Schneider National driver finds satisfaction in adventure of the road
Paul Kersey, 55, of Rincon, Ga., was working in the family business, a real estate development company, but he knew it was not the perfect job for him. So he quit and began the search for his dream job.
“I knew that I wanted to see the USA, ride my bicycle in new places, be independent and teach others, “ Kersey says.
A CBS News story featuring a husband-wife truck driving team caught Kersey’s attention. He spent hours reading anything he could find on the Internet about this “new adventure.”
“With the approval of my wife, I decided that driving a truck would satisfy my demands,” Kersey says.
Not sure where to start, Kersey turned to family friend and former EMT Glenn Helmly, who had recently started driving for Schneider National. Kersey accepted Helmly’s invitation to ride along and was convinced that the trucking lifestyle and company culture at Schneider was what he was looking for.
“After extensive research, I was convinced that Schneider was one of the best and safest companies to partner with,” Kersey says. “After graduating from SNI’s training academy on Sept. 28, 2006, I officially joined SNI as a commercial truck driver.”
By driving a 2005 Freightliner carrying paper products for Schneider National, Kersey was able to do all the things he had hoped. He began teaching others through Schneider’s SNI Training Engineer program. While the program was offered, Kersey had a student driver with him for two to three weeks at a time, teaching him about life on the road.
Kersey carries his bicycle with him everywhere he goes. “The decision to carry my bicycle strapped to the top bunk in the truck was a good choice,” Kersey says. “It has allowed me to explore many places from the Adirondacks of New York, Gainsville-Hawthorne State Florida Trail, museums of Indianapolis, Ind., and the Illinois and Michigan Canal State Trail, to just name several of the numerous places I have toured.
“My only regret is my wife, four daughters and one granddaughter cannot share the experience.”
Kersey serves on Schneider’s Quest Driver Advisory Council, where his job is to enhance safety and communication. He currently has accumulated more than 340,000 accident-free miles. He also participated in the Roadside Medical program, where he learned he had a slightly high cholesterol level and was able to take steps to care for that.
“Driver associates like Paul represent the best of the best here at Schneider National,” says Dan Van Alstine, senior vice president and general manager, Dedicated Services. “Folks like him, who take pride in their work and embrace opportunities to enhance themselves and the company, are the main reasons why Schneider will continue to be a strong industry leader far into the future.”
With only a few years behind the wheel, Kersey says driving has been “an exciting and enjoyable experience.”
Q & A
Q: What is your favorite city?
A: Plattsburgh, N.Y., because that puts me through the Adirondacks.
Q: What is your favorite meal?
A: Anything cooked by my mother.
Q: My advice to other truckers is …
A: Driving a truck is not a job; it’s a lifestyle.
Q: What is one thing you always take with you?
A: My laptop.
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.