The truck drivers and dispatchers are the faces and voices of a transportation company. What many people don’t realize, however, is that they could not successfully do their jobs without the help of a lot of technology and digital equipment. Transportation companies like Roane Transportation rely on technology for communication, recordkeeping, payment, and many other functions that must be kept reliable and running each day. The employee who makes sure all those technological systems are functional is the IT Administrator, Jonathan. To give you some insight into what it’s like to work in IT at Roane Transportation, we asked Jonathan some questions about his job. Here are his answers.
How long have you been working at Roane Transportation?
I started working for Roane Transportation in 2017, so it’s now been just over 3 years.
What does your typical day look like?
My typical day varies depending on what company needs what. I manage IT for both Roane Transportation and Roane Metals, so I am constantly moving around between both companies to wherever I’m needed. I might go to Crossville to help out at Roane Metals or go help out one of the drivers at the shop in the industrial park. There’s no telling where I might be needed on any given day.
What are your main duties as IT Administrator?
I wear a lot of hats in my job. I manage all the computers and servers for both companies. I work with people who are working remotely to make sure they have what they need to do their jobs. I also deal with firewalls and security software to make sure the companies stay safe from any security threats. I do all the Qualcomms, too, which are inside the trucks. If anything needs fixing, I work on it to try to come up with a solution. This can include Omnitracs log issues and box problems—if a driver is having a problem, I’ll pull the diagnostic information from the box and relay it to the shop to make the repair. I’ll also work with a driver to get statuses corrected. If they have issues with VIRs, or Vehicle Inspection Reports, then I get those fixed. I also fix the radios in the yard at Roane Metals. If one of the guys over there is having an issue with a radio, I’ll either repair it myself or send it away to be repaired. I make sure all the security cameras and security alarm system are working correctly. If someone sets off the alarm, I receive a call from the security company and then I’ll check the cameras to see what’s going on and who I need to call to take care of that issue. I can even deal with electrical problems in the heating and air unit if that goes down.
Basically, if any piece of technical equipment goes down, I’ll do my best to fix it. For example, Roane Metals has a special machine called a Sierra that was built in another country, so I downloaded the software and bought the parts to get the machine up and running myself. I stay very busy and will usually work between 50 and 60 hours a week to make sure everything is working properly.
How did you get into IT, and how did it lead you to Roane Transportation?
I was born and raised in Florida, and I was actually the IT assistant at my high school while I was in school to get credits for college. When I moved to Tennessee, their schooling system was behind where I was in school in Florida and they couldn’t really accommodate where I was in my education. I already had licenses from doing IT in Florida, and I ended up going to school for heating and air up here. I did heating and air for a few years. I used to help out a friend up in Crossville who was also friends with Luke, one of the owners of the company. He just asked me one day if I wanted to go back to doing IT work, and so I came to work for Roane. So, basically, I went from doing IT work to doing heating and air, then went back to IT work. I’m very happy that I did, too—it was the right change for me and my family, and I’m blessed to be where I am.
What is the best part about your job?
It’s never the same day, and I love interacting with the staff and the drivers. You never know what you’re going to get into each day, which can be stressful, of course, but I try to make my life as easy as possible by fixing issues before they come up. For example, to make sure Monday mornings run smoothly, I’ll spend an hour or two tweaking and resetting things from home on Sunday night so that they’re ready for Monday. That way, no problems come up for either company. I’d rather spend that time working on it on Sunday night instead of coming in on Monday morning and dealing with issues. The first week I was here, the owner said it was much more peaceful in the office because no one was running around yelling about problems anymore—I was able to handle problems much more quickly than when they previously used an outsourced IT company.
What is the most challenging thing about your job?
I always need to stay up with all the newest technology. Everything’s always changing. There’s always a new ransomware or malware out there, and so I read a lot of articles to try to keep up with it as much as possible. I work a lot with our firewall company because the last thing you want is a ransomware attack on your company, as that will cripple a small business or even put them out of business. I never want that to happen, so I always try to make sure we’re protected and prepared.
What does a successful workday look like to you?
A successful workday is coming in in the morning and just fixing minor things around the office—things like a password reset, fixing the copy machine, or giving access to a truck. Just fixing little issues with nothing major happening. A successful day is staying busy but not having to deal with anything big going down. I like fixing small stuff, not dealing with big problems.
What is your favorite thing to do on a day off?
My favorite thing to do in spring is go fishing up in the mountains with my wife and her family. We’ll usually get up at the crack of dawn so we can go trout fishing. I also have four dogs, two indoor and two outdoor. The two indoor dogs love to go on golf cart rides, so my wife and I will take them everywhere on our gas golf cart. I also basically live on a farm and have horses, goats, chickens, ducks, pigs—we have every animal known to man. My wife rides horses, and all the kids love coming over to our house because she’ll let them ride the horses.
I’m a beekeeper, too. I raise honeybees and am helping to raise the world population. I participate in the world counting of beehives, which can be looked up at beecounted.org. If you go to the website and click on Loudon, TN, you can actually look at my beehive. The site receives live updates every hour on the hour. I currently have 10 strong hives, but not all of them are monitored. My biggest hive has sensors that let us check on the bees and send the data to that website. That data is collected nationally and studied to figure out why honeybees are dying. It’s a lot of work and a lot of money being a beekeeper, but I love doing it.
I also really want to start building a new house on our property. Our current house has never been my cup of tea, but I want to build one from the ground up. I would do most of the building myself—all the electrical, HVAC, plumbing. I don’t really want to do the roof, foundation, or walls, so I’ll hire someone else for that, but I’ll handle the rest on my own. That’s a big goal of mine because I think it would be amazing to be able to pass down for generations something that was built with your own hands.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and who would you take with you?
I would go to Australia with my wife. I’ve always wanted to go scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef. That’s something my wife and I have talked about, and we’d both love to do it one day.
What is your favorite movie?
I love the Smoky and the Bandit movie. It’s a funny little movie. That’s one of those movies that I can watch over and over.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
To be honest, I’ve never really thought about what superpower I would want. My vision kind of sucks, so it would be nice if I could see better. Does that count? I’m pretty blind without my contacts, so I’d be happy just being able to see without those.
Who has inspired you the most in life?
My grandfather. He worked really hard in life, but his greatest accomplishment was actually being retired for more years than he actually worked. He put a lot of life into his family, and even though he wasn’t there much, he made sure they were taken care of. If it needed to be done, he did it.
What would you say to someone interested in working at Roane Transportation?
It’s a great company. I’m working for two of the best owners I’ve ever worked for. I’d recommend it to anybody. They treat you like family, which is very rare to find in a company nowadays. Most companies treat you like a number, but Roane is different. Here, you are a part of the family.
Roane Transportation – An East Tennessee Flatbed Trucking Company
Roane Transportation couldn’t exist without our team members. From our drivers to our dispatch team to our mechanics and our administrative staff each member of our team plays an important role in making us the company we are. We’re proud of our team and are grateful to have a wonderful group working for us.