Pride Driver of the Month: Mark Rojas
At Pride our drivers are the heart of our operation. We understand the hard work, passion, and dedication it takes to be a driver, which is why we strive to give them the appreciation and credit that they deserve. Each and every driver is important to us but, every month, we like to acknowledge one that stands out, goes the extra distance and is worthy of special recognition by their fellow drivers. We do this through our Driver of the Month Program.
For the month of September, we would like to recognize Mark Rojas for his dedication and hard work. Since 1985 Mark has been on the road as a truck driver, and for the past six years he has been part of the Pride family driving OTR. We recently spoke with Mark to pick his brain about his 33 years of experience, and what it means to drive with Pride.
We’re sure you get asked this a lot, but what do you love most about being a truck driver?
“You should’ve asked me that 100 years ago and I would’ve had a lot to tell you! I’m single with no kids so it’s the perfect lifestyle for me – just meeting new people and traveling around the country. No matter how many times I’ve driven the same route I always see something new and notice how cities have changed over the years. There’s also something about driving a truck through remote parts of the country can really make you feel like you’re going back in time. I like the western style so I dress like a cowboy. Sometimes it can make me feel like I’m a pioneer venturing out west.”
Driving OTR, you’ve driven all over the country. What’s your favorite place you’ve been to?
“That’s a tough one, but I would have to say Montana. It’s quiet, very peaceful, and there’s not a lot of people or much cell reception – just me and the beautiful scenery. The little towns I stop at are fantastic and welcoming and the people there treat you like they’ve known you forever.”
You mentioned that you used to do training, what advice do you have for someone who wants to get into trucking?
“I would always ask people why they want to drive a truck and I would have some guys say it was because of movies like Smokey and the Bandit, or some other famous truck driver movies. Those guys never lasted very long. You have to have a real passion to travel and be away from home for weeks at a time. This job has to be your number one priority, and you have to put your heart into it.”
Driving for 33 years, we’re sure you’ve had some less than ideal situations. What’s your least favorite part about being a truck driver?
“There are little things that you have to adjust to like living out of a suitcase, packing a bag to go shower, doing laundry at a truck stop. The holidays can also be tough when you’re on the road and see people celebrating. One thing that really gets me are the hot shot drivers who have less than 5 years OTR experience under their belt and act like they already know it all. I’ve been driving since 85’ and I still learn something new every day. You have to stay humble.”
Snacks are a staple of any good road trip, what’s your favorite thing to munch on while you’re on the road?
“Recently I’ve been keeping it healthy, but I always love a big pack of peanut M&M’s”
It can get boring when you’re driving for hours at a time, do you have any favorite podcasts, books, or music you listen to while on the road?
“I grew up in the 70’s back east so I enjoy the oldies and I’ll listen to a lot of classic rock & roll stations. If I want to brush up on any news or changes in the trucking industry I’ll tune into Road Dog Trucking.”
You’ve been driving for quite some time, have you seen anything weird on the road?
“Oh man where do I even start? If you’ve been driving for as long as I have then you’ve really seen it all. One year around halloween, I swear I saw a headless man walking up the street. Another time I was driving through AZ in the middle of the summer and I saw a Native American riding a horse in some full on warrior getup.”
You’ve been with Pride for quite some time, what do you love most about working with Pride?
“I really love the people that work at Pride. The dispatchers, safety department, upper management – all of them. I really enjoy working with them and I can be myself. They accept me for me.”
What have you learned about being a driver that you’d never know unless you were a driver?
“Surprisingly I didn’t really know how to drive. Before I was driving trucks I did some amateur car racing, just learning how to drive on the track. I got a chauffeur license and got into a truck and realized I didn’t really know anything about driving. Especially a truck.”
What is your Pride? This is a question we’ve been asking ourselves and each other lately. What is your Pride, is it your truck, you’re skill at maintenance, you’re exceptional driver support skills? What makes you proud to be a part of the Pride family?
“My pride is working for a company that is very accepting. They allow me to be me and they don’t treat me like they’re my superior. If I have an issue they let me voice my opinion and will work with me on a solution.”
Thank you to Mark for taking the time to chat with us! Check back each month and meet the next driver of the month, learn something about what it’s like driving a truck and maybe, you’ll discover what your Pride is.