Every day, CDL Drivers cross each other on the highway. And if they happen to find themselves on Route 40 headed west, they might be lucky enough to catch Andrew Antonio on the CB. Not every driver has trucking deep in their bones, but that can certainly be said of this month’s Trucking Hero.
Andrew Antonio fell into the industry, as many of us do. For him, it was via the uranium industry. At 16 years old he was thrown the keys of a rig and told to deliver a load of water. When he mentioned that he’d never driven before, they replied with one word: learn. In the drilling rigs you were driving off-road, but sometimes highway was required, a hybrid deal. He laughed when recalling the memory, “You learn as you go.”
It’s the community that keeps Antonio trucking all these years later. “I used to find so much joy in driving down the highway drinking coffee and talking on the CB to keep each other awake on our hauls. The lifestyle was exciting. The next thing you know there would be a little convoy going down the highway together.”
Some of those CB chats turned into real friendships. Always meeting new people over his radio, Antonio has made lots of friends between Colorado and California. He’s always quick to give them a shout if he hears them again. His gig keeps him local these days, so his late-night trucking runs are over.
Supply and demand rule the industry, and it’s caused almost an entire generation of truckers to quit. “I just think that the ELD situation that came about; they keep asking the drivers what they need more of: more flexibility, to stop the clock.” He’s not blind to the future challenges of the industry but is determined to keep on driving.
If you happen to be running through Denver, be sure to shout out to Andrew on the CB. If he answers, you’re in for some good stories and some great company.