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Those Who Deliver | Next Gen Executive | Highway Angels<br />

OFFICIAL PUBLICATION o f t h e Truckload Carriers Association<br />


Truckload 2024 | 39<br />

Join the truckload industry<br />

in Nashville March 23-26!<br />

mr. wonderful<br />

Behind the scenes with TCA’s<br />

2024 convention keynote<br />

speaker, Kevin O’Leary of<br />

Shark Tank fame | 22

2 Truckload Authority | www.Truckload.org TCA JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2024


Looking Forward to the New Year<br />

As we usher in the New Year with optimism and enthusiasm, the whole TCA<br />

team and I extend our heartfelt greetings and wishes for the holiday season.<br />

The start of a new year offers us an opportunity to reflect on our achievements,<br />

embrace new initiatives, and reaffirm our commitment to the collective success of<br />

the trucking industry.<br />

At the forefront of our endeavors is the Truckload Profitability Program (TPP),<br />

a cornerstone initiative aimed at enhancing the prosperity of our members. I<br />

am thrilled to announce a significant milestone in the evolution of TPP — the<br />

development of our in-house composite for our Best Practice Groups. Bringing<br />

this composite in-house not only ensures the utmost security of participant data<br />

but also enables us to closely monitor the accuracy and timely delivery of monthly<br />

aggregate reporting.<br />

The response from our most engaged end users has been overwhelmingly<br />

positive. The new composite is garnering praise for its effectiveness, marking a<br />

transformative phase in the way we approach the TPP Best Practice Groups. As we<br />

Jim Ward<br />

President<br />

Truckload Carriers Association<br />

jward@truckload.org<br />

continue to embrace new technology, now is the opportune moment to explore the benefits of joining a TPP Best<br />

Practice Group and witness firsthand the strides we are making in advancing the industry through benchmarking.<br />

Looking back on the lead-up to the holiday season, our involvement in the Capitol Christmas Tree program<br />

has not only brought festive joy; it has also spotlighted the trucking industry on a national stage. This year, the<br />

honor of transporting the tree from the Monongahela National Forest to the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol fell<br />

upon our esteemed member, Werner Enterprises. The drivers from Werner — Tim Dean, Jesus Davila, and Gina<br />

and Steve Jones — represented both Werner and the industry remarkably at whistle stops in local communities<br />

along the route as well as at the festivities in Washington, D.C.<br />

The Capitol Christmas Tree tour included a TCA-sponsored whistle stop in Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia, where<br />

the drivers received a standing ovation from a crowd of hundreds. The presence of FMCSA Deputy Administrator<br />

Earl Adams underscored the significance of our industry’s role in this cherished tradition. It was a great<br />

experience to see the local community celebrate the tree and get up close to a big rig.<br />

A new year, especially an election year such as this, brings about new challenges and opportunities in the<br />

legislative and regulatory environment. One of the most significant achievements in this field that has been<br />

gaining traction is the TCA Fleets Against Fuel Fraud initiative. We are collaborating with industry stakeholders<br />

to address the growing threat of fuel card skimming in our nation. We have engaged North Carolina Attorney<br />

General Josh Stein and his team in discussions focused on raising awareness of the widespread issue and<br />

finding effective solutions to combat fraud and go after the source. Please reach out to us if you would like to<br />

get involved in helping us advance this mission.<br />

As we celebrate the holiday season and welcome the dawn of a new year, we here at TCA want to reiterate<br />

our warm wishes to each member of our association. We hope that this festive season brings you joy, and may<br />

the coming year be filled with prosperity, success, and, above all, safety.<br />

In closing, let us carry the spirit of collaboration, innovation, and dedication into the new year.<br />

Together we will continue to elevate our industry to new heights, making strides that resonate not<br />

only within our community but throughout the nation.<br />

Wishing you all a merry Christmas and a safe, prosperous, and happy New Year!<br />

Jim Ward<br />


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4 Truckload Authority | www.Truckload.org TCA JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2024

555 E. Braddock Road<br />

Alexandria, VA 22314<br />

Phone: (703) 838-1950<br />

Fax: (703) 836-6610<br />

www.truckload.org<br />


David Williams, Senior Vice President of Equipment & Government<br />

Affairs, Knight-Swift Transportation<br />


Jim Ward<br />

jward@truckload.org<br />


Zander Gambill<br />

zgambill@truckload.org<br />


Eric Rivard<br />

erivard@truckload.org<br />


Sarah Hammons<br />

shammons@truckload.org<br />



Hunter Livesay<br />

hlivesay@truckload.org<br />



Dave Heller<br />

dheller@truckload.org<br />


Karen Smerchek, President<br />

Veriha Trucking, Inc.<br />


Mark Seymour<br />

President/CEO<br />

Kriska Transportation Group<br />


Ed Nagle, President<br />

Nagle Toledo, Inc.<br />

Adam Blanchard, CEO<br />

Double Diamond Transport<br />

Amber Edmondson<br />

President/CEO<br />

Trailiner Corp.<br />



Jon Coca<br />

President, Diamond<br />

Transportation System, Inc.<br />


John Culp, President<br />

Maverick USA, Inc.<br />


John Elliott, CEO<br />

Load One, LLC<br />

Pete Hill<br />

President<br />

Hill Brothers Transportation, Inc.<br />

Joey Hogan, Board Member<br />

Covenant Transport Services<br />

Trevor Kurtz, General Manager<br />

Brian Kurtz Trucking, LTD<br />


Hailey Betham<br />

hbetham@truckload.org<br />



Amanda Pearson<br />

apearson@truckload.org<br />


Lilly Grossman<br />

lgrossman@truckload.org<br />


Kristen Bouchard<br />

kbouchard@truckload.org<br />


Amelia Rose<br />

arose@truckload.org<br />

The viewpoints and opinions quoted in articles in this<br />

publication are not necessarily those of TCA.<br />

In exclusive partnership with:<br />


Looking Forward to the New Year with Jim Ward | 3<br />


Skipping Steps | 6<br />

Capitol Recap | 8<br />


Close the Gaps | 14<br />

Red Flags | 16<br />

Toll Control | 18<br />

Sneak Attacks | 20<br />


Mr. Wonderful | 22<br />


Setting Goals with Dave Williams | 24<br />


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Those Who Deliver with Western Flyer Xpress | 30<br />

Next Gen Executives with Matt Richardson | 32<br />

Special Delivery | 34<br />

On the Road with the<br />

2023 Capitol Christmas Tree | 36<br />

Bridging Border Barriers | 38<br />

There’s No Place Like Nashville | 39<br />

Doing What He Loves | 40<br />

Highway Angels | 42<br />

New Members | 46<br />

Looking Forward | 46<br />

M<br />

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TCA JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2024 www.Truckload.org | Truckload Authority 5

Government affairs<br />


Clean air and a strong supply chain:<br />

Finding common ground in trucking<br />

By Dave Williams, Chairman, Truckload Carriers Association<br />

Everyone is familiar with the Chinese proverb, “A journey<br />

of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” The rest<br />

of the story, according to a Google search, is that it<br />

takes over 2 million steps to complete that thousandmile<br />

journey.<br />

There is no avoiding the rest of the steps. However, that is<br />

exactly what environmental regulators are trying to do. Current<br />

regulatory proposals and discussions are attempting to<br />

ignore time-proven, necessary developmental paths and jump<br />

straight to the final destination: zero-emissions vehicles.<br />

Regrettably, the trucking industry’s developmental path to<br />

emissions reductions is not widely understood or celebrated.<br />

This journey really got serious in the late 1990s and continues<br />

today. The focus historically has been placed on nitrogen<br />

oxide (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) emissions. More<br />

recently, with much of the world focused on climate change,<br />

the focus has shifted to carbon dioxide (CO2) and other<br />

greenhouse gases (GHG).<br />

If we review what the industry has accomplished in the<br />

past few decades, working in partnership with environmental<br />

regulators, we find some incredible accomplishments. In the<br />

past 20 years, the industry has reduced NOx emissions by<br />

95% (4g/HP-hr to 0.2g/HP-hr). By 2027, NOx emissions will<br />

drop an additional 83%.<br />

When combined, these reductions represent a drop of over<br />

99% in NOx emissions. In other words, we will have virtually<br />

eliminated NOx. Remember that number; we will need to<br />

come back to this.<br />

PM emissions have a similar story. As an industry, we have<br />

reduced PM emissions by 99%. The biggest step came in<br />

2007 with the addition of the diesel particulate filter. Again,<br />

this is an emissions component we have virtually eliminated.<br />

To understand CO2 emissions, we must recognize that CO2<br />

emissions are directly tied to fuel economy. Over the past 20<br />

years, the truckload industry has gone from fuel economy<br />

that averaged around 6 mpg to more fuel-efficient tractors<br />

that regularly top 7.5 mpg. This conservative difference<br />

yields a CO2 emissions improvement of 25%. That’s strong<br />

progress. You could even argue that the CO2 and fuel<br />

economy improvements are greater, but at a minimum, these<br />

results are directionally accurate.<br />

Improvements in these three primary emissions were<br />

won through hard-fought incremental improvements<br />

in aerodynamics, rolling resistance, diesel combustion<br />

efficiency, emissions aftertreatment, and exhaust gas<br />

recirculation, among other strategies. The implementation of<br />

some of these technologies was a little painful, but we figured<br />

it out together. We worked together to bring about solid<br />

results.<br />

Fast-forward to today. The industry is being asked to<br />

abandon this hard-fought development path and jump all the<br />

way to zero-emissions vehicles (even though they are not truly<br />

zero emissions, but that is a conversation for a different day).<br />

Let’s be clear: If zero-emissions vehicles were a functionally<br />

and economically viable option, we would embrace them.<br />

Who wouldn’t want a tractor that gets the job done and has<br />

zero impact on the environment? Currently, however, zeroemissions<br />

tractors require a lot of work before they’re viable<br />

for transporting the greater portion of freight in the U.S. There<br />

are well-documented challenges associated with the current<br />

offerings, including cost, weight, range limitations, charging/<br />

fueling infrastructure, and the readiness of the nation’s<br />

electrical grid.<br />

Again, we would embrace these technologies if not for<br />

significant hurdles that must be overcome. Unfortunately,<br />

if we just say no to zero emissions vehicles, we aren’t<br />

considered part of the solution and are at risk of being left out<br />

of the discussion.<br />

Fortunately, we do have viable solutions:<br />

Diesel<br />

This will be unpopular with environmentalists, but the fact<br />

is that there is still a path for diesel. Diesel fuel is an energypacked<br />

dynamo that has served the industry well for many<br />

decades. We have already effectively reduced NOx and PM<br />

using diesel technologies. When we look at CO2, there is a<br />

clear, continued path for significant reductions.<br />

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6 Truckload Authority | www.Truckload.org TCA JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2024

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These reductions would come partly through improvements<br />

in engine efficiency, but they would also come from the fuel<br />

itself. Progress is being made in the production of renewable<br />

diesel. Some manufacturers have documented up to a 75%<br />

reduction in GHG emissions, which includes CO2.<br />

This is not the blended biodiesel many are familiar with;<br />

this is pure wizardry in chemistry that reorganizes molecules<br />

to reshape organic material into diesel fuel. This is a very<br />

compelling technology to watch. Many fleets are already<br />

running some of this fuel and may not even know it. Truck<br />

stops have begun blending this new fuel with traditional<br />

diesel and are offering it at the pump today.<br />

Renewable<br />

Natural Gas<br />

Renewable natural gas (RNG)<br />

actually boasts a negative carbon<br />

score. This is achieved as manufacturers<br />

repurpose organic material<br />

that would otherwise erode and<br />

create gases that are harmful to the<br />

atmosphere. Instead of allowing this<br />

decomposition to impact the atmosphere,<br />

these gases are captured and<br />

used as fuel (think cow manure and<br />

landfills). At one point, natural gas<br />

was the hottest thing on the planet;<br />

then it faded from the spotlight when<br />

diesel fuel costs dropped and fleets<br />

were unwilling to deal with some of<br />

the nuances associated with the fuel.<br />

Taking another look at it today, a new<br />

15-liter natural gas engine has just been released and diesel<br />

prices are sky-high. As an alternative to electric, this technology<br />

continues to hold promise.<br />

Hybrids<br />

The description “hybrid” can mean a lot of things — it<br />

could be a diesel-electric, or some other form. The interesting<br />

thing about hybrids is that you can go fully electric within a<br />

geofenced area (i.e., an environmentally sensitive area like<br />

the Port of Los Angeles) and then go back to a clean-burning<br />

diesel when you leave that area.<br />

Hybrids potentially solve several of the issues that plague<br />

the electric-only version for the trucking industry. It is<br />

interesting to watch the auto manufacturers’ experience in<br />

the process of converting to electric cars. They are starting<br />

to talk openly about consumers’ acceptance of hybrids over<br />

pure electric vehicles. Consumers appreciate the flexibility of<br />

hybrids. This is one of the biggest hurdles associated with<br />

heavy-duty electric tractors — the lack of flexibility. Hybrids<br />

are a natural solution to consider.<br />

Let’s be clear:<br />

If zero-emissions<br />

vehicles were a<br />

functionally and<br />

economically viable<br />

option, we would<br />

embrace them.<br />

Emissions Reductions via<br />

Fleet Replacement<br />

At the American Trucking Associations’ (ATA) 2023<br />

Management Conference & Exhibition, ATA President Chris<br />

Spear walked through some interesting data. He noted<br />

that roughly half of the tractors operating in California are<br />

equipped with 2010 model year engines or older. By replacing<br />

a pre-2010 tractor with a new tractor, the calculated emissions<br />

reductions amount to a whopping 83%. That is significant<br />

and cannot be ignored.<br />

It should also be noted that the replacement<br />

tractor has a diesel engine.<br />

Normally, when we review proposed<br />

emissions regulations, we compare<br />

the new proposed emissions to the<br />

current emissions standard on new<br />

tractors. But, if there was an effective<br />

effort to replace the oldest tractors<br />

on the roads today, the benefits<br />

would skyrocket. This might require<br />

redirecting federal funds to be used<br />

in offsetting the impact of the early<br />

retirement of older tractors, but the<br />

shift would yield real, meaningful results<br />

on a much shorter time line. It’s<br />

an interesting alternative option.<br />

So why are these options not being<br />

pursued by regulators? California<br />

has privately given an interesting<br />

response: They don’t want to consider<br />

the first three options, in large part due to trace amounts of<br />

NOx (remember when we reviewed the 99%-plus reduction<br />

in NOx?). They are still concerned about NOx, which doesn’t<br />

make sense. So, instead of achieving immediate, substantial<br />

emissions reductions by continuing along the developmental<br />

path that has served everyone well, California has unilaterally<br />

rejected these options. Like many issues that have become<br />

politicized, emissions reductions are being relegated to<br />

an idealistic “perfect or nothing” gridlock that has made it<br />

almost impossible to get anything accomplished in today’s<br />

government.<br />

Organizations such as the Truckload Carriers Association<br />

and the Clean Freight Coalition have been ready to talk about<br />

sensible options on realistic time lines. We all want clean<br />

air and water. We also want to preserve the integrity of the<br />

supply chain. In this case, we can do both. We will continue to<br />

advocate on behalf of the industry and hopefully get that done.<br />

This story was written for CCJDigital.com, and originally<br />

published online on October 24, 2023.<br />

TCA JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2024 www.Truckload.org | Truckload Authority 7

CAPITOL recap<br />



Stories by John Worthen<br />

??<br />

The possibility of a mandate requiring speed limiters on Class 7 and Class 8 trucks remains a hotly debated issue within the trucking industry.<br />

