Staff Spotlight: Bridgeport CDL Instructor, Gerry DelRae
Born and raised in Bridgeport, CT, Gerry has been driving trucks for nearly 50 years and is an important part of the Bridgeport CDL school team. He’s been training new drivers for a long time and plays his part in the classroom, out on the training field and as a road instructor. A true driver at heart, “I still love shifting to this very day. I still love listening to the turbo charger whistle, and I still love coming down I-95 late in the afternoon heading eastbound with the sun at my back and seeing the two exhaust stacks blowing out hot air. It’s the greatest thing in the world to me.”
How do you help new students feel comfortable behind the wheel of a tractor trailer?
“First of all, it’s a good thing to let people know that you’re not the only one who’s nervous. We all are. Even the instructors are nervous because they want to make sure they get it right. We’re genuinely here because we love you guys. We WANT you to become truck drivers. It doesn’t make any difference if you know how to shift. We’ll teach you how to shift. It doesn’t make a difference if you’ve driven anything bigger than a car. We’ll teach you how to drive a 70-foot rig. And we’ll do that with your help. Have fun and you’ll be fine.”
How do you feel when you see a student get their CDL?
“Its fantastic, you definitely feel a part of it. It’s their passion that’s driving it. Sure, we are showing them through experience, but it’s their passion that’s doing it.”
What do you like most about working for NETTTS
“I really, really enjoy seeing someone get their truck drivers license, then get out there and go to work and enjoy themselves. Because this is enjoyable, I’m not just saying this. I couldn’t have done this for 46-years if it didn’t enjoy it. Accomplish what you set out to accomplish and enjoy it. That’s the biggest thing you can do.”
Do you have any words of wisdom you like to tell your students?
“My word is “hit your marks”, it doesn’t matter what truck you have, just hit the marks you have and it’ll go in. When a student earns their license, its tradition they get a red NETTTS hat and have all the staff sign it. “Hit your marks!” is what I write on every red hat I sign.”
NETTTS has over 50 years of career training experience, and the staff, equipment, and ability to provide hands-on professional tractor trailer and HVAC technician training. If you are looking for new career training or to upgrade your current skills, call your local school today at (800) 333-2888.