- DORS Rehabilitation Specialist for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Jennifer Gajardo, introduced Charles Wirick’s success story this way: “Mr. Charles Wirick IV, has been employed as a Long Distance Driver for Bowman Trucking Company since July 14th, 2018.” D.M. Bowman, Inc.
’s Williamsport Director of Operations, Joe Ingold agrees that Charles is a success. “We wish we had a hundred more drivers just like him! His work ethic is: drive
Charles Wirick’s drive to success began in August of 2016 when DORS helped his get some career assessments. “I wanted help with finding a career, so they evaluated me. What the evaluation told me is that I was good at working with my hands and very safety oriented. So, I decided for myself to look into being a truck driver.” He eventually ended up at North American Trade School
, where he learned that they were interested in having a student who is deaf. Scott Boyd, D.M. Bowman Operations Manager, says that Bowman regularly visits North American. “We have a big partnership with that school…our recruiters go their regularly.”
As for hiring a truck driver who is deaf, Scott said: “We see it as an opportunity…for his hire to be the first of many drivers just like Charles.” Scott says the venture has worked out very well for D.M. Bowman. “We use a system called Smart Drive
that alerts us when a driver’s on the road behavior is unsafe and Charles has an excellent safety record. He remains focused on the task at hand, which is an advantage in this work.” Joe agrees: “We need qualified individuals, who are safety oriented, and want to work. Charles doesn’t want to quit until he is out of hours!”
Charles agrees that he loves his job. He drives about 400 miles a day and usually on long hauls. He especially enjoys the changing roadside scenery and often takes photos of what he sees on stops and posts the shots to social media.
In order to do some of the tasks of his job, Charles got creative and came up with his own assistive technology in order to communicate his status updates. “Hearing truck drivers use headsets, but I have to type everything out. The system they use is called Qualcomm
, so I made my own accommodations. I have a keyboard with a Bluetooth so I can be connected and if the signal is weak, I use Sprint IP Relay
Scott and Joe hope more DORS consumers will consider a career in trucking, and they would welcome applicants who are deaf. Joe appreciates how patient Charles has been with the company learning how to communicate with him. “He’s a pioneer and, hopefully, his face will be up on our Hall of Fame wall!” This wall is for Bowman truckers who log more than a million miles on the road.
The feeling is mutual, as Charles plans on a long career with D.M. Bowman. “I love it here and I’m definitely going to be here for years to come!” He is grateful for the assistance it got from DORS. “I want to thank everyone who was involved in my case, to get me where I am today. I am extremely grateful. DORS had strategies to help [me] and those helped me analyze myself, so we worked well together."