Daniel Walton - National Truckin Magazine Story
A former ship captain in the merchant marines, Roehl Transport’s Daniel Walton spent over twenty years working on almost any type of vessel you can imagine, sometimes staying at sea for over eleven months a year. As a Master Upon All Oceans, he’s an expert at navigation, and during his time as a captain, he has traveled the world, seeing some of our planet’s most beautiful places. He also experienced some of the most dangerous, including hostage situations and coming under fire by pirates. It was partially those experiences, along with his desire to see America, that led Daniel to consider a career change to driving truck – a job his father had done when he was younger. So the Pass Christian, Mississippi, resident did his research, and as a life-long learner, he recognized the benefits that exist as a truck driver with Roehl. “I saw it as an opportunity to repeat what had served me in the past. Enter a program, take full advantage, practice and work my butt off, thus finding success,” Daniel said.
A driver in Roehl’s National Flatbed Fleet, Daniel leverages skills sharpened as a merchant marine in his role as a trucker. From inspections and regulations to logs and even cargo securement, ocean transport and over-the-road transportation have many similarities. There are also some differences you might not expect. For example, despite many variables, route planning on a ship is more straight-line, with constant speeds. Daniel loves to share one story about a rather complex multi-stop shipping plan while at sea. He kept asking questions and by the end, he was able to submit a detailed plan with ETA and fuel consumption. Once executed, his plan proved to be so close, he was asked to present how he did it to companies worldwide as a method to save money by asking better questions. Daniel noted that getting a similar level of precision in his trip-planning as a driver can be challenging. However, he’s fueled by a growth mindset. “When you make a mistake, own it, learn from it and make it work for you. Letting the stress of having to deal with a mess-up that keeps you from seizing the nugget of hard-earned wisdom is foolish,” he added.
Daniel was recently featured in National Truckin Magazine.
Daniel says his initial training demanded his best and pushed him from his comfort zone, and he has had plenty of examples to learn from along the way – from the professionalism of an instructor who demonstrated a fine example of calm and patience, to a trainer who generously showed his method of work that has helped him make money and get great miles, to his fellow drivers who share tips or experiences. Learning from the past and sharing that knowledge is something Daniel is now doing as a Certified Driver Trainer himself. He attended Roehl’s Trainer Foundations program, which prepared him to reinforce the Roehl Way of Protective Driving and represent Roehl’s values to new drivers. “I had a great trainer, and it inspired me. The training really cements the culture of the Wall of Values and The Safe 7,” he commented. Built on values like Safety, Honesty and Driver Success, Roehl’s been recognized with 16 years of consecutive top safety honors by the American Trucking Associations.
For Daniel, Driver Success means he can consistently and safely provide for his family. Married for 15 years, Daniel and his wife have four children, and they are very active fundraising for Down’s Syndrome and Alzheimer’s research – two issues that have directly impacted their family. He noted that driving for Roehl, he can be home more and talk to his children with more regularity than when he was at sea. From national over-the-road schedules with flexible home time to part-time driving jobs with up to 26 weeks a year off, Roehl offers a wide range of home time options.
In addition to being a leader in Safety, Roehl drivers like Daniel are also leaders in productivity, customer service and earnings. And Roehl is led by a driver – CEO Rick Roehl maintains his CDL and gets behind the wheel, doing the work and staying close to our customers – something Daniel also appreciates. “He takes true ownership of his role, not just as CEO, but as a steward of the company. It encourages me in that I should take ownership of my responsibility as an ambassador driving as our values demand,” Daniel said.
“The sea will find you out.” The former ship captain shared this phrase from his time on ships, which he translated to trucking as, “The road will reveal you.” For Daniel, that means hone your craft, use the Safe 7 and be true to what you know is right.
With driving careers for all experience levels – from OTR veterans, to a lease purchase program for those who want to own their own business, to paid CDL training for those who are just starting out, Roehl is one of the best-run and safest trucking companies in the nation. Learn more and find a trucking job that meets your needs at www.Roehl.Jobs.