Stacey Mauldin's career is all about freedom: the freedom to be outdoors for someone who says she's not an office person and the freedom of working for herself, setting her own hours and determining her own earnings.
Mauldin established a transporting company shortly after graduating from Greenville Technical College's Truck Driver Training program in the summer of 2006. Now she travels to auto auctions in North and South Carolina and transports automobiles to wholesalers and used car lots.
Mauldin had worked for car dealerships and had owned her own cleaning business before she decided to go back to college. The program, she said, was difficult, an intense nine-week curriculum made more intense by her struggle with ADD.
Without the support of the instructors, she said, she wouldn't have finished. "I can say that the staff at the Truck Driver Training facility are great people, and they really want to help you," she said. "They gave me a lot of extra time, and that really made the difference for me."
According to Mauldin, there's more to safely operating a truck than many people realize. "You have to know the truck front to back and under the hood, too," she said.
Now Mauldin, one of five women in her class in the Truck Driver Training program and the only woman she knows of in her business, feels she's found the best career for her abilities and interests.
"I love what I do," she said. "And when you love what you do, you're bound to be successful."
Tommy Sewell spent 29 years with Michelin Tire Corporation. After less than a year of retirement, he was ready for career number two. So he enrolled in the Truck Driver Training program at Greenville Technical College and only a month after graduation, he was finished with employee orientation for Am/Can and well equipped to get out on the road.
One appeal for Sewell's new adventure is the ability to travel. Though he served in the military and had the opportunity to go many places, he was always in the air. The ground, he says, is a much better vantage point. Since he'll be going from Anderson, S.C., to California, that's a lot of ground to cover.
Sewell appreciated the experience instructors bring to the program. "The instructors are great," he said. "They have quite a bit of miles and years, and they give you good habits to keep with you. They teach you to keep alert and take everything very seriously because you have a lot of weight under you. You could hurt your own family and others if you don't take things seriously."
Sewell found the career itself to be more complex than he had imagined. Between high-tech tools used on the road including GPS tracking, there's much more to the job than driving. "It's one big package of equipment you're driving. It's unbelievable what you have to sit down and comprehend before you take a trip to stay up-to-date and do a good job," he said. "Now that I've been through Greenville Tech's program, though, I feel well prepared and ready to go."