Daniel Bingman may be new to the world of professional truck driving, but he’s not new to the concept of safety. In fact, safety has been a core principle for Bingman for most of his adult life – and it’s core to an even more important principle – family.
As a father of six, Bingman takes safety personally. Every time he gets behind the wheel of his Transport America tractor-trailer, he imagines himself driving next to a mini-van or another vehicle, loaded with a family like his, the parents sitting up front, and their kids, on their way to see family, or to go to a basketball game at their nearby high school.
“I drive the way I do because that family could be my family,” says Bingman, “and I know that they just want to get wherever they’re going safely. That’s why I kiss the photos of my kids every morning before I put my truck into gear.”
Bingman’s road to becoming a professional truck driver began a couple years ago when he and his wife, Valarie, decided it was time for a career change.
For more than 12 years, Bingman worked on the paint line, most recently as supervisor, at a boat and hauling trailer manufacturer located in Fox Lake, Wisconsin.
“It was hard work. It was tough on my body and I wasn’t getting any younger,” says Bingman, who is 36 years old. “And anyone who knows me knows that I put everything I’ve got into a job.”
A couple of years ago, Bingman’s wife suggested that he try trucking.
“As a kid, I always loved truck drivers. I loved how they would honk their horns for kids,” Bingman says. “So, that’s when I decided to enroll at the Diesel Truck Driving School in Sun Prairie.”
After he graduated from school and earned his CDL, Bingman still wasn’t quite sure about making the switch to becoming a full-time professional driver. After all, he had invested a lot of sweat and blood at his current job, plus there was the simple fact that he would be on the road while Valarie was raising their kids.
“I was in the position where I could be picky about who I would drive for,” he says. “So I posted an ad that I was looking for a company to drive for. Transport America and several other companies contacted me almost immediately.”
What led Bingman to Transport America were the many positive reviews about the company online – in particular, the company’s respect for its drivers and its dedication to safety.
“Safety was very important. So, it was one of the first things I noticed about Transport America – that safety is #1,” says Bingman. “To me, you can have best equipment in the world at your disposal, but if you don’t have the mindset where you put safety first, then it doesn’t matter at all.”
After talking with a driver expert from Transport America, Bingman agreed to participate in the company’s orientation program. That’s where he met Mike Rozeski, a Transport America driver instructor who specializes in working with people who are new to professional driving.
“Mike was amazing!” says Bingman. “I can’t say enough good things about him. He really helped me to understand my new career as a truck driver. It’s because of him that I really love what I’m doing. I know that if I have a question about anything, I can turn to Mike.”
Bingman also points to Marc Slettedahl, his fleet leader, as being instrumental to his first year’s success.
“He inspires me,” says Bingman. “In working with Marc, I’ve come to realize that it takes a team to keep Transport America trucks moving. I can count on Marc to keep me rolling, and I know he’s got my back when things are a bit worrisome, such as when my daughter Willow was not feeling well recently.”
To Bingman, Transport America operates like family. And that’s his other core value, right up there with safety.
“Family is #1. I think about my family. I think about my Transport America family. And I think about other families on the road.” Bingman says. “That’s what this is all about. All of us working together to reach our goals in life.”