Welcome to the Road Warrior Spotlight Series where we interview some of the greatest drivers on the road and find out more about life at Variant and what makes them tick. Today, we're joined by Steven Armstrong, one of Variant's top drivers and a big part of our Ambassador Program.
Describe your experience working for other trucking companies before you made the switch to Variant.
My experience with other companies was not the greatest. They treated me like a number and I didn’t feel important to them. They wanted us to drive the trucks and get there, no matter the cost. Whether that was sacrificing home time, truck maintenance, illness or even a family emergency. All while doing it for low pay.
If you had to choose one benefit, what is the best thing about working for Variant?
It is so hard to choose one thing. For me, it is the feeling of belonging to a family and the respect for each other from the very top all the way down to the newest driver.
Why do you like talking about Variant, particularly as an Ambassador with potential recruits?
I have passion and respect for Variant’s values and principles. Variant and I share common goals for our drivers, the industry and our customers.
What would you say to someone who is thinking about applying to drive for Variant?
I would start by explaining our pay structure, benefits and how our mileage system works. I would talk about the technology we are building and improving upon. But the most important thing I would talk about is the respect and togetherness we share and how we take care of each other.
What are some common challenges you face as a trucker?
For the past year and a half, the greatest challenge has been the pandemic. Stops closing, limited places to park and extreme weather conditions have all been challenging to build miles and pay. Tropical storms, winter weather and extreme heat conditions are always challenging.
How does Variant help you overcome these challenges?
Variant has dramatically changed my outlook on pay and miles—by a long shot. As for everything else, they have been there to support us to make decisions. They keep us updated 24/7 and give us suggestions for optimizing mileage. Our Operations Specialists are not just our supervisors, they are the best support group. They’re our brothers and sisters. When we’re happy, they’re happy. They’re my second family.
What do you enjoy most about trucking in general?
I love that I can travel and experience all the different regions of the country and see different things everyday. When I’m hauling cargo, I know I am helping someone stay employed, clothed and keeping food on their table. Basically, I’m providing someone’s necessities and comfort for everyday life.
What would you do if you weren’t a truck driver?
Answering that is hard because all I’ve done is serve in the U.S. Army and drive trucks. I couldn’t imagine my life without truck driving, especially now that I am with Variant. They make driving exciting and enjoyable.
What major changes have you noticed in the trucking industry throughout your career?
Some major changes I’ve noticed are tighter DOT regulations and more inspections. But I’ve also noticed a lot more unsafe drivers on the road. At Variant, I think we hire some of the best and safest drivers.
When did you realize that Variant was where you wanted to spend the rest of your career?
About a year ago, I needed to be home at a certain time, and they honored that time I needed. Variant is really focused on their drivers’ and their families’ needs.
What makes you a great fit at Variant? What do all Variant drivers have in common?
What makes me a great fit is I love driving. When I sign on for the day, I give it my all because I want to take care of our customers and our company. I enjoy helping our other drivers and that makes us an awesome team.
I think what we all have in common is our ‘drive’ for maximizing consistent miles, the respect we give and get and the togetherness we feel operating as a family and a team. We all love that upper management takes our suggestions, thoughts and complaints seriously and considers everything when making decisions.
What are your must-have supplies when driving?
My must have supplies would be my phone, internet access, coffee and a CB Radio.