18WT #074: Meet Steve Strong VP Of Administration At
Southwest Truck Driver Training School!

July 25, 2023  Patrick Heller / Janet McCue

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Steve Strong VP of Administration Southwest Truck Driver Training School

Steve Strong VP of Administration Southwest Truck Driver Training


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Phoenix Campus


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N. Las Vegas


Episode #074

Patrick: There it goes. I was gonna say, nothing's happening. Oh, no. Malfunction. Welcome to the 18 Wheel Talk podcast Show. Yes, welcome. Yes. Today is a special day. We have Steve Strong VP. I like calling you the, the VP of Admissions from Southwest Truck Driver Training School. Is that, is that how you say it, Steve?

Steve: Perfect, sir.

Janet: That's a big title.

Patrick: That is, that's a tongue twister if you say it fast. Welcome. Welcome to the show, sir.

Steve: Thank you guys. I really, uh, appreciate, appreciate the opportunity, appreciate being here today.

Patrick: Well, we appreciate you coming on. And you weren't scared to do it.

Steve: No. Weren't, weren't, weren't scared. No, we're good. I don't know at the end. You may be, you may be wishing you didn't have me on. You may.

Janet: I doubt that.

Steve: Worst guest we've ever had.

Patrick: Never, never. I don't care. Blooper reel it is.

Steve: There you go. I give no guarantees.

Patrick: No guarantees. Welcome to the show, Steve.

Steve: Thank you.

Janet: So we already know your name and position. I'd like to know what drives you or what drove you to become, you know, vice president of Southwest Truck Driver Training School?

Steve: Boy, what drove me, um, I, I should say an 18 wheeler, but no, that's not fair enough. Like that, that's not true. Um, no. You know, I'm, I'm, I'm a, I'm a school guy.

I've been in the, um, what we call the career school field for, oh, 26, 27 years now. Um, about seven years ago, seven and a half years ago, I got the opportunity to come to Southwest. Uh, I didn't know much about trucking other than my brother-in-law has had, has been over, over the road trucker for like 25 years.

So I knew what he told me so I was able to pick his brand a little bit. Um, and so had the opportunity to come work with, with, uh, Sean, Sean Williams and, and, uh, and his brother and family, uh, here, and I, and I ran the Phoenix campus for. Six and a half of those years. Uh, last six months or so, seven months, uh, moved into this, uh, vice president role.

And what drives me is the same thing that, you know, drove me when I was an admissions rep 26 years ago. Um, corny, helping people change their lives through education.

Janet: That's, that's good though. Nothing corny there.

Steve: It's, I got nothing. I got nothing more. That's, that's what I got.

Patrick: You give it all.

Janet: It also tells us how you got into the field

Steve: and doing it in the trucking, in the trucking sphere. Um. Made a lot of sense. Southwest a wonderful company, had a great reputation then as it does now. So it, it was almost a no-brainer. I just had to convince Sean to hire me and, and, uh, I was able to pull the wool over his eyes and, and, and hired me.

And, um, and now he's stuck with me seven and a half years later. Uh, Here I am. But that's, that's what I do. Like I said, I got into this 25, 26 years ago, helping people get into school That was technical schools at that time. Um, same, same concept. Um, taking people who aren't where they wanna be and, and helping 'em get to where they wanna be and gainfully employed and, um, just a better life.

So that's what I get to do every day. So how do you. How do you not, how do you not like that for a job.

Janet: Now, is Southwest still considered a technical school or is it considered a college or,

Steve: I think we're, you know, pretty much in the sector now, we're, we're career schools. anything that's designed to get you from where you are to a career in a short, you know, a short period of time.

That's, that's where we fit in

Patrick: See, I never did, I, I never did graduate high school, but I did graduate numerous career schools.

Steve: Sure. And that's not, not unusual. Yeah. Um,

Patrick: um, I, I was at, I, I went to trucking school in 91 and got a, I started with a B license. Sure. Then in 99, went and got my tractor trailer license.

Nice. Uh, upstate New York.

Janet: I always forget about that.

Patrick: Yeah. And then, uh, in between the, the B license and the A license, I became a welder. So, Cause that made sense. You know.

Steve: And yeah, that's, that's, that's funny. There, there's actually a couple schools, some folks that I know actually, uh, in Nevada where they actually have schools that are truck driving and welding schools.

Wow. And that's the programs that they teach in, in those schools,

Patrick: the, high, high dollar ones.

Steve: Yeah. No, no, a hundred percent. And great placement rates and everything like that. Sure.

Patrick: Well, I, I got to a point in my life to where I had, I had to, you know, What do I do better? Am I a better welder or am I a better truck driver?

