Brothers Sam and Andrew Rodriguez are turning their passion for the motorcoach industry into a podcast about drivers.
“It’s by drivers and for drivers,” said Andrew. “One of the things we promised ourselves at the very beginning of this is that we would have drivers involved from episode one.”
They are looking for drivers to interview for the podcast, Wheel Jockey.
“Everyone knows that driver in the company that tells the best stories,” said Andrew. “Coach drivers tend to be storytellers. That’s the nature of driving a bus, right? You’ve got to be part entertainer, professional driver and counselor. It’s a crazy profession but a great one as well.”
Andrew, 41, jokes his younger brother, Sam, is the driven one. They grew up in New England, north of Boston, before migrating to the Midwest. For a time, the brothers worked for Coach USA, with Sam in Cleveland and Andrew in Cincinnati. These days, Andrew lives in Indianapolis and Sam resides in Minneapolis.
Andrew’s career path has taken a few twists and turns. He began as a police officer before shifting to the military in his late 20s. For the past 12 years, he has served in the Army National Guard in transportation logistics. He did his phone interview while on a stop at Fort Hood in Texas.
The brothers say a love of transportation and creativity runs in the family. Their dad is a professional musician turned professional bus driver.
Seeing an opportunity
“We’ve always talked about doing something together,” said Andrew. “Once we saw the opportunity, particularly with the idea that the bus industry has kind of gone through very hard times in the last year. Seems like the bus industry being overlooked. It’s such an important industry. There are a lot of great companies and drivers. We want to bring attention to it somehow.”
Sam, who has done voice-over work through the years, is a natural for the podcast. He is also marking his 20th year in the motorcoach industry. He began as a part-time driver in 2004 before moving up the rungs. His resume includes stints as a full-time driver, dispatcher, dispatch manager, contract manager, director of maintenance, general manager and regional general manager for Coach USA. Now, he is the chief operating officer of Voigt’s Bus Companies in the Twin Cities.
“It gets in your blood so quickly. The thing I love the most about being a motorcoach driver and being in buses is that it’s such an exciting job,” said Sam. “You get to do and see so many things in so many places, and just experience it with a new set of faces each and every day.”
You can reach Sam and Andrew at firstname.lastname@example.org.