Slow and easy
Greatwide driver rides patience and appreciation for the trade to 4.5 million safe miles
Greatwide driver William Hill sees no need to rush it — navigating New York City traffic behind the wheel of his truck is right where he wants to be, he says. He enjoys the Big Apple every day he runs it.
That’s not to say he misses any deliveries — the near-30-year driving veteran’s safety manager, Aimee Price, says he puts the company’s needs before his own to ensure loads are delivered on time.
“You have to enjoy it to be successful at it,” Hill says. “Even when it’s a bad day, you still have to enjoy those, too.” And he learned to love it from a young age, he says, helping his grandfather — an owner-operator for 55 years — as a kid in the 1960s.
“Basically what I did was go with him on my days off. He hauled produce, and I’d help him unload trailers from the box cars,” he says. “I used to do that to make a little money on the side.”
Then in his early 20s, Hill says he decided he wanted to drive, too, and he worked his way through a driving school in Pennsylvania, attending classes on weekends.
After a multiple years over-the-road, Hill says he started running regional night hauls for a small company owned by Nortran so he could spend more time with his children. Greatwide bought the company in 2006, but for the past 16 years, he’s been hauling dry goods to New York and back. “I just take every day as a challenge,” he says of his 4.5 million safe miles. “I enjoy the challenge of running the Northeast. Our delivery times are right in the middle of rush hour, so we’re right in rush hour traffic all the time now. I just try to stay humble and grateful as I can.”
Q and A
TN: What is one thing you always carry with you in your truck while on the road?
WH: Bible — I always carry my Bible, and I read it daily.
TN: What advice would you give younger drivers?
WH: When you come into the industry, just be careful. Appreciate what you’re doing and just enjoy it and take your time. You’ve got to be patient. Every day’s not going to be a good day. When you’re out there, you don’t have anyone over top of you, so you have to manage yourself, and if you do that you’ll be successful as a driver.
TN: What is your most memorable moment in your years of trucking?
WH: My horn kept blowing in this tractor that I was in. It was a replacement tractor. I’m at red lights and my horn is blowing. People are looking at me and they’re kind of irritated with me. When I get to the store the lady comes out running because she thinks the other truck is in my way where I’m about to deliver. And the guy where I normally back in, he moves his truck over twice. He got out before the third time, and he’s giving me a hard look. I had to walk over and explain, “Hey, it’s not me. It’s the truck.”
Editor’s note: William Hill is a finalist in the 2011 Company Driver of the Year contest, sponsored by Cummins Engines and Ram, and produced by Truckers News and the Truckload Carriers Association. The winner, to be announced at TCA’s annual convention March 4-7, 2012, in Orlando, Fla., will win a Cummins-powered Ram pickup.
Affected tractors are equipped with an automated Eaton UltraShift Plus or Eaton Advantage Transmission with right hand stalk shifter. In the affected trucks, the display on the instrument panel can indicate “N” when the shifter is set into “D” or “R,” causing the truck not to move.