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Meet JTL Instructor Kim Merrill

Meet JTL Instructor Kim Merrill

We hope you enjoyed our last interview with Neal. Next up is Kim Merrill who has nearly 30 years of trucking experience!

What do you do at JTL?
I teach students the basics for becoming safe CDL drivers. They gain real life experience through backing and driving, but learning in the classroom is also key.

How long have you worked in the industry, and how long at JTL?
I have been a licensed CDL driver since 1985. I drove across the country for 17 years, doing team driving, but I have been an owner/operator for the last 8 years now.

How do you help students learn to become safe, professional drivers?
Being patient while teaching is key. I try to put myself in their shoes and think back to when I was first starting my training. It is also important to remember each student is unique and learns at a different pace and may need a different style of teaching. One of the most important lessons is to be a defensive driver.

Why do you enjoy training/working with new professional drivers?
JTL is a great place to instruct because there are so many resources to draw from: classroom, experienced drivers, and a structured routine. It’s important for the students realize how many resources are at their disposal.

Why is JTL a good school to teach and learn?
A strong basis is set from day one. We don’t cut corners; safety, timeliness, and responsibility is required from our students.

How do you stay in touch with any former students?
I stay in touch with some students via Facebook or text. Some of the graduates will stop by with their truck and trailers to say hello, which is my favorite way to keep in touch.

What hobbies do you have or what do you like to do in your spare time?
I love spending time with my family and pets. I also enjoy outdoor activities like camping, swimming, and yard work.

Meet JTL Instructor Neal Weich

Meet JTL Instructor Neal Weich

We take pride in our instructors at JTL, and we thought you’d enjoy getting to know them. First up is Neal Weich who has been with JTL since 2013. Make sure to check back, we’ll have a new instructor bios coming soon.

What do you do at JTL?
I instruct students on the procedures of safely driving and backing commercial vehicles. I also assist students on the proper inspection and safety check procedures for vehicles.

How long have you worked in the industry, and how long at JTL?
I’ve been driving both over the road and regional assignments for 15 years. I’ve had the pleasure of instructing at JTL for a little over two years.

How do you help students learn to become safe, professional drivers? Describe your method or any special techniques you use.
I believe in the “hands-on” method. Students operate the vehicle while I observe, and any unsafe techniques are immediately corrected. Repetition is key in learning the safe techniques.

Why do you enjoy training/working with new professional drivers?
The thing I enjoy the most is seeing the improvement and progress the students make on a daily basis. I also enjoy the challenge of discovering the different methods I need to use for different students. Everyone learns at a different pace, which requires a unique teaching approach.

Why is JTL a good school to teach and learn?
JTL provides its students with a robust education on commercial driving.

How do you stay in touch with any former students?
Many of the JTL graduates visit me at the school to let me know what they’ve been up to and tell me about their experience on the road.

What hobbies do you have or what do you like to do in your spare time?
I really enjoy wood working in my spare time and also watching football and baseball.