What Motivates Me: A Tech Startup Co-Founder’s Story
As a co-founder of Truck Driver Power, I sometimes think about what keeps me motivated. What is it that drives my desire to create technology that caters to truck drivers? Although I have worked in logistics for almost 13 years, I am not a truck driver and none of my close friends or family members drive trucks. So why do I find myself being a co-founder of a company whose aim is to benefit this very specific segment of society?
The answer lies in the fact that, through my work in the 3PL (brokerage), consulting, and logistics engineering fields, I have come to know many truck drivers and developed an understanding of their work environment. The sum of my interactions with truck drivers and the periphery of driver related support and management employees has lead me to determine that, in many cases, truck drivers are under-served, underpaid, and underappreciated.
This realization first occurred to me after I had been working at one of the nation’s largest 3PL/truck brokerage firms for almost 4 years, and I took an on-site consulting position working on the shipping docks of one of our largest customers. I welcomed the change of pace and figured this new role would be a good way to propel my career upward. Working on-site enabled me to interact with both my customer’s dock workers and their management as well as a lot of different truck drivers. I met up to ten new drivers every day. I met local yard jockeys and shuttle runners. I met LTL drivers, local log and wood chip haulers, and I met over-the-road company drivers as well as a few hundred owner-operators.
I enjoyed meeting all the new people and I became much more in tune with the “personal side” of brokerage. I became more aware that actual people were hauling the freight I was working on, and I think it helped to change my perspective on the trucking industry.
However, what really changed my life forever was when one of my customer’s dock workers came into my shipping office with a panicked look on his face. He informed me that one of the kind and courteous team drivers who loaded a shipment headed to El Paso only minutes before, was having a heart attack in the parking lot. The dock worker and I hurried outside to find one of the team drivers giving (what we later found out to be) his brother, mouth to mouth in our parking lot. We called the paramedics, they came, and it was too late. The driver died in our parking lot.
That was the first and hopefully last time I have ever seen anyone die. It was so strange and sad to me that, in one moment, I was handing a driver his bills, joking with him about making it to El Paso to visit his family, and, in the next moment, I was watching his body being loaded into the back of an ambulance to be taken to the morgue. That driver died in a strange place away from his family and friends.
The shock of that incident was ingrained in my mind forever. It serves as a constant reminder to me of the risks that truck drivers take to earn a living. I began to think more about what life was like for truck drivers. I observed instances where they were not treated fairly, when they were shown a lack of respect, and when they struggled to keep up with life behind the wheel.
In the present day, I find myself very excited to be a part of a firm which aims to make life for truck drivers easier, more fulfilling, and more exciting. Truck Driver Power has the potential to change lives for our nation’s 3.5 million truck drivers. By offering our driver-users a way to stay organized, improve earning potential, and stay entertained and engaged while on the road, I feel we can help make #TruckLife better. I look forward to the months to come and to how #TruckDriverPower will serve the needs of the driver community.