DES MOINES, Iowa — TMC has named Greg Stehouwer as the company’s 2020 Trainer of the Year.
A third-generation truck driver, Stehouwer, has been training new TMC drivers since 2013. After serving in the Marine Corps as a diesel technician, he said a career in trucking just made sense.
As a civilian trucker, Stehouwer was not only committed to being a safe driver; he also joined the Safety Support Team at TMC to help other drivers achieve safety goals.
“He still wasn’t satisfied, though, because he wanted to make an even bigger impact on our drivers,” read a company statement from TMC. “He knew the best option to accomplish this ambition was to become a trainer.”
Stehouwer’s first goal as a trainer was determined to make sure drivers are trained “to do everything the right way.” He said that watching his trainees’ lives improve drives him to be a more successful trainer every day, and that he admires the hard work the new drivers put in to become a TMC driver.
One principle Stehouwer stands by each day is to “never forget where you came from.” He believes that having patience and empathy for his trainees will make them better drivers. To that end, he thinks back to his early days as a trainee, working to put himself in the shoes of his trainees.
When working with trainees who are about to hit the road with their driver trainers, Stehouwer offers three simple points: Always listen to your trainer; ask questions; and remember to be patient with your trainer. Just as the trainee is learning new skills from the trainer, the trainer is also trying to understand how to best teach the trainee according to their learning style, according to Stehouwer.
Even after a trainee is handed the keys to one of TMC’s black and chrome trucks, Stehouwer said he likes to stay in touch and keep a relationship with them.
He reflected on the kindness of one trainee and his family; the trainee, along with his wife and kids drove to the training center to bring dinner for Stehouwer one day.
Another situation Stehouwer distinctly recalls is that the first person he ever trained had never driven anything bigger than a car. It was a challenge and the trainee wanted to give up several times, but he was determined to push through — and his persistence paid off. That trainee ended up becoming a successful driver, able to provide more financially for his family than he had been able to do before.