Heritage Transport truck driver Beth Manns on what drives her.
Beth Manns started her workday at 3:30 a.m., but at the end of her 14-hour shift, she still walks into the breakroom with a smile on her face.
From being a rail driver to hauling oil, Manns has 28 years of trucking experience. No job ranks as high on her list as her current role: Truck driver for Heritage Transport. We caught up with Manns after a shift to get a glimpse of life behind the windshield.
“This is absolutely my favorite job ever — not because everything’s perfect, but because we’re trying to make everything perfect, and that’s what I like.”
What does the average day as a truck driver look like?
We’re allowed to run 14 hours in a day, and that’s all your time included from driving 11 hours and then three hours of fluff time. Mine’s usually pretty much on that — a lot of it is windshield time. Some of it is loading, which can be very physical because we load hoses and load product through the hose.
What gets you out of bed every morning?
My kids. I love to provide for them and make sure they have everything that I can give them, but I also like to set an example for being someone who shows up for work and is dependable. I want to pass that on to them. I want the next generation to know that matters.
How does your job connect to the rest of THG?
I’m part of a team. I’m not the biggest part, but I’m an important part. Everyone has a role to play here. I need dispatch, and I need management to help the dispatch flow easily; they need me to get out there and do my job so that they’re covered too. And my customers — they really depend on me being there, so we all try to work together to make it happen.
- CDL: commercial driver’s license, for operating large, heavy or hazardous material vehicles
- Dispatch: behind-the-scenes support, helping truckers
- Doubles: certification for pulling two trailers
- Fluff time: time not driving the truck
- Tanker: used for transporting liquids or gasses
- Triples: certification for pulling three trailers
- Windshield time: time driving the truck
What makes you most proud to work for Heritage?
I’m helping clean the environment. We take care of stuff that others want to get rid of. And we’re trying to return to the earth something valuable rather than destroy it. That’s why I love working here. As far as Heritage is concerned, because of where we are in the lineup of products, we’re at the end. We’re last, but we’re first at the same time because we finish well. We do the job right.
What is a truck driver stereotype you’d like to challenge?
For one, I shower every day at least twice (laughs), and another is that some of us are educated. I think that a lot of people get the impression that you become a truck driver because you didn’t have anything else to do. I went to college, and lot of us do have some education. We’re not all just steering wheel holders. We do a hard job out here, and there’s a lot of high stress. People don’t realize that the equipment we are pulling does not just stop on a dime.
What it takes to get behind the wheel:
- CDL with vehicle inspection and driving test renewed every 4 years
- Class A Hazmat endorsement renewed every 4 years
- Roughly 20-30 safety training hours per year
What’s one value you always embrace inside and outside of your job?
Honesty. I like to be an honest person, and sometimes that means saying ‘no’ to things that I’m not capable of doing. That’s hard for me because I’m really a go-getter. At the end of the day, what we leave behind are footprints that someone else is going to follow, and if we’re way off somewhere, they’re going to be off, too.
How does safety play a role in your career?
In this job it’s particularly important. We’ve had a lot of training, so it really sticks in your mind that it’s not just to do a good job for the company, but it’s to make sure I can come back tomorrow and take care of my health and my family. If I want to go home, I need to be very prepared—go above and beyond.
What would you tell anyone who is considering becoming a truck driver?
Get your training and get every endorsement possible because you never know how it’s going to work for you. I have a school bus license, passenger, triples, doubles, tanker, hazmat, everything. And any training that you can take that will advance you, take it. Don’t just test the water; get in and cover yourself in it.
Could a career like Beth’s be in your future? Check out job openings at Heritage Environmental Services and apply today!