NAME, AGE: Wayne Meenach, 48
HOMETOWN: Hillview, Ky.
LAST JOB: Production
MARITAL STATUS/CHILDREN: Married, two children
WHAT SPARKED INTEREST IN A CDL: I’ve always been interested; the plant I worked at closed, so I now have an opportunity to pursue.
FUN FACT: I’m dependable and like to cut up!
The ever even-keeled Wayne Meenach was so pumped to have passed his pre-trip inspection that he high-fived inspector Evan Harrod, perhaps causing Meenach to lose his equilibrium for his maneuvers as he came close to screwing up the parallel parking portion.
“I was pretty excited [because] a lot of people had been flunking pre-trip,” the 48-year-old Meenach said with a chuckle back at Truck America Training in Shepherdsville, Kentucky. “[Then] I had a terrible time with the parallel parking. I did everything that I practiced, but it didn’t work. For a moment there, I was getting aggravated. I took a deep breath, asked [Harrod] how many points I had [lost]. Where I lined up my trailer, it wasn’t working. I knew had to bring it over to the other side of the cone a lot further so I could keep the rear end in. It worked.”
What’s Wayne Meenach’s backup plan if he doesn’t pass the CDL exam this Thursday that will be administered by Kentucky State Police?
He has no backup plan. “My plan is to pass it the first time,” says Meenach, 48, of Hillview, Kentucky.
Speaking on his lunch break on Day 15, just 2½ days before his group of four students takes the test, Meenach said he’s nervous but also feels well-prepared. “We just gotta focus, slow down, make sure you cross your ‘T’s and dot your ‘I’s through the process, don’t get too far ahead of yourself,” he said.
Wayne Meenach is a serious man. Unlike millions of Americans, Meenach didn’t spend the entire Labor Day weekend just having fun with family and friends.
Although he has never driven a truck professionally and hadn’t taken a test that mattered in three decades, Wayne Meenach sailed through all three sections of the Class A commercial driver license permit exam on Day 4 of our CDL or Bust series.
“Of course, I was nervous, but I concentrated on the questions, read through ’em slowly … went through all my choices and made the best choice,” the 48-year-old Meenach explained during a Day 7 chat. “I was pretty excited [when I passed]. We worked hard on it. We studied hard and it all paid off.”
For 23 years, Wayne Meenach built seats for Johnson Controls that were installed in Ford Motor Co. vehicles until the Louisville plant closed in July. It turns out losing his job was just the motivation that the 48-year-old Louisville native needed to make a change: signing up for a CDL class in hopes of becoming a truck driver.
Meenach took the next step by passing his CDL permit test Thursday morning, giving him the opportunity to move on to behind-the-wheel practice the next two weeks.
Photo by John Sommers II for Transport Topics