Dany Lévesque, Company Driver in truck 642140, Lévis Terminal, sat down for a quick chat with a member of our Hyndman Marketing Team (HMT) on Apr. 21st, 2017.
HMT – Dany, it’s a pleasure to meet with you. You’re of the millennial generation, right? There’s been much talk about how our industry needs to do more to attract younger people. What made you decide on a career in trucking?
DANY – My Mom drives a truck. She drives for Hyndman too. Each summer when I was a kid, my sister and I would go on runs with my Mom. I got to see the good and the not so good parts of the job. I closely watched how my Mom did things like her truck inspections, managing the traffic, border crossings, interact with people, etc. I always looked forward to these summer trips and developed a special interest in trucking. Maybe it is in my genes.
HMT - When you look back at these special times, do you have a fond memory you can share with us?
DANY – I have lots of good memories. I remember each night waiting for my sister to fall asleep so that I could go up front and sit next to Mom in the passenger’s seat. We would talk and she would always give me the job of helping her watch for deer. I took this job very seriously. I never saw any but on one night with me riding shot-gun looking for deer, as we were going through the middle of Chicago, I shouted “DEER!” Of course, there was no deer. I was kidding. I don’t remember Mom finding it as funny as I did.
HMT – You must have had some good stories for when you started back at school.
DANY – Yes. Every year the teacher would ask us what we did on our summer holiday? I would proudly rhyme off a long list of every single State and Province we travelled through each summer and what I saw. Unfortunately, the teachers often thought I was a wise-guy and didn’t believe me. I was telling the truth!
HMT – I imagine that not many of your school friends had Moms who were professional truck drivers, correct? It wasn’t quite as common as it’s becoming today. What was that like for you growing up?
DANY – Yes, I was unique but it was kind of cool. We lived with my grandparents. My mother made sure we had a very good support network and my sister and I always looked forward to our summers in the truck. We got a first-hand appreciation of how hard she worked for us and we got to see so much of Canada and the U.S,. more than our friends ever did. It was an education beyond the classroom. We were lucky for the experiences.
HMT – Dany, what does your Mom think about you following her footsteps into trucking?
DANY – She has always been very supportive. My decision to make trucking a career didn’t really come as a surprise to her. She saw that I had a genuine interest in it. For her, it was important that I got good training and established a good foundation for my career in trucking.
HMT – So did your Mom train you?
DANY – Yes, I went out with my Mom for a few weeks but not until I got 615 hours of formal truck school training at CFTC (Centre de Formation en Transport de Charlesbourg – Charlesbourg Transport Training Centre).
HMT – Wow! Did you say 615 hours?
DANY – Yes. CFTC is a government funded school that offers a very comprehensive training program among some other programs. It is attracting younger people to the industry and providing them with a solid foundation of knowledge and confidence at a very affordable cost. It does not just emphasize the theory but gives you lots of practical experience behind the wheel with mountain driving, various road conditions and border crossings included. You also get time in the simulator. For me it was the best choice because they permitted me to do the training part-time, in the evenings and weekends, while I worked a full-time job.
HMT – It sounds like Québec may have an edge on the rest of Canada on how to attract young people to our industry. Okay, time for the “favourites” game. What is your favourite:
DANY - District 31. It’s a Montreal based cop show. I also like Blue Moon. It’s a drama about a secretive Canadian paramilitary company. It’s very good.
DANY – I like 99.9 Virgin Radio in Toronto. They play a lot of new music I like.
DANY – Poutine. I’m serious! There’s this little place in Pont-Rouge just west of Québec City called Casse-Croute de Vieux Moulin. They make the best poutine. Google it and check out the photos. You will see what I mean. You will never want Burger King poutine again.
DANY – I once delivered office furniture in Lower Manhattan, NYC, to One World Trade Center. That was very tricky, a real challenge for me, but WOW, what an experience! I was free during the unloading so I got to explore Lower Manhattan a little. I also took the opportunity to go up to the observation deck of the new World Trade Center tower. That’s a run I will always remember for many reasons.
HMT – Wow! I suspect some drivers may have refused that load but not you. You turned a challenge into an opportunity. Dany, do you have any advice for younger people who may be considering a career in trucking?
DANY - My advice would be to get the very best possible training. Invest the time. Put in the work. Ask lots of questions. Build a strong foundation for a good career; no short cuts. It is important to do your homework and have a realistic understanding of the job. Patience and the ability to adapt with each load helps. Find a good company in the beginning and build a good relationship with your dispatcher. Don’t job hop around. The grass isn’t necessarily greener.
HMT – Well said. Those are some wise words coming from our millennial generation. Before we say good-bye, do you have any advice to the industry on how we can better attract more young people such as yourself?
DANY – I am not an expert on this but I think younger people want more from life today because we were encouraged to want more and not to settle. We want a good and meaningful career. We want a happy family life and a home. We want balance. I have a good relationship with my dispatcher, Lee, at the Lévis terminal. I work hard and run the loads where he needs me to go and he gets me home most weekends so that I can spend quality time with my girlfriend and her two kids. I’ve got good balance and it’s important to me. I think the more companies work to provide this balance and respect drivers for their whole self and not just as a truck number, more people will speak positively about the job and that will have a positive effect on attracting more people of my generation or any generation to the industry.
HMT – Dany, thanks for chatting with us. If you’re the future of trucking, I think we’re in good hands!
DANY – Thank you for this opportunity.