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Spotlight Story: Jaime Barrera

by Charlotte Freed | Sep 28, 2018

Jamie Barrera proudly stands next to historic site in Texas
Sometimes life has an interesting way of taking you through its path. Jaime Barrera shared his story with us so that we could understand his journey into the trucking world: From driver to Site Manager at GAF. Jaime’s journey into trucking wasn’t necessarily expected, but like many success stories, has been an impactful journey for a multitude of reasons.

Before Jaime’s father passed away, Jaime had spent life in a small town, never having explored outside the close proximity of home. Working as a toolmaker, Jaime decided that after the loss of his dad, it was time to get out of the area and explore. He had seen his father’s dedication to hard work and raising his eight children, never really having the opportunity to enjoy retirement due to his illness. Jaime was inspired by his parent’s hard work and perseverance toward building an enriched life and decided to follow his desire to travel while maintaining the work ethic instilled in him.

Jaime hopped on his motorcycle and as he was riding, saw a sign for a truck driver seminar. It was the literal sign that changed his life. He flew through the test class, then told his wife he was heading out to the Tri States to go to trucking school and that he would return for her. And he did.  

It took Jaime six months after completing trucking school to reunite with his wife. He flew her to where he was working so they could drive together, spending Christmas and New Years in his truck. Soon after returning home, he was referred to a company where he would work as a flatbed driver and in numerous driving roles. Over time, the constant travel across state to state began to wear on Jaime. Finally, he was introduced to Maureen at Centerline who heard him loud and clear when he said, “I’m tired.”

She helped place him in a long-term position where he could excel. Initially a tanker driver, Jaime showed promise and the ability to do a great job in a number of roles, landing a position as a dispatcher. He’s been with his team for eight years now. After spending time with a number of companies, he acquired skills that would allow him to operate in a number of roles. As a training manager, Jaime made sure to take the time to understand the role by riding a week with everyone. He explained “How can I be a training manager if I didn’t have the experience? You can’t talk about something unless you’ve done it, so you understand.”

Jaime shares that his variety of work experiences has helped prepare him for his current position as a site manager. He learned to adapt, to work in different scenarios, and to deal with different drivers, trucks and capabilities. The respect that comes from other drivers knowing he has been on the ground and behind the wheel is enormous. It makes a difference knowing where they’re coming from and what they’re handling in their day-to-day.

Jaime says that the skills he thinks are most important for drivers are to be willing and open to receive feedback and to take constructive criticism. He says that to master your trade, you’ve got to be receptive to insights from drivers who know the job well and if someone is willing to teach you something, accept it and continue to improve.

He stresses the importance of cross-training, for companies and drivers alike. All of the drivers he works with are cross-trained, making them excellent resources of knowledge and skill. Not only is it a benefit for the company as a whole, but for the drivers; they’re available for more opportunities and growth in the industry – not to mention more potential working hours.

Jaime truly cares about the well-being of his fellow drivers. And he’s there to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. Jaime has become known for his giving back to the community. One way he does this is by welcoming drivers into his own home when they have nowhere else to go, sometimes for several months at a time. He recalls a time where one of his drivers was going through relationship troubles and didn’t have anywhere to stay. Jaime saw the driver in distress, called his wife to agree to a houseguest, and welcomed him into their home. Over the next six months, Jaime helped the driver work on his self-esteem, work out his financials, and into an independent situation. This was only one of the times he helped someone in need, the same scenario playing out multiple times since.

When Jaime isn’t working as site manager, he manages two side projects where he organizes warehouses and storage spaces, taking anything that can be put to use – like beds, books, and electronics – to the penitentiary or to shelters for people in need. Sometimes, they’ll even arrange whole homes for families going through a difficult time – all free of charge, all a donation of their time and efforts. Jaime humbly explains that he learned of giving freely from his dad, saying his father always said, “If you don‘t find a way to give back then [you don’t] deserve the lessons that people want to give you.”

Jaime extends compassion and generosity in all realms of life, whether with his work team, strangers, or family. It is clear that he truly values life, both his own and those around him. Jaime dedicates himself to honoring the sacrifices his parents made to give him the life he has now and to building relationships wherever he goes. We can only imagine what the world would look like if it had more people like Jaime Barrera, but we’re grateful to know there is even just one.

5 comments

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  1. Kapp | Oct 02, 2018

    Thinking of you Shorty. Bless you. 

    Butch and Jeanie 

  2. Clint Glover | Oct 02, 2018

    Short is a very nice guy to work

    with. He has helped me several

    times on the job and I thank him 

    for that.

                      Clint Glover

  3. Akshay Kale | Oct 02, 2018

    Hard Working! Courteous! Respectful! A True Friend!  One of the most jolly people I have ever met!

    Proud and Honored!๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ

  4. Maureen Alldredge | Oct 01, 2018
    Shorty - You should be very proud of all your accomplishments.  I am sure you Dad is smiling down on you.   I am honored to call you Friend. Hugs. Mo
  5. John trahaN | Oct 01, 2018
    Jaime is one of the best people I have ever met. So blessed to be on his team. 

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