Byline: Clarissa Loren
In March of 2020, the world was dealt a major blow with the arrival and spread of Covid-19. It felt like a gut punch to those of us in the U.S. As many became sick and the death toll began to rise, life as we know it came to a screeching halt. Commerce suffered considerably. One study conducted by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) discovered that about 50% of businesses shut down, reduced hours or implemented mass layoffs. Only essential businesses were allowed to operate.
One industry did not suffer during this time. The transportation industry, more specifically trucking, became more necessary than ever. The need for drivers skyrocketed in the height of the pandemic. Many companies increased wages and/or sign-on bonuses.
Long before the pandemic, Congolese immigrant Dominique Diomi recognized the need and the opportunity present in the trucking industry. Heeding the wisdom of his older brother who’d served in the U.S. military, Diomi began working in logistics.
“He told me there was job security in logistics,” says Diomi. “At the time, operations of different corporations were being shipped to other countries. My brother told me there was no way logistics would be outsourced. That I needed to get into that field.”
Although Diomi obtained his undergrad degree in political science, he continued to work in various roles in logistics, from analyst to project management to operations. Examining different aspects of logistics, he identified the opportunity to increase his income by getting into the multi-billion-dollar trucking industry.
Diomi started his transportation business in 2012 as an owner, not a driver. His mentor, also an owner, had given him the advice that he needed to drive and really immerse himself in the industry if he truly wanted to be successful. Diomi only partially heeded that advice in the beginning.
“I got my CDL. But I never really drove. I thought, ‘I’m a college graduate. Why would I drive?’” says Diomi. It wasn’t until 2018 that he decided to jump in with both feet and begin driving.
This line of thinking could’ve hindered Diomi from reaching the level of success he’s been able to obtain to date. And it’s this that he wants to address with millennials and even Gen Z. In this supposed post-pandemic “employees’ market,” many are still finding it difficult to obtain jobs in their respective fields with dignified pay.
Beyond those with “professional” backgrounds, service workers in other industries continue to get the short end of the stick as it pertains to pay and job security. The transportation industry offers a solution. “As of last year, we were talking about a deficit of 48,000 drivers,” Diomi emphasized. “The opportunity is there.”
Not to mention, truck drivers are professional drivers. Although the barrier to entry is low in this segment of logistics, it is a learned skill that comes with a lot of responsibility. Professional drivers are required to obtain a lot of technical knowledge and are held to a much higher standard than your everyday driver.
“The numbers speak for themselves. A new driver coming right out of driving school can easily start at $55,000 per year. On the driving side alone, after two years experience, you can easily make $100,000 per year. You just have to get with the right people, have the right mindset and the work ethic that goes with it.”
That’s just to drive for a company! On the topic of entrepreneurship, Diomi says there’s plenty of opportunity there as well. In this social media culture, many aspiring entrepreneurs gravitate to more visibly glamorous industries to start businesses. Many of these ventures are great for Instagram photos and make awesome humble brag posts on Facebook. However, the income trickles in, and in some cases, never takes off at all.
“You can go from company driver to owning your own truck, owning multiple trucks, and having people report to you. You can go from six figures to seven figures. Entrepreneurs are people who identify problems in their environment and solve them. There’s a problem here in America. We need truckers. Anything that you have, my watch, my glasses, everything comes to the stores by trucks.”
“Now we have a shortage of drivers, of trucks. That is a challenge for millennials. How do we solve this issue? How do we get the rewards? That comes with solving this issue. It’s not just about TikTok, tutorials online, workout videos, gaming, you name it. We also have a real problem that provides opportunities for whomever wants to solve them.”
On the less-than-stellar image of the trucking industry, Diomi chalks it up to erroneous thinking. “I don’t know where the bad reputation comes from. Truckers are the lifeline of America. In the height of the pandemic, it’s truckers who made sure the PPEs, the toilet paper, even the vaccines, were transported and routed where they needed to go. I think we should get more credit for that.”
Just like we need more firefighters, police officers and military personnel, Diomi says we need more truck drivers on the road to make it work for others. “Look at it for the noble job it is. Not just in terms of taking care of our families, but in terms of service to this nation.”
Despite more than 40 percent of drivers being minorities, the majority of drivers are Caucasian and over 55 years old. These drivers will begin aging out of the industry shortly. It’s the perfect opportunity for minorities and a younger demographic to fill in those gaps.
One of the benefits of obtaining a CDL and becoming a truck driver is membership in what Diomi calls the NBA Never Broke Again Club. “Having and maintaining a CDL guarantees a decent income for life. There are jobs everywhere. I own my company, but I still get job opportunities sent to me everyday by email and phone.”
Travel is another benefit of being on the road. The former President of the Congolese Community of DFW says he’s been to over 900 cities in all 48 states this year alone. “I’ve been to most of our national parks. I still drive and enjoy the road, although my partners are begging me to stop driving.”
Speaking of job opportunities, Diomi says he is always hiring. His experience as a driver means he understands the road, the challenges that come with the job and the psychology of the drivers. “It’s easy for me to understand the drivers’ challenges and the reasons behind some of their frustrations.” This is what makes him a better leader for his drivers. It’s the wisdom his mentor conveyed to him years ago.
Diomi is very active on social media, particularly Instagram. You can find him sharing the lifestyle opportunities and philanthropic endeavors the trucking industry has afforded him. In true millennial fashion, he confirms that his Instagram DMs @dominiquediomi is an acceptable form of contact for job seekers. He can also be reached at 817.422.7518.