Before joining the Dot Transportation, Inc. (DTI) team, Arizona Dot Driver Troy Wipf and his wife, Wendy, were living in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Troy was working as a warehouse supervisor. Troy has always known about Bullhead City, Arizona, because his wife’s mom has family living there, but they never considered making the move south themselves.
Until one day when Wendy’s mom sent them a picture of the Dot Foods Arizona “coming soon” sign. Deciding it would be a good time for a change of scenery, Troy applied to work in the warehouse. Two days later, the Bullhead City distribution center (DC) general manager gave Troy a call.
The rest is pretty much history.
Eventually, his manager came up to him and said that the leadership team liked what they saw and thought he’d be the perfect candidate for the Warehouse to Driver Program.
The biggest reason Troy decided to become a professional driver is for the perk of making more money than he would working in the warehouse. He enjoyed his six months in the Dot Foods Arizona warehouse, but was excited to start truck driving school once his six months were up!
The Quick Turnaround
While many Dot employees who participate in the Warehouse to Driver Program end up working in the warehouse while going to school, Troy ended up going to school full-time for three weeks and was paid during that time. This way, he was able to continue to make ends meet at home and not be out three weeks of pay.
Driver Training with Dot
Training can be something that experienced drivers tend to dread—but Troy firmly believes that the training he received is what made him the safe and professional driver he is today.
“What made my conversion from warehouse to driver so smooth was the excellent trainers we have,” said Troy. “They’ve been so supportive.”
“It was tough for me because I had to prove to them that I was good to go. They want to make sure that we are safe,” explained Troy. “My development to becoming a driver and making sure I was ready was excellent. That was one of the best parts [about joining Dot]—the high quality training.”
Life on the Road
“I’m a break-down guy,” said Troy—meaning he is what Dot calls a customer delivery specialist.
Dot offers drivers the option to be in a position where they don’t have to touch freight. But many drivers opt to be a “break-down guy” because they get paid for each load, product, and line. Having the option to break down freight is one of the many reasons DTI drivers averaged $90K in 2018.
When asked about his relationships with customers, Troy said that he has developed a sense of camaraderie and respect with them.
“If I’ve been gone for a little bit, they’ll be like ‘Hey, I haven’t seen you for a while! How are you doing?’ when I walk in,” said Troy. “I definitely have developed great relationships with my customers.”
While being a truck driver can mean a lot of time alone, it doesn’t mean you won’t have your fair share of face-to-face interactions. For example, Troy interacts with warehouse teams both at Dot and at his customers’ locations—and his 20 years of warehouse experience has helped him be a better coworker and partner.
“My warehouse experience helps because I worked in the warehouse for 20+ years, so I know how to talk to the warehouse guys and get through to them,” said Troy. “They have their own language. I come in and they really respect that I know what they’re talking about.”
On top of it all, Troy says his bosses are some of the best he’s ever had.
“My bosses are absolutely perfect,” said Troy. “They put up with a lot. They know their job—they’re great bosses.”
Life at Home
Troy says he tends to leave on Sunday afternoons to head to LA and that he usually gets back to Bullhead City, Arizona, on Friday evening.
“I love [my schedule]… I absolutely love it,” said Troy. “I was working more hours at my warehouse job in South Dakota than I am driving, so my wife sees me more, which makes everyone happy.”
Life with Dot
“For me, it’s not only about the adventure, but [Dot] is definitely the #1,” said Troy. “I get so much respect from other drivers. All these other drivers ask me about Dot and how we are. I let them know that it’s awesome and great, and there’s no one else I would rather work for.”
Unsure About Becoming a Professional Truck Driver?
For Troy, it was love at first ride.
“I went on my first ride along and started my training and was like ‘God, I love this.’”
But, as with most new drivers, it can be a bit overwhelming at first.
“My first trip was to LA,” said Troy. “I was a deer in the headlights the whole time.”
That being said, Troy encourages anyone who is on the fence about becoming a professional truck driver to give it a shot.
“It’s not for everybody,” said Troy. “But once I got into it, I was like ‘wow.’ Just go for it. It might be something you never would know you liked.”