Welding truck driving. So I decided to go to the truck driver route. Because cuz I can drive the wheels off a truck basically better than I could run a bead. So So I did that. Uh, would we figured about 30 years. Before I finally said, all right. Time to retire.

Steve: That's awesome.

Thir, I mean, 30, you know, my

Patrick: 30 years are driving on and off and, and, and all the rule changes that I've come across. I was just like, and my body, I'm a, I'm a, I'm a low and slow kind of guy, so yeah, the air ride was always down. My body just finally said, okay, time out.

Janet: I don't even know how he does that

Steve: 30 years doing anything. Is, is a long time and, and phenomenal congratulations to you for 30 years.

Patrick: Well, I did, I did 21 years with a, a medical waste company, so I did a lot of hand labor. Go to the hospitals and then hand manually loaded and unloaded. So that takes its toll. After 21 years, your body, your body cracks and creeks in different places, and you, you'll finally say, all right, time out.

Steve: Listen. Yeah, I hurt my back some time ago. It's a joke around here. Pulling, pulling weeds in my front yard. I knew I was getting old when I'm like, wait a minute. I went down, pulled down a weed and I came back up holding my back. It was, it was not, uh, it was not pretty. And I take a lot of ribbing for that to this day.

So that's, get I where you're coming from.

Patrick: I promise I won't rib you much.

Steve: You'd be the only one, pat.

Janet: I'm just gonna zip it right here. I'm not even talking about back problems. Anyway.

Patrick: Anyways, next.

So what is, what is the biggest challenge that you face in your career being, being where you're at today? What was the, you know, leading up to where you're at, what was the biggest challenge, the biggest hurdles you had to, uh, overcome to get to where you're at?

Steve: You know, the biggest, the biggest hurdles, um, have, have been.

The regulatory environment that our type of schools have been under since let's say 2008, 2009. Um, there was a, a, a pretty bad, a pretty bad wrong perception, uh, in, in the, in the federal, on the federal side. The, the career schools, uh, were just. Um, stealing people's money and not helping them get jobs and, and, and such, uh, and a lot of regulatory decisions were made based upon a, a lot of false information.

Not, not that all schools are are, are perfect. Uh, there were definitely schools out there. Just like in any business that, um, that do things wrong, that don't do things for the right reasons, and those schools should be, should be gone a hundred percent. Those of us in, in, in, in schools who do it right. We would be the, we'd be the first people to tell you that we'll be the first people to help show them out the door. Unfortunately, the Feds kind of put us all under one umbrella and said, well, you know, these career schools, they're really not. They're, they're just thief-doms. They're not really helping the students.

Um, you know, and at one time there were 2000 career schools, um, that had, we, we served 800, uh, well, excuse me, we served, um, You know, hundreds of, well, I can't remember these, hundreds of thousands of folks, and as those schools went away, there's really nowhere for the folks to go because the two year colleges and the four year colleges didn't teach some of those things.

Heating and air conditioning, electrician, stuff like that. So there, there, there has been a years of just that. Like that media backlash, some of the Fed backlash, um, on painting us all the same. And that, and that caused, you know, that caused a lot of, unfortunately, a lot of good schools to, to no longer exist and, and be out.

So not able to serve the, the, the students, uh, in all areas. So I think that's probably been the biggest thing that I've seen. Okay. And that's probably, again, that's probably the last 15, 15 years or so. Um, you know, prior to that was, was just, you know, just the, the, the regular business climate, you know, the, the school industry's kind of strange, right.

If the, if the economy's doing good, well nobody wants to come to school. The economy is doing bad. Everybody wants to come to school. And if you have a long trucking's nice. Cuz trucking's a short program. But if you have a program that's 12 months or 18 months long well, you're just coming to school now.

Well, the economy's bad. You're, you're behind the, so getting people to say to, to come to school when in the good times to prepare trucking is wonderful. You know, four or five week programs, we can help get a person from where they are to, to driving this,

Patrick: give them a knowledge that they're gonna need to succeed.

That's, that's the big thing, you know? And, and I learned a lot when I went to school in 99. Hmm. You know, I had, I always had the knowledge in my head and I had to go to the school to actually take it from the head and, and put it in, uh, the hands and feet concept, you know? How do I do it? How do I make the turns? How do I back into a dock? How do I, you know, those are all the things that, I went to school in 99 to learn. I knew how to drive a truck because I didn't, I drove a garbage truck for, you know, 3, 4, 5, 6 years and then went into welding.

So, Once I learned how to take it from here and put it in my hands, you know, I loved the fact that I was in control of 80,000 pounds. And what drove me, I think what what made me take that leap out was everything was starting to turn automatic. Computers are starting to take over. I don't have control of 80,000 pounds anymore.

