Instructor Highlight - Karl Bona, NETTTS

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Karl-BonaCVTA is proud to highlight CVTA Senior Master Instructor Karl Bona with New England Tractor Trailer Training School (NETTTS). Karl has worked for NETTTS for the last twenty years.  He holds the honor of being CVTA’s first Instructor to hold the title of Senior Master Instructor.

Karl was drawn to the industry since he was a child.  He was a Professional Truck Driver from 1975-1990 hauling cars, milk and variety of other freight.  He loved the opportunity to see the country from the window of his truck cab.  Occasionally he still misses the pull of the open road, but now he loves training new drivers and sharing his experiences.

When CVTA first introduced the Instructor Certification Program in 2004, Karl was one of the first to sign up.  He felt it was an opportunity to gain knowledge and make himself a better instructor.  Karl is also a strong proponent of leading by example and felt, by completing the program, he could then encourage others to do so as well.

Karl feels a special relationship to trucking. Over the years, he has been able to buy two houses and raise two children.  When he is not teaching, Karl enjoys spending time with his children and grandson, hunting, and occasionally visiting the casino.  He also has a passion for rebuilding classic muscle cars, including a 1970 EL Camino, 1960 Camaro, and a Super Sport Chevelle. Karl is a great representative for CVTA, our Instructor Certification Program, and Trucking Industry.  We are pleased to have him as such an active member of CVTA.

Working Together to Improve Driver Safety

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Submitted by Ken Smith, Schneider

We all have a role in ensuring the safety of our fleets and the motoring public. Every day I’m reminded of that when I log onto my computer and I see “The Schneider Way” screen saver that lists our number one core value: Safety First and Always.

Schneider is a longtime supporter of CVTA Schools because of your graduates. We appreciate the training that is received and we encourage instructors to stress the need for continued education once your students become professional drivers.

As with many other carriers, Schneider is committed to making sure your graduates are as thoroughly prepared with our finishing programs. We are aware and know you have instilled in your graduates the responsibility that comes with safely operating 40 tons of vehicle and payload on the roadways we share with friends and family members.

Even upon graduating, a professional truck driver’s training is never done. Learning is never over. As with many other quality carriers, Schneider offers continuous education programs, including quarterly computer-based training. This focuses on safety trends and seasonal factors. At Schneider each driver is awarded his/her Annual Certification after the successful completion of the training.

As Instructors you can help us and have. The areas that we have noticed the most improvement in recent driver school graduates are the following:

  • Shifting
  • Slow maneuvers
  • Getting out and looking

Thank you for all that you do to help train an industry and for your commitment to safety. We have the same goals and it is an honor to work with the professional members of CVTA.

Schneider Safety Screen



Testimonial - A Few New Tricks by Harold Brown

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by Harold Brown
CVTA Master Instructor
Millis Training Institute

I have had the pleasure of being associated with the trucking industry for a number of years. I remember starting out trying to find the "Perfect Fit" in a motor carrier. That road wasn't easy, but with persistence and planning, as well as setting goals for myself, I am glad to say that I have been an instructor now for 9 years.

One concern I had was the repetitiveness of the material I was covering in both the classroom setting and in our hands-on portion of our program. CVTA has taught this old-dog a few new tricks. I have learned how to keep the material fresh and relevant, but also how to hold the students (and this instructor's) interest level where learning can take place. Using the articles and tips written by other instructors in this newsletter, I have been able to improve our program. The courses offered by CVTA are well suited for all size operations and all class sizes. I look forward to reading your articles soon. It is my hope that with continued education programs like the ones offered by CVTA, instructors can continue to educate quality Truck Drivers, not just CDL holders.

Respectfully Submitted By
Harold Brown
CVTA Master Instructor
Millis Training Institute


Tips on Training - First Do No Harm by Michael Laughy

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by Michael Laughy
Roadmaster Drivers School

Have you ever thought about your affect as an Instructor on the outcome of a student’s life?

Over the last four decades, I have found that when a student is struggling academically, the weakness causing the deficit was developed and perpetuated early in life. The learning deficit raises its ugly head with a simple statement such as: “Let’s face it Johnny you will never be good in math,” or “Johnny your vocabulary is bad, you better stick to cleaning septic tanks where good vocabulary isn’t necessary.”

Johnny has no reason to disbelieve his Teacher’s/Instructor’s assessment because the Teacher is the authority on such things. Poor math and vocabulary skills will remain with Johnny throughout his school years and beyond greatly reducing his chances for success. What has amazed me the most is when I push the student to tell me who told them they weren’t good in math each and every student could tell me the teachers name. The student is able to think back decades to the exact day he realized that he wasn’t smart. As Instructors and Teachers we should be required to take a form of the Hippocratic Oath stating that we pledge to “First do no harm.”

When I teach Motivational Training and Safety in property schools and large companies, one of the exercises I like to use is to have each instructor to rate the population from where they get their students. I ask them to rate the population from 1 to 5 (1 being highly motivated, 5 being folks that will never succeed no matter what). The results I receive from this exercise are interesting. Normally it looks something like this:

1 - less than 6%,

2 – 14%,

3 – 10%,

4 – 30%,

5 – 25%.

This means that Instructors believe that 25% will fail no matter what and another 30% are future failures waiting to move to 5 for an incredible 55% of all people in their area are failures at life.

