Interested in driving one of these?

Semi truck on the highway

Do you know someone 18 years of age or older who is looking for a career that offers him or her independence away from an office environment? There’s a gem right here in Euclid that might help – Cuyahoga Community College’s Truck Driving Academy.

On Jan. 24, The Euclid Chamber of Commerce hosted its monthly Coffee Conversation, open to chamber members and the community, at the Truck Driving Academy, currently rebranding as the Transportation Center. Attendees met Director Ian Wilson, were given a short presentation about the program, and were given the opportunity to experience a commercial-driving training simulator. Two attendees braved the virtual roads and encounters with rain, fog, snow, ice, cyclists, motorists and other hazards.

truck driving simulator at Cuyahoga Community College

Wilson explained that the college is moving away from simply being a truck driving academy and starting to offer programs in supply chain and logistics, as well as a diesel tech program in order to become a full-service transportation center. Currently, students can earn a Class A or B commercial driver’s license that allows them to drive a full truck, a car hauler, a gas truck and others, as well as a school bus or forklift.

To assist with making learning accessible, the college recently bought and modified a 53-foot semi-truck and trailer into a mobile trailer for manufacturing training. Half of the trailer is a classroom. The other half is a lab. This way, the college can take the classroom to students who may be working onsite at a manufacturing facility and are not able to get away for the day. It also can go to schools to conduct outreach demos for high-school students who may be interested in a transportation or manufacturing career.

He says, “At any given time, 200,000 trucking jobs are available, nationwide, and the industry always is looking for drivers. Trucking is integral to everything this nation does. Everything in your house was on a truck at some point.”

As Wilson explains, Cuyahoga Community College located the academy in Euclid, Ohio, as part of a manufacturing region with easy access to transportation junctures as well as local manufacturers. The academy has even trucked equipment from the college’s own maintenance department own the road to HGR Industrial Surplus for consignment.

 

A&H Trucking hosts third-annual Driver Appreciation Day

Ice cream truck at A&H Trucking Driver Appreciation Day

Ever wonder how all the amazing items in HGR’s showroom get here? We don’t have our own big rigs, but we work with a number of riggers and trucking companies to make it all happen, from enclosed trailers and flatbeds to step decks. One of those companies is A&H Trucking, Parts & Repair, Brooklyn, Ohio. According to Bryan Korecz, HGR’s inbound logistics manager, “Anything we need, they usually have. They do a lot of the local stuff we buy and, occasionally, ship out items that we sell.”

On Sept. 16 from 12 to 4 p.m., A&H and Ace Doran Hauling & Rigging hosted its third-annual Driver Appreciation Day as part of National Driver Appreciation Week. About 40 drivers plus more than 30 customers, vendors and industry relationships (like HGR) stop in to have lunch provided by Famous Dave’s BBQ and an ice cream truck, play some cornhole and feel the love. Many of the vendors and industry contacts donate items for raffles and giveaways. The money raised in the raffle goes into a driver relief fund.

A&H was started by Bob Abernethy (now deceased) and Bill Hoag in 1981. At that time, the company did not own any of its trucks and used all owner-operator rigs. Now, A&H has 22 company trucks, uses 20 owner-operators, has a full-service truck repair shop and is a Vanguard trailer and tractor parts distributor. Its drivers are required to attend two safety meetings each year. The company is an agent for Ace Doran Hauling & Rigging in order to leverage a larger company’s safety, billing department, and insurance claims processing resources. It’s a family-owned-and-run enterprise. And, it feels like family.

I sat at a table with one of the company’s retired drivers who had a trucking accident a little over a year ago. While he was recovering, Bill took him and his family to dinner, checked on him and continues to invite him back to this event even though he’s no longer driving. This was the kind of event where you felt like you knew everyone and made friends with people who share common interests. I own a retired Thoroughbred racehorse. This driver’s dad used to breed and train Standardbreds at Northfield Park. A sales rep at Rush Truck Centers breeds and trains Thoroughbreds and races them at Thistledown. We may go on a trail ride!

And, like a lot of businesses that I run across, A&H happens to be a customer of HGR. Many items in its facility have come from our showroom, including its shelving units. HGR started working with A&H just three years ago when the company partnered with one of our carriers. They inherited us and have continued to do a great job.

Thanks A&H for trucking our equipment, inviting us to your event and for introducing me to new friends.

Owner Bill Hoag of A&H Trucking at Driver Appreciation Day
A&H Trucking’s Owner Bill Hoag on the right in the striped shirt