But then I've also talked to some people that enjoy. The automatic transmissions and all that.

Janet: Longtime drivers too,

Patrick: longtime drivers that, that are like, oh no, I'm never gonna go automatic. And then they, their truck had to go into the, the shop, so they gave him a loaner for a couple of weeks.

And it happened to be an automatic, and he was like, I like this. I'm not giving this back. I want this truck. Yeah.

Janet: They ended up buying all this.

Steve: Listen, hey, my brother-in-law, my brother-in-law was in that same situation. He ah, those automatics, that's not real truck drivers, blah, blah, blah. They kind the similar thing.

He, they said, Hey you, this is what you got to drive right now, cuz whatever the shop, the whatever your truck you were gonna be in is not available anyway. I don't think he ever drove a manual transmission again except when, maybe, maybe on rare occasions. And he said, yeah, I, I, I was a hundred percent wrong cuz he remembered the days when.

Some of the automatics that came out earlier, I guess, um,

Janet: had no power

Steve: necessarily as Good as the ones that are now, so um, but once he got behind the wheel, he's like, yeah, this is, this is great. And I think the last 10, 12 years of his career, he, he drove strictly automatic at that point.

Patrick: Save saves on the knees. That you don't have to double clutch. You don't have to, you know, it's push a button now.

Janet: And the only automatic I ever drove were. Back when they first came out and those were repos and they didn't run good to begin with, and I repoed 'em back to the company I was working with and I was like, wow, this has no power.

Thank God I don't have to drive it. Except cross country back to where it came from. It's like, no, I liked my, I liked my 18 speed.

Patrick: Hey, you know what? I like, I like having control. That, that was, that was my whole thing, you know, if I got a manual transmission, at least I know that I can slow it down and speed it up when, when it's good for me.

Steve: You bet. You bet. No, I get that too.

Patrick: I'm old school. Heck, I

Steve: can't help it. It's, it's not, you know, it's, it's still a lot of folks, you know, when we interview instructor candidates to come, come here and they find out, you know, we, we, we have both Southwest. Uh, we have automatics and manuals of course, but,

Patrick: oh, that was one of the questions that we were,

Janet: I was gonna jump

Steve: ahead.

Yeah. They thought, well, you got automatics. Oh, I don't know about that. And, you know, we're like, Hey, well this is, this is what we, it's where the market's going, right. We. We probably jumped even a little bit quicker than the mar, than the market, um, by getting some automatics in. We, what we found was the, the over the road type companies, your Schneider's, Werners, Covenants and people like that.

They all were going automatics. Yeah. They were almost all automatic fleets by that time. But the local carrier, the companies, um, and a lot of our graduates go work for, for local companies. They were, you know, 70, 80% manual. And over the last 3, 4, 5 years, that number has, Really decreased. Now, many, many of them are automatics and fewer are manuals.

We, we still offer the manuals because obviously there's still companies out there who require it. We wanna make sure our students get the benefit of, of, of that, if that's what they want to do. But yeah, the, the numbers, yeah, I, I, we look at now 85, 90% of any company that our students will go work for outta school.

We'll hire them. Um, even if they have the, uh, e restriction now.

Patrick: Right. Well, you would assume that somebody coming through a school would wanna learn how to drive both. Because it would benefit them, heaven forbid their, the truck they're given is a, has a manual transmission. At least they have the concept as to how to, I mean, my,

Janet: but you and I know better.

Patrick: Yeah. Well, yeah. My, my company hired a guy that had a tractor trailer license, but never said he couldn't drive a manual. So we specifically hired him to be a, a, a fill in for our tractor trailer routes. And all our trucks were manual, so he couldn't You know, so, so I was like, well, hey, you know what, sorry, but we gave 'em two weeks to figure it out we gotta, I gotta go.

Steve: We've got companies pat that, that say, listen, as long as I have one manual. Uh, on my lot. That's what I'm gonna have to hire. Although over the last few years, that's, that's becoming less and less. You know,

Patrick: and it's the, it's the, it's, it's, it's the era we're going into. With, with AI and everything else, everything's just

Steve: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Like we know what the hell we're doing with that.

Patrick: I know, right. Exactly.

Janet: Don't get me started, it's a different subject. Okay, so,

Patrick: all right. We went into left field. Steve, hold on. Let's rolls.

Steve: That's okay. I can

Patrick: let, let's rewind. I'll follow you.

Steve: I'm a old ball player. I'll follow you.

Janet: So what would you say is, uh, what's it mean to, to be, what does being a great truck driving school, truck driving school mean to you?

How did you know, how do you differentiate to be a great

Steve: Janet? I, I have to, I have to. I'm sorry, Janet. I, I barely could hear you. I think we're kind of fading out again a little bit.

