Inside TMC: Driver, Christopher Pakatar
“Higher levels of TMC really look out for you,” Driver, Christopher Pakatar said. Imagine accepting a new job and everything that could quite possibly go wrong, goes wrong. That is the story of Pakatar’s first few weeks here at TMC. However, Chris’ journey in his new career didn’t end there. He persevered through early days of learning the ropes, a string of bad luck, and it paid off.
While looking for a consistent full-time job back in 2015, he came across Adam Hoffman, a TMC recruiter, who visited his trucking school. Christopher came to Des Moines for two weeks of training and then went out on the road with his trainer for the next five weeks. He had nothing but positive things to say about his trainer and the time spent training at TMC. After his over-the-road training, he was given the keys to a black and chrome Peterbilt and headed out on his own.
This is the point at which Pakatar faced some challenges. In his first week solo, two different loads canceled on him. Adding to the frustration, he was just getting ready to tie his first load down when it got canceled, rerouting him with a new load to Indiana.
As he was trucking with his newly assigned load, he got lost and tried turning around in an abandoned gas station. Unfortunately, he turned too sharp and the trailer made contact with his truck, damaging the truck. When you think his first week couldn’t possibly get worse, his load home wasn’t going to be ready for another 2.5 hours after he had already started his clock, causing him to get home late. TMC wanted to work with Chris and understood his desire to be with his family on the weekends. His Fleet Manager arranged for him to have some extra time with family before heading out again for another week.
The New York resident spoke with both Mark Sickmiller, Manager of Driver Development, and Tim Heim, VP of Operations, at the end of his first week as he prepared to drive his truck to the terminal and turn in his keys. Relying on the fortitude he developed in the military (he served for four years in the U.S. Army), Pakatar pushed through the difficulty. He wanted to be home with his family more and tried out a local trucking job that only lasted about two months. The local trucking opportunity didn’t work out as he hoped so he returned to TMC and Christopher has been here ever since.
When asked what advice the 32-year-old has for other truckers in the industry that are just starting out, and possibly struggling, he mentioned the importance of reaching out to other drivers. The first few months are just going to be tough, but he encourages drivers to buckle down and get through it. Pakatar has learned how to help himself through time management and has increased his skills, enabling him to consistently get home around noon every Friday and spend more time with family.
“Chris is on a dedicated account in Massachusetts and is always willing to help out other drivers at the distribution center. Chris is a valued member of the dedicated team and is a pleasure to work with,” said James Edwards, Pakatar’s Dedicated Fleet Manager, who is a crucial part of his continued success here at TMC. “[James] just cares about his guys. I can’t say enough good things about him,” said Pakatar. After having a rough beginning with multiple setbacks, Pakatar is now a successful driver here at TMC.