- The Essential Military-to-Civilian Transition Resource

Transportation: An Industry on the Go (continued)
by Heidi Lynn Russell, Contributing Editor

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Article Sponsored by: Crete Carrier and Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority

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The American Trucking Associations, Inc., estimates that its industry “will not fill all of the existing truck driver positions we have,” says Bill Wanamaker, Director of Government, Traffic and Security Operations. “There are 3.46 million truck drivers in the United States, and the population is old like me and they’re retiring, and we need to replace them.”


recruit military serviceHe adds that, “a quality truck driver has job security. There are always opportunities. The trucking industry employs nearly nine million people; that’s one in 15 civilian workers.”


Starting pay for a full-time, large-commercial, 18-wheeler driver is $28,000 annually. With experience and a safe record, that can build to $85,000, Wanamaker says. If you have a security clearance and are hauling for the Department of Defense, your salary may be closer to $80,000, depending on how much you’re driving, he adds.

Crete Carrier Corp. ranks as one of the largest privately owned trucking companies in the country, offering a full range of transportation services. Jeff Dady oversees Driver Development, and Jessica Reay is the HR Generalist. They say the company is looking at 2,900 new hires in 2013.

“It’s daunting for an organization,” Dady says. “A lot of those positions are on the driving side, but we also have office, shop and logistics positions to fill as well. We have a huge recruitment task ahead of us.”

Periodically, mid-level positions are open for military leaders to consider, Reay says. Those include logistics positions and managers who oversee drivers’ time. “And we have opportunities for management beyond that,” she adds.

The company has also hired a military recruiter who is an Air Force veteran to recruit military service members. “There are a lot of values that the military has which really tie in with our values - selflessness, being able to think on their feet and being part of the team. Those really fall in line with our values and what we’re looking for in an individual,” Dady says.

Richmond, Va.-based Estes Express Lines is a full-service freight transportation provider that was founded in 1931 by W.W. Estes and is still owned by the Estes family. The company has grown from a small, local carrier into one of the most respected total-solution providers in the industry. It has more than 13,350 employees and more than 27,000 tractors and trailers, plus more than 200 terminals.

Curtis Carr is VP of Safety and Risk Management. The number of open positions fluctuates, but the company can have as many as 600 available jobs, he says. Like everywhere else, those also run the gamut, from driving, sales, and clerical work, to logistics and information technology, among others. The company is actively trying to recruit military service members and has attended job fairs at Fort Hood, Fort Campbell and Fort Bragg.

And there’s a good reason the company has a soft heart for veterans: the late Robey W. Estes, the second-generation family company president, stormed Normandy on D-Day. He was a staff sergeant and led the riflemen of E Company of the 116th Infantry, a Virginia National Guard regiment. He also fought in the Battle of the Bulge, Carr says.

Transportation Intermediaries

Transportation intermediaries, or third-party logistics companies, act as the facilitators to arrange the efficient and economical movement of goods. Robert Voltmann is CEO and President of the Transportation Intermediaries Association in Alexandria, Va. He says 90 percent of intermediaries businesses are family-owned. “It’s a totally invisible industry that does about $160 billion a year worth of business,” Voltmann says.

Anyone who is good at customer service will like this job, he says. Businesses “pay a good living and are always looking for talented people. You build relationships with customers - the shippers, the people who make things and the carriers that actually move them to market. My guys operate like travel agents. They help the manufacturer find the capacity to move their goods to market, and they help the carriers find freight so the equipment is loaded,” Voltmann explains.

Voltmann adds that 80 percent of U.S. trucking companies have five or fewer trucks and don’t have sales forces. The intermediaries fill that gap. “They come in every shape and size, but every one of them is looking for talented people.”

And, no surprise here: Like the rest of the transportation industry, the intermediaries are hurting for employees. “My guys can’t hire enough people,” Voltmann says.

To locate companies in your geographic area, Voltmann suggests doing job board searches on the phrases, “logistics, third-party logistics and property brokerage.”


Amtrak is equally searching for qualified talent, says Paul Ho, Talent Acquisition Advisor in Los Angeles. “We foresee a huge amount of hiring and are in the middle of it now. We’re so incredibly busy,” Ho says.

“We go to veteran job fairs. We strive to hire veterans. It’s one thing in which we’re trying to increase our numbers, and the corporate office fully supports it, and it’s one of our initiatives.”

In the transportation arena, jobs include assistant passenger conductor, passenger engineers, and a lot of entry-level customer service positions. Amtrak provides training for engineers (the drivers).

Light-duty mechanics and heavy-duty mechanics are also needed. “We hire electricians all the time from the military,” Ho says. Machinists are mechanics that troubleshoot and repair engines. “Car men” handle the light-duty repairs on windows and doors.

“There are customer service related positions in management that we would consider people without railroad backgrounds,” Ho adds.

Amtrak also has a police department. And, if you have an engineering specialty in the military, the various engineering positions include bridge and track engineers, signal engineers and building engineers.

“Our website lists all the jobs by geographic location, job title and job category. Applicants need to create a profile and submit to whatever they’re interested in,” Ho says.

Ready to get started? Great! Take a look at upcoming military job fairs in your area in this issue’s job fair calendar or at online. You can also log on to’s job board to view opportunities that might fit your skills. And don’t forget to review the transportation advertisers’ ads in this issue. Transportation companies want you! Heidi Lynn Russell writes about employment and business issues.

Heidi Lynn Russell writes about employment and business issues.

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