Truck Driver Success Story: Matti Awia

Tired of being laid off from his construction job, Matti Awia decided he needed to make a change. After obtaining his AZ license at a cheap license-mill truck driving school, and not being able to find a job, Matti attended Tri-County Training's AZ license course.

Within 6-weeks he secured a job ... driving locally, not long-distance ... for Canada Cartage. In this video, Curtis Penner sits down with Matti to talk about his journey.

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Watch his interview below...​

Read The Video Transcript Here...

Hi, I’m Curtis Penner for Tri-County Training. Today I’m sitting down with Matti Awia from Canada Cartage Systems. Matti’s a graduate of Tri-County Training’s AZ license program.

He graduated about two years ago. But unlike many drivers, Matti held out for a local driving job and today he’s going to share his experience with his training as well as finding his first truck driving job after graduation.

I hope you enjoy this interview. If you have any questions about getting your AZ license or becoming a truck driver, contact Tri-County Training at 1-800-265-0400 or on the web at www.Tri-CountyTruck.com.

Matti, I want to thank you for taking the time to sit down with me. I know you’ve got your day off today and I really appreciate you taking the time to talk to us about your experience of getting trained as a truck driver.

What I’d like to do is start by finding out a little bit about what you were doing before you became a truck driver.

MATTI AWIA: I used to work in customer service at stores and I used to work in construction in a few places too. I’ve been laid off a few times and I had some jobs that were not paying good money.

My friend used to work as a truck driver too so he recommended that job for me. Also he used to work with me in construction and he’d been laid off too. He said like it’s a good job, good money.

Also it’s flexible as you know. And you are your own boss. You know, no one bothers you. If you like driving, that’s it. You’ll be good at it.

I’ve been, for two years now, just working without getting laid off. And I can guarantee that I will be working as long as I want.

TRI-COUNTY TRAINING: Did you friend also get trained at Tri-County?

MATTI AWIA: Actually he didn’t. He went to another school. It’s not a credentialed school which is not a good idea because I was there before but I couldn’t find any job.

He was lucky that he had another friend who is a trucker so he went with him. So he had experience. But if you don’t go to a good school it’ll be very hard to get a job. It’s not easy. So that’s why I had to do another school with Tri-County but after that it was very easy to get a job.

TRI-COUNTY TRAINING: What was your biggest concern about becoming a truck driver?

MATTI AWIA: Actually I had a concern in the beginning a little bit. I’m married. I was just getting married so I was thinking about how am I going to go on the road. Am I going to stay like one week or two weeks?

But I think if you and your wife know how to manage that it’s going to be fine. And maybe you’ll be lucky and get some local job like I did. So I’m home every day now so I don’t really have any problems or any concerns about trucking right now.

TRI-COUNTY TRAINING: How did you first hear about Tri-County’s AZ license program?

MATTI AWIA: Actually I got it from TTSAO’s website. So I was looking for a school in my area. I mean that’s one of the good schools. I found it and I went to talk with Richard and everything went well.

TRI-COUNTY TRAINING: What were your reasons for choosing Tri-County over all of the other schools that are available in the area?

MATTI AWIA: Richard is there for you all the time. He can answer any questions. That’s what I found at first when I met him. He understands your situation and everything. He helps you get everything done.

You see the facility is nice and the people there are nice especially the people in the office are very nice. The first time when I went to that school - actually from the first time I liked everything there to be honest. That’s why I’m here today to talk about it.

The training I received mostly covers everything about trucking to be honest with you. As I said I went to another school before that. They don’t teach you anything to be honest. It’s like you pay $1500, you get your license and you go on the road. You don’t know what to do like if you get a hard turn or stuff.

But with Tri-County I got everything covered. I went to hard places with my trainer. Like I went to downtown Toronto and stuff with a big 53 foot. So after that when you go on your own you feel like everything is fine.

And even in class with Paul everything was nice. He covered everything - all the rules and stuff. So with Tri-County I can say 99% of everything is covered.

