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Ron Stencel, a 65-year trucking dynasty, knows the trucking game all too well.

When he was 3, his father took him on a haul to Kansas City from Minnesota Lake. He immediately fell in love with the profession, and has spent his entire adult life dedicated to the industry. Trucking is in his blood.

Sixty-five years later, Stencel hopes pass the family business onto his son and grandson, Ron Adam.

“When school was out for the summer I could not wait to get to ride in the big truck during summer break,” Adam Stencel told Prairie Publishing, which shared the Stencels’ story

Sadly, few young people share Adam’s enthusiasm for a life on the road.

Like so many truckers, Stencel has felt the impact of fewer young people entering the trucking profession. In the article, he says new government mandates about monitoring drivers’ time has negatively affected the industry. As he explains, people often choose this profession due to its flexibility and freedom, but the new rules take a lot of the fun out of driving, Stencel says. With truckers’ every move now being monitored, that freedom and flexibility has begun to fade.

As the former vice president of the Minnesota Truckers Association, Stencel is a long-time advocate of CDL drivers. In fact, to foster a close-knit community among Minnesota drivers, the MTA began holding an annual get-together. The group had its most recent congregation on June 23. “You just don’t know how long these truckers will be around and it is important to maintain the friendships.”

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Photo via NPR.org

Step aside, Uber and Google, a career trucker is making history for self-driving tractor trailers.

Jeff Runions, autonomous-truck test driver, prepares the future of the trucking industry. As he told NPR, Runions works for Starsky Robotics. They are a small company developing fully autonomous trucks for the highway. The trucks are driven by professionals once the trucks got off at the exit.

As truck drivers continue to decrease in numbers, Runions hopes autonomous trucks will be a huge opportunity for the industry to keep up with demand. In his interview with NPR, he says automated vehicles would allow drivers to spend less time on the road and more time at home with their families.

This would be a drastic change from the three weeks of on-road time he remembers from working on his own and with a commercial trucking company. In fact, Runions would like to see drivers having a “regular life” with a 40-hour work week. By making drivers’ lives more enjoyable, he hopes to spike interest in the industry from potential drivers.

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A newly proposed bill may allow younger truck drivers to drive across state borders. Currently, federal law prohibits younger truck drivers aged 18-21 from driving outside their licensed state.

However, on March 27, California State Representative Duncan Hunter and Indiana State Representative Trey Hollingsworth introduced a new bill. The bill allows younger truck drivers to avoid this three-year limitation. To encourage more young people to pursue driving as a career, the two state representatives believe it is imperative to allow young drivers to cross state borders if needed. They argue that this could address the driver shortage and allow older drivers to retire. It could also help keep costs down for employers by having a larger pool of employees to choose from.

This age reduction would come with limits, such as longer chaperoned hours on the road and more on-duty hours before being awarded their new license. However, not everyone remains convinced that adding younger drivers to the pool would provide a positive outcome. Also, some industry leaders believe that allowing young drivers across state lines could lead to higher crash rates and result in catastrophe.

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If you’re on the market for a new CDL trucking job in 2017, now is a good time to brush up on your networking skills. Several avenues exist to help you take control of your next career move, like these touted by Mary Sherwood Sevinsky of the noted career site Work It Daily.

1. Use LinkedIn

I can’t say enough about LinkedIn. Many professionals are coming to have a better understanding of the platform and how it can benefit them. But most don’t recognize what a powerful skill and knowledge building tool it can be.

By following influencers, channels and individuals as well as engaging themselves in groups, members can keep current in their industry and sharp on business in general. Discussions with those from similar and dissimilar backgrounds can broaden your horizon and give you a different perspective.

2. Join Professional Groups

Sometimes you need to see like-minded people in a different venue and in person. Online groups are fine, but nothing can replace the impact of a smiling face, warm handshake, or appreciative nod. Find or create a group near you. Meetup is becoming a great way to create and manage in-person groups.

Chamber of Commerce or industry groups in your area are likely to be accessible to you and can be a good way to learn and build your network. Networks can help you by allowing you to feel connected, but they can also help ensure you find out about opportunities in a timely way.

3. Volunteer

Yes, you can learn a lot through volunteering for charity or civic groups. Big Brothers Big Sisters, Rotary, your local hospital or church can all be great places to learn and grow. Sometimes, you learn how well-off you are. Sometimes you find that you have the best social media skills (even if you consider yourself technologically challenged). Before you know it, you might be improving a skill you never knew you needed and that will benefit others as well as yourself.

4. Get Additional Education

You can take a class or go back to school to pursue a degree or certification. There are plenty of online options for formal training, but don’t forget about the brick and mortar facilities as well.

