One thing is for sure — Tito McRae loves truck driving and takes his job very seriously.
McRae was recently honored through a national trucking association for his safe driving skills and efficiency in making his deliveries.
Through Sampson Community College’s Truck Driving Training program, McRae earned his Class A CDL licenses Aug. 19, 2014. He immediately entered into the student training program with Maverick and began driving his own truck Oct. 31, 2014.
For nearly a year, McRae has been driving long distances, delivering building materials. He is currently hauling glass from Laurinburg.
“The program here at Sampson Community really prepared me for what I am doing now,” McRae said one morning last week, as he just come in from a long haul. “When I entered Maverick’s student training, they told me I already knew what I needed to know.”
The truck driver gives the SCC program and Fred Stamey credit for his success.
“I learned everything I need to know right here, from Mr. Fred,” McRae said.
The SCC program is a 350 hour course that provides students with training to assure driver responsibilities on and off the road. Program instructors say students are thoroughly trained both on the road and in the curriculum to ensure they posses the skills and knowledge to safely operate a commercial vehicle.
While enrolled in the program, students are taught federal motor carrier regulations, vehicle inspections, general operations and maintenance, on the road driving, defensive driving, map reading, trip planning, cargo handling, size and weight restrictions, hours of service rules and accident prevention and distracted driving.
“Our students are road ready when they leave here,” Stamey said.
According to Stamey, students who wish to attend SCC’s program have two options. They may enter the weekday course, which meets everyday for 11 weeks. Or, they may enter the weekend course, which meets on weekends and one night a week for 15 weeks.
McRae, Stamey said, is one of the many students who have become successful after completing the program.
“He came here and accomplished what he wanted to do,” Stamey said about the truck driver. “He has excelled in everything he has done. We are very proud of him.”
In just his first four months working with Maverick, McRae said he was able to move up and now drives about 2,900 miles each week. He had to receive extra training to be able to drive glass products.
Just recently, McRae said he was contacted by a national trucking association that honors drives for their safe driving and efficient delivery. The association started with 700 drivers and narrowed the field down to top 10 finalist. McRae was one of the top 10 honored.
“This is based on hard work,” McRae said. “They recognized my numbers and being able to get a run done safely.”
This award is given each year to rookie drivers. According to Stamey, no one from Sampson Community College has ever received this award. McRae was able to attend the Great American Truck Show in Dallas in August to receive his award.
Since 2006, when the SCC program was implemented, 600 students have graduated from the program. There is a 100 percent job placement after graduation for SCC graduates.
According to Stamey, in the first year of the program, there were only 36 students. The program now serves 181 students.
“We have grown and been a great thing for Sampson County,” Stamey said. “We want to help those who want to begin their career.
The program, Stamey concluded, has one goal.
“Our number one goal is to teach our students safety in and around the trucks,” Stamey said.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.