Tennessee State Representative Joe Pitts
Clarksville, TN – One federal agency, four state departments and fifteen months later, the phone call Scott Thomas, owner of Thomas Lumber Company in Clarksville made to Tennessee State Representative Joe Pitts about his company’s need to have current employees and applicants tested for a commercial drivers’ license has ended in a victory for job applicants and companies in northern Middle Tennessee.
On Thursday, September 22nd, a red ribbon was cut on the mobile commercial drivers’ license testing site at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) in Clarksville.Prior to the new mobile unit site being developed, applicants would have to travel as far as Columbia in southern Middle Tennessee to be tested. Lost time in travel and production as well as tying up manpower, caused undue hardship and great inconvenience.
Jobs for truck drivers go unfilled too often due to the lack of applicants. Tennessee Public Chapter Number 309 was enacted as sponsored by Tennessee State Senator Mark Green (R-Clarksville) and Representative Pitts to provide military waivers for commercial drivers’ licenses as a means to provide a larger pool of applicants for the open positions across the state. A sticking point remained in the ability of interested applicants to test quickly for their CDL.
All along the way there were willing and committed state employees within the departments who made the project go from concept to reality. Amy Lackey and Chris Gobble with the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security were instrumental in bringing the right parties to the table.
Jason Hicklen and Sammy Tucker with the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) were called upon to lay out the skills course at the TCAT. Luis Pizarra, also with TDOT, was critical in identifying the right people in his department to help with the project.
Dr. Arrita Summers and Debbie Griffin of the TCAT welcomed the opportunity to provide the space for the new mobile testing site. And Rena Clark in Rep. Pitts’ office, kept the project moving after several delays. All deserve and received recognition at the ribbon cutting event on Thursday.
So thank you to Scott Thomas for starting a conversation that ended with a much larger and better solution to a problem that had plagued not only his business but hundreds of others like him in our region.
To get on the list, please call the CDL help line at 615.251.5217 and request to be added to the Clarksville location list. The next scheduled testing will be October 19th and the Department plans on coming to Clarksville on the 3rd Wednesday of every month.
In the photograph above, Scott and Catherine Thomas of Thomas Lumber Company are surrounded by the state employees who were instrumental in establishing the mobile testing site location in Clarksville.
If you have questions about the above or other issues of concern, please call me at 615.741-2043, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org