Johnny Meads, the TDI recruiter at the Milton FL campus, is well known for his NFL career as a linebacker for the Houston Oilers from 1984 – 1992 and the Washington Redskins in 1993. After his football career he became a traveling scout for the Green Bay Packers and later for the Tennessee Titans. What you may not know is what influenced him to transition from being a traveling scout to a CDL driver.
Johnny grew up in Labadieville, Louisiana on the banks of historic Bayou Lafourche which is littered with fields of sugar cane. His father drove a truck hauling cane and as a young boy Johnny would ride along with his Dad. His eyes were filled with wonderment as the wheels rolled past the moss enveloped trees along the route. That feeling he felt looking out from the passenger seat would never leave him.
Johnny grew up with four brothers. Like typical rough and tough boys in the south, football was a staple in the Meads household. Backyard scrimmages transitioned into Pee Wee football as a young child straight though junior high and into his years at Assumption High School. He made quite a name for himself during his high school career but there were no football scholarships available because it was such a small school. However, he didn’t let that stop his passion to play the game. He walked on at Nichols State in Thibodaux, LA and played college ball for them until he was drafted into the Houston Oilers in 1984. After a 10+ year career as a professional ball player he retired from the field but remained in the industry as a traveling recruiter.
As a recruiter, Johnny would stay on the road for weeks at the time. He enjoyed the open road and traveling from city to city. There was always something new to see and experience. After he retired from recruiting he took a year off contemplating how to move forward with his life. He came to realize that he missed the road. It seems that trucking ran in the family blood because two of his four brothers, like their father, became truck drivers.
One brother had driven for 30 years enjoying a good income and a stable job when so many other industries suffered layoffs. After talking with his brothers Johnny decided that his desire to travel could be fulfilled as a driver. He enrolled in Truck Driver Institute and received his CDL three weeks later. Because of his experience as an NFL recruiter, TDI (Truck Driver Institute) approached him to become a recruiter for the school. He accepted the position in 2014 and remains a recruiter to this day.
Sharing his knowledge behind the wheel as a former student is priceless to those interested in getting their CDL. As he talks to prospective students about the opportunities and benefits of becoming a driver, you’ll see a twinkle in his eyes every now and then. It’s not hard to imagine that the huge smile and that far away sparkle just might be the memory of a little boy riding with his father in the truck along the Bayou taking a load of sugar cane to the mill.