We have an elite team of tanker drivers at J&M. Our great drivers are what set us apart from other companies – they are why we are known as one of the top transportation companies in the Southeast. People who drive for us know that we are a family company that respects our employees and drivers and that we want them to succeed and thrive within our company.
MEET OUR DRIVERS: JOHNNY CHERGOTAKOS
Johnny started out as a tanker driver and is now a recruiter for J&M Tank Lines. Like Johnny, many of our truck drivers have had the opportunity to advance their careers within our company. He answers some of our questions about what his journey has been like working for J&M Tank Lines.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE J&M TANK LINES?
Johnny started driving for J&M in 2016. Before he started, he compared many different companies and what they had to offer. He found that J&M was the perfect place for him as he was looking to begin a new career.
Johnny says, “It seemed like everything I wanted. When I was doing my research on starting a new career, It seemed like J&M had the best home-time, pay, benefits, just a better package overall. So I chose them, and I’m glad I did. It’s been a great company. I love driving for them.”
WHAT KIND OF HOME TIME DO J&M DRIVERS RECEIVE?
Johnny found that J&M had a lot of options for drivers and the kind of time they want to spend in a truck over the road. He also discovered that no matter if you are local or long-haul, J&M drivers spend more time at home than drivers for other companies.
He explains, “We run regional, we’ve got some local, we’ve got some long-haul. Our local guys are just that, they’re local; they’re home most nights. Regional guys are typically out 2-3 nights a week. Even our long-haul guys, they might be out maybe 5 days a week. So even our long-haul isn’t out weeks on end with a 5-day break.”
J&M understands how important time at home with family is. We make sure drivers like Johnny are able to get home as much as possible.
WHY DID YOU STICK AROUND?
As Johnny discovered from the very start, we are a company that shows our employees respect through our candor and by doing whatever we can to make things run smoothly.
He states, “J&M was pretty straight forward and honest from the get-go; everything they said, they lived up to. As long as I did the work and did my job, got my loads there on time, they took care of me. The pay was good, and the operations are awesome. Dispatch is some of the best guys I ever worked with.”
J&M is also a company who cares for the well-being of our drivers. We know that everyone is going to have some hard times in life, and we are there for each other when they do. That’s why drivers like Johnny stick around.
“Rarely did I miss work,” Johnny states, “but if something serious came up, there were no questions asked. They would have my back. I felt like I was part of a family instead of a number. I had no reason to look anywhere else.”
WHAT WAS YOUR RELATIONSHIP LIKE WITH THE DISPATCHERS AND MAINTENANCE?
As Johnny noticed, we make sure communication channels are always open and that every employee treats each other with respect.
He says, “Working with my dispatchers was like working with a buddy. We always communicated, and communication was really important to me. They’re good guys. They’re trained well. They don’t treat you like a number. They treat you like an individual, the way they should. They treat you like a coworker.”
In addition to communication with dispatchers, drivers are notified when it is time for service on their trucks. Most of the trucks in our fleet are newer models. Even so, they still need maintenance from time to time. Drivers for other trucking companies often butt heads with the people who perform maintenance on their rigs. Johnny’s experience with J&M was much different.
Johnny says, “My maintenance guy made sure to let me know when my truck was due for service way in advance. They are a great crew that gets stuff done really quick.”
WHAT KIND OF TRAINING DID YOU GET?
We have excellent driver trainers at J&M. Most of our drivers already have truck driving experience when they join us, but pneumatic tanks present their own unique challenges and require training to get used to.
Johnny remembers his training experience, “I’d never driven pneumatic tanks before, but I’d driven just about everything else. My trainer went over everything pretty textbook and gave me five days of pretty intense hands-on training. And after five days, I felt like I’d been doing it my whole life.”
Johnny also became a driver trainer himself. One of the most rewarding parts of Johnny’s job was, as he says, “getting those guys to not only being able to operate the truck but doing it safely and doing it well. Getting feedback from dispatch saying, hey, that guy you trained is doing a killer job out there.”
From day one, we are dedicated to the success and fulfillment of our drivers, as Johnny experienced as both a driver and a trainer.
DO YOU HAVE ANY SLOW TIMES WHERE YOU DON’T MAKE AS MUCH MONEY?
Driving a truck has its ups and downs, but we make sure our drivers feel secure, especially during the low points.
Johnny explains, “Your paycheck’s not a salary; it’s what you get out there and earn. So paychecks may vary, but they stay pretty much in the same range.”
The main concern for drivers and their paychecks is when there is a slow-down, as is the case with some things like cement during December and January, but J&M has a minimum guarantee to act as a safety net and help drivers when things like slow-downs happen.
Johnny says, “Even when it slows down, it’s less customer freight, but you’re still doing a lot of stock transfers. So you’re staying busy. That’s why J&M has its minimum guarantee. We’ve got a safety net there that pays out at most of our terminals, and if anything was to happen, for instance when it flooded in Houston, and all those drivers were just sitting there not getting paid, our drivers were getting paid. That’s the purpose of the safety net.”
We value our drivers and their livelihoods. Johnny’s experience is an example of what we strive for with all of our employees. We want everyone who works for us to feel respected and to be rewarded in their work. Johnny states that working for us is like “being a part of a family,” and that’s just what we are: A great big family.
LEARN MORE ABOUT J&M TANK LINES EXCEPTIONAL DRIVERS
J&M Tank Lines has been a leader in transportation for 70 years in the Southeast with terminals in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, South Carolina, and Texas. We provide high-caliber truck driving solutions locally and nationally and partner with SmartWay, American Trucking Association (ATA) and many more! Contact us or call us at 205-798-9988 to learn more today.