Many assume happiness as the principle purpose to life. Others perceive joy and contentment as a state of mind. Some completely ignore the option for the pursuit of success. However, truth be known, one can attain both.The key success factors to achieving career goals are a combination of knowledge, talent and abilities, while continuously pushing forward upgrading your skills and the value of your work efforts. With the progress of persistence and the need to improve, favorable outcome will be evident.With that said, understanding how to obtain one’s ambition to further a career, unfortunately there are no written instructions or guidelines to attain happiness. Partly due to the variation of the term; happiness. Everyone’s outlook is different. Fueling my metabolism with countless calories of sugarcoated, glazed donuts and deep-dish pizzas only to shrink my figure in dress sizes, to me is the type of happiness that I’d take any day. Would that bring happiness to Bob down the street, or my 70-year-old neighbor, Shirley? I’m talking about the type of happiness that offers composure through change and uncertainty. It allows you to tap into a mental serenity that is often unshakable. I doubt my delight in happiness matches my local friends’ versions.So what is it that makes a person happy? Or better yet, how will we know when we have made it to this so called, good life? One thing is for sure, once you reach that point of peace, I’ll put my odds on the sun that your days will shine a bit brighter than before. Every day ahead will be a good one, mainly because if something happens to dampen that day, the negative mood has no precedence to linger… How could it, when you’re happy? Guess that is when you know.Owner Operator, Wayne Sandberg from Orlando, Florida can attest to living out his life in all forms of happiness. In doing so, his performance as a professional truck driver has excelled leaps and bounds, extending throughout his 40-year career in the industry. Originally from New Jersey, his heart fell in love with the entire atmosphere of the Sunshine State. In 2002, he and his wife, Jacqueline took a chance and made the move down south. Wayne explains,
“I didn’t know it then, but where we are now and driving my truck has been my dream the whole time. We visited Florida, prior to relocating and liked it so much that we had to do it. I made the switch from driving as a company driver, purchased a truck, and got back into the Owner Operator business.”
Wayne was just a teenager when he was initially introduced to the fast paced world of trucking. His brother-in-law owned a business running straight trucks, delivering carpet through the tristate areas of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Wayne volunteered as a helper and loved every minute of it.
“I was more than happy to be with them working! I’m the type of person that has to be out doing something and work wise, this was perfect for me,” he said.
For the following five years, he studied all the dynamics of the trade. In the beginning, traveling at 15 years old, constantly seeing different places and meeting new people intrigued him. To this day, Wayne still describes the advantages of his job exactly how it was for him when he first started trucking. He says,
“There is not a day that I wake up in the mornings and hate what I do. I enjoy trucking, everything about it. Always have.” By 17, Wayne was itching to get in the big trucks. The next year he was given the opportunity. “The second I drove a tractor trailer on my own, it was a done deal. I knew right then this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. With little road experience, I spent a lot of time learning the length of the full truck. Maneuvering it around and backing it up. It was so exciting to me. I couldn’t wait until the next day to do it all over again.”
Immediately he was scheduled to make five deliveries to Long Island. The day to prove not just to his co-workers, but to himself that he had earned the right to truck had finally presented itself. With complete mixed emotions of anxiety, confidence, and worry he was also extremely nervous, scared, and filled with excitement. Wayne took his time and completed his assignment. He proudly admits that the moment he pulled back into the stockyard, that day would be forever etched in his memory as one of the greatest days of his life.
Having his brother-in-law and other experienced drivers within reach often allowed Wayne the advantage at an early age. On the exterior, Wayne took notice to his sister and brother-in-law’s nice home, cars, and numerous trucks. He knew that trucking could provide a good life, just as it had for his family. It was also clear that it was the work these men put into the job that made it all possible. Wayne elaborates on the topic,
“It’s a tough business. Anyone will tell you that. Trucking will never be an easy profession. I witnessed my brother-in-law work a lot of hours. One thing he was sure to teach me was the importance of financial management. He would remind me that a person can make decent money in trucking, but you have to do two things to succeed at it. One, work hard. And two, save your money. He stressed multiple times, to hold onto every nickel because in this business; dealing with trucks, you never know what is liable to happen.”
