President of Transport For Christ, Int’l (We are not a trucking company but a faith-based, Christ-focused organization providing chaplains for the trucking work force.)
Onlinetruckers.org (OTO): Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
Daniel Witwer: My father was a long-haul, company truck driver who had to find a dime and a payphone in order to talk to his family. Some old-time drivers tell me that he drove in the glory days of trucking – the Red Simpson/Nitro Express era. He died from cancer in 1975 and Transport For Christ chaplains were a great support to him and our family. I lost touch with trucking and TFC for a long time. Been serving in Christian ministry for my whole career and God re-introduced me to TFC in 2014. I kinda enjoy smelling diesel after all that time.
OTO: How has trucking changed since you got started?
Daniel Witwer: In 1966, I sat in a bench seat beside my dad in a Diamond Reo with what seemed like five gear sticks. In September 2017, I sat in the driver’s seat of a 2018 model Freightliner. More comfortable than my TV chair. Driver camaraderie strong to drivers sitting alone in the cab with their devices.
OTO: Why are trucking companies always hiring? Are trucking jobs good, in general?
Daniel Witwer: Drivers tell me that they are always on the lookout for a better opportunity. Drivers praise the companies that treat them with dignity.
OTO: Where is the trucking industry headed? Will trucking be automated?
Daniel Witwer: Younger, more tech-savvy drivers. Futurists predict more regional/local drivers and less long-haul drivers.
OTO: Any advice you could offer to people new to the industry and considering trucking for a living?
Daniel Witwer: Drivers tell me that young/new drivers love the big pay checks–when they come but they spend all of it. Need to create budgets (family and business) so funds are available when the big bills come a’callin’. Long-distance relationships–marriage, kids–are hard. Drivers need to be intentional and creative about connecting with the family and romancing the spouse. I’m being a bit self-promoting here, but take advantage of the faith community offered by Transport For Christ and others, available at many truck stops.
OTO: How has trucking changed your life?
Daniel Witwer: Truck drivers are a fun bunch to hang with. I love meeting drivers at a chapel from all over.
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