TRI-COUNTY TRAINING: After graduation how long did it take you to find a new job?

MATTI AWIA: My concern was about not going long haul. So you will wait a little bit if you don’t really want to go long haul. But still I didn’t wait - just maybe a month and a half - that’s how long I waited.

But if you’re thinking to go to the US and stuff, I don’t think you’ll probably get a job in a week. I had many offers when I graduated with big companies like Challenger and stuff.

But because I was thinking to stay local, it took me a little bit of time.

TRI-COUNTY TRAINING: Matti, a lot of people tell us that they just feel $8500 is too much money to invest in a new career in a new course. What would you say to those people now that you’ve gone through it and come out the other side and are working in the trucking industry?

MATTI AWIA: I don’t think it’s too much because I can tell you’re going to make money after that. So you won’t think like I said, say, $8500. But after that when you get work, you will get money or some people do it through SECOND CAREER stuff. Like I did that. So I didn’t pay anything for it.

But still even if you’re going to pay for it I know some people that are still paying for it. I had some friends that paid on their own - with their own money. But they are still working. They are making money. So that’s the most important thing you have to think about. Not only, “I’m going to spend $8500.” But after that you know what’s going to happen so you don’t have to think about that.

TRI-COUNTY TRAINING: After getting your first job and just starting the new job what was the biggest thing you found you had to adjust to?

MATTI AWIA: Time at work because you know as a truck driver - like for me I work 12 hours, 13 hours a day. So before on any other job they work just like eight or nine hours maximum. That’s something that’s different. But you’re going to get used to it.

TRI-COUNTY TRAINING: Okay, Matti, here’s the big question. Everyone wants to know what a new truck driver’s going to make.

And in our last interview we discovered if you’re going to do long haul driving you can expect anywhere from $45,000 to $50,000. But as a local driver it’s different, isn’t it? Can you tell me what can a new driver for a local company expect to make right out of school?

MATTI AWIA: To be a local driver you’re going to get paid hourly for sure - most of them. Some people pay by load. I didn’t have any of those jobs. I started getting paid hourly. It’s an average between $18.00 or $19.00. If you do some hand bombing it’s going to get you $22.00 to $24.00.

 If you start doing lifting if you are a new driver, probably you have more chance to get a local job. That’s what happened with me. I started doing some lifting jobs.

I used to get $22.00 as soon as I started driving. And when you get some experience after that you can choose your own job. Okay, I just want to go to that contractor. Like I will stay with the same company but I just changed the contractor.

TRI-COUNTY TRAINING: Finally, Matti, there’s people watching this who are undecided as to whether or not they want to enroll in the AZ license program and become a truck driver. What would you say to those people right now?

MATTI AWIA: It’s not a risk. You know, you can be confident and just do it because there are lots of people doing that. I’m one of them and I know lots and lots of people and even those people that are not sure yet, they will get to it and they will do the same thing that I did. They will recommend this job for other people.

You can tell there’s something good in this job. There’s carriers coming in begging you to work with them actually after you graduate. That will make you more comfortable and confident and you will know this is a good job to do.

TRI-COUNTY TRAINING: I hope you’ve enjoyed this interview and find it helpful. If you have any questions about getting your AZ license or becoming a truck driver, call Tri-County Training at 1-800-265-0400 or www.Tri-CountyTruck.com.

Want To Learn More About Making Truck Driving Your Second Career?

If you’re interested in learning more about becoming a truck driver, we recommend you start with these three pages:

If you’ve decided that truck driving is something you’d like to pursue but aren’t sure about where to get your AZ license, we'd be happy to give you a private tour of our facility so you can get a close up look at our classrooms, our warehouse, meet our instructors and get all of your questions answered.

Ontario Truck Driving School

Richard Wynia, President of Tri-County Training

Just call (519) 653-1700, and ask for Richard (that's him in the picture).​