Janet: What does being a great truck driving school mean to you? How do you guys differentiate?

Steve: Yeah. You know, I, I think, you know what, what makes us a, a, a pheno, a phenomenal place to come.

Get your, your cdl. Um, we give a damn. Um, we, we care about the, we care about the students. We, uh, we, we care about the industry.

Patrick: A school that cares. Why? Wait a minute. Time out, Steve.

Steve: I know, I know, I know. We're, we're, we're horrible humans. Uh,

Patrick: but it's okay. I would rather go to a school that actually cares about me.

Then, then one that just cares about the, the financial gain. You know, that the school's gonna get, I, I want the school to be able to, I wanna pay the school to teach me. Yep. But in turn, I want them to help me get to where I'm, I'm trying to get to, you know, I wanna get that truck job. You, you guys have like the foothold in the industry.

You know, who's hiring, you know the rules, the rules come down to you guys pretty much before anybody else. You know, if you think about it.

Steve: Hopefully. Hopefully.

Janet: God, I hope so. I hope you guys learn it first.

Patrick: So, I mean, to have a school like, like you, that, that cares about the students speaks volumes in, in my eyes, because that's who.

I'm gonna, I'm gonna say, if somebody says to us, Hey, who do you recommend? Well, I recommend Southwest Truck Driver Training because A, they're family oriented. Yep. B, they care about you. They don't care about, you know. Yeah. They, they care. They get paid to, to, to train you, but they're gonna guide you through all the steps, to get you into the career that you're looking to get into. And that's why we reached out to you. We were like, we were like, I, I like that they're family owned. Too bad they weren't around when I went to school.

Steve: Yeah. We hear about that. We hear that a lot.

Um, but that's, that's what it is. I mean, you, you care about your students. You wanna teach 'em how to do the job safely, morally, ethically, legally, it's it's professional truck driver as opposed to be just a. I, I, I hate the term, but, you know, steering wheel holder, you know,

Janet: I knew you were gonna say, say that.

Steve: I've heard that before. Yeah. Um, you know, we're, we're, we're trying to teach how to do it professionally because we want this to be a career, you know, you know, some people, ah, maybe I'll come to truck driving school to see if I like it. Well, hopefully you, you like it. And stay and, and what we try and show our students is the trucking industry is, is, is massive.

I mean, yeah. You could be a driver and you can be a driver for 30 years and, and retire. Have a good living and retire. Yep. Um, you know, there's a lot of big. Big, uh, trucking players out there where you can go to work within a corporate structure to do things, um, that are in, you know, office or, or supervised related.

Patrick: Oh yeah. There's more than just driving the truck.

Janet: And they can earn great benefits doing it. And most people don't realize that too.

Steve: Yeah. Ex e Exactly. So we wanna, we wanna show them that, that there's, that, there's that. Um, you know, we do help our students along the way. Um, you know, we, we, we do placement assistance, so we do help them.

I think probably one of the biggest things that, you know, separates us from a lot of the schools. Um, we don't work for a carrier, so we're not, we're not filling, we're not, you know, we're not graduating people to, to fill this seats of, of a trucking company. Nothing wrong with schools that do that. They do a good job at that.

Patrick: I, I went to, that's where I went. I went to a school that had, um, I wanna say five, maybe six carriers that they, that they work with. I didn't have to go with any of them, but I mean, you're talking back in the nineties. I mean, I, I,

Steve: well, and that, and that's our mentality,

Patrick: you know, that's how, that's how it was back then though, that they were like, Hey, you know, come to school.

You could pick from these, these companies and we'll get you in lickity split. Or you can go on your own.

Steve: And now a lot of 'em just do it for one, you know, for one, one company, that's awesome. Because, I mean, these, these trucking companies have, have a lot of need. So, um,

Janet: they hire and, they trained their own

Patrick: All lot of turnaround. A lot of turnaround.

Steve: And the independent schools like us, we can't fill all those seats. So they have to have that. But our students, you know, I, I always tell our students, listen, we don't, we don't work for a trucking company. We work for you. We work for our students. Um, we don't have favorites out there.

We will, we will put as many people in front of you as you want. We will help you as much as we possibly can to help put you into the right spot. And if three or four years down the road, things change and situations change, or you move and come back. Um, our placement assistance is lifetime.

We don't charge for it. If you're a graduate, you, you're a graduate. Um, if you're a veteran, then.

Patrick: Note to self in case I need to come back to work

Steve: any, anytime. Anytime. Hey, listen, you know, and we do it for, we do it for folks all the time. Um, obviously, um, well, not obviously, but we do it for veterans. You don't have to be a graduate of Southwest. If you're a veteran and you find yourself in. Phoenix, Tucson or Las Vegas.