Waiting Game: industry anticipates<br />

FMCSA’s speed limiter ruling<br />

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMC-<br />

SA) proposal to require truck owners and fleets to implement<br />

an engine control unit — also known as a speed limiter<br />

— in all trucks manufactured after 2023 has created somewhat<br />

of a stir in the trucking industry.<br />

As of this writing, the FMCSA was expected to make its final<br />

ruling on the issue by the end of December, according to<br />

Dave Heller, senior vice president of safety and government<br />

affairs for the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA).<br />

“The timeline, of course, is interesting, as it seems as if<br />

the agency always issues its most contentious rulemakings<br />

over the holiday season,” Heller said. “That being said, we<br />

will be on the lookout for it when it hits the Federal Register<br />

so that we can comment appropriately.<br />

“At this point, we expect the agency to announce what<br />

their speed limiter target could be and whether or not they<br />

have allowed for some flexibility in the proposal,” he continued.<br />

“The ‘set it and forget it’ mentality is long gone,<br />

replaced by tech that can be adaptable to drivers and their<br />

safety performance.”<br />

Whatever rule ends is issued, not everyone will be happy<br />

with it, said TCA Chairman Dave Williams.<br />

“At the end of the day, the rule needs to be simple, and it<br />

needs to be soundly based on data and science,” Williams<br />

said. “As an industry, we have done a great job over the<br />

years improving safety. I do believe, as unpopular in some<br />

circles as this may be, that speed limiters will help us get<br />

to the next level of safe operations. Rather than speculating<br />

further, let’s see what comes out and go from there.”<br />

The FMCSA did not say exactly what number it plans to<br />

choose as the governed speed. In September 2023, the agency<br />

published information indicating the chosen speed would<br />

be 68 mph, but that report was quickly removed. As of this<br />

writing, the agency has said nothing else about the matter.<br />

The 2023 proposal is a follow-up to a 2016 joint proposal<br />

between the FMCSA and the National Highway Traffic Safety<br />

Administration for commercial motor vehicle speed limiters.<br />

The 2016 proposal did not gain traction.<br />

During its initial review on the Federal Register as part<br />

of a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking, the most<br />

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8 Truckload Authority | www.Truckload.org TCA JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2024

CAPITOL recap<br />

Speed has been noted as<br />

a primary factor in fatal<br />

crashes that involve commercial<br />

trucks. We continue to emphasize<br />

the use of technology that will<br />

help make our roads safer”<br />

— Dave Heller<br />

Vice President of Safety and Government Affairs<br />

Truckload Carriers Association<br />

recent proposal garnered about 15,000 comments.<br />

Many commenters opposed the proposal.<br />

A representative of Beyond Dirt LLC wrote on the<br />

comment page: “Limiting speeds in trucks will not<br />

make them safer. All it will do is impede traffic in places<br />

where the truck speed limit is higher, making driving<br />

a truck more dangerous for the truck driver because<br />

the cars around it will be making aggressive maneuvers<br />

to get around it. This law is an overreach, if there is a<br />

problem with a few trucks speeding, you need to use<br />

the state patrol to in force the speed limit on those lawbreaking<br />

drivers and not make this job more dangerous<br />

for the rest of us.”<br />

Heller counters this argument, saying: “The reality<br />

is that this assumption can be used for just about<br />

any speed — 45, 55, or 65. Wouldn’t that be the same<br />

concern on roads that have a speed limit of 25 mph?<br />

It is the ‘get out of the way’ theory that likely causes<br />

problems on the road in the first place. Speed limiters,<br />

coupled with new safety technology, will only serve to<br />

help improve the industry and its safety record.”<br />

Speed limiters can improve fuel efficiency, which is<br />

better for both the environment and a carrier’s bottom<br />

line. Greater fuel efficiency means lower CO2 emissions<br />

and fewer stops to fuel up, resulting in lower operational<br />

costs for carriers.<br />

Limiters can help reduce the severity of crashes and<br />

can even help prevent some crashes in the first place,<br />

making the roads safer for everyone. However, limiters<br />

also have the potential to create longer travel times<br />

depending on how the maximum allowed speed relates<br />

to mandated speed limits.<br />

Above all, Heller said, the trucking industry will need<br />

flexibility when looking at speed-governing devices.<br />

“It is fair to point out that we don’t just support a<br />

limit of 65 mph on Class 7-8 rigs,” Heller said. “We also<br />

support raising that number to 70 mph if the truck has<br />

other safety improvement technology such as adaptive<br />

cruise control and automatic emergency braking.<br />

“Speed has been noted as a primary factor in fatal<br />

crashes that involve commercial trucks, and we continue<br />

to emphasize the use of technology that will help<br />

make our roads safer,” he concluded.<br />

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CAPITOL recap<br />

While a number of motor carriers are beginning to incorporate electric Class 8 tractors into their fleets, the vehicles are primarily used for drayage,<br />

final-mile, and yard tractor applications.<br />

Completely Electrifying the trucking<br />

industry could take a ‘lifetime’<br />

A number of battles in the global fight to clean up the air<br />

are taking place in the trenches of the trucking industry.<br />

Electric trucks are now a familiar sight on the sales lots,<br />

with most manufacturers now producing electric or hybridelectric<br />

models. Some major motor carriers, such as J.B.<br />

Hunt, Walmart, and FedEx, have already begun incorporating<br />

electric trucks into their fleets. At this point, electric trucks<br />

are primarily used in final-mile, drayage, and yard tractor<br />

applications.<br />

As individual states, along with the federal government,<br />

adopt stricter environmental laws targeting emissions, pressure<br />

is mounting for the trucking industry to convert to electric<br />

rigs.<br />

But are electric trucks feasible for an industry that has,<br />

for more than 100 years, relied on diesel fuel to power its<br />

freight carriers?<br />

“As an industry, we continually strive to make the environment<br />

a better one for those that will inherit it,” said Dave<br />

Heller, senior vice president of safety and government Affairs<br />

for the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA). “The evidence<br />

of the achievements our industry has already accomplished<br />

has demonstrated exactly that.”<br />

Heller says that as the trucking industry’s essential role in<br />

the world’s economy continues to grow, its environmental<br />

footprint continues to shrink.<br />

“Truck engines manufactured today emit 98% less nitrogen<br />

oxide and particulate matter than those built 35 years<br />

ago,” he said. “In fact, it takes 60 of today’s trucks to emit<br />

what just one truck emitted in 1988.<br />

“The long-haul trucking sector has been developed based<br />

upon centuries of technological advancements that have<br />

gotten us to where we are today,” he continued. “It would be<br />

irresponsible of us to think that a diesel replacement won’t<br />

take just as long.”<br />

Heller notes that states that are already adopting strict<br />

environmental laws requiring new trucks to meet idealistic<br />

environmental guidelines are not being realistic.<br />

“The reality is that as aggressive as these timelines are,<br />

we just are not there as a nation,” he said. “Electricity has<br />

shown tremendous promise, but today, it cannot replace the<br />

impact that the diesel engine has in serving the U.S. economy.<br />

“A rush to replace it would serve as shortsighted and irresponsible,<br />

at a time when the needs of the national freight<br />

system are so paramount,” he continued.<br />

For one thing, the nation’s power grid is not prepared to<br />

handle widespread adoption of electric vehicles.<br />

“It’s not news that our nation is not generating enough<br />

electricity at this point to justify a changeover, nor are there<br />

enough charging stations to accommodate that change,”<br />

Heller said. “Creating a timeline that includes unrealistic<br />

deadlines will only amount to more problems that the unintended<br />

consequences of these kind of rules that almost<br />

always follows them.”<br />

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10 Truckload Authority | www.Truckload.org TCA JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2024

CAPITOL recap<br />

This 2021 press photo shows electric vehicles, including the Freightliner<br />

eCascadia and eM2 trucks made by Daimler Truck North America, charging at<br />

DTNA and PGE’s Electric Island charging site in Portland, Oregon.<br />

Heller isn’t the only industry leader concerned about the<br />

issue of electrification and emissions standards.<br />

During the Arkansas Trucking Association’s 2023 annual<br />

conference, American Trucking Association President and<br />

CEO Chris Spear told attendees that it’s time to “turn up the<br />

volume and let our story be heard” when it comes to stricter<br />

emissions standards.”<br />

The third phase of the Environmental Protection Agency’s<br />

(EPA) Clean Trucks Plan has caused the issue of big rig<br />

emissions to boil over.<br />

“Phase 3, on NOx, that’s the toughest stuff,” Spear said.<br />

“It’s like squeezing blood out of a rock.”<br />

The Clean Trucks Plan calls for reducing production of<br />

diesel-fueled rigs and replacing them with vehicles powered<br />

by electricity or other alternative fuel sources in the coming<br />

years. In December 2022, the EPA finalized part of the plan<br />

that calls for cutting cut smog-and soot-forming emissions<br />

from new heavy-duty trucks beginning with model year<br />

2027.<br />

Like Heller, Spear contends the trucking industry has already<br />

made great strides in helping to reduce emissions on<br />

diesel engines.<br />

“For 40 years, we have worked hand-in-glove with the<br />

SmartWay program with the EPA,” Spear said. “We have<br />

recognized carriers that have kept up with the latest environmentally<br />

friendly equipment.”<br />

Spear added that the industry has “been through the process<br />

to ensure equipment on the market can withstand the<br />

pressures that drivers put them though and still deliver reductions<br />

for the environment.”<br />

The ATA, he said, is “all in favor of clean air and water.<br />

That is not debatable. But in four decades, we have worked<br />

to pull 98.5% of harmful emissions out of the tailpipes of<br />

trucks you buy on the lots today.”<br />

In short, says TCA’s Heller, electric trucks are not likely<br />

to become a majority player in the industry anytime soon.<br />

“‘One day’ is, of course, the operative word, and that ‘one<br />

day’ may take a lifetime to fully achieve,” he said.<br />

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TCA JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2024 www.Truckload.org | Truckload Authority 11

CAPITOL recap<br />

The shortage of available, safe, and legal areas for truck parking continues to impact many drivers on a daily basis.<br />

Truck parking issue ‘circling the lot’<br />

in DC as some states pick up the reins<br />

A lack of adequate, safe truck parking hangs over the<br />

trucking industry like a dark, rain-soaked cloud that just<br />

won’t give way to sunny skies.<br />

The issue has made its way to Washington many times<br />

over the years, but now federal legislation is finally beginning<br />

to move — albeit at a slow pace.<br />

At the time of this writing in mid-December, Dave Heller,<br />

senior vice president of Safety and government affairs for<br />

the Truckload Carriers Association, said he had been in and<br />

out of numerous meetings about the Truck Parking Safety<br />

Improvement Act (TPSIA).<br />

“Our membership had tremendous success seeking cosponsors<br />

during our Call on Washington event at the end of<br />

September. However, the bill itself still languishes, looking<br />

for a much larger piece of legislation to attach itself to,” he<br />

said.<br />

Heller says he believes 2024 could be the year something<br />

is finally done to help.<br />

“As the list of co-sponsors in the Senate continues to<br />

grow, the need for this legislation will only grow with it,”<br />

he said.<br />

Meanwhile, he says, the trucking industry must continue<br />

to send this message to the nation: There simply are not<br />

enough parking spaces for big rigs.<br />

“That is why it is paramount that we engage on this issue,<br />

citing the effects that limited safe and secure parking has<br />

on our fleet to our elected officials at every level of government,”<br />

he said.<br />

Trucking industry headlines over the past year have included<br />

dozens of reports about new truck parking spaces, so<br />

it would seem at least some effort is being made to provide<br />

a solution.<br />

Major truck stop chains have added hundreds of spaces,<br />

and several states have renovated areas specifically for truck<br />

parking.<br />

For example, the Wyoming Department of Transportation<br />

(WYDOT) was awarded a federal grant from the U.S. Department<br />

of Transportation in late 2023 to build hundreds of new<br />

truck parking spaces in southwest Wyoming.<br />

WYDOT will receive more than $26.6 million through<br />

the 2023-2024 federal Rural Surface Transportation Grant,<br />

which will be used to build about 365 truck parking spaces<br />

along Interstate 80 in Evanston.<br />

The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) has<br />

developed a statewide truck parking plan that recommends<br />

expanding parking at existing rest areas and adding three<br />

new facilities. ADOT’s plan is one of the more comprehensive<br />

solutions at the time of this writing.<br />

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12 Truckload Authority | www.Truckload.org TCA JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2024

CAPITOL recap<br />

After gathering feedback from the trucking industry,<br />

ADOT sought public input as transportation planners prepare<br />

to construct 842 truck parking spaces in 10 locations<br />

along interstates in areas with the greatest need for parking.<br />

These locations are along Interstates 10, 40, and 8. In<br />

addition to expanded parking at existing rest areas, three<br />

proposed “safe lots” would provide parking for commercial<br />

trucks only.<br />

ADOT recommends the additional parking be based on<br />

demand at existing rest areas and where undesignated truck<br />

parking occurs. Other factors include cost, ease of implementation,<br />

and input from the trucking industry.<br />

Arizona’s sites prioritized for additional parking are:<br />

• The I-10 Burnt Wells Rest Area near Tonopah:<br />

103 spaces<br />

• The I-40 Meteor Crater Rest Area near Winslow:<br />

140 spaces<br />

• A new I-10/State Route 186 safe lot just west of<br />

Willcox: 127 spaces<br />

• I-40 Crazy Creek, a new safe lot about 35 miles east<br />

of Holbrook: 176 spaces<br />

• I-10 Ehrenberg Rest Area: 53 spaces<br />

• I-10 San Simon Rest Area: 80 spaces<br />

• I-10 Bouse Wash Rest Area: 55 spaces<br />

• I-40 Seligman, a new safe lot: 72 spaces<br />

• I-10 Sacaton Rest Area: 20 spaces<br />

• I-8 Mohawk Rest Area: 16 spaces<br />

The plan recommends first adding parking to three critical<br />

locations — Burnt Wells, Meteor Crater, and a new safe lot<br />

near Willcox — based on the $32 million in funding currently<br />

available through the National Highway Freight Program.<br />

Parking at the additional seven locations could be added as<br />

ADOT seeks future funding. The additional parking would be<br />

in addition to current projects that are expanding parking<br />

at five rest areas, funded by the National Highway Freight<br />

Program.<br />

While some states have begun to address the issue of<br />

closed or unusable rest/parking areas, there is still much<br />

work to be done.<br />

In an effort to gain further data on the issue, Heller says<br />

TCA has started collecting information, allowing drivers to<br />

report closed rest areas that can be used for truck parking.<br />

“Yes, they do exist,” he said of the closed rest areas.<br />

“Drivers have been reporting state, roads, and mile markers<br />

of those rest areas so we can highlight them in a manner<br />

that encourages the TPSIA to move more rapidly through<br />

the legislation process and make dedicated funding available<br />

that could be used to open these areas and provide<br />

more opportunities to locate safe and secure parking for our<br />

drivers that need it.”<br />

TCA JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2024 www.Truckload.org | Truckload Authority 13

