NORFOLK — After 26 years as a cook in the Navy, Timothy Raub said he’d planned on going into a government service job and never even thought about becoming a truck driver.
After a suggestion from a friend and quick coordination between Tidewater Community College’s trucking program coordinator and Center for Military and Veterans Education, Raub had a paid-seat in the 16-week course and felt “like it was meant to be.”
Raub said he has a whole new respect for the trade and three years after graduation, is one of the top 10 nominees for this year’s “Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence” award, beating out 37 other candidates so far.
His supervisors at Averitt Express considered nominating him over the seven other veterans who work there, Raub said, “when I heard I was top 10 I was ecstatic.”
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes Program, Kenworth, and FASTPORT all sponsor the Transition Trucking award program to encourage employers to hire veterans as the industry suffers a driver shortage.
And, for the last four years, the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued grants for TCC to train veterans, their spouses and dependents for careers in trucking where typical wages range from $45,000 to $65,000.
“[The nominees] represent a wide variety of military branches and occupations, showing once again that a professional driving career is open and beneficial to all service members, regardless of what their specific job was in the military,” said Brad Bentley, the president at FASTPORT.
“Culling the list of nominees to the top 10 was a difficult task, one not taken lightly. These finalists are outstanding and truly show the best of the best,” Bentley added.
Averitt Express’s pledge to hire vets along with Raub’s military service, driving safety, on-time delivery, and customer service records were all requirements to qualify for the award.
After preparing meals for 350 to 700 sailors four times a day during his service on five ships, two overseas unaccompanied commands, and three shore duty commands, Raub said the structure, discipline, and customer service he learned in the Navy all factored into his credentials as a truck driver.
“My motto is if you’re early you’re on time — if you’re on time you’re late. ”
Coming up in August, Raub is traveling to Dallas where he and the other top 10 nominees will be honored and the top three announced on-stage at the Great American Trucking Show.
In October, polls will open for the public to vote for the trucker they think should win a fully-loaded 2018 T-680 truck — a prize Raub said is filled with so many opportunities.
“I could contract it out, or go out on business on my own have the truck to do it,” he said.”But, the company I work for is so great I wouldn’t want to do that.”
The contest’s runner-up is getting $10,000 while third and fourth place winners will get a check for $5,000.
Either way, Raub who once thought he didn’t like traffic or driving, said he plans on driving until he’s at least reached one million safe driving miles, or until his house is paid off.
“The grass isn’t always greener on the other side so why leave something I like for something I might,” he said.
For more information about TCC’s Career Studies Certificat in Trucking, click here.