5. Schedule Downtime

You may miss learning opportunities, or at least insights, if you don’t set aside time to process your work day. Make sure you allow enough time to think about what you did and how you did it. What did you learn? Whom did you help? What did you accomplish? What could you have done better?

Think about these things – keep a work journal to capture even further opportunities to learn.

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ttnews.comBlueGrace Logistics, based in Riverview, Fla., announced that Warburg Pincus agreed to an investment of $255 million in the firm, Transport Topics reports. Also, that includes committed capital and direct investment to increase growth and acquisitions.

In addition, BlueGrace Logistics expects to increase employment in Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Tampa and other markets. Overall, they plan to hire 500 to 700 new employees, nearly doubling the current 370 employees.

Whether the new jobs include CDL trucking jobs remains undetermined.

“This investment gives a major shot of adrenaline to our already fast-growing operations,” BlueGrace CEO Bobby Harris said. “We help customers transform their shipping across the country. And, for me, it’s especially gratifying to see more employees come to the company and find a great career.”

Founded in 2009, BlueGrace developed a proprietary software platform.

Overall, it provides customers who need to ship goods with multiple offers from trucking companies. New York-based Warburg Pincus “has been a long-term investor in the technology-enabled logistics market. BlueGrace is a rapidly growing innovator in that industry,” said Alex Berzofsky, managing director of Warburg Pincus. “We see meaningful opportunities for continued growth for the company. And, we look forward to supporting the BlueGrace team.”

Read the rest of the Transport Topics story here.

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Trucking Software Company Gets  Million in Venture Capital from Big Names

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One tech startup got a big financial boost this week when it received a $16 million windfall from investors. The Seattle-based trucking software startup Convoy makes a big splash with big-name tech investors. Investors include Jeff Bezos of Amazon, who likes what Convoy peddles.

Overall, Convoy’s software matches trucking companies to firms that need products transported.

Transport Topics magazine said word of the $16 million in new venture capital for Convoy. This comes only months after Convoy made a foray into Washington state’s technology scene. In addition, they raised $2.5 million in seed money from Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, among others.

“The new round, led by Menlo Park, California-based Greylock Partners, with participation from high-ranking Amazon.com executive Jeff Wilke, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom, Acosta Executive Chairman Gary Chartrand and LinkedIn executive Mike Gamson,” Transport Topics wrote.

Convoy creates software that connects truck drivers with freight that needs hauling. The startup developed a website and app into which freight companies enter information about what they need moved. It includes the equipment required. Next, Trucking companies then swoop in and claim the job. The traditional model involves companies working with third-party brokers to find truckers. Convoy lowers transport costs by cutting out the middle man and automating part of the process.

Convoy raised this second round of funding thanks to its rapid growth and increasing demand from trucking companies.

The company now stands at 31 employees

They preppe to relocate to a larger, 6,000-square-foot office space. It also announced this week that it will expand into Oregon. It plans to use its new funding to continue its expansion throughout the year.

“One of the only limits to our growth is how fast we can hire the people that we need,” Forecki said.

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XPO Broadens Its Reach in HealthcareWhile CDL trucking jobs may be the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear XPO Logistics, this article about the company’s latest news centers on its further expansion in the healthcare sector.

XPO Logistics landed a contract as the third-party logistics provider for Trinity Health. The two companies stated this in a release March 9.

In a news article about the agreement, Transport Topics said Trinity manages 90 hospitals and 124 continuing-care facilities in 21 states. Now, they construct a $26 million supply distribution center in Fort Wayne, Ind.

“The facility services the Great Lakes region of the Midwest. In addition, they serve as the first of four such centers planned,” Transport Topics wrote. “XPO signed on to ‘manage and operate’ the new facility as Trinity’s ‘contract logistics manager’.

“This initiative represents an enormous change in the way we stage and move supplies to our hospitals,” said Lou Fierens, a Trinity senior vice president. Also, Ashfaque Chowdhury, XPO’s president of supply chain in the Americas and Asia-Pacific commented. The facility “boosts the local economy and deliver on our promise to Trinity Health of consistent, efficient, high-quality service.”

XPO spokesperson Gary Frantz said XPO Logistics stays active in the healthcare sector. In fact, they remain active for nearly 10 years. Furthermore, its clients include health systems such as Trinity and medical supply manufacturers.

 “Now, combined with the larger resources of XPO’s supply chain group, and our experience helping major brands in other verticals pursue supply chain-led business transformations, we have a tremendous solution set to offer to the health care community,” Frantz said.

Site preparation begins before the end of March, and construction takes about a year.

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A new profile of the domestic small business climate in USA Today says that potential wealth isn’t the No. 1 motivator for small business owners, including those in trucking.

More than financial rewards, many small business owners seek more personal rewards, such as  creative expression and overall satisfaction.

