Chester Epperson /The ArgusGreg Reisnaur has opened Elite Truck School in Hillsboro to help meet a demand for new truck drivers. Reisnaur says top trucking companies prefer professionally trained drivers.
New truck driving school
Forget that the economy is sluggish. The demand for professionally qualified truck drivers is roaring ahead.
To meet that demand, Greg Reisnaur has opened the Elite Truck School in Hillsboro. Classrooms, offices and the truck yard is at 560 SE Fourth Ave. in the remodeled Stagg Food Complex.
Reisnaur, an experienced, award-winning truck driver, decided to start a truck driving school simply because one was needed and he had a desire to offer professional instruction.
"The timing was right, and there is no truck driving school on the west side of Portland and Washington County. I also believe we can offer quality, individual training for people who want a career in the field," he said.
George Reisnaur, Greg's father and the director of admissions, noted that the U.S. Department of Labor and the Bureau of Labor Statistics show the trucking industry is consistently in need of new, qualified drivers.
As older drivers leave the industry or transfer to management positions, demand for drivers, whether for short runs or long haul, continues to expand.
An entry level over-the-road truck driver can expect to earn about $30,000 annually. In Oregon, the average wage for a heavy tractor/trailer driver was $33,986 in 2002.
"You have to realize that every product that reaches a story or factory arrives by truck. All those dry dock containers from ships must be transported by truck," says George Reisnaur.
The course is 160 hours of training over four weeks. That includes 106 hours of classroom instruction and 54 hours of field training - driving double and single axle trucks, a flatbed and a 48-foot van.
Students learn Department of Transportation and Federal Motor Carrier regulations, logging, map reading, route determination, pre-trip inspection procedures.
They study vehicle systems, hazard awareness, vehicle mechanics and cargo handling, accident procedures and preventive maintenance.
While driving, they cover basic controls, driving in bad weather, coupling and uncoupling, straight and 90-degree backing and the intricacies of city, highway and mountain driving.
Graduates receive an "A" Commercial drivers license.
Most of the instruction is given by Greg Reisnaur in classes of no larger than six students.
"By keeping our classes small, we can guarantee personalized instruction. Our success will come with honesty and integrity in the instruction we offer," he says.
Attendance is compulsory and students are expected to participate in a professional manner.
Dress codes are followed.
Before candidates for the school are admitted, they must meet strict requirements of personal conduct, driving record and basic education.
Greg Reisnaur, president of Elite Truck School, began over-the-road truck driving soon after graduating from Junior College Truck Driving Program in 1983. He drove flatbeds, reefers, van and tankers.
In 1986 he joined Consolidated Freightways, working in a variety of positions, advancing in 1996 to dispatch operations manager for the Portland facility, overseeing 130 over-the-road drivers and as many as nine dispatchers, and in 2002 to systems operations manager in the corporate headquarters. He was directly responsible for freight movement nationwide.
In 1989 and 1990 he earned titles as Oregon Truck Driving Champion. Reisnaur was selected in 1992 as Oregon Road Team Captain and in 1993 as Americas Road Team Captain, participating in media interviews and speaking at community and company events to represent the trucking industry and promote its image.
Elite Truck School can be reached at 503-615-8465 or toll-free at 877-200-9100.