Once Wayne was ready to venture out, he landed a job at a local manufacturing company in New Jersey delivering nuts and bolts. Three years later the company moved to Rhode Island and Wayne parted ways. A friend of his brother-in-law encouraged him to join his fleet, doing mostly container work out of state. It was in 1989, when he took a position with the Union when things began lining up for Wayne. With two sons at home to provide for, his Union job supplied health insurance, regular hours, and most importantly, the stability he needed as a parent. A few years later, on a regular day at work Wayne stood outside patiently waiting to order food from the breakfast truck. He quickly noticed the new secretary of the building waiting in line too. At that point the two caught eyes and the rest is history. Both asked around, inquiring about one another, then soon began dating and were married two years later. He reminisces on the sparks from that day, almost 21 years ago as if it happened yesterday. Together they have a son that is now 19 and attending college.
Wayne spent a total of 13 years with the company before deciding to uproot his family. Florida was a big decision that ultimately turned out for the best. After Wayne purchased a refrigerated trailer, he leased on with a trucking company hauling groceries. The next year in 2003, he sold his reefer and bought a flatbed. and went to work for a company running lumber. He couldn’t have timed the transition any better. Lumber was in high demand due to building and construction being in its prime. With business booming, he was able to become more familiar with his areas, traveling all over the state of Florida. At the height of his career, something was still missing. His issue was that he simply felt invisible with the company. Even with all of the miles under his belt and long hours in the driver’s seat, his truck was just another number while he went along unnoticed and detached, all with a sense of being taken for granted; never a valued asset worthy of the recognition earned. That didn’t sit well with Wayne.
In passing, he met another driver from the same area, but with a company called Mason Dixon. The guy spoke highly of the business, detailing their positive reputation and the abundant amount of work available. Once on board, Wayne hooked up with his broker, Jeff. Over time their business relationship formed into a solid friendship built on honesty and reliability from both sides. In 2004, Jeff convinced Wayne to lease on to Mason Dixon in order to secure better loads. Wayne says,
“My agent keeps me busy and that’s all I ask. He has told me before that when I take a load, he never has to worry about anything. That makes me feel good, you know? He will say that he wishes he had ten of me. I take pride in those words. Working with Mason Dixon, it’s like you are a person. They give me what the other companies didn’t: a second family. There is no forced dispatch, they treat you with respect, and what I like the most is that they recognize when they have a good driver. That’s why they named me the 2012 Contractor of the Year. And the party they threw in my honor was unreal! They went all out for my celebration. It makes a difference when people make you feel appreciated. In all of my career, I have never had that. They show you that they appreciate you and how hard you work for them. You can’t find that just anywhere.”
In 2009, with his broker’s advice Wayne invested in a forklift. Jeff has proven that he values Wayne’s best interests, while consistently keeping his business viable and profitable. So any suggested instructions Jeff has to offer, Wayne tunes in. The forklift provided Wayne with leverage. He is able to unload salt at water conditioning plants that do not have access to the equipment needed to unload their product. With the guidance of his friend and the welcomed opportunity at [now] Universal Truckload Services, Inc. Wayne has breathed life and joy back into his trade. Trucking is his passion, but being surrounded by supportive like-minded individuals has allowed him to stretch his own abilities and branch out in new directions, strengthening his skills and over all potential to be the very best version of himself that he strives to be.
“I am happy where I am in my career. In as sense, I have reached my goal. If I could do this for the rest of my life, here where I’m at and who I’m with, I would be completely happy. I’ll do whatever it takes to keep Universal wanting me. They are the best that I have ever worked for in all of my years in trucking. I want to make them proud. When I meet my customers, I understand that I also represent Universal. I choose to treat my customers with respect and I’m always on time. Providing good service is a huge part of this business. To my broker and my customers, service counts! I go out of my way to make them happy and in return I am thankful that they enjoy doing business with me.”
Today you can catch Wayne in his 2006 Volvo day cab, running primarily throughout Florida with Universal Truckload Services, Inc. (Mason Dixon merged into ‘Universal’). During his off time one of his hobbies include buying and remodeling older classic cars, selling them, and repeating the process. When he can, he and his youngest son catch up on the golf course. Most of his time away from anything with a motor in it is spent with Jacqueline, living the good life.