The results apply to small business owners in various industries, whether they’re trucking companies hiring or something else entirely.

“For small business owners – like many young people entering the workforce — opening their own business is about quality of life and a sense of independence,” the article stated.

“When you’re a small business owner and want to make things happen, they do happen,” says Octavio Pina, 54, an Allstate agency owner in Santa Ana, Calif. “It gives you a sense of accomplishment knowing that if you do this, you’ll arrive at the point you want to be. You’re making things happen for yourself and your family.”

The USA Today study drew on federal data and a national survey of small business owners.

It seeked to understand the “health and vitality” of the U.S. small business sector.

The study found high levels of optimism (scoring 79 out of a possible 100) and innovation (73). What do small business owners get out of this working environment? Nearly half of the more than 2,600 who were surveyed said being their own boss gives them enjoyment. More than a third cite flexible work hours. And nearly a quarter get satisfaction from creating something all their own or following their passion. The real surprise? Just one in five point to money as one of their top two motivators.

The article goes on to say that other small business owners say they’re inspired by their own ability to control their destiny.

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If you want to be successful, work yourself into a frenzy. Or so we’ve been led to believe, anyway.

But one psychologist, Emma Seppala, says something quite the opposite in her new book, “The Happiness Track: How to Apply the Science of Happiness to Accelerate Your Success.” Business Insider highlighted Seppala’s Top 6 pointers for living a happier, more successful life.

The good news is, Seppala’s pointers are easy enough for all of us to do, anyplace, anytime. So the next time you’re working at your CDL trucking job, try to work some of these approaches into your day. You’ll be happy you did.

1. Live in the moment

In today’s working world, we’re encouraged to work nonstop in order to stay on top of everything. We’re also constantly checking things off our to-do lists. But research suggests that when we’re focused on the present, we’re much more productive and more charismatic.

2. Be resilient

If we can train ourselves to be more resilient to the setbacks in our lives, we’re more likely to bounce back from them, a 2004 study suggests. The study found that resilient people were able to recover faster (as measured by their heart rate and blood pressure) when they used positive emotions to respond to a stressful experience.

3. Keep calm

In 2014, Seppala and her colleagues conducted a small study of 21 veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Half of them were assigned to do breathing meditation, and the other half received no intervention. The group that did the meditation reported lower PTSD symptoms and anxiety a month and even a year later.

4. Do more of nothing

In Western society, we have this ingrained notion that we need to constantly be doing something, or we’re not being productive. But in fact, research suggests that we are most creative when we’re not at our peak alertness. The findings suggest that we’re at our mental best when we’re not especially alert or focused. So if we want to be creative, we need to give ourselves more time off.

5. Be good to yourself

Research suggests that a fear of failure can lead you to choke up, make you more likely to give up, and lead to poor decisions such as cheating or making questionable investments. It may also make it harder to pursue the career you want. Instead, Seppala said, be kind to yourself and observe your negative thoughts from a distance without letting yourself really dwell on them.

6. Be compassionate

Finally, we often assume that we should be looking out for ourselves first and foremost. But in fact, research suggests that you’re better off nurturing supportive relationships with others. If you have good relationships with your boss, colleagues, or employees, you’re more likely to inspire loyalty, which in turn makes everyone more productive, Seppala said.

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A new acquisition likely will be welcomed by trucking companies—and not welcomed by those with CDL trucking jobs. Fortune magazine reports that Lytx, the chief maker of cameras for monitoring CDL truck drivers, will be acquired by the private equity firm GTCR for a cash payment of $500 million.

“For trucking companies, having a system that records driver behavior during unusual road events provides potentially useful legal evidence. Because while car-truck collisions often result in large settlements, truckers themselves are at fault in only 30% of accidents,” Fortune reports.

Lytx’s current leadership remains the same as a result of the deal.

This enables the company to diversify and broaden its services. The acquisition expects to finalize by the end of March, stated Fortune. And it comes at a time when the trucking industry embraces the use of driver-facing cameras.

As Fortune reported, cameras monitoring truck drivers experienced fast adoption in the trucking industry. Last year, Lytx added 102,000 new systems across 365 companies.

Those with CDL trucking jobs fail to support this news of this acquisition, though. Drivers view driver-facing cameras as an invasion of their privacy at the wheel. In addition, they view it in an industry already increasingly rampant with oversight.

“Lytx’s driver cameras are almost certainly a transitional technology as the trucking industry is moving inexorably towards automation and, eventually, self-driving trucks,” Fortune added. “…With a broad consensus that self-driving passenger vehicles could be on the road by 2020, trucks can’t be far behind – and an artificial intelligence doesn’t need a camera keeping an eye on it.”

But for the present, Fortune asserts, GTCR’s acquisition of Lytx welcome news to trucking executives.

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