Fleet Insider — Driver of the Month
Reuben Dupsky Jr. grew up on a farm and knew by watching the straight trucks hauling dairy and cattle he wanted to be behind the wheel of a truck someday.
“I always admired the tractor-trailers they had in those days,” Dupsky says, “the cabovers and the straight trucks that would pick up the milk. A neighbor of ours had a straight truck he hauled livestock with. Sometimes he let me drive. I always wanted to see the country and I figured being a truck driver, seeing the country and getting paid for it, there was a lot of opportunity. And I liked the idea of delivering product to people.”
The trucking bug bit him young and didn’t let go. After graduating high school, he enlisted in the Army at 19 and went to Vietnam. From the late ‘60s to 1970, Dupsky drove a truck for the military as a combat engineer.
After returning, he married and, in 1976, started trucking. In his 35-plus year career, Dupsky has hauled many different types of cargo to many different places, starting with a ’66 Diamond T with a 40-foot flatbed.
“I’ve pulled a flat bottom grain trailer and a liquid trailer tank, too,” he says. “I’m on a dry van now and haul general dry van freight to the 48 contiguous states and Canada.
“I tried to get hired as a delivery driver [when I started], but a doctor told me I have an extra vertebra in my back. [The company I worked for] wouldn’t hire me to drive. So I went across the street to Umthun and asked them. I asked the radiologist if there would be any problem driving a truck with an extra vertebra and he said no, so they let me drive.”
Since then, Dupsky has driven more than 4 million safe miles, more than 1 million of which came with Fremont Contract Carriers in Fremont, Neb., the company he’s been with for 11 years.
Dupsky says patience and learning to manage your money are key to being a successful truck driver, as is looking for new places to work, when necessary.
“There are guys out here now that complain about not having any money, but they’re picky on where they want to go,” Dupsky says. “Don’t be afraid to go new places.”
To be a successful driver, “you have to have a lot of patience,” he says. “Watch and keep your eyes open. Watch out for the other driver. Slow down in bad weather and in big cities instead of tailgating like so many people seem to do.”
For those who need it, Dupsky says he’s there to help.
“For the new guys, if they’ve got questions, I’m always willing to help them out. I don’t sit there and tell them every move to make, but I’ll help.”
Q & A
TN: Do you have any advice for younger drivers?
Dupsky: Don’t listen to all the bad stuff out here. If in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Be patient. Patience has a lot to do with it. Don’t ever be in a hurry. Always watch out for the other people.
TN: What’s the worst load you’ve ever had to carry?
Dupsky: Single standup coils, the skinny ones, 6 to 10 inches wide and about 6-feet tall. The way we had to load them and tie them down, we had to spread them out. If they broke loose, they’d roll to the cab or the back of the trailer.
Reuben Dupsky Jr. is a finalist in the 2012 Company Driver of the Year contest produced by Truckers News and the Truckload Carriers Association. The winner will be announced at TCA’s annual convention March 3-6, 2013, in Las Vegas.