DES MOINES, Iowa – John Sumner entered the trucking industry searching for a change of scenery. He decided to leave his job managing a golf store to get behind the wheel of a big rig and see the open road.
“TMC always represented themselves as the best of the best, and I knew I wanted to affiliate myself with that culture from the beginning,” he said.
Sumner added that the company’s Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) and the physical work of flatbed driving appealed to him as well.
With his background in management, Sumner always had training in the back of his mind. For his hard work, he has been recognized as TMC’s Trainer of the Month for February.
“I consider myself a ‘people person,’ and success in our company comes from laying a good foundation for new drivers when they start,” he said. “I’ve always enjoyed that aspect of my job in the past, so I was able to carry it over easily.”
Driver trainers are vital to the TMC training department, and each month a trainer is chosen who demonstrates the outstanding qualities TMC looks for in a trainer. The Trainer of the Month recipient is chosen based on their safety record and the safety performance of their trainees, the number of drivers trained and the retention percentage of those drivers.
When it comes to training, the North Carolina native says his approach is laid-back and hands-on. “I like to get out there and help them tarp and strap, and I try to make everything a learning experience,” he said. “We take things in stride, and it’s my job to make sure they know not only how we do things, but why.”
Sumner added that trainers should be open to trying different training styles. “One way of learning doesn’t work for everyone so anyone who trains needs to be able to adapt and find the best ways for their trainees to find success,” Sumner said.
Sumner’s favorite part of training is the camaraderie it brings. “I love when past trainees call me and tell me they are seeing success.” He also credits his own success to TMC as a whole. “Without the great training and guidelines TMC has in place, we wouldn’t be able to do our jobs to the best of our ability. They always have my back and I can call so many different people to lean on if I ever need support.”