Tracking The Trends<br />


Fleets with blemished safety records<br />

have tools to turn things around<br />

By John Worthen<br />

For most fleets, safety is a top priority. After all,<br />

reputable motor carriers don’t operate under the<br />

assumption of, “Well, if they don’t catch us, it’s OK.”<br />

Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to acquire blemishes<br />

on a safety record, even for the most cautious<br />

of carriers. From properly secured cargo to accurate<br />

record keeping and vehicle maintenance, there are<br />

dozens of things that can go wrong if fleet managers aren’t<br />

on top of equipment maintenance and driver training.<br />

Let’s be honest: It’s rare for a carrier to maintain a completely<br />

spotless safety record.<br />

A poor safety record often translates to issues that can<br />

seriously impact a company’s bottom line, from equipment<br />

and driver violation fees to expensive lawsuits when drivers<br />

are involved in at-fault accidents. And, of course, insurance<br />

providers keep track of motor carriers’ “report cards.” A bad<br />

grade can easily result in higher premiums.<br />

So, how can a carrier with a less-than-perfect record turn<br />

things around?<br />

Invest in training.<br />

During a 2023 interview on the Tenney Group’s “In the<br />

Hot Seat” YouTube series, Brandon Wiseman, president of<br />

Trucksafe Consulting, noted that systematic problems with<br />

safety are often due to a lack of education on the part of various<br />

levels of a carrier.<br />

“You can’t get ahold of problems unless you understand<br />

what’s going on,” he said, adding that education and training<br />

is key to helping companies identify and resolve issues.<br />

For instance, he said, if a carrier is having constant issues<br />

with its drivers’ hours of service (HOS), “there is no substitute<br />

for bringing drivers in and giving them additional training<br />

on this requirement. You have to help them understand<br />

where things are going wrong.”<br />

Drivers aren’t the only team members who may require<br />

updated training. Safety team members and company owners<br />

can also benefit from a refresher course in rules and<br />

regulations.<br />

Make safety a top priority.<br />

Chris Gulker, senior vice president of transportation at<br />

TrueNorth, says safety is paramount — or at least it should<br />

be — for all carriers.<br />

“This is deeply embedded into the culture and day to day<br />

mindset, culture, and day-to-day practices of industry-leading<br />

companies,” he said. “Because safety is such a critical<br />

concern in the transportation industry, restoring creditability<br />

by rebuilding trust and credibility will require time,<br />

strategic planning, and commitment from all levels of the<br />

organization.”<br />

Gulker says this should involve a comprehensive approach<br />

that addresses all aspects of the business, including<br />

operations, finance, leadership, safety, recruiting — a true<br />

team effort across the enterprise.<br />

If a company finds itself in trouble, there are steps that<br />

can be taken to right the ship, Gulker said.<br />

“The first step in a company restoring a safety reputation<br />

is establishing commitment from the entire leadership<br />

team,” he said. “For true, long-lasting change to occur, a<br />

demonstrated commitment to safety is required by all levels<br />

of the organization. Safety needs to be given priority in<br />

the day-to-day decision making, and it starts with the most<br />

senior leaders.”<br />

Once a thorough assessment has been completed, a<br />

comprehensive risk management strategy needs to be developed,<br />

communicated to the organization, and deployed.<br />

While there’s never a one-size-fits-all solution, Gulker says,<br />

the following strategies can help:<br />

• Create a safety mission statement that is communicated<br />

on a regular basis to the entire organization. This is a foundational<br />

step to creating a true culture of safety.<br />

• Establish three to five critical key performance indicators<br />

(KPIs) with target improvement goals to track performance<br />

in real-time. Providing KPIs at both the enterprise<br />

level and the “middle of the business” level (e.g., a terminal<br />

level) allows progress to be tracked and performance to be<br />

managed to drive results.<br />

• Establish a cross-functional safety council that includes<br />

representatives from safety/risk, along with executive leadership,<br />

finance, and operations teams; safety/risk should<br />

14 Truckload Authority | www.Truckload.org TCA JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2024

have an equal seat at the table. This allows for open communication<br />

about problems and progress while also soliciting<br />

collaborative feedback across functions.<br />

• Invest in comprehensive safety training at appropriate<br />

levels for all employees — executives, safety and compliance<br />

teams, dispatch, recruiting, orientation, drivers, etc.<br />

• Implement safety technologies. Gulker says that, in recent<br />

years, safety technology innovations have developed at<br />

a staggering pace. Implementing state-of-art safety technology<br />

such as cameras, lane-deviation assistance, and active<br />

crash mitigation not only improves safety performance; it<br />

also drives down overall costs in the long term. Leveraging<br />

safety technology also allows companies to implement<br />

coaching / development programs and incentives for positive<br />

performance.<br />

• Continue to improve. By continuously monitoring progress<br />

and ongoing safety performance, a company can evaluate<br />

whether the strategies are effective or if adjustments<br />

need to be made.<br />

Take advantage of technology.<br />

In a blog post entitled “FMCSA Regulations: A Guide for<br />

Fleet Managers” fleet operations company Samsara offered<br />

the following tips to keep fleets compliant FMCSA regulations:<br />

• Invest in an easy-to-use ELD solution. During roadside<br />

inspections (or if a fleet is ever audited), it’s important to be<br />

sure drivers’ HOS logs are accurate, complete, and easy to<br />

access. It’s important to choose an electronic logging device<br />

(ELD) solution that’s easy for drivers and compliance<br />

managers to use.<br />

• Go paperless using electronic DVIRs. Still<br />

using paper driver vehicle inspection reports<br />

(DVIRs)? Now is the time to switch to digital.<br />

Because electronic driver vehicle inspection reports<br />

(eDVIRs) are digital, they make it easier to<br />

stay compliant with FMCSA regulations related<br />

to maintenance and vehicle safety.<br />

Drivers can submit eDVIRs right from the palm<br />

of their hand using an app; these apps are available<br />

from various providers. The eDVIRs instantly<br />

appear on a carrier’s online dashboard, positioned<br />

alongside preventive maintenance schedules, maintenance<br />

logs, and real-time vehicle statuses. This allows<br />

technicians to prioritize the most urgent issues<br />

and sign the eDVIR for the next driver to verify, completing<br />

the FMCSA requirement.<br />

• Keep CSA scores low with dash cams. The FMCSA<br />

uses the compliance, safety and accountability (CSA)<br />

program to identify high-risk carriers and intervene.<br />

Sometimes the FMCSA will even put carriers with high<br />

CSA scores out of service until they can improve their<br />

compliance or safety procedures. One of the best ways<br />

to avoid FMCSA intervention is for a carrier to keep its<br />

CSA scores low.<br />

The solution? Dash cams.<br />

Dash cams are an extremely effective safety tool for<br />

commercial fleets. With better visibility into risky driving<br />

behavior (like speeding, distracted driving, and tailgating),<br />

carriers can more effectively coach drivers and prevent<br />

accidents. AI dash cams can automatically upload incident<br />

footage to the cloud, which makes it easy to exonerate<br />

drivers from not-at-fault accidents and avoid unnecessary<br />

marks to CSA scores.<br />

Know “the right stuff.”<br />

However, carriers that follow these measures and make<br />

sure their teams have access to proper education and training<br />

still sometimes find themselves behind the proverbial<br />

eight-ball when it comes to compliance. Wiseman says he’s<br />

not surprised.<br />

“There are just so many regs out there,” he said. “There<br />

will be some gaps in understanding how these things apply<br />

to your fleet. So, first things first: You gotta make sure you<br />

have a foundational understanding of requirements for fleet<br />

education is big part of it.”<br />

Being proactive is also key, he said.<br />

“A lot of fleets are just trying to put out fires as they come<br />

to them,” he said.<br />

“(I hear), ‘We have the DOT (Department of Transportation)<br />

knocking on the door for audit. What can we do to fix<br />

it?’” he continued. “It’s too late at that point to fix what they<br />

will discover in audit. Too many fleets are trying to survive,<br />

so they do what they gotta do, but spending a little time trying<br />

to close gaps can save a lot of trouble.”<br />

PASS<br />

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A<br />

A<br />

A<br />

A<br />

TCA JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2024 www.Truckload.org | Truckload Authority 15

Tracking The Trends<br />

Red<br />

Flags<br />

When hiring<br />

drivers, dig past<br />

obvious signals<br />

on MVR<br />

By Cliff Abbott<br />

Background checks are an essential part of the driver<br />

qualification process, whether the driver will be a<br />

company employee or an independent contractor.<br />

There are numerous tools that help carriers make<br />

better decisions. One of the most useful is the Federal Motor<br />

Carrier Safety Administration’s Motor Vehicle Report (MVR).<br />

While some items reported on an MVR might automatically<br />

disqualify a driver from hire or result in termination of<br />

employment or contract, the significance of other entries<br />

might be seen differently, depending on who’s checking the<br />

record. Because some aspects of a driver’s MVR can be<br />

viewed subjectively, it’s important to know what type of “red<br />

flags” to watch for when screening candidates.<br />

However, the first step is to ensure your company has a<br />

written policy when it comes to driver qualifications.<br />

“I believe it’s very important that you have a clear, concise<br />

policy that you consistently follow,” said Lori Johnson,<br />

senior consultant for Fleetworthy Solutions. “Otherwise,<br />

how are you going to demonstrate, either in an audit or in<br />

litigation, that you have a good hiring practice and that you<br />

don’t have negligent hiring or negligent retention?”<br />

A good policy must contain achievable actions, and<br />

the policy should be updated as necessary for safety<br />

improvement, explained Andy Marquis, attorney and<br />

partner at the Scopelitis, Garvin, Light, Hanson & Feary law<br />

firm.<br />

“Whatever you write in that policy, in that handbook —<br />

you’re going to be judged by it if there’s an accident, so<br />

there has to be a willingness to adapt policies in the interest<br />

of safety,” he explained. “Don’t just throw everything in<br />

there without a system to make sure it gets done.”<br />

What needs to “get done” should be in the policy as<br />

well. If, for example, a particular safety violation requires<br />

counseling or remedial training, this requirement should be<br />

applied consistently.<br />

When a carrier is named in a lawsuit because of the<br />

actions of a driver, Maquis said, the plaintiffs’ attorneys<br />

may try to prove the employer is guilty of negligent hiring<br />

or negligent retention. In other words, the driver’s employer<br />

could have done something about the driver’s behavior<br />

before the accident.<br />

“It all connects, so (it appears) they failed in some duty,”<br />

Maquis remarked. “When they’re presented with a potential<br />

risk, do they take stock of it, or do they just look the other<br />

way?”<br />

16 Truckload Authority | www.Truckload.org TCA JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2024

“Look for a lot of<br />

turnover. Are they<br />

changing jobs every<br />

five months? Why?”<br />

— Lori Johnson<br />

Senior consultant for<br />

Fleetworthy Solutions<br />

Discernible patterns<br />

When screening a potential driver, it’s sometimes a<br />

pattern of behavior that should be of concern rather than a<br />

record of a serious infraction or accident.<br />

“I have a concept of the ‘grammar of the whole,’” Johnson<br />

explained. “That was my phrase, that I coined at one of my<br />

companies.”<br />

In other words, take a step back from the details for a<br />

minute and take a look at the overall picture.<br />

“Look for a lot of turnover. Are they changing jobs<br />

every five months? Why?” Johnson said. “Are there gaps<br />

in employment and did they explain them? Were they in a<br />

different state? (If so), did you order that state’s MVR?”<br />

Anything that looks like a pattern of behavior would be<br />

concerning, Marquis noted.<br />

“If they’ve had any sort of substance abuse or alcohol issues<br />

in the past, that’s something that any enterprising plaintiff’s<br />

attorney is going to say — it represents a pattern,” he said.<br />

Failure to appear<br />

Another potential red flag is a failure to appear in court<br />

following a violation or accident, Marquis said.<br />

“It’s concerning because (the driver) might be perceived<br />

as not taking it seriously when they are issued a violation,” he<br />

said. “Is this person going to be seen as being serious about<br />

safety if they’re not dealing with a violation with the courts?”<br />

Watch for changes<br />

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations require<br />

annual certification of the driver’s record, including another<br />

MVR, but it might be a good idea to take it a step further.<br />

“I think, what a lot of (carriers) end up doing, especially<br />

those that are relatively large, is to have a vendor or other<br />

system that notifies them of any changes in the MVR,”<br />

Marquis said. “Once that kind of service is available,<br />

then that kind of can affect whether or not they’re doing<br />

everything they can to help with safety.”<br />

Johnson agrees.<br />

“Fleetworthy does MVR monitoring to where the service<br />

will scan and if your driver gets a hit or not,” she said.<br />

“Depending on the state, it might be immediately, or it might<br />

be up to a month later — but at least you’re going to know<br />

(about any changes) more than once a year. Then, you can<br />

have a conversation with the driver.”<br />

Equipment condition<br />

When reviewing a driver’s record, don’t ignore violations,<br />

such as defective vehicles or equipment, even if they’re<br />

classified as “minor.”<br />

“In Colorado, where I live, it’s a plea-down,” explained<br />

Johnson. “If you had a four-point violation, you could plead<br />

it down to a one-point defective vehicle violation. So, if you<br />

see a lot of those on a record, it might pique your interest.”<br />

In short, while there’s no “magic formula” for hiring the best<br />

drivers, it’s important to pay close attention to a driver’s MVR.<br />

Be sure to ask job candidates about any discrepancies in their<br />

records, and take consistent action when issues are found.<br />

“Is this person going to be<br />

seen as being serious about<br />

safety?”<br />

— Andy Marquis<br />

Attorney & partner at the Scopelitis,<br />

Garvin, Light, Hanson & Feary law firm<br />

TCA JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2024 www.Truckload.org | Truckload Authority 17

Tracking The Trends<br />

Toll<br />

What invoicing<br />

method works best<br />

for your fleet?<br />


By Cliff Abbott<br />

There’s no question that technology has changed<br />

the trucking industry in numerous ways, including<br />

payment methods for toll roads and bridges. Gone<br />

are the days when drivers carried enough cash for<br />

weeks of toll payments. These days, it’s as simple as driving<br />

under a toll gantry — usually without even slowing from<br />

highway speeds.<br />

Two primary types of open road tolling are used by tolling<br />

authorities, RFID (radio frequency identification) and toll by<br />

plate.<br />

By far, the most popular tolling option for carriers is RFID.<br />

A transponder unit is required for each vehicle, which communicates<br />

with an RFID reader installed at the tolling location.<br />

However, the purchase and installation of the transponders<br />

can cost more than some carriers are willing to pay.<br />

Tolling by plate requires less of an initial investment because<br />

transponders aren’t needed. However, tolling costs<br />

can be considerably higher and billing errors more frequent.<br />

Smaller carriers whose drivers don’t frequently encounter<br />

tolling situations, sometimes choose this route.<br />

Toll management systems like Bestpass, PrePass, and<br />

E-ZPass are helping fleet operators untangle the confusion<br />

of working with different tolling authorities, and saving companies<br />

money at the same time.<br />

“We’ve been involved with Bestpass since it started as<br />

the New York State Trucking Association toll on discount<br />

program. So, we’re longtime members,” said Ken Johnson,<br />

executive chairman of Farmington, New York-based Leonard’s<br />

Express. “The best part about it is its simplicity over<br />

having to deal with each state individually.”<br />

Luis Guzman, CFO for PGT Trucking, based in Aliquippa,<br />

Pennsylvania, expressed similar sentiments.<br />

“We use PrePass for all our tolling and for weigh stations,”<br />

Guzman said. “At PGT Trucking, we are 50% company-<br />

owned trucks and 50% owner-operators. We have<br />

transponders in our company trucks, and then we also offer<br />

them to our owner-operators.”<br />

According to Michael DeMateo, PGT’s supervisor of<br />

driver support services, says the carrier currently has 800<br />

transponders.<br />

“One thing that’s good about PrePass is that we have special<br />

reporting that allows us to see whenever, for example,<br />

we run the course of a full toll which is a significant amount<br />

of money, and we usually almost never do that,” DeMateo<br />

said. “They dispute those for us. It would require a lot of<br />

work to try to catch that stuff.”<br />

Since toll gantries are usually equipped with photographic<br />

equipment and RFID readers, occasionally errors are made<br />

in which a truck owner is billed once through the transponder<br />

and then again through the plate number. Carriers have<br />

even received one invoice for a tractor’s plate, another for<br />

the trailer’s plate, and a third for the transponder. Thankfully,<br />

those instances are rare. Occasionally, a plate reader<br />

will misread a digit in the plate number and automatically<br />

18 Truckload Authority | www.Truckload.org TCA JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2024

generate an invoice to the wrong person or company. Both<br />

Bestpass and PrePass have systems that work with tolling<br />

authorities to resolve this type of issue.<br />

“We try to work with the toll agencies. Say, you’ve got a<br />

problem,” said Joe Clavelle, vice president of business development<br />

for Bestpass. “We’ll work to rectify it, because no<br />

one wants to get charged twice or three times.”<br />

Helping resolve invoicing issues helps the tolling agency,<br />

too.<br />

“We try to work with the local agency and reduce the problem<br />

for everyone, because it causes it to cost them money as well,”<br />

Clavelle said. “When you have thousands of people phoning in<br />

to say, ‘Hey, I was billed three times,’ this is not what they want.<br />

It costs that agency time and money to take those calls.”<br />

Reducing expenses is another benefit of using a toll management<br />

system. Most tolling authorities offer discounts<br />

for using RFID systems, and providers like Bestpass consolidate<br />

invoices from multiple agencies into one convenient<br />

report. When a carrier receives invoices from several different<br />

sources, this increases the risk of missing one, possibly<br />

generating late fees or even violations.<br />

“It takes time, and you have to fund each one and deal<br />

with all those separate bills,” Clavelle said. “We get comprehensive<br />

coverage for the areas travelled.”<br />

It’s also important to discuss the carrier’s running area<br />

with the toll management provider.<br />

“It depends on where your fleet operates,” Johnson<br />

noted. “New York is offering a better price for a New Yorkbased<br />

transponder versus the national one. Other states do<br />

that too. So, have the conversation; figure out a solution<br />

that’s best for yourself.”<br />

Some tolling jurisdictions offer volume discounts through<br />

Bestpass and PrePass that smaller carriers might not qualify<br />

for on their own.<br />

“We have buying power where we can buy transactions<br />

so that you qualify for a volume rebate you might not get on<br />

your own,” Clavelle said. “With the 20% volume rebates — I<br />

think to go over some of those bridges in New York is over<br />

$100 — so $20 savings on one big truck could be a return<br />

on investment right there.”<br />

A white paper available on the Bestpass website shows<br />

discounts of up to 75% for some tolling locations.<br />

“Honestly, I can’t imagine running without it — just the headache<br />

it would be to manage all those different accounts with the<br />

size of our fleet,” DeMateo said. “(It’s good to have) it all on one<br />

device and be able to manage it. Offering it to our contractors is<br />

in their best interest — and our interests as well.”<br />

Tolling by plate still offers advantages of cash systems (at<br />

least at the toll authorities that still accept cash) but isn’t as<br />

cost effective as using an RFID system. Still, for carriers that<br />

run in areas where toll roads or bridges aren’t prevalent, this<br />

option might be the right choice.<br />

For many, however, well-managed RFID tolling can increase<br />

route efficiency and reduce operating expenses.<br />

TCA JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2024 www.Truckload.org | Truckload Authority 19

