“To improve the image of the trucking industry...it’s just about shining the light on things that already exist but it’s also about going in and helping to bring about change and really educating people about that change who are not in the industry.”
RedEye Radio’s Eric Harley Interviewed FASTPORT Co-Founder Jim Ray on how FASTPORT has become the trucking industry’s ambassador to the military during the 2015 ATA MC&E Conference. You can listen to the entire 10-minute interview by clicking here.
During the interview, Eric asked Jim to walk listeners through FASTPORT’s first steps toward in the Trucking Track Mentoring Program’s success that had received so much buzz during the MC&E Conference. Jim’s answer may have surprised many listeners when he repeated the question that was the program’s inspiration:
“Do you think that you could make trucking sexy?”
“There’s something to that,” Eric responded. “Back in the day it was more of a calling, and there was, you know, the whole knights of the open road and I still think that exists, and there was the lure of the open road too, I want to get out. I want to see this great country and make a living at doing it, and so it kind of had to be in the blood. And now it is, okay, how do we make the trucking industry image appealing? How do we make it cool or sexy?”
FASTPORT has educated Veterans on the benefits of the trucking industry and showing off just how appealing it is to people who are looking for real economic opportunities by traveling the world to reach as many people as possible. So far, FASTPORT has gone from Germany and Italy to Washington and New York to shake hands with thousands of hands in order to show the career options available in trucking and change perceptions about the industry.
The reaction to FASTPORT’s recent film Imagine displayed just one example of how people’s perceptions are changing. Imagine was viewed over 1,000,000 times and inspired thousands of people to comment, leaving thank-you notes to commercial drivers. Many of these comments were stories about people in their own lives who are working hard on the road to support their families and even drivers talking about the importance of their jobs to the country. It was an incredible step toward making the trucking industry appealing to a new generation of drivers.
As perceptions about the industry change, Jim has also seen perceptions of trucking companies change. While there is certainly competition to hire drivers, many carriers are beginning to see just how important it is to unite as a coalition to bring drivers into the industry. These companies working together and sharing best practices and applicants in order to compete as an industry and make sure trucking obtains and retains the best employees. Many of these “best employees” are Veterans, Jim explains, so FASTPORT’s main goal has been to educate, inspire, and hire them into the industry.
“What makes them great in the military,” Eric agreed, “makes them great in the trucking industry...let them have that next career, that next opportunity, [and] some great things [will happen].”