even take the next step – buy his own truck and become an Owner Operator. Compass is making possible for all our CDL school students to have a choice and get a job fast.


Third Annual Compass Truckers Soccer Tournament

IIt is that time of the year when we at Compass are working towards our Third Annual Compass Truckers Soccer Tournament. For all of you that haven’t heard of this event, here is a short history:

We started the Truckers Soccer Tournament three years ago with the main goal of getting the people involved in the trucking industry together, but this time not for business. We wanted to create an event that will give them (and us) time for building friendships, having fun, making connections. We were bound to create a great event, an event that was unique and most of all – needed. And we succeeded in that. The third weekend of August was determined to be an unmovable date for the Tournament. We planned the whole event to revolve around soccer played by truck drivers. To take part and play at the Tournament one MUST be a CDL holder. In other words, you have to be a truck drier to play. Beside for the soccer games, we created two whole days of fun for the entire family. Everyone is welcome to bring their families. Kids are our special guests. For them we have a separate tent where all the games and activities are organized such as dunk tanks, slides, water slides, moon walks, face painting, balloon artists, clowns etc.

We also have several food vendors coming to the event and providing delicious and authentic food. There is something for everyone. Shuttle buses are frequenting between the park (Pleasant Dale Park District) and the UPS parking lot every 15 minutes.

All of our sponsors are treated like royalty. We provide small canopies for them, so they can meet with the Tournament guests. On the stage there is a projector which rotates their ads and we also promote their company on tv screens throughout the tournament space.For the third year in a row, our General Sponsor is Interstate Distributor from Tacoma, WA.

Everyone is especially excited about the end of the second day. During the course of the tournament we have different games and prizes for everyone, but at the end of the Tournament everyone awaits the Famous Compass Truck Giveaway. Compass gives away a semi truck! We start collecting tickets several months in advance  and at the end of the Tournament one truck driver will be lucky and take a truck home. The entrance to the drawing is free and there is ONLY two requirements: The winner MUST be a truck driver with a valid CDL and the winner MUST be present at the drawing.

Now, ahead of us is the work of securing sponsors, inviting people, making sure that everything is well oiled and functions without any glitches.

It is important to note that our tournament supports a great cause: We collect funds for the Shriner’s Hospital for Children from Chicago. Last year we handed them a check of $5000.00. This year we are hoping to collect even more. And this is important because that hospital helps the kids and does not charge them a single penny.

Well, that is in short what are we going to do in the next few months. Join us. You can see more images on our website.

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The Real Ice Road Trucker Story

When we started Compass Truck Driving School, little did we know that we would have such interesting students coming through our doors. This week, we interviewed a student who was taking our refresher course program. His name is Keith and he is a real ice road trucker up in the most northern point in Alaska-Prudhoe Bay. We wanted to hear his story of what it’s really like to drive a big rig on ice roads without all the hype and drama. So, here’s what we found out…

Keith has been driving for an Oil Field Service Company for 5 years up in the most northern slope of Alaska called Prudhoe Bay. Where he drives, all of the roads are private which is why you don’t need to have a CDL to drive those roads. However, the company he works for is so large that sometimes they send their truckers outside of those private roads and that’s where having a class A CDL comes in handy. He came to Compass Truck Driving School to take a CDL Class A refresher course which he completed on April 4th, 2012. 

 Sarah: “Is it really as dangerous as the show portrays?”

Keith: “The show is exaggerated as far as the risk of falling through. The ice is actually six to eight feet thick rather than the three to four feet that they say it is.”

Sarah: “Well, there has to be some scary moments for you when driving on the road…”

Keith: “Ya, when the sun comes out and starts to melt the ice, that’s when it’s pretty scary. However, you never feel like your life is threatened. It’s comparable to driving at home when the roads are slick. It’s also weird to be sitting on the road and hear the ice crack. You’ll see cracks two inches wide that run as far as you can see…up to half a mile.”

Sarah: “Is there a speed limit and how fast or slow do you really drive?”

Keith: “There is a very regulated speed limit ranging between 15 and 25 mile per hour. You’ll never go faster than that. It is very regulated.”

Sarah: “Does the ice actually break?”

