Lipe-Stewart

Two Friends from Kingsport Join the Skyline Fleet

Austin Lipe

Austin Lipe

Tyler and Austin have more in common than their big smiles and love for hunting and fishing. These friends were both born in Kingsport, TN, from large families. They went through Skyline’s training program together and both left on their inaugural solo over the road trips this past Sunday.

Austin Lipe has lived in Hawkins County all his life. He comes from a “huge family” saying he has too many cousins to count. Austin grew up playing sports but soon made work a priority. He stacked hay, mowed yards, washed dishes and even worked his way up to a head cook position, all before graduating high school. Since then, he has worked at an automotive plant, and that’s when he decided to make a career change.

“After a very serious surgery, I thought I was going to die. Those health issues gave me a new perspective. Not only did I not enjoy factory work but I wanted a better income and a better life.”

Austin had a few uncles that drove truck when he was younger and one of his friends talked him into making the change.

“I worked with a buddy who left the plant to drive truck professionally. He told me about Skyline’s training program. I looked into it and realized that this career change into trucking would help my wife and I raise my son with a better life. It’s a big pay increase from factory work. Plus, it always looked like fun.”

Austin said he enjoyed every minute of his training. However, the most challenging part was being away from home. “My son, Houston, will be two years old next week. Leaving him and my wife behind is hard. I was pretty upset the first two days of my training, but other than that, I thought it was fun.”

Austin and Rick

Austin and Rick Arnold

Austin is feeling confident as he sets out on his own. He attributes that to his OTR trainer Derek Wampler. “He went over everything with me and made sure I have all the tools I need to be safe out there. He actually just called to check on me.”

If he’s not fishing and hunting, Austin enjoys watching football. “Of course I cheer for the Vols and also the (Dallas) Cowboys.”

Tyler Stewart

Tyler Stewart

It was Austin who told his good friend Tyler Stewart about Skyline. “Austin talked me into it. It took me a minute, but I made up my mind the week before our training class started.”

Tyler, who currently lives in Surgoinsville, carpooled with Austin to Knoxville during their first eight-weeks of training. Like Austin, Tyler had primarily done factory work before making the career change to driving. As it had for Austin, driving came quickly and naturally to Tyler.

“I was raised on a farm and learned to back trailers there. Backing (the tractor trailer) came easily for the most part.”

The fact there is a driver shortage surprised Tyler. He was also pleasantly surprised with the home time that Skyline offers.

“I just thought that over the road meant you were gone for weeks at a time, even months. I’m happy that Skyline will get me home every weekend.”

Tyler said he’s also happy with the family atmosphere at Skyline. “It took me some time to make up my mind if driving is what I wanted to do. I wanted to know how the company would treat me, if they were honest and up front. At Skyline, they didn’t hide anything from me and have been honest from the beginning.

Austin and Tyler

Austin and Tyler

Tyler has a wife of four years, two cats and a dog. “My wife is nervous about me being gone. It’ll be a transition from me being at home every day to only a couple days but money is a big factor.”

When he’s not driving, he’s hunting or fishing. “As soon as I’m home, I’ve got a pole in my hand. I fished yesterday after I got home.”

Congratulations Austin and Tyler! We are so thrilled to have you on the Skyline team!

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