Training School Owner Debby Mobley on Changes She's Seen in Student Applicants Over the Years

Debby Mobley, owner of Truck America Training, is nothing if not honest, whether she’s railing at government bureaucracy or the lack of motivation of today’s students compared to those back when she opened for business in 2003.

Mobley finds that to be true even though her students are significantly older (38-42 on average) than the 20-somethings of years past.

“Sometimes the older you are, it’s harder to break those habits,” Mobley said. “Young people are more adaptable so it’s harder to train older people and their failure rates are higher.”

PHOTO GALLERY: Photos of students, classroom and training property. 

At the same time, Mobley said truck clutches are a hurdle these days since so few students arrive knowing how to use them in an era of almost 100% automatic transmissions in passenger cars.

“It used to be we would take people out on the road Day 1 [after the in-class week],” she explained. “Now Day 1, everybody stays here on the lot and we run them around and around on the test track getting them used to the clutches.”



Mobley, a former long-haul driver, is the antithesis of an absentee owner, but she does have one release: deer hunting.

“I love to hunt,” she said. “The season starts in mid-September and it goes all the way through January. Right now, all I can think about is how much time can I get in the woods? [But] I’m a business owner. … I’m the one here on Saturday weed-eating and spreading gravel. But I have learned I can get up early and hunt until about 9:30, have my clothes here, be back at work by 10 dressed, put in the rest of the day, walk out at 4:30 and get back in the woods by 5-5:30.”

By David Elfin, Transport Topics staff reporter. Photo by John Sommers II for TT.