Name: Holly and Mark O’Donnell
Job: Team Drivers
Years at Crete: 5 and 2 Years
Mark: Hi, I’m Mark.
Holly: I’m Holly, and we’re team drivers here at Crete Carrier, and we were asked to share a little bit of our story of how we became drivers, so I’ll let him start.
Mark: I come from a family of truck drivers, per say. My dad and some of my relatives were truck drivers, and growing up I really never wanted to be a truck driver. My friend when I moved out into the Midwest asked me about being a truck driver, and I told them that my dad was a truck driver. So I decided that I would try it out. I went to a very reputable school. It was a five-week course; did a lot of paperwork. Stuff like that, the stuff that you don’t want to do you just want to get in the truck and learn how to drive. But anyways, I toughed my way through it. Did a little bit of team driving in the beginning of my years. Turned around, got hired on with a local company, in the Nebraska area. Drove for them for about a year and then they got another company which hauled swinging beef, so I decided that I would brave it and see how white-knuckled ride it is. I ended up doing swinging beef. I fell in love with doing it. I did it for over five years traveling to lower Manhattan, the boroughs. Just, I kinda really loved it. It really taught me how to be a driver, how to control a truck. You know you don’t want to make big swinging movements with them and stuff like that, so I learned really fast on how to control a truck. That’s pretty much my story up to driving. I’ve been doing it for 19 years, on and off: over the road, local, I did Shag driving. I’ve probably got more miles going backward than I go forward because I did it for five and a half years. Kind of really takes a tear on the knees, but if you know paid the bills and now, like I said, out here again with my wife and I’ll let her tell you a little bit about how she got started.
Holly: Well, I got started working with an owner-operator is how I got my CDL. I did not attend school, well, let me correct that. I attended a three day school to learn how to pass the test with a pre-trip and everything like that, but all my skills were learned out on the road. I teamed for approximately, I think it was two or three years and then I went solo. I’ve been solo up until, oh what was it, two years ago?
Mark: Two. Two years.
Holly: Yeah, two years ago. We’ve been over here at Crete with him. I’ve been here five, but the reason I got into trucking was I was working at a manufacturing plant, and they closed down. I knew a friend who was the owner-operator and said well why don’t you come out on the road. I did for about two months, and then I decided you know what I can’t just sit here and do nothing. Either you take me home and I get a job or you teach me how to drive if you want me to stay out here for a while, so that’s what I did. I’ve done local, I’ve done over the road, I’ve done regional, I’ve done line-haul, and basically, that’s about it. There was nobody in my family that was a driver, so I was kind of like one of the first. It was very strange being a female. A lot of people hearing about me becoming a driver, and there are a few people who looked down on it. But it is getting better out here for women. I can’t really think of a whole lot else. I guess how we met was from another company that we both use to work for through our safety director. We just started talking and one thing leads to another I guess and…
Mark: I made googly eyes at her and she liked it so… goggly goggly!
Holly: Ha, yeah!
Mark: She was here at Crete, I kind of got reconnected with her after going through a couple of different companies and stuff like that. Got reconnected with her. She said hey why don’t you try you know come over to Crete see what you think, so I was like ok. I went through their orientation program. Very explainable, they go into detail on what they expect from a driver. Their equipment is like the top of the line, nothing older than four years old. Everything is bought and paid for. They have no overhead.
Mark: Their expenses which guarantee us a paycheck at the end of the week which is really nice because I don’t like working for nothing, so… I don’t think anybody does.
Holly: Haha. No.
Mark: Unless you work for a charity, but… Anyway, family time. We like it because we can go to different states because we have family in different states, so we can make our home time where they’re at to make it feasible for both of us, family, and friends.
Holly: And that’s one advantage of the industry that we’re in. That we can travel and do home time elsewhere. So it’s kind of a plus for us that we get to turn around and have the job we have and we don’t have to pay to fly or drive somewhere so that is an advantage also.
Mark: Right. And who doesn’t like a home cooked meal? So, you know, it’s home-cooked meals from home and families is great. But more on the Crete, reasons why we choose to stay here at Crete after doing it for two years. They have an open door policy, which is great because if we have any type of issue we can just walk in and we can talk to our asset managers, we can talk to our fleet manager, all the way down to payroll…
Holly: And all the way up the chain.
Mark: All the way up to the chain, all the way to the CEO. It’s open door. Which makes it really really great in that aspect. They treat us as a person, not a truck number. You know, stuff like that. Their insurance is next to none. I mean we pay you to know very little for full coverage insurance. Their benefits package they have the 401k, they have profit sharing. In the truck part they have the pet policy, rider policy, just… which makes it so much easier for us trying to be a team, and also have the home away from home per say.
Mark: Because the truck is our home when we are away from home. I mean we do a lot of cooking in our truck, we have our pet’s in the truck.
Holly: Our kids!
Mark: Yeah, our kids. Little four-legged furry’s.
Holly: When we are shut down on a 34, which for us, doesn’t happen very often, but sometimes it does. We’ve been known to spend a day in Vegas. We’ve been known to spend a day with the family, just having a quick meal. Hi, bye, see ya. We’ve been at parks. You know we try to spend our time as much as we can and get out of the truck. We’ve been in terminals where we take our food in and we cook inside just to get out of the truck, do our laundry and take our showers. Some of the drivers are jealous…
Holly: But you know we make the life out here fun. Life is too short not to be, I guess, too serious.
Mark: Right. I guess that pretty much tells you our story…
Holly: One thing I’d like to mention is, Crete, one thing I’d like to say about Crete is they have awesome CSA scores and with our company being founded in 1966 by Duane Acklie that is the man that we all need to thank. Everybody in the company, and the customers, the shippers, the receivers, everybody. For having a job for us and we owe that to him to say thank you.
Mark: Definitely. Couldn’t have said it better myself. That’s our story, hope you like it.
Holly: Be safe out there.
Mark: Exactly, be safe out there.