There you go. Well, then you, we'll help you get a job. It's, it's, it, it's just, it's just helping the industry. It's being, it's being, um, a good member of what we try to do in our cities and the states that, that we're, that we're located. So it's nothing more than that, but it's, it's what we do. It's, it's who we are.

And I don't imagine that would change anytime soon.

Janet: I think you just answered my next question, which was your locations Phoenix, Tucson and Las Vegas. That was like literally my next question.

Patrick: Literally that next question on the, on the sheet was Now, now I, I, I, I, I remember in a, in talks, is there, do you have a new facility coming about or was that, uh,

Steve: Yeah.

I, I nothing new. Right, right now we, we, we've talked about, um, expanding our presence, uh, maybe in a couple, couple different campuses in, in, in one or two other states. Um, nothing that we have solidified yet. I think probably as we start going into next, next year. I think. I think more, more to come on.

Patrick: Well, I all, I, I think what I meant with the, with the question is, uh, is there, is there a future of expanding in, uh, yeah. In other areas is of the states is he's asking little, little, little birds that I've, I've heard doing some research and everything that, that you're guys were looking to hopefully expand, which is great.

Yeah. Because you got bigger reach. Yeah. You guys have been in the industry 20.

Steve: Three, I think 23 years,

Patrick: 23, 24 years at least. If I'm math this right?

Steve: Yeah. they keep throwing stuff at me that the 25th anniversary's coming up soon. And, um, our, our mad, our mad scientists vice president of operations is already, uh, putting together logos.

So I, uh, I know it's coming. I know it's coming soon, so, yeah. But yeah,

Patrick: that's a long time, you know, I mean, especially being family oriented. Company.

Janet: Yes. That's a big deal. Just be sure to invite us to the party.

Steve: Oh, ab absolutely.

Janet: We can travel. Have car will travel.

Steve: Hey, 25 would be a, that, that's a, that's a pinnacle.

So that's, um, that's a big thing.

Patrick: So we'll have to get you back on. Hundred percent. I gotta get you back on for the 25 year anniversary.

Steve: That's right. I'll, I'll, I'll be, I'll be grayer and probably less hair, but that's okay too.

Patrick: I won't have any more hair than I already have.

Steve: Good point. Good point.

Patrick: I'm just sayin

Janet: well, mine will probably be cut four or five times. It's down past my waist, so it'll, I'll be cut more or five times by then.

Patrick: Oh my goodness.

Janet: So, Patrick, I wanna wait on this one because I wanna flip the page. Okay. So I got some specifics for you that my printer, when I printed, I forgot to print the second page.

Steve: You bet. You bet.

Patrick: Had to, she had to scramble and write on the backside.

Janet: Maybe I have to make him read my handwriting. So what does it cost to go to school? Yeah, yeah. What, is there a variety of packages or is there one package?

Steve: Yeah. Um, you've got your, your basic Cost to go to school, um, varies a little bit depending upon.

Uh, AR area. Uh, I'm sitting in, in Phoenix right now, and it's, it's $5,700 to go to school in Phoenix.

Patrick: And that, that's for how long?

Steve: That's for, that's for four or five or eight weekends depending upon what you pick. Doesn't, the cost doesn't change depending upon what schedule. So I guess I,

Patrick: so that's, so that's, that's based on the weekend.

Steve: No, that that's based upon period. So if you go during the days, which is four weeks, nights, five weeks, or eight weekends. Okay. Cost is the same e either way.

Patrick: Yeah. Because I know, I know I, I've told a few people that, hey, I know there's a variety of, classes that you can take. I don't know what type of costs it's gonna incur.

I know when I went to school, it was probably, I think it was three, 4,000, but that was. You know, 20 plus years ago, you expect me to remember what,

Janet: that's still less expensive than, that've less expensive than other schools I've looked at in my research.

Patrick: Def definitely a lot less

Janet: than other schools I've looked at in research.

Steve: Yeah. And, and actually, um, I think the Vegas market's at about 5,500 in Tucson, I think is about 40, 4900, 5,000. Somewhere in there. So it depends where you go. So I would probably say anywhere between 49 and 5700, depending upon where you go.

Patrick: Yeah. And that's what I telling people. I was, I would say, I was telling 'em, you know, depending on where you're going, you're probably, you know, 45 to six grand, you know, off the top of my head.

Steve: Yeah, you'd be right. You'd be right

Patrick: and and they're like, well, I don't know if I can afford. Well, I'm sure they got ways that you can finance that. I know I was able to finance it, you know?

Steve: Yes, we do. You definitely have some.

Patrick: You just have to call somebody and talk to them.

Steve: Yep. Yeah. Come, come on in and see us.

Patrick: Now I have an in.

