What is your name, and can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Ernesto Gutierrez Jr aka Ernie Sombrero and I’m the president and ceo of the professional truckers association. We’re a non profit organization that is designed to help truck drivers anyway we can. I’ve Been married for 17 years and I have 6 wonderful children. I’m a hard worker and a dedicated family man. I truly enjoy helping folks because I know that one day I’m gonna need some help. I come from a huge family, and we keep in touch all the time. Especially with my mom. I know I won’t have her to much longer. But I call her everyday on the phone just to hear her voice. So after saying all that I really am a pretty laid back person with a lot of goals and hope for the future.
What made you decide to become a truck driver?
My grandpa And father were both truckers. I remember when I was a little boy riding with my dad around the country in his Cabover. I remember these times quite well as a matter of fact. I remember them like they were yesterday. My dad use to tell me that back in those days truckers really cared about each other. Respected one another. And that’s why I work so hard to try and bring that honor and dignity back to this industry. I just loved big trucks and in 2004 I decided to go to trucking school to learn how to drive these trucks. In late 2003 I was getting tired of working on a computer in an office stapling paper work together. I wanted a changed but at first I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I thought about heating and A/C. I thought about auto repair training. But I just couldn’t get trucking off my mind. So here we are and the rest is history.
How did you get you’re start in truck driving?
I attended a truck driving school in San Antonio TX. It was a three week course that I passed with a high GPA score. As a matter of fact I was in the top 5 after graduation. It was a fantastic experience. I learned a lot at that school. And I still use some of those same techniques today. The road test is what was fun about the whole experience. I had a little trouble down shifting when I would come to s stop sign of traffic light. That was the only problem I had at that time. But eventually I got the hang of it.
How long have you been a truck driver?
Once I graduated in early 2004, I started with a local company in town. That didn’t last long. But after that I went to go work for J.B hunt. I got a lot of driving experience over there. Because at that time jb hunt was pretty much all over the road. But since then I’ve really fine tuned my skills and became a true professional and dedicated truck driver. But I’ve been out here a little over 9 plus years and I’ve loved every minute of my time out here.
What do you like or dislike about being a truck driver?
I love the open road. I never get tired of seeing this beautiful country of ours. I love driving through the mountains and back roads of different states. I think my favorite area to drive through. Would be the great northwest. It’s peaceful out here, and that’s what i most like about trucking.
Did you encounter anything unexpected after you became a truck driver?
Yes. I did , I wasn’t prepared for what was coming when I first started over the road. I wasn’t prepared for the long hours. And many days away From my family. I wasn’t equipped for the way most folks treated us out here. The bad attitudes a lot of folks had. But I got use to it. I adapted quite well and learned to handle different situations. I learned that the folks in the northeast are just plain grouchy. And the folks down south are more friendly. And the folks out west just tells it like it is. But it’s been an overall great experience to say the least.
Who do you drive a truck for?
I’m an owner operator leased on with Anderson Trucking Services (ATS) out of St Cloud MN. I love those folks up there. I have worked for a few companies these last 9 years. But this company by far is the best company that I have worked for. I know there are no perfect companies. Everyone has there own issues. But these folks have your back when personal issues arise in your life.
Are you happy working for them?
Yes I am. The best outfit I’ve worked for hands down.
Do you have any regrets?
No I don’t I chose this life and this lifestyle. I know there are different opportunities out there. But it’s hard for me to leave this industry. I love what I do and I love all professional truck drivers. I have a calling in life. And it’s hard to explain. But I’m hoping one day to make a difference in the trucking industry and make a difference in someone’s life.
Is there anything else you want to tell us about truck driving?
Yes. I want to let everyone know that the professional truckers association inc is dedicated and working hard everyday to help as many drivers as we can. The PTAG organization is a young organization and I truly believe that one day we will make an impact in all truckers lives. So please visit our website at Professional Truckers Association for more information about our organization and what we do.