Tracking The Trends<br />

SNEAK<br />


By Kris Rutherford<br />

How can carriers,<br />

drivers guard<br />

against fuel card<br />

skimmers?<br />

It’s a sunny day in Fort Worth, Texas. A driver pulls up to a diesel<br />

island at a favorite interstate truck stop and swipes a company<br />

fuel card. As $800 worth of diesel fuel slowly fills the tanks, the<br />

transaction seems perfectly normal.<br />

Appearances, however, can be deceiving.<br />

It might be weeks before the carrier notices something strange<br />

about the driver’s fuel card statements. The fuel card was, as expected,<br />

used to pay for diesel along the driver’s regular route across the<br />

southern tier of the U.S. However, it also filled the tank in places like<br />

New York and Iowa. Before long, accountants handling fuel payments<br />

for the carrier realize the driver has been a victim of fuel card skimming.<br />

“The actual cost of fraud for trucking is unclear, but agencies have<br />

stated it’s millions of dollars each month,” said Spencer Barkoff,<br />

co-founder and president of Relay Payments.<br />

The problem is growing.<br />

“Overall, the FBI reports an increase of 700% of card skimming at<br />

all businesses in the first six months of 2022,” he continued.<br />

A fleet of 100 trucks might pay $20,000 a month in fraudulent<br />

charges. However, the impact of these charges goes beyond the company’s<br />

financial bottom line.<br />

“Additional costs include the operational headaches that fleets and<br />

drivers face when they are the victims of card skimming,” Barkoff said.<br />

Drivers are grounded because they’re unable to pay for fuel. Deliveries<br />

are delayed. Drivers have fewer available hours of service. And<br />

the carrier provides poor customer service.<br />

“Dealing with the aftermath of fraud, such as identifying and<br />

disputing fraudulent transactions and submitting claims is burdensome,”<br />

Barkoff said, noting that it complicates cash flow and back<br />

office operations for fleets.<br />

“We have one fleet customer whose CEO had to drive to meet a<br />

driver and physically hand them a new credit card after their existing<br />

billing card was closed due to card skimming fraud,” he said. “It’s a<br />

logistical and cash flow nightmare.”<br />

Barkoff explains how fuel card skimmers operate.<br />

“Card skimming involves the use of illegal devices that steal credit<br />

or debit card information from unsuspecting individuals,” he said.<br />

“Skimmers are installed on ATM machines or fuel pumps, and they<br />

capture sensitive data when a driver swipes a card.”<br />

Because fuel cards are a primary form of payment in the trucking<br />

industry, truck drivers are particularly vulnerable to card skimming.<br />

“Card skimmers collect the information to create dummy fuel<br />

cards, make fraudulent fuel purchases with those cards, and resell<br />

fuel for their own personal profit,” Barkoff said.<br />

Carriers and fuel-card issuers often set daily spend caps to limit<br />

fraud risk, but scammers have various ways of working around these<br />

measures.<br />

So, how can carriers and drivers fight fuel card skimming?<br />

Richard Sullivan, a consultant with the Truckload Carriers Association<br />

(TCA), says a primary method is education. Sullivan has worked<br />

with the North Carolina Attorney General’s office to develop materials<br />

to educate fleet operators, drivers, and law enforcement about fuel<br />

card skimming, the complicated process, and the multiple crimes being<br />

committed.<br />

“Law enforcement will arrest someone for using a skimmed card,<br />

but they seldom hold those responsible,” Sullivan said, “Law enforcement<br />

doesn’t understand the enormity of the fraud taking place. A<br />

series of criminal actions are involved.”<br />

20 Truckload Authority | www.Truckload.org TCA JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2024

CAT TruckloadAuthority 080923.qxp_Layout 1 8/9/23 4:12 PM Page 1<br />

Scammers create a device solely for the purpose of<br />

skimming sensitive information and then install it inside<br />

or on a fuel pump. Then, using trucks illegally retrofitted<br />

with bladder tanks that hold 250 to 500 gallons, they purchase<br />

fuel using the skimmed cards. These bladder tanks<br />

are unregulated, and they’re dangerous; static electricity<br />

can easily create explosions.<br />

Later, the trucks deliver the fuel to a central hub,<br />

where it is sold on the black market. No taxes are collected,<br />

so the merchant, fleet, driver, and government<br />

are all subjected to fraud. It’s a complicated network that<br />

is operated by cartels.<br />

“The simplest solution — and one that truck stops<br />

are advocating for — is using digital payment methods<br />

to pay for fuel,” Barkoff noted. “With no physical card,<br />

there’s no opportunity for card skimming.”<br />

This solution can benefit truck stops because they<br />

don’t have to spend revenue and handle the back-office<br />

issues created by skimming.<br />

“Carriers and drivers also benefit, dealing with far<br />

fewer hassles and saving time and money as a result,”<br />

Barkoff said.<br />

“With no card, there’s no magnetic swipe, and thus no<br />

card skimming,” he continued. “There’s also no opportunity<br />

for other forms of card fraud, because the digital<br />

solution relies on one-time payment codes that don’t<br />

have to be tied to any credit card as a form of payment.”<br />

Until digital or some other fraud-proof payment system<br />

gain widespread use, what can the average driver do<br />

to protect against fraud?<br />

The TCA recommends that drivers look at the card<br />

slot on the diesel pump. One that’s been fitted with a<br />

skimming device will often look different than slots on<br />

nearby fuel dispensers. Drivers should also take notice<br />

of broken inspection seals on the fuel dispensers. These<br />

can mean that the dispenser has been opened, allowing<br />

someone to attach a skimmer inside the machine.<br />

In addition, drivers should use the fuel pumps closest<br />

to the entrance of the truck stop when possible. Skimmers<br />

are most likely to work the pumps farthest from<br />

the building, so they won’t be noticed installing their<br />

devices. Finally, if a driver has repeated problems with a<br />

transaction or receives error codes, the issue should be<br />

reported to dispatch immediately.<br />

As for the future of fuel card skimming, Spencer Barkoff<br />

says the industry can’t let its guard down anytime<br />

soon.<br />

“Criminals are creative, and have found countless<br />

ways to steal credit card information,” he noted. “Those<br />

who continue to rely on modes of payment such as<br />

credit cards, checks, and cash will face more instances<br />

of card skimming.”<br />

He believes digital payments are becoming better options<br />

and that more companies will invest in non-magnetic<br />

swipe methods of payment in the future.<br />

“The good news is that many carriers, drivers, and merchants<br />

are waking up to the issue and have begun to digitally<br />

transform with digital payment solutions,” Barkoff said.<br />

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mr.<br />

wonderful<br />

Behind the scenes with<br />

Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary<br />

By John Worthen<br />

there aren’t many successful people who wear more hats than Kevin O’Leary, also known as<br />

“Mr. Wonderful” on ABC’s award-winning “Shark Tank.”<br />

In addition to being a well-known TV personality, this Canadian-born, self-made millionaire<br />

is a go-to expert in both business and financial markets. He’s also a bestselling author and a<br />

talented chef.<br />

At his core, though, O’Leary says he’s a passionate advocate for small businesses — and he says that<br />

the small business “umbrella” covers many levels of the trucking industry.<br />

“Every truck driver is an entrepreneur,” O’Leary said. “They do it because they love it — otherwise, why<br />

would they do it? To me, it’s the modern-day American cowboy. If you ask me, you get freedom from it.”<br />

During Truckload 2024, the Truckload Carriers Association’s annual convention set for March 23-26<br />

in Nashville, Tennessee, O’Leary will share his no-nonsense wisdom with association members as the<br />

event’s keynote speaker.<br />

O’Leary is well-versed in major issues facing the trucking industry, including the electrification of<br />

heavy-duty transport trucks, which he believes will happen a lot more slowly than some people think.<br />

22 Truckload Authority | www.Truckload.org TCA JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2024

“Electric trucking is not efficient yet,” he said. “When<br />

you are operating a truck, your job is to take care of<br />

yourself and make sure you are successful. That includes<br />

contracts, equipment, carriage, etc. If you are going to<br />

buy into this technology, show me my payback. How fast<br />

am I getting my investment back?”<br />

O’Leary says it doesn’t make sense for a trucking<br />

business to spend more money to purchase electric<br />

trucks if they aren’t going to get that money back while<br />

operating the vehicles.<br />

“You can’t just change like that,” he said. “It’s going<br />

to take 30 or 40 years before we figure out how to do<br />

things right. All of the tech that helps you operate more<br />

productively at a lower cost is what you take advantage<br />

of now.”<br />

While O’Leary may be most famous for his appearances<br />

on “Shark Tank,” the show that brings entrepreneurs<br />

before a group of wealthy investors for a chance at<br />

launching their products,<br />

he has a broad professional<br />

history.<br />

Decades ago, O’Leary cofounded<br />

SoftKey Software<br />

Products, a technology<br />

company that sold software<br />

geared toward family education<br />

and entertainment.<br />

During the late 1980s and<br />

1990s, SoftKey became a<br />

major consolidator in the<br />

global educational software<br />

market, having acquired rival<br />

companies via hostile<br />

takeover bids.<br />

In 2008, O’Leary cofounded<br />

O’Leary Funds Inc.,<br />

a mutual fund management<br />

firm focused on global<br />

yield investing. He is the company’s chairman and lead<br />

investor, while his brother Shane O’Leary serves as the<br />

director.<br />

The fund’s assets under management shot from $400<br />

million in 2011 to $1.2 billion in 2012, he shared. The<br />

fund’s primary manager was Stanton Asset Management,<br />

a firm controlled by the husband-and-wife team of Connor<br />

O’Brien and Louise Ann Poirier.<br />

O’Leary is definitely a savvy businessman with a<br />

dynamic personality.<br />

But he isn’t all business. His whimsical side comes alive<br />

when he talks about his passion for preparing good food.<br />

When the Truckload Authority team asked who he’d<br />

invite to a fantasy dinner party, O’Leary didn’t hesitate to<br />

list several names.<br />

“Napoleon, Otto von Bismarck, Henry Kissinger, Attila<br />

the Hun, and Cleopatra,” he said. “She was the first<br />

woman to run the show,” he said of Cleopatra.<br />

When asked what courses he’d serve to someone like<br />

Attila the Hun, O’Leary quipped, “A whole lot of beef.”<br />

On a more serious note, O’Leary says that in his<br />

personal life he follows a strict routine and diet.<br />

“When I was younger, I didn’t give a shit about what<br />

I ate or drank, and I didn’t exercise,” he said. “That’s all<br />

changed because I have realized, ‘I invest in so many<br />

things, why not invest in myself?’”<br />

Why the change? O’Leary says he got a “wake-up call”<br />

several years ago during a routine doctor’s visit.<br />

“My doctor said, ‘Wow, you are going to stroke out.<br />

You are basically gonna die,’” O’Leary said. “My blood<br />

pressure was at a crazy level. That is when I started<br />

caring about my diet and watching how much I drink.”<br />

As a result, O’Leary says, he’s lost 35 pounds and now<br />

feels better than ever.<br />

One of the best parts of his new lifestyle is that he can<br />

still enjoy gourmet food.<br />

“I do a lot of cooking,” he said. “I try to find ways to<br />

take classics, like French<br />

cooking, and swap out the<br />

Every truck driver is an<br />

entrepreneur. They do it<br />

because they love it —<br />

otherwise, why would they do<br />

it? To me, it’s the modern-day<br />

American cowboy. If you ask<br />

me, you get freedom from it.”<br />

— Kevin O’Leary<br />

Businessman, television personality,<br />

Best-selling author, and chef<br />

heavy ingredients for something<br />

healthier.”<br />

In addition, he greatly reduces<br />

the amount of sugar<br />

in his recipes.<br />

“We use too much sugar<br />

in North American cooking.<br />

It kills the taste,” he explained.<br />

When asked about his<br />

outlook for the future,<br />

O’Leary said one thing he’s<br />

most worried about is the<br />

state of regional banks as<br />

megabanks become the<br />

norm.<br />

“Right now, you have<br />

4,100 regional banks,” he<br />

said. “In five years, that will be down to 2,000 because<br />

so many of them have really bad portfolios in commercial<br />

real estate.<br />

“The cost of running a business has quadrupled in<br />

terms of interest costs,” he continued. “The Fed rate<br />

is 5.5%, but that is not the loan book rate. That rate is<br />

between 9% and 14%.”<br />

While the world may think of O’Leary as “Mr. Wonderful,”<br />

he says he bills himself as “Mr. Small Business.” He<br />

currently supports around 40 entrepreneurs and their<br />

ventures.<br />

The bottom line, O’Leary says, is that small businesses<br />

must succeed — and banks should find ways to help<br />

them.<br />

“It’s wrong that there isn’t any money for small<br />

businesses,” he said. “Sixty percent of jobs come from<br />

small businesses. Every dollar should be 60% to the<br />

small guy and 40% to the big guy. That would be money<br />

well spent.”<br />

TCA JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2024 www.Truckload.org | Truckload Authority 23


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24 Truckload Authority | www.Truckload.org TCA JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2024

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Setting Goals<br />

Foreword and Interview by Linda Garner-Bunch<br />

As we wrap up 2023 and roll into 2024, the trucking industry faces numerous<br />

challenges — some old, some new. How is the Truckload Carriers Association<br />

(TCA) working to address the issues faced by motor carriers, service providers,<br />

and equipment manufacturers, and how can the association help its members<br />

thrive in uncertain times? The Truckload Authority team recently enjoyed a<br />

visit with TCA Chairman Dave Williams. In addition to sharing insights about<br />

regulations and policy impacting the movement of freight, he provided a sneak<br />

peek at some of the association’s plans for the future.<br />

u Good morning, Mr. Chairman, and happy New Year!<br />

As you know, it’s customary to set personal or professional<br />

goals at the beginning of a new year. What are a few of<br />

your goals for the Truckload Carriers Association in the<br />

coming year? For the trucking industry as a whole?<br />

Earlier this year, we laid out some very ambitious goals. We<br />

have made progress in laying some of the foundational groundwork<br />

that we believe will create real value for our members. In fact, we<br />

have gone so far as shifting staff assignments and changing some<br />

of our program offerings to align with these goals. As a refresher,<br />

we stated that our aim is to:<br />

• Improve highway safety;<br />

• To do a better job of advocating on behalf of our drivers to<br />

improve the driving job;<br />

• To work as an industry to improve the financial viability of<br />

motor carriers;<br />

• To guide the truckload industry through the ever-changing<br />

environmental regulations; and<br />

• To improve the perception and image of the truckload industry.<br />

There are no lightweights in that group; too much is at stake<br />

to think small. Our intent would be to continue along these lines<br />

and start narrowing our focus on specific objectives that can be<br />

accomplished through the next year. I truly believe that as we start<br />

to experience wins in these areas, we will generate momentum<br />

that will spark more member involvement, and more wins. We are<br />

really not looking for surface-level wins that we can advertise. We<br />

want real wins that move the needle in our members’ businesses.<br />

It is important to note that prioritizing our efforts within the<br />

framework of these objectives should be driven by the members<br />

of the association. So please, consider this an open invitation<br />

to engage in the process! There is a good chance that there are<br />

some different ideas, and maybe some conflicting ideas, but that’s<br />

welcome. A good, healthy debate before making a decision will<br />

almost always produce a better result.<br />

u TCA’s 2024 convention is set for March 23-36 in<br />

Nashville, Tennessee. What benefits can TCA members<br />

gain by attending the convention?<br />

Our annual convention is really the pinnacle event of the year for<br />

the TCA. If there is one event to be involved with, it’s this one. The<br />

convention is a place where our members can really be immersed<br />

in what TCA is all about. Based on feedback received from carrier<br />

members and allied members over the past several years, our<br />

annual conference has experienced a significant makeover. We<br />

can’t wait to see everyone at Truckload 2024 in Nashville and share<br />

what we’ve been up to.<br />

u While most Truckload Authority readers are TCA<br />

members, there are a few non-members in our audience.<br />

Why should those readers consider joining TCA?<br />

SEE CHAT, PAGE 26<br />

TCA JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2024 www.Truckload.org | Truckload Authority 25

