Starting Young: A New Driver Pursues His Dream
Starting Young: A Portrait of a Young Trucker
Just out of truck driving school, Connor Holthe starts to rack up the miles on a career he was meant for.
At 21-years-old, Connor Holthe is one of the youngest truck drivers working with Transport America.
Holthe, a resident of Wanamingo, Minn., which is located about 50 miles south of Eagan, Minn., where Transport America is headquartered, received his commercial drivers license in March 2017, and started driving as a solo Over-the-Road driver in April.
Working as a welder after attending Kenyon-Wanamingo High School, Holthe remembered his younger days when his father, also an OTR driver, took him out West to Washington and Oregon. When he turned 21, the age at which you can legally drive a truck across state lines, he decided it was time to pursue his dream of being an OTR truck driver just like his father, Tony.
Holthe’s first step was passing trucking driving school. He attended the Transportation Center of Excellence (TCE), located in St. Cloud, Minn., and shortly thereafter, earned his CDL. As Holthe neared the completion of his truck-driving program, he began to consider different trucking companies with whom he could launch his career.
“As I got done with school, I saw different posters for companies that take new drivers,” says Holthe. “I really liked the recruiter I talked to from Transport America.”
“The recruiters at Transport America stood out because those that I spoke with had actually driven for a living. They understood what it was really like to be a professional truck driver. They gave me information and advice I could trust, and they weren’t afraid to tell me, honestly, how the industry and the company work,” Holthe says. “Other companies’ recruiters didn’t do that.”
During his first few weeks, Holthe met other Transport America drivers who warmly welcomed him.
“Every Transport America driver I’ve met has been great,” he says, “They give me good advice and want me to succeed here.”
Holthe has made other important connections within the company in his short time. Recently, he took some time away from the road to tour Transport America’s headquarters in Eagan. He brought his 16-year-old brother, Aidan, along for the ride. The tour offered him a chance to meet his fleet leader, Sean. While he was on the tour, he also met with Transport America’s President, Keith Klein.
“Keith is really a nice guy,” he says. “I felt like he actually cared about me. He was easy to talk with.”
In connecting with his fleet leader, he also obtained a better understanding how his fleet leader manages a team of drivers and plans loads.
“The process is much more complicated than I thought,” says Holthe.
As a solo driver new to the job, Holthe admits that at times, he finds his new role challenging.
“Since I’ve been on the road, I’ve seen some crazy four-wheel drivers. I really appreciate Transport America’s approach to safety. I feel like Transport America genuinely cares about my safety.”
Holthe has no regrets about his career decision or joining up with Transport America.
“A lot of people hear that college is the only way to go. Not for me,” Holthe says. “I wanted something different. Some people don’t think truck driving can be a career, but that’s a total myth.”
“Like with any new job, the more you learn and gain experience the better the pay become” he adds.
“Transport America has been good about giving me miles. They keep me moving.”
On his first trip, he visited the Deep South for the first time, and has thus far seen parts of Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Iowa.
“I like driving. I like the freedom. I see different places everyday and I enjoy the break from a usual business routine. The days go by so fast,” says Holthe.
“Now, my truck is a home away from home.”