Driver Spotlight: Steve Suaris
After nine years behind the wheel at Dot Transportation (including six as a full-time driver trainer), Steve Suaris understands just what it takes to make it as a DTI truck driver and it’s so much more than just steering between the lines. As a professional driver, it’s really rooted in attitude.
“You might make a good driver, but it doesn’t mean that you’ll make a good Dot Transportation driver,” he said. “Customer service is our priority. If you have a negative attitude or can’t present yourself well, you’re not going to make it.”
Steve got his start in professional trucking at the age of 44 while still working for his family business. He says he always wanted to earn a CDL and get behind the wheel of a big rig and DTI was the perfect place to allow him to follow that dream.
“It just made sense at the time. Everything I researched made it clear that Dot Transportation was the place to be. Like destiny. If I wasn’t going to drive for DTI, I wasn’t going to drive for anyone.”
After just a short time as a solo driver, he started filling in as a trainer when needed. Eventually, he moved to a full-time training position where he started working with aspiring truck drivers of Ardmore, Oklahoma and the surrounding regions.
He says one of the most challenging points to convey to a rookie driver is the importance of looking and acting professionally. This includes dressing appropriately, following the rules, and being courteous to everyone you come across.
“I tell them when they are in their tractor trailer, YOU are the face of Dot; not the managers, not the executive team, not anyone from the Tracy family. The drivers are the ambassadors and they represent DTI,” he said. “You have to hold yourself to a very high level of professionalism and accountability.”
Steve lives with his wife, Lavina, in Denton, Texas–-about 100 miles outside of DTI’s Oklahoma distribution center. Together, they have two children working their way through college. He’s thankful to have such a positive support system on his side and says the job would be much harder if they weren’t on board.
“This is a job where you need the support of your family and friends. I couldn’t have done this job without the support of my wife. Everything I do, I always run it by her.”
Born and raised in India, Steve thanks his parents for his upbringing and for instilling a positive work ethic. A multilingual dual citizen of both the United States and India, Steve has proudly called the Lone Star State home for more than 30 years. He describes the community as “not too fast and not too slow”. He’s thankful to live and work in communities in which so many different cultures are both represented and respected.
“The diversity and culture at Dot are just like nothing else. The more people we have who think differently, the more opportunity we have to change. And that’s what we’ve got here. And we appreciate everybody.”
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