CHAT, FROM PAGE 25<br />

I have never really been much of a salesman. My belief has<br />

always been that the goal is to build something that brings value —<br />

something that people need. It will then sell itself. That is what we<br />

are continuing to build at TCA. We are building an organization that<br />

provides timely information, valuable educational material, best-inclass<br />

advocacy, and can’t-miss networking opportunities. We are<br />

trying to make a difference by improving the truckload industry’s<br />

impact on drivers’ families, on motor carriers, on motorists that<br />

we share the road with, on the environment, and on the nation’s<br />

supply chain. That is as meaningful as it gets in our industry. For<br />

those that want to be a part of that, it’s time to get on board and get<br />

involved. It’s pretty simple: Our strength comes from the collective<br />

strength of our members and grows with the involvement of the<br />

people within those companies.<br />

u As political debates heat up during this presidential<br />

election year, what issues should motor carriers and other<br />

trucking industry stakeholders pay particular attention to?<br />

We have all seen the far-reaching impact government can have<br />

on our businesses. Sometimes our elected officials find ways to<br />

help us, and sometimes they make life really challenging for us.<br />

While each individual will have their own take on social issues, the<br />

issues that tend to impact our industry the most are associated<br />

with areas such as tax policy, labor policy, and the ever-growing<br />

influence of environmental policy. It is important to understand<br />

how each candidate approaches these important areas, which have<br />

real implications on our ability to successfully run our businesses.<br />

We try not to get too tied up on party politics.<br />

The fact is that no matter which party controls the White<br />

House — or the House or the Senate — we have to work with<br />

both sides of the aisle. Our TCA lobbyists are representative of this,<br />

in that Missy Edwards is a former staff member of a Republican<br />

senator and Richard Sullivan is a top Democratic fundraiser. Both<br />

are extremely well connected within the respective parties, and<br />

both work together to help us navigate the needs of the truckload<br />

industry in Washington, D.C.<br />

The best thing our members can do is to educate themselves<br />

on the issues of the day and let their voice be heard by voting for<br />

the candidates they feel give their family and their business the<br />

best chance to succeed. Each month the TCA publishes our Capitol<br />

Recap email to help our members stay up to date on the issues that<br />

mean the most to us. If you are not receiving this, please reach out<br />

to TCA staff. This is an important resource.<br />

We also need our members to engage at the state and local<br />

levels, as not every government challenge has a federal solution.<br />

We have found that issues such as predatory towing, lawsuit abuse,<br />

and the spending of truck parking funds often have strong local<br />

ties. As we become aware of local issues, there are often strategies<br />

that have worked in other areas that we can share and deploy. Our<br />

strength doesn’t always come from our staff doing the work. Our<br />

real strength comes from a mobilized and motivated membership.<br />

u On Page 6 of this edition of Truckload Authority,<br />

readers will find an insightful story you wrote last fall that<br />

discusses the relationship between clean air regulations and<br />

“My belief has always been that the<br />

goal is to build something that brings<br />

value — something that people need.<br />

It will then sell itself. That is what we<br />

are continuing to build at TCA.”<br />

the trucking industry. In it, you note that environmentalists<br />

seem unwilling to acknowledge the strides made to improve<br />

the efficiency of and reduce the emissions of diesel fuel.<br />

Why do you believe so many groups are focused on fuel<br />

sources other than diesel?<br />

That is a good question. It seems society’s “cancel culture” has<br />

put petroleum on the dart board and is determined to eliminate it.<br />

But changing the world’s energy source is going to take more than<br />

just cancel culture. There is a balance of many factors that need to<br />

be considered, and some of these factors are more complex than<br />

you think. These would include energy density, energy cost, energy<br />

emissions, energy transportation costs, and energy production<br />

capabilities, among others.<br />

Replacing petroleum “at any cost” is an extremely dangerous<br />

proposition. I am not trying to be dramatic, but such an effort<br />

could destroy our economy and put our country at a competitive<br />

disadvantage if we are not balanced in our approach. It has taken<br />

us centuries to develop petroleum-based energy into the resource<br />

the world is so dependent upon today. Wind or solar energy will<br />

take perhaps many lifetimes to fully displace petroleum, if that ends<br />

up happening. Some groups are trying to do this in the next 10 or<br />

20 years. Rather than “canceling” diesel fuel and petroleum, we<br />

should continue to improve the use and impacts of diesel fuel —<br />

and then let these other alternative energy sources mature over a<br />

natural development cycle. We have made tremendous progress<br />

with diesel emissions and can make more progress. If it ends up<br />

that we replace diesel with another form of energy, then so be it.<br />

But we must do it in the right way, on the right time line.<br />

u In late November, the American Transportation<br />

Research Institute (ATRI) released a report examining the<br />

issue of predatory towing in the trucking industry. How<br />

prevalent is this practice, and what regulatory steps can be<br />

taken to prevent it?<br />

This is a big problem, as indicated by the description “predatory.”<br />

ATRI’s study states that 30% of crash related towing events are<br />

overcharged. Like any issue, many of the actors in the towing industry<br />

are doing the right thing, but there seems to be a growing number of<br />

bad actors. ATRI outlined some of the problematic practices, which<br />

include excessive hourly or per pound rates, unwarranted additional<br />

equipment or labor charges, excessive daily storage rates, vehicle<br />

release delays, and cargo release delays, among others.<br />

Some of the situations that I am aware of could very well be<br />

described as “hostage situations.” In these cases, tow companies<br />

SEE CHAT, PAGE 28<br />

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26 Truckload Authority | www.Truckload.org TCA JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2024

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TCA JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2024 www.Truckload.org | Truckload Authority 27


CHAT, FROM PAGE 26<br />

navigate the nuances of the local laws or local contracts and create<br />

leverage on the motor carrier. The tow company then demands an<br />

inflated fee before they release the equipment or the cargo. A growing<br />

number of cases don’t even involve an accident! More and more<br />

situations involve a tow company seizing vehicles without cause and<br />

then racking up gigantic storage charges. Minimal efforts to contact<br />

the motor carrier are made, and then the motor carrier is left to pay an<br />

outrageous fee or forfeit the equipment. It’s theft. The key for motor<br />

carriers is to actively manage every accident, overcommunicate, and<br />

document everything you do. Waiting for a tow company to send<br />

you a bill is a recipe for disaster. Motor carriers also need to leverage<br />

GPS technology to monitor their fleets and keep storage charges<br />

on vehicle seizures from racking up. The problem is that even if<br />

a motor carrier does all the right things, they still have exposure.<br />

Something needs to change here. This is a<br />

complicated issue that does not appear to<br />

have a simple solution.<br />

u In November, identical bills<br />

were introduced in the U.S. House<br />

and Senate calling for guaranteed<br />

overtime pay for commercial drivers.<br />

The author of the Senate bill told<br />

Truckload Authority that one goal of<br />

the legislation is to compensate drivers<br />

for excessive wait/detention time.<br />

Most drivers are paid on a cents-permile<br />

basis, and detention time has<br />

long been an issue for drivers and<br />

carriers. Can motor carriers legally<br />

be held responsible for delays caused<br />

by shippers and receivers?<br />

“I believe I can safely<br />

speak on behalf of the grand<br />

majority of TCA members<br />

and state that no one<br />

wants to see professional<br />

truck drivers be paid more<br />

appropriately than the motor<br />

carriers that the drivers<br />

work for. Our drivers work<br />

hard; they are the lifeblood<br />

of the supply chain.”<br />

This is a potentially touchy issue, and<br />

a classic case of “gotcha!” in politics. Who<br />

would possibly argue against drivers being<br />

paid more, right? I believe I can safely speak<br />

on behalf of the grand majority of TCA members and state that no<br />

one wants to see professional truck drivers be paid more appropriately<br />

than the motor carriers that the drivers work for. Our drivers work<br />

hard; they are the lifeblood of the supply chain. But just because we<br />

want something doesn’t automatically make it happen. There are<br />

checks and balances throughout the free-market system that require<br />

carriers to make tough decisions on how much they can pay in some<br />

areas of the business and still have enough left over to pay the bills.<br />

The truckload industry is extremely competitive, and sometimes not<br />

very rational. Our deep economic cycles reward and punish carriers<br />

on a regular basis. One significant miscalculation can put a multigenerational<br />

business at risk.<br />

On top of that, this is an industry that has largely been<br />

commoditized. The supply chain rarely accepts higher freight rates<br />

that are not tied to supply and demand imbalances. Raising rates<br />

in order to offset higher driver compensation or any other cost,<br />

simply as a result of an increase in that cost, has proven to be a<br />

difficult thing to do consistently in this industry.<br />

The proposed overtime bill would force additional costs on the carrier,<br />

and hope the carrier finds a way to pass on those costs to the<br />

shipper. The problem is that in a market cycle like the one we are in<br />

right now, the motor carrier would likely be expected to absorb that<br />

cost, which would likely force the carrier to manage its drivers’ time<br />

and not allow them to work past 40 hours (a week). This then becomes<br />

a case of “good intentions with unintended consequences.” Currently,<br />

our drivers have the freedom within the hours-of-service rules to work<br />

harder when they can and rest when they need to. Managing drivers in<br />

a 40-hour week would, in my opinion, not yield the result the authors<br />

of this bill are looking for. It could potentially cause the opposite result.<br />

As for detention, this is a problem that has existed for decades. The<br />

question becomes this: Do we solve the issue through the market, or<br />

do we try to have the government solve the problem? As for the market,<br />

we seem to only make progress when the cycle swings toward the<br />

motor carriers. But as soon as the market<br />

turns towards the shipper, we seem to lose<br />

much of that progress. This is a common<br />

theme on many fronts that has plagued the<br />

truckload industry for many decades.<br />

As for a government solution, there is<br />

always a risk of “over-engineering.” The<br />

“keep it simple” approach would be my<br />

preference. Perhaps setting a universal<br />

standard around acceptable detention periods,<br />

with the shipper/receiver compensating<br />

for any time above that (i.e. any time<br />

greater than one or two hours of waiting)<br />

would be appropriate. Government intervention<br />

beyond something simple like that<br />

leaves the possibility of more unintended<br />

consequences. I firmly believe the market<br />

should solve the majority of its own problems.<br />

We just have not been able to make<br />

lasting progress on this one.<br />

u Speaking of issues regarding<br />

driver pay, in your experience, what<br />

factors other than the amount of a paycheck can impact the<br />

relationship between a driver and motor carrier?<br />

Pay is rightfully one of the most important factors that<br />

drivers consider when they choose who to work for. You cannot<br />

underestimate the impact of pay. At the same time, we have seen<br />

that drivers will often change jobs for an issue unrelated to pay.<br />

What makes this difficult is that each driver values the elements of<br />

a relationship in different ways. Some place a higher value on time<br />

at home, some really want to be respected, others place a high<br />

value on the “family feel” they get within a company — and the<br />

list goes on. I believe most drivers want to be part of something;<br />

they want to make a difference. They want a reason to get up in the<br />

morning, and they want to contribute in a meaningful way. They<br />

want to develop relationships that enrich their lives and grow into<br />

friendships. Pay is important, but there is more to it. The human<br />

side of the relationship goes well beyond dollars and cents. Finding<br />

the right balance of tangible pay and intangible benefits is both an<br />

art and a science. We will need to keep working on it until we get<br />

it right!<br />

Sponsored by Mcleod software / McLeodSoftware.com / 877.362.5363<br />

28 Truckload Authority | www.Truckload.org TCA JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2024

u While electric Class 8 tractors have not yet been<br />

proven feasible for over-the-road, long-haul routes, they are<br />

becoming more common for first- and last-mile runs as well as<br />

for drayage at the nation’s ports. In fact, California’s Port of<br />

Long Beach is planning to build charging infrastructure that<br />

promises “high-speed” (90 minute) charging for 200 trucks a<br />

day. In real-world applications for a motor carrier, is an hour<br />

and a half a reasonable time for refueling/recharging?<br />

Before I answer this question, I will have to repeat that I would love<br />

to see zero-emissions vehicles succeed. As an industry, we all want<br />

clean air and clean water. The challenge is that we keep seeing what I<br />

will call “misleading headlines” that make it seem that regulations such<br />

as California’s Advanced Clean Fleet Regulation are reasonable.<br />

I have learned repeatedly throughout my career, sometimes<br />

through hard experience: 1) Things need to be kept in perspective,<br />

and 2) the details are important. Let’s talk about perspective first. The<br />

California Air Resources Board website states that “approximately<br />

33,500 drayage trucks service California’s seaports and railyards<br />

annually.” A charging station that could accommodate 200 trucks<br />

would be, by far the largest charging site that I am aware of. But<br />

using some simple math, this would represent an infrastructure<br />

solution for less than 1% of the trucks that operate as drayage trucks<br />

in California.<br />

The power needs and infrastructure accommodations needed<br />

to meet the demands of the Advanced Clean Fleet regulation are<br />

enormous. We would need hundreds of these facilities, and a<br />

significant number of new power plants would have to be built. Also<br />

note that the Port of Long Beach is “planning” to build this. Some<br />

of the other charging facilities that have been announced do not<br />

have completion dates for several years. This regulation begins on<br />

January 1, 2024. A company can only add a zero-emission (electric)<br />

truck to the drayage registry after January 1, 2024. If the cart hadn’t<br />

been put in front of the horse on this regulation, these charging<br />

facilities should have been in the planning stages years ago to meet<br />

the regulation requirement that is now on top of us.<br />

As for the details, let’s talk about a 90-minute charging time. In all<br />

fairness, most manufacturers can only give an average charging time.<br />

There are so many factors to consider, such as the size of the battery,<br />

how much charge is left on the battery when you begin charging, the<br />

ambient temperature, and the age of the battery, to name a few. For<br />

“high-speed” charging scenarios, the standard disclaimer is that you<br />

can’t get to a 100% battery charge on a “high-speed” charger; normally<br />

you will only get to 80% of the available battery capacity. The<br />

remaining 20% normally takes significantly longer to charge than the<br />

first 80%. Elon Musk described this using a parking lot analogy: It’s<br />

easy to find a parking spot in an empty lot, but when the lot is full,<br />

it takes substantially longer to find a spot. In any case, this makes<br />

an already limited tractor range even more limited. The bottom line<br />

is that if you have a Class 8 truck and assume that you can get to a<br />

100% charge in 90 minutes, you are likely to be disappointed.<br />

As an industry, we really need to get past the flashy headlines and<br />

have some transparent dialogue about what this technology can really<br />

do and what it can’t do. For those of us that want to see zero-emissions<br />

vehicles succeed, that is the only way we are going to make progress. Because<br />

as soon as we solve the infrastructure and power generation problem,<br />

we are going to need to address the cost, the weight, and the range<br />

issues. Sounds like a good time, right? As I stated earlier, there is a lot at<br />

stake here. We need everyone to engage as this is not going to go away.<br />

u Thank you for your time, Mr. Chairman. I look<br />

forward to our next conversation.<br />

<br />

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TCA JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2024 www.Truckload.org | Truckload Authority 29


