Born and raised in Greensboro, Alabama, Gerald Drummer always wanted to be a driver as a child, but sometimes you have to try on a few career hats before you find the right fit. So Gerald first tried on a welding cap after finishing college. In 2014 he headed to San Antonio, Texas, for his first career as an oil field welder.
“Working in an oil field, I dealt with a lot of the trucks involved with that industry,” he says. “I was able to be around trucks more and understand them more. That influence was great. So in 2015 I decided it was time to begin my second career. All that led me to where I am today, which is driving.”
Gerald says PAM was the first trucking company that interested him when he was only 19 years old and he spotted one of their ads in the newspaper. He said it was the first company he ever called about driving.
“Fast forward from age 19 to 28, and look who I’m with today,” he says. “Coming to PAM has changed my life. This is my career and this is what I want to do. I don’t like it. I love it. I love the company I’m with.”
After he gained a few years of road experience under his belt and began earning the respect of his driving peers, Gerald decided it was time to wear a new career cap as an Owner Operator.
A Passion for Driving Fuels a New Owner Operator Career
Gerald was already an experienced driver when he heard PAM was recruiting owner operators for PAM Cartage Carrier Lease to Own. He wasn’t a stranger to leasing a truck, but he still had many questions before he signed on the dotted line.
“So I called the recruiter to see what they were offering,” he says. “I got to ask them lots of questions, like let’s talk about home time. Let’s talk about overhead, like insurance. I want to know everything from A to Z.”
Gerald says the recruiter gave him the chance to talk about himself and what he could bring to the table as an Owner Operator. The recruiter was most interested in his impressive driving record.
“I told him about my clean background, my clean record: no accidents, no tickets throughout my whole career,” says Gerald. “Then I told the recruiter to send what he was telling me in black and white. When he sent everything to me in black and white, I knew he was serious.”
Gerald hasn’t looked back since he decided to lease to own. He says working as an Owner Operator has its ups and downs, but he now feels he’s part of a trucking family.
“Working with PAM has been amazing,” he says. “Everybody treats me like family.”
Now Gerald is ready to share his road knowledge with the next generation of drivers as a mentor.
Ready to Inspire New Student Drivers as a Mentor
“To be honest, at first, I didn’t want to be a mentor,” says Gerald. “Because I’m so used to being by myself. I love the comfort of being by myself on the road. But so many people have been telling me, ‘You need to become a trainer!’”
But Gerald wanted to help drivers earn the same level of success he has achieved as an Owner Operator. As a recent graduate of the PAM mentor training program, he’s now ready to wear his training cap.
“I love helping people,” he says. “I know you hear other people say they love helping people, but I’m genuine about it.”
For Gerald, mentoring will be his chance to pay it forward when it comes to sharing the wisdom he’s gained from other experienced drivers.
“My family travels these highways, your family travels these highways, and truck drivers – we travel these highways,” he says. “So I want to be able to instill something in a truck driver that was instilled in me.”
Words of Wisdom for Student Drivers
Gerald wants new student drivers to know that it pays to listen to advice from experienced PAM drivers, especially when it comes to safety and learning how to respect the vehicle and other drivers. But he advises caution when it comes to taking advice from drivers at truck stops.
“You have to be careful about the talk you hear at truck stops,” he says. “Remember we’re all human and the person talking might be having a bad day. Shippers, receivers, truckers – any of them could be upset on a given day and say something negative. But there’s still a lot to learn from drivers like the ones at PAM, who are always available with a listening ear.”
Gerald says student drivers should go to their mentors, driver managers, and student liaisons for help. Experienced drivers can offer hands-on tips for transporting loads, dealing with shippers, and working with the people on the docks.
“Don’t be afraid to have conversations with experienced drivers,” he says. “Learn our opinions and go from there. I’ve learned to appreciate the same opportunity other drivers gave me. I appreciate them for opening the doors for me.”