Steve: Exactly. Just call me, I'm here.

Janet: On average, how many students do you have per teacher?

Steve: Um, again, depending upon where we would, where it would be. So let's, let's talk about what the most it would be. Okay. The, the, the, probably the biggest classroom size we would have would be 24 students.

Um, but. If you're talking about in a truck, we train four to four to one. Okay. So four students with one instructor in, in, in the, in the vehicle.

Patrick: All right. So yeah, so, so road training, four to one classroom training. It's one instructor, 24 students.

Steve: Max, if we had more than 24 students, we would have more than we would separate the classes and add


Patrick: Got it. Yeah. Cause I know, I know a lot of people ask these questions, so it it, it's good that we are asking you because I know. That I, for one, after this interview is gonna start, I'm gonna start telling people, Hey, if you're interested in going to school, go here,

Janet: this is where to go.

Patrick: This is, this is where to go. Call 'em up. They have different ways, blah, blah, blah. They'll, they'll walk you through it step by step. You, you they won't steer you in the wrong direction. No, no pun intended. Steering.

Steve: Yeah. Boy, we're, we're full of them today, aren't we? Yeah.

Janet: He's a pistol I tell ya

Steve: hit that snare drum.

Patrick: I will, I will, I will make sure to put that into the audio.

Steve: Exactly. Thank you. I like very nice

Patrick: rim shot. All right, so we got the, we got the different programs, the students. Weeks in a class we talked about, no, we didn't. Did we? Do we?

Janet: How many weeks in class compare? Like say someone's going weekdays, how many weeks in class compared to how much time in the truck?

Steve: Uh, okay. So our, our breakdown, if they go during the, let's say they're going day, day program. They're gonna go, the first two weeks, they're gonna be in classroom. And they're in classroom, uh, Monday through Thursday. They're here, they're from six in the morning. Till four 30 in the afternoon..

Then the, then the final two weeks, they're on the, on the driving range at that point in time. Uh, again, six in the morning till four 30 in the afternoon. And that's where they're learning their, uh, their pre tripping, they're, they're backing maneuvering and then obviously they're, they're road, their road driving.

Um, so it's 160 hours of total time, 80, classroom 80 on the driving range.

Patrick: Oh, okay. Awesome.

Janet: And this all on your website?

Steve: It better be, yes. If it's not, I, I'll have to make another phone call after this. Uh, is complete I'm fairly confident to say that all of this and more is on our website.

Patrick: Yes. Yes. I, I believe it is. You know, because when I started doing some research digging in, I, I, I noticed some things and then I pass it off to my research and development lady next to me here,

Janet: but I'm still gonna ask because things change.

Patrick: I'm IT, she's research and development..

Janet: And I'm gonna tell IT. I, I think my microphone's going by the way.

Patrick: Yeah. So, so if, if you can't ha if you can't hear her, that's my fault. I don't know why.

Janet: Yeah. I think the microphone's going. Yeah. Cause I hear it popping. Yeah, I hear it like going in and out in my ear.

So anyway,Yeah. Um. Wow. So, um, what does your, it's gone. Can you hear me?

Steve: I can hear, I can, I I can hear you not great, but I can definitely hear you.

Janet: What does your truck driver, uh, what does your school Nope. That I already asked. Yeah. No, I didn't. What does your school offer that other schools don't offer in your opinion?

Or if they do offer it, they offer it poorly.

Steve: Yeah. Um, you know, I, I think I, I'll, I'll, I'll always go back to, to what I said I think a little bit ago in that, um, we work for our students. We're, we're, we're, uh, we're not trying to, uh, push them one way or the other into a local job or over the road or a specific company.

Uh, we, we wanna spend our time with them, um, you know, from, from the beginning. So a student, you know, a person decides they want to, Hey, I'm thinking about this truck driving thing. You know, before they can do anything, they've gotta come and meet with one of our admissions folks where we we're gonna go through with them.

Um, you know, why do you wanna be a truck driver? What do you know about this? If there, if there's a partner involved, uh, let's have them come in as well. Cuz obviously they're, they're gonna be part of this deal we wanna show 'em around. We want to give 'em an idea of what this is all about. How long it takes, what the cost is, the, the, the funding options.

Uh, so we're gonna take that care with them before we say, okay, let's put you into. An upcoming start class. So, um, I, I think that's, that, that's the secret sauce, I guess. Um, you know, when people come in they say, wow, it feels good in here. It's a no pressure environment. No one's twisting my arm to, to get me to come to school and such.

And, you know, we try and do it the right way and, and be there for them, um, all the way through un until they're, until their work, until they're in that first, first job. And like I said before, I mean, subsequent jobs afterwards if we, if we need to. So, um, those are things that we try and do here and at all of our campuses, um, that, that, that set us apart a little bit.

