Edward “Eddie” Dalzell talked his way into his first truck driving job at age 19 in Massachusetts.
3 million accident-free miles and almost 50 years later, Eddie’s now retired from truck driving but still logging miles on foot as a hiker and lead CSR for Penske in San Antonio.
As he tells the story, he got his first truck driving job through good old-fashioned persistence. And telling a little bit of a lie.
“The company I was working for went out of business. There were no other jobs around. The car I had ran out of gas, I had no money. So, I walked 3 miles down the road to a place that was supposedly hiring truck drivers. I had no clue how to drive a truck. I kept going back day after day until they finally hired me!”
From there, he had a friend teach him how to drive a truck.
Once he got his start with that first job in Massachusetts, Eddie moved south after a few years. There he got his first job as a tanker truck driver. He spent the next few decades with various jobs between Texas and Louisiana, driving tankers between refineries and operating other heavy equipment. He mentions that some of those were dangerous jobs, and that thankfully he got lucky a few times.
Living and working near the Gulf of Mexico, he saw his share of hurricanes and severe weather.
The memory of those storms still stand out to Eddie. “Dodging hurricanes, wasn’t fun. Everyone else was leaving, but we’d be heading into the storms with the plywood to help. Last hurricane I drove 27 hours straight because of all the road closures to get around it. Had to get right back up in 5 hours to go back into it.”
When asked about his time as a truck driver at Dupre Logistics, he said that they were big on safety, and provided great training.
He also fondly recalls having a great boss who became a life-long friend to this day.
“At Dupre, Leadership was very good. We had good drivers. We could laugh and have fun. They are VERY fair. They also gave a nice safety bonus every 3 months which was nice”.
That bonus came with a safety meeting at a great local steakhouse. Eddie mentioned he never missed a bonus, or the steak dinners. Working for Dupre, he said that integrity was important.
“There’s lots of competition out there but the jobs kept coming back to us because they liked what we were doing.”
Over the years, he also spent time as a driving instructor and unofficial career and life coach.
“Taught people how to drive standard trucks. I enjoyed that. I also told students to follow your dreams. Listen to Mr. Eddie: Don’t do something you hate, you’ll be miserable your whole life.”
Now retired from driving, Eddie spends his days working as a hiker and lead Customer Service Representative for Penske.
He says he logs over 52 miles a week on foot, 20,000 steps, walking around the facility. Quite a change from all of the hours and miles behind the wheel!
Eddie, 68, has a wife, 6 children and 10 grandkids. In his free time, he enjoys living close to 3 of those grandkids.
“I get to see them all the time. Grandma loves to keep them on the weekends – gives their moms a break”. He also enjoys fishing and keeping fit and active.
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