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“Tennessee carrier introduces training school in Morristown Saturday, classes begin April 1.

By Al Muskewitz
Wright Media Editor-in-Chief

It’s two days before another milestone day for TLD Logistics Services and Roger Whittenburg didn’t mind saying he was feeling the butterflies.

Whittenburg is a TLD operations manager who, among other things, oversees the Tennessee-based carrier’s driver training schools, the newest of which offers a sneak peek to prospective student drivers Saturday.

While classes at the school in Morristown, Tenn., don’t begin until April 1 the company is hosting an Open House at the facility Saturday to introduce it to drivers. The school is located at 2415 North Davy Crockett Parkway, about seven miles off the Interstate 81 exit, and will be open to visitors starting 9 a.m.

‘I’m a little nervous,’ Whittenburg said. ‘There are about 18 different things you’ve got to do to get a school going. You wouldn’t believe there are that many, but get into it and you’ll find out.’

‘I’m nervous every time we start one. You never know how it’s going to turn out. You hope we’ll have full classes and we’ll be providing jobs for people. Everybody I’ve talked to up there is really excited about it and they think it’s a good thing.’

TLD has opened schools in Crossville, Knoxville and Lebanon over the past five years with the goal of turning out a dozen new drivers a month. Plans are in the works to offer night classes at the Crossville school.

Veteran TLD driver Mike Ragan will be conducting the classes in Morristown.

Caps, t-shirts and refreshments will be available at the Open House. Plans call for one of TLD’s 2019 Mack trucks to be on site and perhaps a visit from one of TLD’s military-themed wrapped trucks. Of course, the star of the show is the mobile truck driving simulator Whittenburg takes around the South to give potential drivers a real-time feel for the road.

The state-of-the-art simulator puts a driver in the cab of a big rig and everything he sees – from the instrument panel to the scenery – would be what he’d experience from behind the wheel. It can be programmed for an automatic transmission or up to 18 gears in a dry van or tanker. Sensors in the seats simulate the vibrations of the road. The city scenes, landscapes – and hazards – are just as you’d see them out the window.

Students who’ve experienced it have said it’s as real as it gets.

All qualified applicants attending the Open House will be entered in a raffle for tickets to the Bristol Food City 500 NASCAR race.

TLD has been recognized as one of the Top Fleets to Drive For in North America four years running.

Its driver training program is one of the most affordable schools in the industry. There is no upfront cost to the student upon enrollment, with the tuition deducted incrementally from their paycheck once they start making money.

‘We’re not into it to make money,’ Whittenburg said of the schools. ‘We’re in it to make drivers.'”

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