Maverick Transportation last week celebrated the expansion of its driver training center, which adds more than 13,000 square feet to the previous facility.
The $4 million expansion brings the training center’s total classrooms to seven and training bays to eight, where drivers live-load all products hauled and are trained in the Maverick securement techniques.
The expansion was designed with environmentally conscious solutions that minimize energy consumption, such as custom louvers to filter sunlight and automatic lighting throughout the building. Many of the design elements of the new facility incorporate products that Maverick hauls, including steel, lumber and glass.
With the additional space, Maverick now has the ability to train 210 drivers at any one time.
“The new driver training center effectively doubles the amount of space, classrooms, and students we can bring through our program,” said Vice President of Safety and Training Dean Newell.
A grand opening ceremony took place inside the building’s eight training bays and included speeches by Maverick Chairman and CEO Steve Williams, Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe, and Fastport co-founder and Hiring Our Heroes ambassador Jim Ray.
"We want this to be a career of choice, not of last resort," Williams said. "We are committed to attracting, training and retaining the industry’s safest and most professional drivers.”
The ceremony also featured comments from Fastport co-founder and Hiring our Heroes ambassador Jim Ray, whose company was recently chosen by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to encourage transitioning veterans to choose professional driving as a career upon exiting their military service.
Ray’s speech centered around the idea that there are enormous amounts of veterans that are either underemployed or unemployed, while the trucking industry has the opposite challenge – with hundreds of thousands of open positions and many tenured drivers approaching retirement age.
“Our industry is desperate for new talent. Transitioning veterans are desperate for great career opportunities,” he said Although these issues align well on the surface, there are several challenges that exist. “Our greatest challenge in converting these veterans to truck drivers is cultural. Our industry must dispel the myths that are keeping potential drivers out of the industry.”