Keith: “Never seen it happen or heard of it. Pretty rare. Maybe every two to three years a truck may fall through the ice….There are measurements taken daily of the ice so it’s very controlled and monitored.”

Sarah: “Do you put chains on your tires?”

Keith: “No, not allowed to. It’s damaging to the road.”

Sarah: “Keith, what is the hardest part about your job?”

Keith: “Well, I live in Arlington Heights, IL and I am only home three weeks at a time. My job is three weeks on, three weeks off. That’s the toughest part…being away for three weeks.”

Keith was actually finishing up his training at Compass the day we interviewed him and he was leaving back to Alaska the next day. We wish him luck out there and always welcome our Compass Truck Driving School alumnus back to visit us.

 


Are You Patient?

As a professional driver, you must be very patient to drive defensively and safely. This is becoming increasingly difficult with the “I want it now” attitude everyone seems to have these days.
Mobile phone commercials talk about how fast they can get data and information to you. There are ATM’s everywhere, and self check-out lanes are a result of our nation’s growing impatience. Fast food drive thru lanes are judged by how FAST they serve you, not how GOOD the food is. All these examples point to a nation that has become IMPATIENT.
Why is this IMPATIENCE important? The ability to be patient and examine the driving environment on our aggressive highways is the very foundation of driving safely to deliver your freight and come home safely.
Let’s examine some of the everyday driving events that might indicate impatience so we don’t allow them to become habit:
 Following too closely – Why do drivers do this? it is because we believe the car in front of us is going too slow and holding us back from getting where we need to go. A professional driver in a commercial motor vehicle should NEVER tailgate and attempt to “push” the driver ahead to go faster. This is a primary reason why the trucking industry has a poor reputation with the motoring public. STAY CALM and PATIENT. It reduces your stress level, gives you more time to analyze the driving scene around you, improves our image AND will help you prevent a rear-end collision.
 Excessive lane changes – We have all seen drivers on the highway, in both passenger cars and commercial vehicles, that can’t seem to just stay in their lane and be PATIENT! As a professional driver, you expose yourself to the potential of a serious collision by changing lanes. Even if you are experienced, have all the mirrors you can hang on a truck and know the proper procedures for a safe lane change, when you leave your lane of travel, you are at risk. You might not see a car that cut in, or the other vehicle might make a lane change exactly when you do in an attempt to “get in front of the big truck.” This is another symptom of the impatience epidemic!
 Safe backing – Do we ALWAYS get out and look before we back up? We all know this is a standard, proven safety procedure. No, many do not and take this precaution, and it is a reason we still see backing collisions in all kinds of transportation operations. Our impatience causes us to rationalize that we can use the mirrors and we can “save some time” by just checking those mirrors and backing up. BE PATIENT…Get out and Look!
 Safe entry & exit – This is another “classic” example of the lack of patience! I would bet that EVERY professional driver in this nation has seen and knows the Three Point of Contact procedure to get in or out of the cab. Our industry has grown into a “just in time” mode of transportation and we convince ourselves that the few extra seconds we think we are saving by either improper 3 point procedure, jumping down from the truck or carrying items as we exit the truck will “save some time.” The very few seconds that MIGHT be saved are erased when you slip and are injured and can’t work. Take your time – be PATIENT.
Road rage is another sign of our nation’s growing impatience. It is sadly, very common to see “gestures” from other vehicles on the road. Getting cut off in traffic seems to be an everyday occurrence. The common courtesy of moving over to allow a merging vehicle onto the highway is almost gone and when we DO decide to move over, other vehicles give us looks as if we did something wrong! Another very sad statement of the increasing culture of impatience is that most states have enacted laws which REQUIRE vehicles to move over for emergency or disabled vehicles on the shoulder of the highway. This has always been one of the most basic of common courtesy among the professional drivers of our nation, even though it risks an extra lane change!!
The message this month is very simple. Please be patient as you drive and deliver the freight that keeps our nation strong and growing!
A good way to build a personal culture of patience is to “pre-trip” yourself. Get in a frame of mind to deal with the events that will take place on the road during your trip. Give other vehicles safe passage, even if you believe they are “wrong.” The “Golden Rule” applies – Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!


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