Those Who Deliver<br />

with Western Flyer Xpress<br />

By Kris Rutherford<br />

Steady growth is the key to — and a sign of —<br />

success in any company. Since 1996, steady<br />

growth is exactly what Oklahoma City-based<br />

Western Flyer Xpress (WFX) has experienced in<br />

the trucking industry.<br />

“We started with four trucks and four reefers,” said Randy<br />

Timms, CEO of WFX, in reference to the family-owned business<br />

he began with his parents over a quarter century ago.<br />

“We hauled broker loads west from Oklahoma, and returned<br />

with loads of produce for Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri,<br />

and Kansas.”<br />

That was just the beginning.<br />

“Somehow along the way, we ended up with a dry van,”<br />

Timms said. “I had to figure out how to load it and use it<br />

efficiently. Again, we looked for broker loads.”<br />

The WFX team quickly discovered new opportunities in<br />

the dry load business.<br />

“We’d work with pre-loaded trailers — drop one off and<br />

pick another up” Timms said. “We couldn’t do that with reefers,<br />

which were live load and unload. We started to understand<br />

how to become more operationally efficient.”<br />

After getting their feet wet in the dry load business, the<br />

WFX crew started to work with a small shipper in Oklahoma<br />

City and bought about 10 dry van trailers. The results were<br />

so good that WFX steadily added five to 10 dry vans to its<br />

fleet each year, until the dry van business actually overtook<br />

the refrigerated side.<br />

Eventually, dry van operation became such a better fit<br />

operationally that WFX actually exited the refrigerated business,<br />

Timms said. All the while, the company continued to<br />

grow, with a new focus on dry loads.<br />

“We never had a year when we didn’t produce more revenue<br />

than the previous year,” Timms said.<br />

Despite the success with dry vans, Timms didn’t rest on<br />

his laurels and grow complacent.<br />

“We had a dispatcher who said he could bring in some<br />

good business if we had reefers,” he said. So, on a whim,<br />

he shared, WFX purchased 10 refrigerated trailers. Just like<br />

that, WFX was back to hauling both dry loads and temperature-controlled<br />

cargo.<br />

Along the way, more opportunities to transport refrigerated<br />

loads came forward. In 2019, WFX acquired a small<br />

refrigerated company, pushing its refrigerated capacity to<br />

350 reefer trucks.<br />

The company continued to grow organically, both in dry<br />

and refrigerated cargo. Then, in January 2023, WFX joined<br />

forces with Indiana Western Express (IWX), a 250-unit reefer<br />

carrier. At that point, the combined companies owned a<br />

total of 4,000 trailers (a combination of reefers and vans)<br />

and a fleet of 800 reefer trucks and 675 dry van trucks.<br />

Because the market was in a bit of a decline at that time,<br />

Timms said the timing of the decision to begin working with<br />

IWX probably wasn’t the best — but it has actually worked<br />

out well.<br />

“(The combination of) WFX and IWX brought synergy to<br />

the table. We broker freight to them, and they broker freight<br />

to us — whatever produces the best synergies between the<br />

two companies,” Timms said.<br />

In addition to WFX’s 1,100 or so drivers and IWX’s 250<br />

or so drivers, the company employs another 350 people.<br />

Timms believes each member of the team is important.<br />

“A company is a group of people,” he explained. “Between<br />

our drivers, contractors, techs working in the shop, and our<br />

operations and administration teams, we have an excellent<br />

group of people, and that has helped us succeed.”<br />

Even so, as it is at any trucking business, employee turnover<br />

can sometimes become an issue that needs to be addressed.<br />

“We aren’t any different than anyone else out there,”<br />

Timms said, adding that many drivers leave carriers for reasons<br />

other than dissatisfaction with policy or pay.<br />

“Driver turnover is often the result of a life change,” he<br />

shared. “When your average guy on the street has a life<br />

change, he usually stays in the same job, because he or<br />

she is home every night and can deal with personal issues<br />

as well as maintain their career. When truckers have life<br />

30 Truckload Authority | www.Truckload.org TCA JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2024

changes, it upends their professional<br />

lives as well, because they can’t be away<br />

from home and deal with life changes.”<br />

Timms also notes that WFX is competing<br />

for the same talent pool as all the<br />

other carriers in the industry. A lack of<br />

qualified company drivers in the U.S.<br />

has resulted in some carriers promising<br />

tempting benefits and bonuses to lure<br />

drivers away from their current jobs.<br />

“We have some drivers who have been<br />

around 10 or 15 years, though,” he said.<br />

When it comes to what sets WFX apart<br />

from other carriers, Timms stresses the<br />

organization’s diversity, both in people<br />

and in cargo. The company’s trailer fleet<br />

includes a “good blend of dry van and<br />

reefers,” he noted, which provides added<br />

flexibility in terms of types of cargo they<br />

can haul, along with creating operational<br />

efficiencies between the two trailer types.<br />

In addition, WFX has a varied customer<br />

base, so the company isn’t dependent<br />

on any one product segment.<br />

“No single customer makes up more<br />

than 10% of our business,” he said.<br />

WFX has taken the concept of diversity<br />

beyond employees, customers,<br />

equipment, and cargo and expanded it<br />

to dedicated and end-route markets.<br />

Because of this mind set, WFX has<br />

expanded to serve customers across<br />

the nation. That’s quite a jump from the<br />

modest Midwest to West Coast routes<br />

his family originally envisioned when<br />

founding the company back in 1996.<br />

Today, WFX has terminals in Oklahoma,<br />

Texas, Nebraska, Missouri, and Arizona,<br />

along with drop yards in Georgia,<br />

Tennessee, Kansas, New Jersey, Colorado,<br />

Washington, Illinois, North Carolina,<br />

Florida, and California. The company offers<br />

local, regional, dedicated, and OTR<br />

lanes for both solo and team drivers.<br />

“Our diversity opens us to opportunities,”<br />

Timms said — and opportunity is<br />

yet another key ingredient for success<br />

at WFX.<br />

Leadership Team<br />

Randy Timms<br />

Chief Executive Officer<br />

John Story<br />

Chief Operations Officer<br />

Gilbert Aspeitia<br />

Chief Commercial Officer<br />

Jeremy Stowe<br />

Chief Financial Officer<br />

Tim Hutchings<br />

Vice President of Safety &<br />

Compliance<br />

By the Numbers<br />


1,435<br />

TRUCKS<br />

1,475<br />


4,000<br />


1,808<br />

Opposite page: Based in Oklahoma<br />

City, Western Flyer Xpress employs<br />

more than 1,800 people. In addition<br />

to embracing diversity on its staff, the<br />

carrier prides itself on offering diverse<br />

services and transporting a variety<br />

of cargo.<br />

This page, top: Western Xpress<br />

CEO Randy Timms, right, visits with<br />

driver Jim Gates.<br />

This page, right: Members of<br />

the company’s fleet management<br />

team work with more than 1,400<br />

professional drivers.<br />

TCA JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2024 www.Truckload.org | Truckload Authority 31


Next Gen Executives<br />

TCA’s young leaders take the spotlight, drive the future of trucking<br />

Matt Richardson<br />

KRTS’s Matt<br />

Richardson takes<br />

the trucking<br />

industry to school<br />

By Dwain Hebda<br />

When it comes to comprehensive educational<br />

offerings for the trucking and construction<br />

industries, Kim Richardson Transportation<br />

Specialists, Inc. — better known simply as<br />

KRTS — stands out as a leader. The Caledonia,<br />

Ontario, Canada-based training company serves a client<br />

network of more than 400 companies and offers a dazzling<br />

array of training curriculum, technology, and equipment.<br />

In fact, the firm’s reputation has brought in clients from not<br />

only North America, but also Australia, the Bahamas, and more.<br />

Spend some time around Matt Richardson, KRTS’s vice<br />

president, and you’ll quickly understand what has made the<br />

firm so successful and what will keep it a major player for<br />

years to come — the bonds of family, the benefits of hard<br />

work, and an eye on what’s next.<br />

“My parents, Kim and Lisa, started the company in 1989<br />

out of their house, with Kim as the trainer and the education<br />

provider and Lisa doing all of the office duties basically from<br />

a bedside table,” Richardson said. “They basically had one<br />

corporate customer, and that’s what paid the bills for the<br />

first little while along with some of the student training.<br />

“Back in the ’80s and early ’90s, you didn’t have to worry<br />

about being a registered private vocational school,” he<br />

continued. “They evolved into that over the years, as well<br />

as (developing) the corporate side of our business, which is<br />

what we’re really known for — growing and expanding into<br />

what it is today.”<br />

Richardson chuckles over the fact he joined his parents’<br />

venture at age 4, helping wash trucks that were used for<br />

driver education. It was a gig that would extend over the next<br />

decade to include other “child-of-entrepreneur” responsibilities<br />

such as cutting the grass and handling odd jobs.<br />

By the time he enrolled in University of Guelph to play<br />

football, the seed had been planted in Richardson’s heart to<br />

return home, armed with an education, and help KRTS grow.<br />

“I always had a keen interest in listening to Mom and Dad<br />

discuss business, but it probably wasn’t until high school<br />

and into university that I got to meet some of the people<br />

they were doing business with. That really brought out that<br />

passion in me,” he said. “This industry is full of so many<br />

amazing people. I got a glimpse of that at an early age.”<br />

During his college years, Richardson worked to learn his<br />

parents’ business from the ground up.<br />

“Every year while I was away at school, I was put into a<br />

different aspect of the business each summer,” he recalled.<br />

“One summer I was in scheduling, the next summer I was in<br />

customer service, and the next summer I shadowed different<br />

managers. While doing that, I was participating in different<br />

training and educational programs that we offer.<br />

“While I was working during my summers off, I started<br />

32 Truckload Authority | www.Truckload.org TCA JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2024

to understand business more through my education, seeing<br />

where some of the opportunities were for KRTS and how I<br />

could help drive it forward,” he continued.<br />

After graduating from college, Richardson actually passed<br />

up an opportunity to play football in Europe. Instead, he returned<br />

home and continued his daily education into the workings<br />

of the company. Eventually, he began introducing changes<br />

to help KRTS reach a wider audience both in serving individual<br />

students and providing education to corporate clients.<br />

“On the corporate side, a lot of what I’ve done is expand<br />

the number of services we provide and how we are able<br />

to customize and package our services together for our<br />

customers,” he said.<br />

“On the student side, I was heavily involved with<br />

expanding the number of programs that we have registered<br />

and offered to the general public,” he continued. “When I<br />

came on board, I think we had three, maybe four registered<br />

programs. We’re now in the seven- to eight-program range.”<br />

Richardson, who became vice president of the company<br />

in 2021, has also played a major role in incorporating<br />

technology into KRTS’ educational programs.<br />

“In the past couple of years, we’ve delved heavily into<br />

simulation training,” he said. “That was an initiative and a<br />

business plan that I had put together for KRTS — for us to get<br />

full-motion truck simulators to our facility. This allows us to<br />

train and educate our customers, as well as become a reseller<br />

of those simulators on the training rep side of our business.”<br />

At same time, Richardson is quick to point out that<br />

technology only goes so far in the company’s specific brand<br />

of educational programming.<br />

“On the theory side of training, we are able to service some<br />

of our customers more easily now when it comes to virtual<br />

classes,” he said. “Prior to COVID, that really wasn’t a thing,<br />

but once COVID hit we adjusted with the times and introduced<br />

virtual classes, which opened up some opportunities.<br />

“With the full-motion simulators, we can train people, and<br />

they’re comfortable because they know they can’t cause any<br />

real damage,” he said. “However, one thing that won’t ever<br />

change is the hands-on, behind-the-wheel, or in-the-cab<br />

stuff. When it comes to the actual operation of trucks or<br />

heavy equipment. That’s a type of training you can’t teach<br />

through an iPad.”<br />

Richardson points out that the same can be said of the<br />

company’s brand of customer service. Technology might<br />

make a salesperson or customer representative appear more<br />

productive on paper, but personal relationships are what build<br />

customer loyalty for life. KRTS’ reputation for expertise and<br />

white-glove service is one of the things that’s led to partnerships<br />

with trucking companies to handle curriculum and instruction<br />

for the carriers’ internal driver’s education programs.<br />

“What we’ve been doing lately, and what I see us continuing,<br />

is carrier-based school partnerships,” Richardson<br />

said. “We have partnerships with two carriers here in Ontario,<br />

Challenger Motor Freight and Zavcor, which have good<br />

finishing programs in place. They’re offering that entry-level<br />

training, which helps them get high-quality drivers in their<br />

fleets but also provides a service for the general public.”<br />

Richardson hasn’t stopped there.<br />

“We’ve also partnered with a number of insurance<br />

companies that are in transportation and construction,<br />

which provides a great opportunity for their insureds to<br />

participate, get quality education and training with programs<br />

that are recognized by insurance,” he said. “Our insurance<br />

industry partnerships are huge for us.”<br />

But always, at the heart of the company, he says, are good<br />

old-fashioned family values.<br />

TCA JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2024 www.Truckload.org | Truckload Authority 33


Werner Enterprises transports<br />

‘The People’s Tree’ to US Capitol<br />

By Dwain Hebda<br />

It wasn’t a sleigh full of toys pulled by eight tiny reindeer,<br />

but a pair of tractor-trailers, navigated by four Werner<br />

Enterprises drivers, generated holiday cheer throughout<br />

their journey from West Virginia’s Monongahela National<br />

Forest to the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building in<br />

Washington, D.C.<br />

The trucks were loaded with precious cargo — the 2023<br />

U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, also known as “The People’s<br />