Um, a lot of, there's a lot of schools out there that, that have good programs, no question about that. Um, so we just try and set ourselves apart by being, um, You know, obviously we're, like, we've talked about, we're, we're a family owned and operated company. Um, yeah, we got three schools. We train a couple thousand students a year, but, you know, we don't wanna lose that feel for why people come to, to Southwest because it, as they'll tell us.

Yeah. It just felt right. It felt like, it felt like the right thing to do and, and we decide to make the move, uh, nothing bad about your competitor, we just felt it just felt right here, so. Right. Yeah, we try and maintain.

Janet: Okay. Well, because I ask because. A, it's important. And I have to tell you that when we come, when we came to your school to drop paperwork off for you, you know, to initiate all this

um, it felt very comfortable. Mm-hmm. Everyone we talked to and your your, your lobby. Was I coming from a. Fourth, I'm a fourth generation driver. And coming from that, the pictures on the walls, I was like, oh, my dad drove that. And I remember grandpa driving that and just the anyone that comes from that atmosphere can appreciate it.

And someone that didn't, would walk in and go, wow, I don't believe they drove that. So

Patrick: yeah, you look at some of the trucks that you got on the,

Janet: like the pictures and the family photos and Yeah, it's like, yeah,

Steve: it's pretty, listen. It, it's a phenomenal concept. Um, my, my boss and, and his brother, the, the two owners, um, and we got more coming, got a 25th anniversary, so we're gonna fill up, we, we have, we still have more wall space, so

Janet: yeah, they did an incredible job there.

Steve: We're fill some more walls up here. As well. So it's, uh, it's pretty cool. I I, I, I think you're right. It's, people come in, that's the first thing they say is Wow. We, we didn't expect to see that.

Patrick: No, I we, we did not. And, and like I said, we were welcomed. You know, your receptionist was very friendly.

All the people that we interacted with while we were there. Our tour, everybody we ran into, on, on that was, was really friendly. You know, we were like, Hey, you know what I, I, I wanna work with a school like this. Yeah. I, I wanna get 'em on. I wanna, I wanna, I wanna, I want to, I want to tell people about this school because of that atmosphere.

Steve: Well, first of all, thank you. We de we definitely appreciate, appreciate that. Um, I'll say again, they, they better had, but, um, but no, thank you so much for that, that, that means a lot. And, and I, you know, and I'm, I'm confident to say if you would've walked into the, to the North Las Vegas or the Tucson campus, you would've got,

Patrick: I'm sure. I'm sure we would've gotten the same greeting. I'm sure we would've, because. It's all one big family.

Janet: That definitely comes across care, yeah, it comes across,

Steve: correct. No, a hundred percent. Right. Thank you.

Janet: No, thank you.

Patrick: Anything else, Patrick? Let's see. All right.

You did that? Did you, did you We, did we go back to what you were talking about? Yeah, it was, um, oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. You did read that one. I did.

Steve: She's good. She's really good.

Patrick: Why do you think she's, why do you think she's sitting over there? I couldn't do this myself. Come on, Steve.

Steve: I don't wanna say anything, but yeah.

Janet: Oh, I know what we didn't do. If there's anything else that you would wanna tell our listeners, what would it be about your school, about what you've learned about what you have to offer there? This is your chance.

Steve: Yeah. You know, I, I, I, I like to say that it, you know, if someone's been thinking about trucking, getting into it, uh, getting more information about it, come on and check us out.

Um, we won't steer you wrong. Um, we, we definitely. Don't enroll everybody that comes to school, because, you know, sometimes folks come in and we talk to them and, and it, it's decided on both areas, on both sides that, um, maybe trucking isn't for them, so, uh, and there's other options out there and, and we'll, we will be happy to explore those with those folks as well.

But if you, if trucking is your thing and that's what you want to do, um, you know, we'll get you signed up for, for class. Um, You know, usually, you know, we, we have, sometimes we have a waiting list. Uh, so sometimes it's not immediately get into school. Sometimes you gotta wait a few weeks or a month or whatever.

Patrick: Right. Depending on the time. That makes sense.

Steve: Yep. And then, you know, we'll, we'll treat you right when you're here. Um, we've got some wonderful instructors. I've got instructors that have been with me for a year. I've got instructors that have been with us for 17 years. So everywhere in the middle.

So, um, and then at the end, um, we'll, we'll help you get where you want to go and, and, and, and be there. And the big thing for me is we're we're there for you afterwards. It's not okay. You came here, you trained, we got your money, we got you into a job. Bye. It's like, no, if, if anything happens down the road, come back and see us.

