The view from home: Averitt truck driver spouses share their thoughts
Posted: September 20, 2019
When you’re researching trucking companies or life as a professional truck driver, it’s not hard to find out about all things trucking from a driver’s perspective. You can easily learn about the benefits each company has to offer or about the challenges of life out on the road. What you don’t hear often, however, are thoughts from those keeping things together back at home. At Averitt, a driver’s family is part of ours too, which is why it has always been a priority for us to walk beside our drivers and their families to make sure they’re supported both at home and away. We recently sat down with two driver spouses, Debra McQuillen and Sherry Tetreault, to get their take on what it’s been like to be part of Averitt.
Averitt: Tell us a little bit about yourself, your family and your experience with Averitt.
Debra: My husband David and I have been married for 11 years and live in Philadelphia, Mississippi. David has been a professional driver since he finished high school, but took a 10-15 year break to work in construction. He started back in the trucking industry in 2007 and came to work for Averitt in 2010 or 2011. He currently drives with Averitt’s On Tour Logistics team.
Sherry: Rick and I have been married for 33 years and live in Clarksville, Tennessee. He’s been with Averitt for 15 years and drives for the Truckload team. We’ve loved Averitt so much that now our son John drives for Averitt too. Both of them have also been driver trainers.
Averitt: We hear a lot from our drivers about what they like about Averitt, but from a spouse’s perspective, what do you like about this company?
Debra: Everyone is as nice as they can be. I’ve met David’s fleet managers and gotten to know them. Averitt also has great insurance. We go and have our health screenings every year and our insurance is very affordable with great coverage. We never have a hard time getting things covered.
Sherry: I like how personable Averitt is. I like the safe equipment the drivers use and the fact that Averitt has uniforms so that everyone looks nice and professional. Averitt also understands how important home time is and wants to make sure that each associate is treated well. It’s more than driving a truck. Rick has been given opportunities to do things like mentoring and advocacy that he wouldn’t have been able to do with any other company.
Averitt: Both of you have taken advantage of our rider policy, which allows spouses to go out on the road with our drivers. How often have you gone and what did you think of the experience?
Debra: I love to ride with David. It’s easy for me to drive to Atlanta or Nashville to meet up with him when he’s passing through. Since he drives for the OTL team, I’ve also gotten the opportunity to see some of the tours he’s worked on. Some of my favorites have been Marc Anthony, Jeff Beck, Buddy Guy and The Bible Tour. I love music, so this is an amazing perk.
Sherry: I’ve gone out with Rick a couple times and I thought it was outstanding. I get a chance to see firsthand what he does during the day, the challenges he faces, and really understand that this job has a lot more to it than just holding onto the steering wheel. It’s also a great opportunity to spend time with him.
Averitt: Why has Averitt been a great choice for your family?
Debra: One of the biggest differences about Averitt has been the equipment. David has worked for a number of companies over the years and inevitably, he would end up stuck somewhere without a load and with a broken-down truck and it just wasn’t a good experience. The trucks at Averitt are excellent and he gets a new truck about every year or two. At Averitt, he also has consistent loads and job security. We’re confident that this is where he’ll retire.
Sherry: Averitt provides good benefits - it’s not just a paycheck. Rick is able to do his job well and has the best equipment available to him. I also value their constant communication. I know that Averitt has his back and that I can call them any time I need to reach Rick or have questions. We’re all treated like family and that hasn’t been the case with other companies.
Averitt: What kinds of things do you and your spouse like to do together when he has home time? How often does that happen?
Debra: Since David drives OTL, he doesn’t get home that often. Some tours are three months long and others are six months long. In between tours, his home time will vary from a couple days or longer. He’ll also run truckload in between tours if there’s a gap. He loves this job, and we wouldn’t trade it for anything. We have a condo in Arkansas in the mountains and it’s so beautiful and quiet there. We try to head up there whenever we have some extra time.
Sherry: Every weekend. Rick is generally home on Friday and leaves again on Monday, so we really enjoy spending these weekends together. We’ll go to plays and movies, sit out on our deck and grill out. Our favorite thing to do is probably take long drives in our convertible when the weather’s nice.
Averitt: What’s one piece of advice you want to share with other truck driver spouses?
Debra: Our agreement is that he handles his job and being on the road and I handle everything at home. If something breaks down or there’s a leak in the house, I just take care of it. He knows that everything at home is being taken care of which allows him to do his job more effectively. Communication is also extremely important, but I would definitely say that giving him peace of mind that things at home are handled is one of the most important things.
Sherry: We’re both army brats and experienced our fathers having to go overseas often. We learned early on that it takes two people to make this relationship work and that it’s important to keep the lines of communication open. It’s not always a 50-50 partnership. Sometimes one of you will be doing 80%, but if you are a team and you’re working together for the best of each other, you’ll be successful.
Averitt: As a driver’s spouse, are there any resources that have been helpful?
Sherry: Yes! Averitt has a Facebook page for spouse. It’s an online forum - similar to one they have set up just for their truck drivers - for us to connect with other spouses who might be going through similar experiences. Life at home can be hard and it’s good to be reminded that you’re not alone and share advice about getting through some of the harder things. This is another great way that Averitt builds a community here.
For more information about the resources and benefits Averitt offers to drivers and their families, connect with us today!