Last week marked FASTPORT’s return to the Washington Service Member for Life Transition Summit where we educated transitioning service men and women and Veterans on the incredible opportunities that the trucking industry holds for their careers.
The 3-day event spanned from September 22 - 24 and provided an estimated 5,000 Soldiers and Airmen with access to 300 employers, including Trucking Track Sponsors J.B. Hunt, Ryder, Troops Into Transportation (The CDL School), Werner, and YRC Freight.
"Transition is Soldier-owned. But it's also leader-owned—We have to help our folks transition."
Throughout the summit, companies stepped up to fulfill Colonel Adam Rocke’s challenge for employers to take ownership in the military transition process: “Transition is Soldier-owned. But it’s also leader-owned; we have to help our folks transition.” To meet that challenge, FASTPORT sought to educate service members about the opportunities the trucking industry provides via the Trucking Track Mentoring Program.
In addition to connecting with Veterans, transitioning service members, and spouses at the Networking Reception and Hiring Fair, FASTPORT ignited interest in trucking from aspiring drivers and mechanics during a panel discussion and by displaying the most advanced piece of trucking equipment available: the Kenworth T680.
The day before the hiring fair, FASTPORT CEO Bill McLennan was honored with the request to speak to nearly 300 service members during a panel discussion geared toward educating about the transportation industry.
Because driving and mechanic professions are such skilled professions, many weren’t sure how their military experience would translate into the trucking industry. Panelists, including Bill “Mr. Trucking” McLennan, engaged the audience to show them why military experience sets them up for outstanding careers. To show how that experience makes them hard-wired for success in the trucking industry in particular, Bill provided statistics on various career paths, stories of other Veterans who have had incredible success in trucking (including J.B. Hunt himself), and ended his segment with the Imagine video that highlights how driving is another way to serve the nation after military service ends.
Education like this is an inspiration to the men and women in uniform. After the presentation, a crowd formed to sign up for the Trucking Track and the FASTPORT team created a makeshift hiring fair booth to accommodate their desire to get started on the program.
Kenworth T680 Display
One of the reasons behind the panel discussion’s success was the Kenworth T680. As many of you know, Kenworth, FASTPORT and the TCA have united to provide one Veteran with this technologically advanced piece of equipment. In addition to the cash-value of this prize, the T680 could change someone's life because it would allow him or her to become an entrepreneur.
Truck owners, or Owner-Operators, are drivers who own their own truck and in some cases, their own trailer. Owner-Operators are small business owners who can earn approximately 75% or more of the revenue from each delivery they make and tend to earn more than most company drivers. For Veterans that have the entrepreneurial spirit, the potential to win the Kenworth T680 was one of the most exciting aspects of the day.
The following day, Kenworth representatives drove the T680 to display just outside JBLM’s Hangar 10 where the hiring fair took place. Here, nearly 5,000 Soldiers and Airmen had the opportunity to explore the truck, from under the hood to inside the sleeper car. While all the service members who examined the T680 saw how luxurious it is compared to military vehicles, drivers and mechanics noted that their previous experience prepared them to work with (and on) the equipment.
"Kenworth has made an incredible commitment to help educate and inspire our transitioning service members to consider careers in the trucking industry'" said Bill. "You can see the appreciation and excitement from Veterans when they get the chance to see the advanced engine technology and cab comforts of the T680. Having the T680 here at JBLM has helped us set a record enrollment for interest in technician and professional driving careers."
The Washington Transition Summit was one of FASTPORT’s most successful hiring events, and we look forward to opportunities to educate and motivate more Veterans into great careers with great employers in the trucking industry at future summits and via the Trucking Track. If you would like to learn more about how to hire Veterans into your own trucking careers, visit http://fastport.com/veterans.html.