So, um, I would say that, and like I said, come and check us out. Bring, bring your questions, bring bring your family members and, um, we'll, we'll help you if we can.

Patrick: You'll probably set up the whole family if you can.

Janet: That's really good though.

Steve: Not, it's not been something that's not, um, it is, it is more frequent than you think.

Um, husband, husband, wife teams. Um, friend teams, uh, stuff like that, that, that come to school and, and go to work in, in, in the field. So

Janet: you're gonna have to ask him why I make faces.

Patrick: She's tried the. Friend team before. Yeah. And that, listen, if you, I don't do teams. If, if you listen to the, the lemon pepper Wings episode, wonderful.

It was really about chrome. We chrome in the truck, you know? And, and the guy that she was with, you know, decided to chrome it and have it repossessed.

Steve: Oh, that's always a fun thing, right?

Patrick: Put all that money into it and then just let let it go.

Steve: It looked good as they were driving it away.

Janet: Yeah, it did. Too bad I wasn't still repoing trucks I'd a love to have repoed, that one.

Patrick: Oh my goodness.

Steve: That's funny. That's good. That's my pitch, but that's my, that's my pitch. So,

Janet: but I know some team drivers that love being team drivers. I will tell you that that wouldn't trade for anything in the world. It just wasn't for me.

Patrick: Could you imagine seeing her come up to you to repo your truck? So you look at her and go, you pretty little thing.

Janet: Go my six pound dog and, and Maybelline

Steve: Listen, I, you know, I, I'll say it though, you know, probably, you know, seven plus years ago when I got here, I would probably say maybe 8% of our students were, were female.

Um, that, that's doubled. Um, we're, we're, we're 15% plus now, so yeah. We, we, we, we get a lot of, uh, a lot of females in here. And, um,

Patrick: when I, went, when I went to when I went to truck drive at school, I think it was one to every one female for every five guys. That was, that was there. And the first time I got, well, that's still not, yeah, that's still not mad.

Yeah. And then when I went to welding school, it was, I think it was like two outta every 10. Oh wow. And a number of women. Yeah. And the

Janet: first time I got behind the wheel of a truck, it was like one woman for every

Steve: Oh, it's, it's completely changed guys.

Patrick: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. 80 or, yeah. When you got behind the wheel.

Janet: Yeah, yeah, yeah. One woman for every 80 or 90 guys back then. And when I was driving full time, there was, I knew two women drivers myself and one other.

Steve: Isn't that crazy? Isn't that something else?

Patrick: Yeah. And that's insane.

Janet: And that was in the early two thousands. Just two of us.

Steve: And, and I'll make a pitch too. I mean, you know, we, we have, we have some female instructors, um, in our, in our campuses, uh, love to see more, um, you know, um, it, when, when we hire, I mean we're, we look for the best candidate. Um, but yeah, we, we, we definitely are starting to see a few more female candidates come through pipeline.

Um, which is, which is very, very good. Um, so yeah, I, I think that, I mean, in my seven years, that's definitely, uh, changed a lot. The, the, the female numbers com completely.

Patrick: That's good. Yes. Steve, how can people get ahold of you?

Steve: Uh,

Patrick: what's the, what's the best way?

Steve: www.swtdt.com. That's a, that's a good way

Patrick: on our little ticker there.

Steve: And 6 0 2 3 5 2 0 7 0 4 6 0 2 3 5 2 0 7 0 4. That'll get you to our, our main, our, our, our campus in Phoenix. Um, if someone's looking for Vegas or Tucson, they will direct you to those campuses as well.

Patrick: I'm gonna, I'm gonna have, uh, those numbers available on, uh, when we, when we put the, uh, the webpage together, I'll make, I'll make sure to include those numbers.

This way, this way they, they, they can find it, but then if they wanna ask questions for other ones, they can get it from you guys too. Yeah. But I'll make sure. I'll make sure it's there.

Steve: Perfect, man. We, we definitely appreciate that,

Patrick: Steve. It's been an awesome, awesome, awesome time talking to you.

Steve: Yeah. Patrick, Janet, thank you guys so much. You guys are, you guys are phenomenal. Um, I will be sharing this and getting information and, and letting folks know more about who you folks are and what you're doing. This is, this is a great time. I think what you guys are doing is phenomenal.

You're getting the word out. You're, you're getting the word on the industry out. You've got some pretty cool guests. I know. I. Coming up, lined up or will listen. Listen, I listen. Hey, listen, I had a follow up to yoga lady, so I'm, I'm just, I'm just happy to be here. So but no, it's been, it's been awesome. I really appreciate you guys, I really do.

Patrick: Awesome. Thank you. Thank you for, thank you for joining us today, everybody. Y y'all have a good day. I'll talk to you later. Thank you. Okay, bye.