Tree,” as well as handmade ornaments and nearly 100<br />

smaller trees.<br />

Harvested Nov. 1, the 63-foot Norway Spruce made its<br />

way to the nation’s capital aboard a Kenworth 100th Anniversary<br />

T680 Signature Edition, under the capable handling<br />

of Werner drivers Jesus Davila and Tim Dean. Davila,<br />

a resident of San Antonio, has been driving for more than six<br />

years, while Dean, who lives in Iowa, has more than three<br />

decades — and 5 million miles — under his belt.<br />

The two drivers were chosen from among Werner’s<br />

14,000 associates.<br />

“When we were told we were driving, I told Tim I was the<br />

senior driver, because he still drives a manual and I drive<br />

an auto,” Davila joked (the T680 used for the journey is<br />

equipped with an automatic transmission). “Technically, I’ve<br />

got more auto miles than he does so that made me the lead<br />

driver of the truck.”<br />

Joining the convoy was a second Werner truck, which delivered<br />

thousands of handmade ornaments crafted by West<br />

Virginians, with which to adorn the Capitol Christmas Tree.<br />

In addition, the truck carried 84 smaller trees bound for military<br />

families stationed at Maryland’s Joint Base Andrews.<br />

This rig was piloted by the husband-wife team of Steve and<br />

Gina Jones of Peoria, Arizona.<br />

“We were kind of dumbfounded [to be selected],” Steve<br />

said. “We actually had a small vacation scheduled, going<br />

down to Puerto Penasco, Mexico, but without hesitation,<br />

both of us looked at each other and said, ‘Yeah, we’re canceling.’”<br />

The decision to cancel their trip was an easy one.<br />

“We can always take a vacation, but we can’t always do<br />

the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree project with our other two<br />

professional drivers,” Gina said. “We were humbled and<br />

grateful that they selected us out of all the Werner drivers.”<br />

34 Truckload Authority | www.Truckload.org TCA JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2024

A second team of Werner drivers, Steve<br />

and Gina Jones, hauled a separate trailer<br />

containing several smaller trees and thousands<br />

of handmade ornaments.<br />

Even with a large pool of drivers<br />

from which to choose, selecting<br />

Davila, Dean, and the Joneses<br />

was not difficult, according to Brad<br />

White, Werner’s director of safety.<br />

“We have no shortage of outstanding<br />

professional drivers in<br />

our fleet to choose from. Those<br />

four names kept coming to the<br />

top,” White said. “All four of them<br />

represent Werner on our internal<br />

Werner Road Team. It just made<br />

the selection process really easy<br />

for us. They do a great job of representing<br />

not only Werner, but the<br />

industry as a whole.”<br />

This was the Omaha-based<br />

company’s first time hauling the U.S. Capitol tree, named<br />

“wa’feem’tekwi,” or “bright tree” in Shawnee (phonetically,<br />

it’s pronounced “wa-thame-tech-we”).<br />

“We expressed our interest (in transporting the tree) in<br />

the middle of summer, or early summer,” White said. “They<br />

had somebody they thought was going to do it — and then<br />

quickly pivoted over to us. It was not the typical selection<br />

process, but we were happy to take on the challenge.<br />

“We’re always looking to find out how we can participate<br />

in moves like this,” he continued. “We want to bring additional<br />

recognition to the company, and we really want to<br />

participate in special events like this. It’s a huge thing for the<br />

community, representing not only Werner Enterprises but<br />

the entire trucking industry as a whole.”<br />

One of the largest providers of transportation services in<br />

North America, Werner operates nearly 8,300 trucks and<br />

30,000 trailers.<br />

Davila and Dean, who drove the T680 Signature Edition<br />

donated by Kenworth, said the tractor handled the<br />

mountain roads with ease as they traversed the tour route,<br />

which included stops at a dozen community celebrations.<br />

The truck is equipped with a 76-inch sleeper, the PACCAR<br />

Powertrain featuring the PACCAR MX-13 engine rated at<br />

455 horsepower, the PACCAR TX-12 automated transmission,<br />

and PACCAR DX-40 tandem rear axles.<br />

Showcasing the theme of Endlessly Wild & Wonderful,<br />

the T680 was custom wrapped with the message prominently<br />

displayed on the truck’s driver and passenger sides.<br />

The design also featured the U.S. Capitol, the U.S. Capitol<br />

Christmas tree, and an image of the sunset overlooking the<br />

Monongahela National Forest.<br />

“I once saw a clip about people hauling The People’s<br />

Christmas tree, and in the back of my mind I was like,<br />

‘That’s kinda cool,’” Dean said.<br />

“The adventure of it was more<br />

than one can imagine.”<br />

A couple of weeks after the<br />

tree’s Nov. 17 delivery, the four<br />

drivers returned to the nation’s<br />

capital to witness the lighting<br />

ceremony. White says the entire<br />

Werner team shared in the drivers’<br />

sense of pride and excitement<br />

about the project.<br />

“In trucking there’s not a whole<br />

lot of opportunities where you<br />

get to move freight and point to a<br />

single item and say, ‘We did that.’<br />

This is one of those items that is<br />

significant for us within our company,”<br />

White said. “To be able to<br />

participate — and knowing that<br />

there’s a lot of other carriers out<br />

there that also want to be involved<br />

Werner drivers Tim Dean, left, and Jesus Davila<br />

were tasked with transporting the 2023 Capitol<br />

Christmas Tree to Washington, D.C.<br />

with a move like this — it was rewarding<br />

to be able to put our name<br />

and our stamp on the move.”<br />

TCA JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2024 www.Truckload.org | Truckload Authority 35


On the road with the<br />

2023 Capitol Christmas Tree<br />

Every year, a different national forest is selected to provide a tree to appear on the West Lawn of<br />

the U.S. Capitol for the holiday season. For 2023, West Virginia’s Monongahela National Forest,<br />

provided a 63-foot Norway Spruce. The Shawnee tribe, which had the honor of naming this<br />

year’s evergreen, dubbed the tree wa’feem’tekwi, or “bright tree.” After harvesting, the tree made<br />

more than a dozen “whistle stops” along its tour before being placed on the West Lawn of the<br />

U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., November 17. Since 2012, the Truckload Carriers Association<br />

(TCA) has proudly sponsored the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree. On November 15,<br />

TCA hosted the evergreen’s tour stop in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.<br />

1 2 3<br />

4 5 6<br />

1. The 2023 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree was harvested from Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia on November 1. 2. After harvesting the 63-foot Norway Spruce,<br />

members of the U.S. National Forest Service spent three days preparing the tree for its journey to Washington, D.C. 3. Ethan Reese, a fourth grader from Beverly Elementary<br />

School in West Virginia, was the winner of the 2023 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree essay contest. 4. Along the tree’s journey, visitors at the various tour stops had a chance to sign<br />

a banner displayed on the side of the trailer carrying the tree. 5. The tree’s tour kicked off November 4 in Elkins, West Virginia. 6. The tractor-trailer transporting the U.S. Capitol<br />

Christmas Tree, piloted by drivers from Werner Enterprises, was greeted by throngs of visitors. Tour stops featured educational opportunities, activities for children, and more.<br />

36 Truckload Authority | www.Truckload.org TCA JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2024

7<br />

10<br />

8 9<br />

11<br />

12<br />

14<br />

13<br />

7. During the tree’s stop at the West Virginia State Capitol in Charleston, visitors enjoyed an ice rink on the capitol grounds. 8. Members of the U.S. Forest Service Honor Guard<br />

accompanied the tree on its journey. 9. TCA President Jim Ward, far right, and FMCSA Deputy Administrator Earl Adams, second from left, visit with Werner drivers Jesus Davila,<br />

Steve and Gina Jones, and Tim Dean . 10. Students from the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and the Blind made a presentation for the audience in Romney. 11. High school<br />

band members wait to welcome the tree. 12. Onlookers stand by as the tree is positioned at the U.S. Capitol November 17. 13. TCA staffers Hunter Livesay, from left, Eric<br />

Rivard and wife Carrie, Jim and Starla Ward, and Zander Gambill attended the Tree Lighting Reception November 28. 14. The tree is displayed on the West Lawn of the Capitol.<br />

TCA JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2024 www.Truckload.org | Truckload Authority 37


Bridging Border Barriers<br />

More than 200 industry leaders gathered in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada to share<br />

thoughts about issues facing the trucking industry in both Canada and the U.S. during<br />

the Truckload Carriers Association’s sixth annual Bridging Border Barriers event, held<br />

November 8, 2023. View additional photos at truckload.org/Flickr.<br />

1<br />

3<br />

4<br />

2<br />

5<br />

1. More than 200 people joined TCA for the 2023 event. 2. Left Lane Associates’ Pete Stefanovich moderates a Workforce Development panel with Bison’s Linda Young, Kriska’s Heather<br />

Mewhinney, and Challenger Motor Freight’s Geoff Topping. 3. TCA staff and association members Trevor Kurtz, Wendell Erb, Mark Seymour, along with 2023 Driver of the Year Daniel Clark<br />

joined Bob Costello, chief economist for the American Trucking Associations, and Kaitlyn Holmecki, senior manager of international trade and security policy, for dinner preceding the event.<br />

4. TCA Officer Trevor Kurtz speaks with Trans-West Logistics’ Juan Sebastian Vargas and Deloitte’s Ruby Williams during a networking break. 5. TruckRight’s Tabitha Roberts, Angelica Ciocanu,<br />

and Natalie Edwards pose for a photo with DRC’s Dafne Palamino.<br />

38 Truckload Authority | www.Truckload.org TCA JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2024

There’s no place like<br />


he Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) 2024 convention, slated for March 23-26 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort<br />

in Nashville, Tennessee, promises to be one for the record books as more than 1,400 industry professionals gather<br />

to make new connections, explore the latest technology and service offerings, and learn about the newest trends<br />

in trucking.<br />

In addition, attendees will enjoy keynote speaker Kevin O’Leary of ABC’s Shark Tank and featured speaker, demographer<br />

Ken Gronbach, along with a special appearance by musical guest Gavin DeGraw.<br />

Visit tcaconvention.com to find out more and register for the event.<br />

This year’s convention offers four leadership panel discussions that are sure to<br />

pique your interest, foster growth, and help your company’s bottom line.<br />

Large Carriers Panel: Outlook 2024 and Beyond<br />

Large truck carriers are a vital part of the logistics and<br />

transportation industry and play a crucial role in moving<br />

goods across the country and even internationally.<br />

Join this panel to hear large carrier executives discuss<br />

the challenges they face in their operations and business<br />

environments to include rising operating costs, competition,<br />

driver shortages, along with constant regulations<br />

and compliance updates.<br />

Moderator: Joey Hogan, president of Covenant Logistics<br />

Group, Inc.<br />

Panelists: Mark Rourke, president and CEO of Schneider<br />

National, Inc.; Murray Mullen, chair, senior executive<br />

officer and president of the Mullen Group; and Jim Richards,<br />

president and CEO of KLLM Transport Services, LLC.<br />

Trucking in 2024:<br />

Politics, Trends and Election — A Washington Update<br />

With the 2024 presidential elections right around the<br />

corner, TCA’s Capitol Hill lobbyists will discuss their legislative<br />

viewpoints from both sides of the aisle and the<br />

potential impacts that it could have on trucking.<br />

Partisan issues continue to persist, and this panel will<br />

address the effects of the election on labor regulations,<br />

economic growth along with the top issues, trends and<br />

events that are currently shaping our political environment.<br />

Moderator: Dave Heller, senior vice president of safety<br />

and government affairs for TCA.<br />

Panelists: Missy Edwards, strategic advisor on government<br />

affairs for MME Strategies, and Richard Sullivan,<br />

partner at State Federal Strategies.<br />

Small Carriers Panel: Outlook 2024 and Beyond<br />

What does the road ahead look like for small carriers?<br />

It’s no secret that small truck carriers face unique challenges<br />

in the industry, including fierce competition, fluctuating<br />

fuel prices, limited financial resources, regulatory compliance,<br />

and the need to maintain a reliable customer base.<br />

Tune in as small carrier CEOs discuss crucial components<br />

of maintaining a business, along with trends and<br />

future demands.<br />

Moderator: Jon Coca, president of Diamond Transportation<br />

System, Inc.<br />

Panelists: Dave Gallano, president of Gallano Trucking,<br />

Inc.; Peter Jenkins, general manager of TransPro Freight<br />

Systems; and Adam Blanchard, co-founder and CEO of<br />

Double Diamond Transport, Inc.<br />

Young Trucking Executives (YTE) Discussion<br />

Join the discussion with TCA’s young trucking executives<br />

as they discuss their current and future impact on<br />

the industry, as well as mentorship, business succession<br />

planning, learning, and development, along with cultivating<br />

leadership principles.<br />

Participate in the conversation to see how you and your<br />

organization can get involved and develop future association<br />

trailblazers.<br />

Moderator: Lindsey Trent, president and co-founder of<br />

Next Gen Trucking.<br />

Panelists: Ashley Kordish, CEO of Ralph Moyle, Inc.;<br />

Lucas Subler, president of Classic Carriers, Inc.; and<br />

Lance Votroubek, vice president and general manager of<br />

the van division for Warren Transport, Inc.<br />

TCA JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2024 www.Truckload.org | Truckload Authority 39


Doing what he loves<br />

By Kris Rutherford<br />

TCA Driver of the Year still having ‘a great<br />

time’ after three decades on the road<br />

“<br />

Iguess I won’t retire until it stops being fun,” Thomas<br />

Sholar, 69, says after more than 30 years behind the<br />

wheel of a big rig.<br />

Because of his accomplishments both on and off<br />

the road, Sholar has been recognized as one of five 2023<br />

Drivers of the Year by the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA).<br />

His journey began back in 1992, when Sholar was working<br />

in iron construction in the Houston area.<br />

“I got kind of tired of working until a project was finished,<br />

then being laid off,” he said. “My girlfriend told me that her<br />

ex-husband was a truck driver. She said, ‘You don’t get dirty<br />

driving a truck,’ so I went for it.”<br />

After earning his CDL, Sholar hit the road, working for<br />

carriers in Alabama and Oklahoma before finding his niche<br />

at Maverick Transportation, a flatbed hauler based in North<br />

Little Rock, Arkansas, 26 years ago. He’s been there ever<br />

since, and now resides in Doddridge, Arkansas, just a few<br />

miles north of the Louisiana border.<br />

Sholar chuckled as he told Truckload Authority that the<br />

promise of not getting dirty doesn’t apply when hauling flatbed<br />

cargo.<br />

In three decades as a driver, Sholar has seen a lot behind the<br />

wheel. Today, he says the biggest recognizable change from<br />

his early years as a driver is the amount of traffic on the roads.<br />

“(There’s) a lot more,” he said. “Trucks are also a lot more<br />

sophisticated, and they are easier to drive. Of course, DOT<br />

always adds more rules, but I’m not complaining.”<br />

Unlike many drivers, who see electronic logging devices,<br />

or ELDs, as an unnecessary intrusion into their work, Sholar<br />

has a different mindset: “I get the same mileage, it improves<br />

my work ethic, and I get a lot more rest,” he explained.<br />

Like many drivers, early in his career, Sholar’s favorite<br />

part of being a truck driver was traveling and seeing the<br />

country. Now, after all his years on the road, he says he has<br />

a different view of the job.<br />

“(Now,) one of my favorite things about driving is that I<br />

get to go to shippers and receivers and see what they do<br />

with the product I’m hauling. I’ve always found that fascinating,”<br />

he said.<br />

When discussing the challenges he’s seen and overcome<br />

on the road, Sholar is quick to point to traffic.<br />

“There are so many trucks and cars and other vehicles on<br />

the road these days, it makes it harder to get where you are going,”<br />

he said. “And most of the businesses work regular hours.<br />

I may get there at an odd hour and have to wait for the business<br />

to open to unload my truck. It makes for a lot of wasted time.”<br />

Being honored as a TCA Driver of the Year is not the only<br />

accolade Sholar has received during his driving career. In<br />

2016, he was recognized as Maverick’s Driver of the Month,<br />

and most recently, he was a finalist for Maverick’s Trainer of<br />

the Year Award. Lou Shoults, a fleet manager for Maverick,<br />

praised Sholar’s skills as a driver trainer.<br />

“Tom is an excellent trainer,” Shoults said of Sholar’s accomplishments<br />

when he was nominated for the honor. “Tom<br />

40 Truckload Authority | www.Truckload.org TCA JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2024

has trained 74 total students since he started training and<br />

has had great retention with the 19 who are still at Maverick.<br />

He shows the trainees how to work hard and do things the<br />

Maverick Way.”<br />

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Sholar says, he stepped<br />

away from his work as a trainer.<br />

“But I love teaching. I love showing people how to do<br />

things easier and right,” he said.<br />

Sholar has served on Maverick’s Drivers Advisory Council<br />

as an advocate for road trainers. In doing so, he has been<br />

influential and essential in shaping the training program and<br />

helping drivers have a good experience with Maverick.<br />

“Tom is a true driving professional,” said Callie Heathscott,<br />

an advertising manager for Maverick.<br />

“I’ve had drivers I trained who are trainers now themselves,”<br />

Sholar said. “I don’t think I had so much to do with<br />

turning them into good drivers. I just had a lot of good guys<br />

training under me.”<br />

Five of Sholar’s trainees have gone on to be honored as<br />

Maverick Drivers of the Month.<br />

As far as the advice he has given to his trainees — the same<br />

advice he offers to all young drivers — Sholar says the best<br />

path to success and safety is to focus on dedication to the job,<br />

do the best you can do, and — most of all — avoid shortcuts.<br />

“(Driving is) a lifestyle, not a 9-5 job. It won’t make you a<br />

millionaire, but you’ll make a good living,” he said. “Driving<br />

is a job you can start and work until you don’t want to work<br />

anymore.”<br />

These days, Sholar generally drives a dedicated route;<br />

however, when he visited with Truckload Authority for this<br />

story, he was traveling to New York to make a special delivery.<br />

When asked about his experience as a 2023 TCA Driver of<br />

the Year, Sholar remains modest, recalling that the Maverick<br />

team created a video about his career with the company and<br />

nominated him for the honor.<br />

“Sometime later, they called and said I had won. I<br />

thought they were playing with me!” he said. “I don’t really<br />

know why I won. I’m nothing special. I do my job the best<br />

I can. I’ve always said, if you’re going to do something, do<br />

it well.”<br />

Since being named a TCA Driver of the Year, Sholar has<br />

had an opportunity to attend numerous association events,<br />

where people at all levels of the industry have thanked him<br />

for his service. His response?<br />

“I’m just doing what I’m supposed to do,” he said, adding<br />

that he’s enjoyed being a part of TCA.<br />

“They are some of the nicest people I’ve come into contact<br />

with,” he said. “It’s been a great experience.”<br />

Sholar is very appreciative of the team at Maverick Transportation.<br />

As an example, he shared this experience: A few<br />

years ago, he underwent treatment for cancer; once the<br />

treatment was complete, he underwent surgery to repair the<br />

damage caused by the treatment.<br />

All the while, Maverick was “unbelievably patient,” he<br />

said. “I don’t consider Maverick to be people I work for or<br />

with. They’re my friends.”<br />

As far as his future is concerned, Sholar says he’ll keep<br />

driving until he doesn’t enjoy it anymore. He points to the<br />

old adage, “If you find a job you’ll enjoy, you’ll never work a<br />

day in your life.”<br />

“I don’t feel like I’m working,” he said. “I’m having a great<br />

time. I can’t imagine not doing what I’m doing.”<br />



(800) 580-8789 driverslegalplan.com<br />

TCA JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2024 www.Truckload.org | Truckload Authority 41


