Driver Spotlight: Austin Atwater

Feb 28, 2023 | 4:10 pm

From the time he was a little boy, Austin Atwater dreamt of following in his uncle’s footsteps and taking the wheel of an 18-wheeler. So at just 19 years old, Austin applied to and was accepted into Dot Transportation’s Dyersburg training program. Half the age of some fellow classmates, Austin proved he belonged behind the wheel just as much as anyone else.

“I went in not knowing nothing about semi trucks,” he said. “But I left knowing everything. It was good. They make you comfortable.”

Before he knew it, he was on the road with a trainer where he’d learn the ins and outs of the DTI lifestyle; planning a route, managing a reefer, handling the products, and tips for managing a life on the go.

“Your trainer shows you everything you’ll go through. They take their time. They don’t rush you.They get you prepared for what you’re gonna go through,” he said.

By law, CDL drivers under the age of 21 are not allowed to cross state lines. Fortunately, there is no shortage of highway opportunities in the Volunteer State.

“I got a lot of work in the state of Tennessee,” he says with a chuckle. “Plenty. A lot. I’m always busy.”

Austin drives Monday through Friday and is able to reap the benefits of staying relatively local by making it home several times throughout the week. And even on the weekends, Austin is quick to pick up an extra assignment or two when he’s able.

No longer the shy new kid in town, Austin speaks with confidence and pride both as a truck er and as a DTI advocate. To anyone looking to take charge on a similar career path, Austin recommends just going for it.

“My advice is do it as soon as possible,” he said. “It will give you a lot of opportunities and set you up for the future. It gives you a good platform for your career. Do it one hundred percent.”

With a year under his belt, Austin has no regrets on his career path. In his first five months on the road, he brought home more than he had in a year’s time with his previous job. Well on his way to a lucrative and fulfilling driving career, Austin is appreciative of the opportunity he found with DTI.

“Some of the veteran drivers tell me DTI is the place to be. I hear that a lot,” he said. “And they weren’t lying. It’s a good company. DTI is the place to be.”

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