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A Long Haul

Logan Webster, Community Manager, Corporate Communications

How would you like to spend the next 100 hours with the boss of your boss's boss's boss?

Rob Lyall, Vice President of Tyson Foods Transportation, recently spent a week on the road with 15-year commercially licensed driver, and 12-year team member, Bryan Wilson. I followed up with Rob and Bryan about their time on the road.

Rob Lyall Bryan Wilson

So, why take on this opportunity?

Bryan: Well, spending a week with a fellow team member takes less patience than driving a truck nearly 3,000 miles every week. It means a lot for Rob to join me and gain perspective on what it takes to own the responsibility of driving commercial. It's not just a matter of getting behind the wheel. Time management, trip planning, and safety are critical to the success of a driver.

Rob: Like most highways, respect is a two-way street. Spending my time to get a glimpse of what drivers experience 24/7 is a simple commitment if I'm expected to create efficiencies for the team members that make up such a critical piece of our supply chain.

What's life like on the road?

Rob: Patience is vital, and self-control is critical. Convenience determined nearly every meal I ate. Bryan prioritizes prepping his meals and conditions himself to the flexibility that the job demands. Managing time to sleep and maintain proper hygiene can be challenging when inconvenienced, but it's necessary. At every stop, I took advantage of the chance to introduce myself to fellow team members. Their stories were sometimes colorful but learning why they drive for us is an essential part of my job.

Bryan: The showers at trucks stops have definitely improved over the last 15 years. In reality, it’s on me to maintain a schedule that can be interrupted. You definitely have to condition yourself for that. I've also learned that I do myself a favor when I take a chance to build a relationship with my manager, all of which have been great to me, and my other contacts. Owning my schedule also means holding those I rely on accountable, but also overcommunicating on my part to insure I achieve my desired miles for a given week. When I'm loaded correctly, the paperwork is right, and the equipment is maintained, a truck is my favorite place to be.

Bryan, when did you decide to get your CDL?

Bryan: I still have the toy trucks I played with as a kid, and that's really where it all started for me. I come from an agriculture family, so the chance to get familiar with operating machinery was more of a convenience for me than most. I actually went to college and got degrees in Wildlife Conservation, Biology, and Animal Science. I'm thankful for that experience, but I got in a truck soon after finishing school. In the last 12 years with Tyson, I've had the chance to drive in nearly every role the company offers, from catch crew, live and feed haul, over the road, and now regional. I do wish more people realized that truckers care when motorists think they don't. We are held to a higher standard on the road, and it's my job to share that road with you as safely as possible. Many safety investments made by companies like Tyson over the past few years give me greater peace of mind than ever, motorists benefit from that as well. With the improvements in equipment and safety, a career in commercial driving is more approachable than ever in my opinion. It shouldn’t be thought of as a last resort; it was my first choice.

Rob Lyall Bryan Wilson oil check

What does it mean to drive for Tyson Foods?

Bryan: It's a privilege and responsibility to drive for Tyson Foods. However, driving is an inconvenience for everyone, myself included. I just get paid for that inconvenience. While you drive to your job, driving is my job. I'm not getting paid to wait in traffic or at my destination though. At the end of the day, everyone is working hard to make life a little better and it’s good to know that I drive for a company that is helping feed the world.

Rob: Everybody wins when our drivers are enabled to efficiently spend their time driving vs. waiting. Inconvenienced drivers lead to shortfalls in raising the expectations of our customers and consumers, and I'm very encouraged to continue to do my part to create the opportunities that better utilize the time of drivers. To me, there's no better way to prove what our driver's mean to us than being as thoughtful as possible when it comes to listening to them and valuing their time.

Interested in a commercial driving career?

Learn more about joining our team today:
• Call a recruiter: 1-800-933-6442

Published April 19, 2019.

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