Although he started as a mechanic, working as a professional driver is something Hollis “Chat” Gattis feels he was always meant to do.
“I enjoy driving, it’s a good living and something I think you’ve got to be born to do, which I was,” said Chat.
“Anyone can drive, but it takes a lot to be a safe driver,” he added. “You’ve got to know what’s going on, and watch out for the other people that can’t drive. On any given day I see motorists do two or three really stupid things. You just have to be careful, and laugh about it instead of getting angry.”
Chat attributes part of his success to his mechanical background, and to conducting thorough pre-trip inspections before he starts his shift.
“I’ve only had two roadside breakdowns in 20 years,” he said. “If you take the time and inspect the truck before you start driving, it’s pretty rare that you’ll have any problems.”
Experience is another key factor in maintaining a safe driving record, according to Chat.
“After driving for so long, you develop a lot of instincts,” he said. “I find that I make a lot of evasive maneuvers without even having to think about it too much because I’ve been driving professionally for so many years. It’s just second nature.”
Asked how he reached two million miles without having an accident, Chat replied. “Well, the first million miles is the toughest. Once you’ve got that under your belt, it’s all downhill. You know what to watch out for, and how to stay safe.”
A resident of Marion, Ark., Chat is based out of Con-way Freight’s Memphis service center. He has been married for 30 years to his wife, Gigi, and has three children: Dylan, Matthew and Sarah; and one granddaughter: Andrea, 1. In his spare time, Chat enjoys hunting and fishing.