Commercial Truck Driver
Class of 1987
By Wesley Agbigay
Jerime Torres is a Commercial Truck Driver for Island Cement Company. Island Cement Company does not make cement; instead it delivers cement powder imported to Hawaii from Thailand. He spends long hours driving to and from Kona almost daily. On any given day, he could drive from Hilo to Kona, pick up a load of cement, then drive to the Kawaihae harbor, and then back to Hilo again. The truck he drives is called a bulker truck, which is worth more than $100,000, almost equal to the cost of building a new house.
While driving a big truck, he is always alert and keeps a cool head. He concentrates on driving his truck, not letting cars following him distract his focus. When he has a heavy weight of cement on his truck, he notices that the truck picks up speed as it goes downhill and it takes longer to come to a stop. Turning corners is a real skill; the longer the trailer, a wider turning area is needed.
After graduation from high school in 1987, he worked at Suisan Fish Market and Mihara Trucking. When he found work at the Hamakua Sugar Company, he took advantage of an opportunity to become a sugar cane truck driver. He was fortunate that during the off-season, the company paid for his training to get his commercial driver’s license. After two months of intensive classes and on-the-road driving experience, he obtained his CDL license. Part of the preparation for obtaining a license is the ability to explain every part of the truck he is driving. So, before operating his truck, he inspects it to be sure that there will be no mechanical problems. He has also driven trucks for at Mihara Trucking, Canter Brothers Transport, Inc., and Pacific Waste.
Jerime’s first job was while still in high school, working for one of his idols and his favorite teacher, Mr. Gerod Victorine. On weekends and vacations, he fed the animals in the school’s agriculture complex and watered and took care of the plants.
His advice to students is three-pronged: to always keep a cool-head when driving; to not be afraid to ask questions so that you are sure you know what your boss expects from you; and to always have a back-up career path in case you lose your job.
His truck driving dream started when he was young and watched and loved a cartoon show called “Convoy.” He has observed that today there are more women CDL drivers, including his girlfriend who hauls water up to Mauna Kea. A versatile handyman, Jerime helps his step-dad Wendell Cypriano at his ranch chasing cattle, repairing fences and doing other types of maintenance. He also keeps his two Chevy trucks in tip-top condition. He has a 13-year old son, Quintin, who attends Waiakea Intermediate School.