Dec 19, 2022 • 45M

On the Road with a Long Haul Trucker

MCJ Skilled Labor Series

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A growing body of knowledge about climate change and potential solutions. This series traverses disciplines, industries, and opinions with hundreds of deep-dive conversations with science, technology, and climate leaders.
Episode details

This episode is part of our new Skilled Labor Series hosted by MCJ partner, Yin Lu. This series is focused on amplifying the voices of folks from the skilled labor workforce, including electricians, farmers, ranchers, HVAC installers, and others who are on the front lines of rewiring our infrastructure.

Today, we are talking trucks with Larry Coons

Transportation accounted for the largest portion of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2020, with 26% of those emissions coming from medium and heavy-duty trucks alone. As the industry grapples with an aging workforce, regulations on freight transportation are bound to have an impact. But to understand exactly what it’s like to haul cargo on the road for 11 hours a day, or to adequately address concerns among truckers as new technology develops, you have to put yourself in the driver’s seat. Luckily, Larry has 10 years of experience on the road and also spent time as an automation truck tester with Uber Freight and Ike.

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In this chat, Yin and Larry talk about how he got into trucking, the role the climate change narrative has on decision-making, and what it’s like to be a long-haul driver. Larry also sheds light on the aging workforce and the need for younger drivers who are more likely to adopt new technologies. They also cover some general frustrations and stressors of the job, Larry’s views on electric trucks, and his experience working on some self-driving programs. 

In this episode, we cover:

  • [1:56] How Larry got interested in trucking at a young age 

  • [5:52] The education, training, and certification process to becoming a truck driver 

  • [11:31] The trucker shortage and its impacts 

  • [13:37] Issues with driver payments 

  • [17:03] Deciding between the owner-operate route or working for a freight company 

  • [19:46] Things we can do to inspire a younger and more diverse trucking fleet 

  • [22:02] Role of technology 

  • [25:09] Larry's thoughts and concerns on electric trucks 

  • [28:09] A day in the life of a truck driver 

  • [31:31] Larry's work with Uber Freight 

  • [42:16] His future career plans 

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Episode recorded on October 3, 2022.