Skyline Welcomes Eric Jones to the Fleet
From Parole Board to Truck Driving, Eric is an Aspiring Author Making a Career Change
Eric Jones grew up in Detroit, MI but moved away four years ago. He went to San Bernardino, CA, then to Multnomah County, OR and then moved to Knoxville, TN. He was going to teach at Pellissippi State, but decided to go back into law enforcement.
Eric has worked in law enforcement since college, primarily in the enhanced gang unit, but transitioned to the parole board when he moved to Tennessee. He credits one of his parolees for getting him interested in truck driving.
“One of my parolees wanted to drive, and I knew nothing about it. I found out what he was making for a local job – not even over the road – and realized it was gainful employment. I wanted to learn more about it so I could steer more guys that way but I didn’t have the industry knowledge. So I took a vacation from work and went through a CDL training program. When I finally experienced driving, and said ‘I’m done’ and tapped out of law enforcement.”
Eric was ready for a career change, he said he was tired of fighting junkies and the opioid epidemic. Eric obtained his CDL in March 2018 and says that driving itself is not challenging, it’s all about the company you drive for.
“Drivers need support when their out on the road. Whoever is in the office is your lifeline. Unfortunately, I’ve experienced a lack of support at other companies – not being able to get a hold of the fleet manager or my dispatcher on weekends or nights when everything is falling apart.”
Conversely, Eric enjoys the independence that the open road offers.
“You don’t have emails, no meetings, no phone calls, I don’t have to go to court, it’s just me. And trucking is forgiving. It doesn’t care about your past, your credit, your belongings. You can put everything in storage and just go run and make money.”
Eric says drivers new to the industry should plan and prepare before making a career change in order to set themselves up for success.
“You need to make sure your home life is set up for being over the road. Make sure everybody is on board and ready for it. If you have small kids, a spouse, a dog, cat, even a bird, you need to have coverage for all of that because your truck is your home for five days out of the week.”
Eric is a father of three, two children have graduated college and the youngest is still in high school. He says his children motivate him to do his best.
“Children make you want to be all that you can be. I’m coming out of law enforcement and seeing people at their worst. It’s important to show them they can be something. If I can do something, anyone can do it.”
Eric used to coach little league. Now, he reads a lot and is even working on a book of his own.