A Risk Worth Taking

“Two days after graduating from high school, I went into the Marine Corps, where I served for 12 years, re-enlisting after 9/11. After I left the military, I was working at a titanium plant in my hometown of Toronto, Ohio when COVID hit. I was laid off for a year, got called back, then laid off again.

That’s when I got a letter from Ohio Means Jobs asking if I wanted to go back to school. One of my buddies had gone to Belmont College, and another went to a school that was closer to where I lived. They both told me Belmont was the better choice, from instructors to curriculum. I took their advice. I chose Belmont’s CDL program, even though I didn’t know anything about driving a truck. But I knew that there would always be jobs in trucking.

I’d never thought of myself as a college person. But I have common sense and I know how to work hard, so the CDL program was ideal for me. It was a little intimidating at first since I’d been out of school for so long, but I’ve always believed that people shouldn’t be afraid to try to better themselves.

From the instructors to the classroom experience to the equipment, everything was focused on preparing you for the job. My instructors weren’t just talented and experienced, they were dedicated. They’d work with you on their own time to make sure you’d be able to earn your Class A CDL license.

I was very lucky and got a job right away. After I completed the CDL program, I went to work for and gas and oil company hauling water. That was my first step into the industry. From there I started hauling sand, and before long I’d bought my own truck. I’m now an owner-operator with Staar Trucking, based in Brookville, PA. I’m looking to eventually buy two or three more trucks to grow the business.

I make good money and I have the flexibility to spend plenty of time with my wife and two teenage boys. I’ll never live on the road. I did my traveling in the Marine Corps.

My advice for anyone considering going back to school to change careers: Don’t be afraid to take risks, don’t be afraid of the unknown. You never know what the reward might be.”