Keep on Truckin’ – On the Road with Hastings

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Riding shotgun with Kevin P.

For years I was that kid (or in my case – that adult) who rode past tractor trailers on the highway motioning with my arm, begging to hear that air horn.

This was my chance.

My alarm went off at 3:55 a.m. on Thursday, March 19th. I was joining Kevin Perzanowski (one of Hastings’ finest CDL A drivers) for a ride-along. I could not have been more excited.

I thought long and hard about what I could bring my new friend at 5:30 a.m. to start our time off together right. The first thing that came to mind was donuts. Everyone loves donuts, right?

I arrived in a timely fashion at the Distribution Center to start my day with donuts in hand. Kevin arrived a few minutes later and looked a bit taken aback by my smiles, excitement, enthusiasm and energy. But I proudly said, “Hi. I’m Kim and we are going to get to know each other very well today.” At first he looked quite hesitant, but I think I had him at—donuts.

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Bonding over donuts…

In normal woman-fashion, I arrived very prepared. Coffee. Lunch packed. Extra sweatshirt. Gloves. Sunglasses. Phone charger. With all my belongings in tow, I hopped into the truck. Okay—it was not really a “hop,” it was more like a climb up into the truck’s cab. I looked around and took it all in, placed the donuts down in the area between our seats, buckled up and off we went.

I was a bit surprised how loud it was in the truck, but nonetheless, I settled in and Kevin and I were not even on 91 northbound before our conversation was flowing and donuts were being enjoyed.

Today’s route was South of Boston. We had four stops: Chace Building Supply, Mozzone, Cape Cod Lumber and Hingham Lumber. Our truckload consisted of 113 units; 106 of them were going to Hingham Lumber.

As a member of the recruitment team, the reason for this trip was to gain a better understanding of the role of our drivers. I wanted to experience firsthand what their day looked like and what some of the challenges were. This will be extremely helpful information to have when speaking to future candidates seeking employment with Hastings.

Kevin and I spoke a lot about our time at Hastings, how long we have been working here and what our roles are. I had a lot of questions for Kevin and he was gracious enough to answer ALL of them. Kevin typically arrives at the Distribution Center at approximately 5:45 am each day. He looks at his route, obtains the appropriate paperwork, prepares his truck and gets on the road. Our first stop on Thursday was Chace Lumber in Foxboro, MA, which is approximately 95 miles from Enfield, CT. That was a very quick stop consisting of only a few units, as were our stops at Mozzone and Cape Cod Lumber. The big stop of the day was Hingham Lumber.

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You know what they say – “Lift with your legs!”

Upon arriving at Hingham, a plan was immediately in place. There were 2 large orders to be unloaded from the truck—one would be stacked in the warehouse to the left, the other to the right. The back of the truck was lifted and our work began. Luckily for me, many of the smaller units were towards the front of the truck and I was able to jump in and start unloading.

I then transitioned to the “list checker”; as units were unloaded a number was read off to me and I would check it off from the packing list. A couple of employees from Hingham assisted in the unloading, which in turn made the job go much quicker. Once the job was complete and the list was signed off on—we hit the road.

It was time for lunch–finally! I had worked up an appetite.

The plan was to hit the nearest “nap trap” (for those of you who don’t know this bit of truck driver lingo—that is another word for rest stop). Now although I mentioned I had packed my lunch, Kevin and I worked hard and felt we deserved something better than the lame sandwiches we had packed in our lunch bags. So McDonald’s it was.

After lunch, we got back on the road with our dead-head truck (this is a truck operating with an empty trailer). We were approximately 120 miles from our starting point in Enfield, CT. This gave us 2 full hours to talk about the day’s work we had just completed and life in general. I promised Kevin I would not fall asleep on the ride home and I kept my promise. However, I was VERY tired—it was a long day at work.

Kevin is wonderful at his job. He is a safe driver and we are lucky to have him out there representing our company. Being a CDL A  driver is not easy work. There are challenges such as long days, traffic, weather and problems with the performance of the truck. Yet, Kevin takes it all in stride and does his job with a smile on his face.

Although I never got to hear that air horn—I made a new friend, learned about his job and enjoyed his company—all 275 miles worth. I would be honored to take another trip with Kevin P. any day.

 

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Kim Viviano
Sourcing and Recruitment Support Specialist

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