TCA Highway Angels<br />

The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) has recognized professional truck drivers<br />

Christopher Blount, John Hamilton, Tony Doughty, David Norman, Daniel Dolf, Daniel Wells,<br />

and Gannon Sanders as TCA Highway Angels because of their acts of heroism while on the<br />

road.<br />

In recognition of these drivers’ willingness to help fellow drivers and motorists, TCA has presented<br />

each Highway Angel with a certificate, a lapel pin, patches, and truck decals. Their employers have<br />

also received a certificate highlighting their driver as a recipient.<br />

Since the program began in 1997, nearly 1,300 professional truck drivers have been recognized as<br />

Highway Angels because of the exemplary kindness, courtesy, and courage they have displayed while<br />

on the job. TCA extends special thanks to the program’s presenting sponsor, EpicVue, and supporting<br />

sponsor, DriverFacts. To nominate a driver or read more about these and other Highway Angel award<br />

recipients, visit highwayangel.org.<br />

Christopher Blount<br />

Melton Truck Lines — Tulsa, Oklahoma<br />

John Hamilton<br />

Melton Truck Lines — Tulsa, Oklahoma<br />

Christopher Blount<br />

of Sulphur, Louisiana,<br />

has been named a TCA<br />

Highway Angel for<br />

stopping to extinguish<br />

a car fire on the<br />

highway. Blount drives<br />

for Melton Truck Lines<br />

out of Tulsa, Oklahoma.<br />

On October 2, 2023, Christopher Blount<br />

Blount was driving<br />

along Interstate 10 on the outskirts of Houston,<br />

when he spotted a burning car on the side of<br />

the road. The driver, a man, was talking on his<br />

cellphone and watching in dismay. Other vehicles<br />

were passing by the spectacle without stopping,<br />

and no emergency responders had arrived.<br />

“I wanted to stop and help him out and try to<br />

put out the fire, because the fire looked like it was<br />

starting to get worse,” Blount said. “The fire was<br />

starting to go from gray smoke to black smoke,<br />

and I was concerned about it getting to the gas<br />

tank.”<br />

Blount immediately pulled over and grabbed<br />

his fire extinguisher. Once he confirmed no one<br />

was in the burning car or in need of medical<br />

assistance, Blount began spraying the car<br />

engine. He was able to extinguish most of the<br />

fire and prevent it from spreading even further.<br />

“The driver was very thankful,” Blount said.<br />

“As soon as I actually got the fire out, the fire<br />

trucks got there.”<br />

Driver John Hamilton of<br />

Hot Springs, Arkansas, has<br />

been named a TCA Highway<br />

Angel for assisting rescue<br />

personnel at the scene of an<br />

accident.<br />

On August 25, 2023,<br />

around 3:30 p.m., Hamilton<br />

was driving home along US<br />

70 in Hot Springs, Arkansas, John Hamilton<br />

when he came upon a twovehicle<br />

accident. He says the accident likely occurred<br />

just a minute or so before he arrived on the scene.<br />

He immediately maneuvered his truck to redirect<br />

traffic and got out to render aid if needed. He<br />

had previously been trained in combat life-saving<br />

procedures in the Army, and learned to administer<br />

first aid as a corrections officer.<br />

“I hopped out to provide any assistance I could. I<br />

tried to divert traffic into a single lane,” he said.<br />

Once he determined there were only minor injuries,<br />

Hamilton proceeded to set out his traffic triangles and<br />

began directing traffic until first responders could<br />

arrive. Once crews arrived, he continued to assist the<br />

fire department and state police by directing traffic as<br />

needed until the scene was clear. Hamilton believes<br />

his military and first aid training are contributing<br />

factors as to why he stopped to try to help.<br />

“We don’t just ignore situations; we go in when we<br />

need to,” he said. “You’ve got to help.”<br />

Hamilton drives for Melton Truck Lines out of Tulsa,<br />

Oklahoma.<br />

42 Truckload Authority | www.Truckload.org TCA JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2024

Presenting Sponsor:<br />

SUPPORTING Sponsor:<br />

Truck driver Tony Doughty of Greenville,<br />

Texas, has been honored as a TCA Highway<br />

Angel for his heroism in two separate<br />

events.<br />

At about 11 a.m. on November 8, 2023,<br />

Doughty was driving on Interstate 280 near<br />

Toledo, Ohio, when he witnessed a singlevehicle<br />

accident: A red Lincoln SUV hit a<br />

concrete barrier and spun 360 degrees onto<br />

the I-280 southbound entrance ramp.<br />

“It happened right in front of me,”<br />

Doughty said. “He lost control on that curve and was in<br />

the middle of the highway, totally disabled.”<br />

Doughty, who is a volunteer firefighter, pulled over<br />

and blocked the left lane to prevent any more accidents.<br />

Meanwhile, his wife, Alison, dialed 911 to alert fire and<br />

police personnel.<br />

Doughty helped get the driver, whose injuries were not<br />

life-threatening, out of the vehicle. Once the Toledo Fire<br />

Department arrived, Doughty continued to block traffic<br />

to assist the emergency personnel until the accident<br />

scene was cleared.<br />

“Me being a volunteer firefighter — if I can stop to<br />

render aid, I will stop to render aid. It was just in my<br />

Tony Doughty<br />

Woody Bogler Trucking — Gerald, Missouri<br />

Tony and Alison Doughty<br />

nature to stop and see if he was OK,”<br />

Doughty said about the crash victim.<br />

Less than a week later, on November<br />

12, Doughty was traveling westbound on<br />

Interstate 12 near Albany, Louisiana, when<br />

traffic ahead slowed. Doughty spotted a<br />

grass fire on the side of the highway that<br />

was getting dangerously close to some<br />

homes. Doughty says a police officer was<br />

on the scene, but had no way to fight the<br />

fire, which spread between a half-acre and<br />

an acre.<br />

“I told the cop, ‘I’m a volunteer firefighter; I know how<br />

to handle a grass fire,’” Doughty said. “When I showed<br />

up, the fire was raging, so I just jumped out and went to<br />

work. I grabbed my fire extinguisher, and I grabbed my<br />

leaf blower, and had the fire 95% put out before the fire<br />

department showed up.”<br />

Asked why he made such a magnanimous effort,<br />

Doughty humbly replied, “I could’ve just drove on, but I<br />

can’t do that — that’s not me. I was just doing what I’m<br />

trained to do.”<br />

Doughty drives for Woody Bogler Trucking out of<br />

Gerald, Missouri.<br />

David Norman and Daniel Doff<br />

Melton Truck Lines — Tulsa, Oklahoma<br />

On September 7, 2023,<br />

professional driver David<br />

Norman of Wichita Falls,<br />

Texas, and his trainee, Daniel<br />

Dolf of Carrollton, Georgia,<br />

were driving on Interstate 45<br />

outside of Dallas when the two<br />

noticed smoke ahead.<br />

As they approached, they<br />

discovered that a female driver David Norman<br />

had lost control of her vehicle<br />

and crashed into the center median.<br />

Immediately, Norman, who formerly served as a<br />

registered first responder and volunteer firefighter,<br />

grabbed the truck’s fire extinguisher and got out to<br />

contain the fire.<br />

“I grabbed the fire extinguisher to keep the fire from<br />

spreading — I was putting the fire out around the car,”<br />

Norman said, adding that Dolf parked the truck and ran<br />

to help. He added that his trainee, Dolf, parked the truck<br />

and came running over to<br />

help.<br />

“When he (Dolf) got back<br />

over there, he hopped in the<br />

back of the fire truck when<br />

it showed up, and he helped<br />

too,” Norman shared.<br />

Luckily, no one was injured<br />

Daniel Doff in the unfortunate incident,<br />

and Norman and Dolf were<br />

able to keep the fire from<br />

spreading. Three fire companies arrived at the scene and<br />

made sure the fire was completely out.<br />

“Old habits kick back in. Twenty years ago, I was a<br />

registered first responder here in Texas,” Norman said,<br />

explaining why he went to the lengths he did.<br />

Because of their actions, Norman and Dolf, who drive<br />

for Melton Truck Lines out of Tulsa, Oklahoma, are<br />

recognized as TCA Highway Angels.<br />


TCA JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2024 www.Truckload.org | Truckload Authority 43


Daniel Wells<br />

Melton Truck Lines — Tulsa, Oklahoma<br />

Daniel Wells of Saginaw, Michigan<br />

adding, “the cab was ripped off the frame.”<br />

earned the title of TCA Highway Angel<br />

The driver was still in the vehicle, but<br />

after stopping to help a fellow truck<br />

Wells didn’t want to move him in because<br />

driver following a horrific crash. At about<br />

of the risk of causing additional injuries.<br />

10:30 a.m. on October 11, 2023, Wells<br />

Instead, he kept the driver calm and made<br />

was traveling east on Interstate 44 near<br />

sure he wasn’t in shock. Emergency<br />

Springfield, Missouri. As he crested a hill,<br />

medical responders soon arrived, and<br />

he watched as another semi-truck crashed<br />

Wells helped load the injured driver onto a<br />

and rolled ahead of him.<br />

stretcher so they could render aid.<br />

“I saw debris flying through the air,” Daniel Wells When the fire department arrived at the<br />

Wells said. “I pulled my truck over to the<br />

scene, Wells stepped aside and let the<br />

shoulder of the road.”<br />

professionals take over.<br />

Immediately Wells grabbed his fire extinguisher, “I’ve had training. I didn’t even think about it — my<br />

gloves, and winch bar and ran to the accident to see how training just kicked in,” Wells said. “Besides, if I were<br />

he could help. As he ran, he called 911 and explained ever in that position, I would hope somebody would do<br />

the situation. Luckily, Wells had previous emergency that for me.”<br />

response training, which helped him jump into action. Wells drives for Melton Truck Lines out of Tulsa,<br />

“His truck was completely totaled,” Wells recalled, Oklahoma.<br />

Gannon Sanders<br />

Lew Thompson & Son/Covenant Logistics — Huntsville, Arkansas<br />

Gannon Sanders, a trucker from<br />

Shelbyville, Tennessee, gained his TCA<br />

Highway Angel wings after saving the life<br />

of a farm employee.<br />

On October 18, 2023, at about 3 p.m.,<br />

Sanders was at a farm in Shelbyville,<br />

Tennessee, picking up a load of live chickens<br />

for delivery. While the farm’s catch crew<br />

— team members who round up live fowl<br />

to be loaded into cages — was working,<br />

one of the team members experienced a<br />

medical emergency and stopped breathing.<br />

Sanders said there were multiple people on the farm<br />

who were nearby when the incident occurred, but that<br />

almost everyone froze in fear when their teammate hit<br />

the ground, not breathing.<br />

“I jumped right in and started doing what I had to do.<br />

He was unresponsive, and he turned blue and cold,” he<br />

said. “I ran over there and was on the phone with 911.<br />

Gannon Sanders<br />

(They) walked me through CPR, which I<br />

did on him for seven to eight minutes until<br />

the paramedics arrived on the scene.”<br />

Sanders’ actions kept the man alive. At<br />

first the man had no pulse, but eventually,<br />

Sanders said, he detected a weak pulse<br />

and shallow breathing.<br />

“It was very scary. I ain’t gonna sit<br />

here and tell you it was a walk in the park,<br />

because it wasn’t,” Sanders said.<br />

“In that situation, I was scared — I was<br />

fearing for his life,” he continued.<br />

The man has since recovered, and he thanked<br />

Sanders for what he did to save his life that day.<br />

“It’s nothing on my end. It’s the glory of God that<br />

gave me the strength to do that,” Sanders said.<br />

Sanders drives for Lew Thompson & Son - A<br />

Covenant Logistics Company, out of Huntsville,<br />

Arkansas.<br />

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44 Truckload Authority | www.Truckload.org TCA JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2024


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TCA JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2024 www.Truckload.org | Truckload Authority 45

Looking forward<br />

The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA)<br />

calendar is filled with exciting opportunities for<br />

member growth and involvement. Here are just<br />

a few upcoming events. Mark your calendar,<br />

and visit truckload.org/events for updates.<br />

March 23-36<br />

2024 Annual Convention<br />

Nashville, Tennessee<br />

Truckload 2024: Nashville will be held at the Gaylord Opryland<br />

Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee.<br />

June 2-4<br />

The Truckload Carriers Association welcomes<br />

companies that joined the association in<br />

October and November 2023.<br />

Altendorf Trucking<br />

Ard Trucking<br />

Arka Express<br />

Bison Transport USA<br />

Black Marlin Transport LLC<br />

Central Coop Non Stock Transport Co.<br />

CJ Logistics<br />

Double Nickel<br />

EKA Solutions<br />

Globalstar<br />

Guardian I.T.<br />

Northern Logistics<br />

Palomar Insurance Corp.<br />

Shaker Transport<br />

TGI-Connect<br />

Transtex LLC<br />

Verra Mobility<br />

2024 Safety & Security Meeting<br />

Indianapolis<br />

This annual meeting, which brings truckload carrier safety<br />

professionals together to discuss problems, share ideas, and<br />

seek solutions to make their businesses and our roads safer,<br />

will be held at the Westin Indianapolis.<br />

July 15-17<br />

2024 Refrigerated Meeting<br />

Stowe, Vermont<br />

Designed for truckload professionals operating temperaturecontrolled<br />

equipment, this annual event offers workshops,<br />

networking opportunities, insightful speakers, and more.<br />

Cover Photos<br />

Nashville, Tennessee, skyline: iStock<br />

Inset Photo: Kevin O’Leary<br />

Additional photography/Graphics<br />

Daimler Truck North America: 10, 11<br />

Fueled Photograph: 36.<br />

iStock: 5, 6-7, 8, 12, 14-15, 16-17, 18-19,<br />

20, 34-35, 39, 42-43, 44, 46.<br />

Kevin O’Leary: 22.<br />

Matt Richardson: 33,34<br />

Paul Feenstra: 37.<br />

Truckload Carriers Association: 3, 24-25,<br />

37, 38, 40, 42, 43, 44.<br />

U.S. Forest Service: 36, 37<br />

Werner Enterprises: 34, 35.<br />

Western Flyer Xpress: 30, 31.<br />

46 Truckload Authority | www.Truckload.org TCA JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2024

Join 1,400+ attendees at Truckload 2024 Nashville for:<br />

• educational content made by truckload professionals for truckload professionals<br />

• collaboration through topic-focused discussion forums<br />

• panel discussions with some of the industry’s most well-respected executives<br />

• networking with industry leaders<br />

• thought-provoking keynote addresses<br />

• help steer association policy at committee meetings<br />

• celebrate with industry awards presentations<br />

• 120 exhibitors showcasing the latest technology and services<br />

www.TCAConvention.com<br />

March 23 - 26, 2024<br />

Gaylord Opryland Resort<br />

TCA JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2024 www.Truckload.org | Truckload Authority 47

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