Fleet Mentors – The Driver Training Program at PAM Transport

Helping entry-level drivers prepare for a career in the transportation industry is a significant component of PAM Transport’s driver development program, which delivers driver training and advancement opportunities from Day 1 when a student driver starts as a trainee, all the way through to helping experienced drivers grow their businesses as Owner Operators.

As a result, the PAM Training Department takes special pride in providing the best guidance for both Mentors and entry-level drivers that join the company. Here’s an explanation of how that department is structured with a special emphasis on the role of Fleet Mentors, who play an integral role in the success of the program from PAM’s main offices in Tontitown, Ark.

How PAM’s Driver Training Department Works

When an entry-level driver joins PAM as a trainee and begins their OTR driver training period, they are exposed to individuals who know their job and what they’re doing. This includes the Fleet Mentors at Tontitown headquarters and their knowledgeable OTR Mentor, who they ride along with for their first few weeks with PAM.

This contact and instruction ensures that a new driver trainee receives first-rate information and hands-on driving experience to make their driver training period as enjoyable and beneficial as possible as they pursue their goal of upgrading to First Seat driver.

By the same token, the Mentor fleet is supported in any and every way possible by the Fleet Mentors. All of this adds up to a winning combination for everyone involved in the PAM Training Program, Students and Mentors alike feel taken care of and have the resources they need to succeed.

At headquarters, PAM Fleet Mentors provide answers and solutions for both Mentor and trainees. They stay in close contact with each of their Mentor fleets via phone and Qualcomm in order to assist them with any support they might need, compile data to monitor the Mentors’ progress with their trainees, and let each of their Mentors know that they are at their beck and call for any training issues they need help with.

All of the Fleet Mentors in the Training Department have either been drivers or trainers, which equips them with first-hand knowledge that allows them be “on the same wavelength” as the Mentors they work with. It also enables us to be empathetic toward any need that arises when a Mentor or trainee are out on the road.

The staff in the Training Department makes it their top priority to ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible with all Mentor trucks, for both Mentors and trainees. This leads to a positive outcome for all individuals and helps grow the PAM fleet.

Meet Some of the Fleet Mentors at PAM

If you join PAM as a student or Mentor, here are the names of some of the Fleet Mentors you may work with, along with some thoughts from each of them about what they bring to the job.

David Bachler

“I enjoy being a Fleet Mentor by helping all the drivers I work with on a daily basis, individually and collectively. My main goal is to help them build their driving knowledge, skills, and safety attitude that may affect their driving careers. I also enjoy the daily challenge that I encounter in the Training Department by sharing my knowledge that I have received in my career in the transportation industry over the last 39 years.

Jimmy Russell

“I was offered the opportunity to become a Fleet Mentor after many years on the Operations side. I was ready to see how the students were trained and to help be a part in the training of new students. I get to work with a great group of Mentors and assist them in getting their trainees ready to upgrade. It is very rewarding to see new drivers excited about their new careers. It is great to be a part of the Fleet Mentor family.”

Andy Zinkula

“Being a Fleet Mentor is about helping Mentors when they need assistance or advice with their students. If they are having trouble with their student understanding something, you can come up with another way to get it across to them. It is rewarding knowing that you can help someone with their dream of being a professional driver.”

Marion Foote

“Being a Fleet Mentor allows me the opportunity to affect not just one driver at a time, but a larger range of individuals in the industry. The Fleet Mentor’s position is about supporting the Mentors on the trucks, as well as the trainees while with their Mentors. It involves guiding and directing Mentors with their coaching techniques, when needed, along with their problem resolution skills. Fleet Mentors exist as a resource and support for Mentors.”

The Rewards of Mentoring Other Drivers

Of course, the real heroes of the PAM driver training program are the Mentors who instruct trainees while on the road. They do an extraordinary job in providing coaching and hands-on guidance for PAM’s trainees, having been equipped with the practical skills they need to do so via the training they receive in the PAM Mentor Upgrade Orientation.

In order to become a Mentor, a driver must first submit a request via Qualcomm Macro 17 and be approved. Upon approval, they are then routed to the Tontitown terminal to attend a three-day Mentor Upgrade Orientation. The class deals with a comprehensive review of the Smith System, coaching and training techniques, correct training paperwork compiling, driver training program policies and standards, logging rules, and a thorough review of how to use a road atlas. A plethora of other important training topics are also covered, such as pre-trip inspections, CSA rules, fatigue management, night driving, winter driving, etc.

Once a driver completes Mentor Orientation, they possess the tools needed to make their PAM Mentor career a success. They also experience pride in providing new drivers with a proper “launching pad” to their new career, while at the same time realizing the financial rewards associated with being a Mentor (i.e., Mentor pay, which can add up to an additional $19,200 per year).

If you have been a First Seat driver for PAM for at least three months, your safety, logging, fuel, maintenance, and operations record is good, and you think you would enjoy helping new drivers get started on the right foot in a new way of life, you might consider becoming a PAM Mentor. Now is a great time to join — PAM Mentors drive the newest, most premium trucks in the PAM fleet, Peterbilt 579 UltraLofts.

To receive more information about the program visit this page on

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