- The Essential Military-to-Civilian Transition Resource

Going Places: The Transportation Industry

Part Two

by Heidi Lynn Russell, Contributing Editor

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Article Sponsored by: Crete Carrier and USAA

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transportation industry for a civilian career Varying Roles and Qualifications

Roles vary in the industry, but recruiters note that there is a place for everyone, up to management positions. At Schneider, there are “a lot of leadership positions,” Reich says. Those are predominantly operations management roles at maintenance or operating centers. Driver trainers are typically senior NCOs or junior officers. “We have new management training for everybody, lasting a few days, and depending on the line of business, specific training is designed,” Reich says.

On the driver side, you need a Class Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), but some states are honoring certain military drivers’ licenses: In the Army, it’s an 88M, and in the Marines it’s a 3531, Freauff says. Companies like TMC have structured training onboarding programs for veterans, she adds.

“Brand new guys out of school come to us for orientation, and in two weeks, they go on the road with a driver trainer. Depending on their experience level, the longest (training) is five weeks. Those with experience who have driven a flatbed need just a couple of days. Then they get in their own truck and are mentored by fleet managers. If they’re struggling, they can go through a simulated training to help with certain skills.”

Crete is looking for any veteran “where a majority of what they do (in the military) is driving,” Shoup says. And, if your interest is elsewhere, Crete seeks those with logistics backgrounds, diesel mechanics and shop leaders. “One of the newer fleet managers (since June) was an Army company commander at Fort Bragg - a captain. Two weeks after he exited, he started working for us,” Shoup says.

     transportation industry for a civilian career


“At CSX, the top entry-level position is freight conductor and intermodal service worker, Toomey says. The service workers take the shipping materials from truck to rail car and make sure numbers and safety requirements are correct. Mid-career or retired military move into senior union ranks, such as yard masters and track inspectors - “senior jobs with attention to detail,” Toomey explains. Junior officers are hired into leadership development programs to become supervisors of the union positions. For example, train masters supervise train conductors, and road masters supervise people working on tracks and facilities.

“They coordinate plans. We like junior officers in the military. They lead the union force in accordance with regulations. It’s a similar structure to the military, which is why it’s a good fit for veterans. They’re comfortable with it. Even our time is military time!” Toomey says.

To view available job opportunities in the transportation industry, visit


Heidi Lynn Russell writes about employment and business issues.


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