So what does all this mean? When I replaced the numbers with a letter grade (A-F) and looked at individual Instructors’ grade distribution from the prior term, the grades reflected what that particular Instructor believed. One might say that proves the Instructor’s assumption was correct. I hope not, I would hate to believe that 55% of people are failures. In my 40 years of experience I have found that very few students absolutely cannot succeed. When a student fails it is the more likely the trainer that lacks the ability to train that individual. Not always, but mostly. Most Instructors and Trainers that believe as those mentioned above see a new student or trainee as extra work and are known to cut corners to get through the process. Unfortunately, Johnny (and others like him) cannot succeed in an environment that sees them as “extra work.”

As an Instructor please understand that the student has no idea what he/she hasn’t learned. However, you do. That said, it is the Instructor’s responsibility to ensure the student receives the information and can assign the appropriate meaning to the material. Let’s not pile on to the student’s lifelong failures and insecurities. Understand that they exist and prove them wrong. You are most likely Johnny’s absolute last hope for success. But “First do no Harm”.


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The Departments of Labor and Education recently published requests for comment on how these Departments can best collect information required by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act’s various reporting requirements. For example, the Departments are seeking feedback on the their proposed template for WIOA’s “Eligible Training Provider Performance Report,” which Title I Training Providers will be required to complete.   

If you or anyone in your organization deals directly with your workforce officials, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We are looking for volunteers who understand the technical aspects of WIOA’s various reporting requirements and forms to provide their expertise as we draft our comments.

Three of the recent requests for comment on Information Collection under WIOA are listed below:

  1. Comment Request for Information Collection for the WIOA Performance Management, Information, and Reporting System (OMB Control No. 1205-0NEW), New Collection (Comments due September 21).
  2. Comment Request for Information Collection for Required Elements for Submission of the Unified or Combined State Plan and Plan Modifications under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (Comments due October 5).
  3. Comment Request for Information Collection for the Workforce Performance Accountability, Information, and Reporting System (OMB Control No. 1205-3NEW), New Collection (Comments due November 2).

We look forward to hearing from you.

Women In Trucking Foundation Now Accepting Scholarships.

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Plover, WI: The Women In Trucking Scholarship Foundation was formed in 2011 to provide financial assistance to anyone pursuing education in the area of safety, truck driving, leadership, or as a technician. Since 2013, the organization has awarded seventeen men and women scholarships.

This year, the foundation is opening up the application process for a second time and is encouraging anyone attending a training facility to submit an application on its website

Applications will be accepted through the end of July and students will be notified in early August.

Anyone pursuing a career in the trucking industry may apply. Membership in the Women In Trucking Association is not a prerequisite (although certainly encouraged). Scholarships are not limited to women, either.

More information can be found on the website.

Women In Trucking Association, Inc. is a nonprofit association established to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments and minimize obstacles faced by women working in the trucking industry. Membership is not limited to women, as 16 percent of its members are men who support the mission. Women In Trucking is supported by its members and the generosity of Gold Level Partners: Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, Daimler Trucks NA, GE Capital Transportation Finance, Great Dane Trailers, J.B. Hunt Transport, Ryder Systems, Inc., U.S. Xpress, and Walmart. Follow WIT on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. For more information, visit or call 888-464-9482.

The Commercial Driver’s License - Brad Vaughn, Maverick Transportation

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The commercial driver’s license – the future of our entire industry depends upon it. Gone are the days of truck drivers being the “cowboys” of our highways. Sure, the modern driver must have the work ethic of those beloved cowboys, but must also possess many other attributes. With the depleting infrastructure of our country, increased volume on our highways and massive regulatory changes (just to mention a few things), the modern driver must be very accomplished in all areas to become successful.

Whose responsibility is it to ensure that a driver is prepared to embark upon this new career path? The CDL school? The carriers who will eventually employee these drivers? The individual seeking the CDL? To speak quite candidly, few individuals seeking CDL licenses really even know what it takes to become a successful driver in this modern era. They entrust the CDL school to provide them with a solid foundation of knowledge to catapult their future in their new career choice. The carriers then assume the responsibility of “finishing” the job, by tailoring the CDL holder’s new found knowledge to their specific culture.

From a carrier’s perspective, we have an expectation that the schools are responsible to provide us CDL holders who have attained a certain competency level in all areas of driving, lifestyle and truck management skills (TMS). We anticipate being able to move forward with the “finishing” process, and not regress back to these basic principles. With that being said, I would like to share a few statistics to aid in communicating some of the areas in which we are finding deficiencies:

  • 30 out of 381, or about 8% had to completely repeat our entire TMS program. This includes map reading, trip planning, logging and time management/truck utilization skills.
  • 10% needed extra mapping help.
  • 68% needed extra logging assistance.
  • 5% needed additional truck management help.

At Maverick, we have a commitment to our over-the-road driver trainers to provide a CDL student who’s attained a certain educational level before they are ever placed in a trainer truck. As you can see from the above statistics, if we could see improvement in some of these basic areas, it would allow us to focus more of our time on the “finishing” process which includes truck technologies and other advancements that have been implemented to protect the driver and the motoring public.

With the average road time being 4 ½-5 weeks with a trainer to incorporate TMS skills, adding additional classroom time to teach basic principles has increased the student’s time away from home. This has created turnover and increased cost for the carriers, not to mention losing potential drivers from this career altogether.

Our culture at Maverick is to be committed to the individual. We do not look at students as a class. We focus on each and every perspective driver. We have an obligation to educate each individual so they will be successful for themselves and their families.

We believe we all have the same goals. We are dedicated to achieving these goals by continuing to partner with CVTA to educate & mold the future drivers who are so critical to our industry. We all must work together to teach and retain these outstanding drivers who serve this great country of ours each and every day.