Todd Dills

Leaving long-haul: Operators migrate to oil/gas

I talked to a pair of recently former team owner-operators late last week who, like owner-operator Mike Mace, leased to Reed Trucking, have truly rediscovered their old love of trucking -- in this case as company drivers in service operations surrounding new natural gas wells enabled by hydraulic fracturing technology. The strong demand for capacity in oil and gas services is bringing in competition to local markets as large as, you guessed it, Schneider National. The truckload ...

Read More

Memorial Day fun with Heister’s hot rod — and a new truck

Yesterday, owner-operator Dan Heister invited myself and the family out to his new place in Tennessee Ridge, Tenn., near his former home in Erin, for a cookout with various other friends and family. Something of an early Memorial Day celebration, as Heister was setting out today with a northeast-bound load of rock in his new 2004 International (pictured, replacing a model of similar vintage but much higher mileage), he took some time out of the ...

Read More

Amid big fleet investments, operators stare down high truck prices

Something is going right for the Jacobson Companies 3PL -- Mack Trucks announced yesterday that they took delivery of an order of 259 built-in-the-U.S. Mack Pinnacles, 139 daycabs and 120 sleeper trucks, and they're hiring dedicated company drivers for runs based out of their Des Moines, Iowa, headquarters. Any owner-operators out their run freight for them on occasion or regularly? The new tractors (some of which are pictured), Mack says, were delivered to Jacobson locations throughout ...

Read More

DOT orders shutdown of Demco Express

FMCSA has ordered Demco Express, employer of the U.S. driver detained in Mexico, to shut down its operation immediately.

Read More

Imagine running for the same fleet for 50 years…

Can you? We’ve heard no shortage of stories of independents who’ve stayed active that long leased to different carriers or on their own, but never with the same company. (If you have, I'm all ears!) I can't think of a company driver who's done it, either (though Wisconsin-based Butch Mueller is getting pretty close), and as far as UPS knows, Springboro, Ohio, resident Ron “Big Dog” Sowder (pictured) “may be the only in the trucking ...

Read More

Xantrex: 3 inverter installation tips

1. Installation best at the factory or authorized dealer aftermarket: If you're considering an aftermarket inverter installation to an older truck or mulling options on a new vehicle, take it under advisement that leading inverter manufacturer Xantrex Technology reps have formally recommended inverter installation by a truck OEM or an authorized dealer. According to Xantrex, inverter shipments have risen sharply since 2005, and the company expects sales to increase at least 40 percent in the next ...

Read More

One child’s dream come true, in a truck

If you've never participated in one of the Make-a-Wish convoys -- which pair children with trucks to make dreams come true and support the work of various Make-a Wish Foundation chapters around the nation -- take a look at the smile on the face of Nicholas Cropper here, pictured in the passenger seat of owner-operator Henry Albert's Freightliner Cascadia. Also, get over to Albert's blog, where just post-Mother's Day, he wrote about his participation in this ...

Read More

The drones keep coming — for your freight?

Apologies for a post-less Tuesday, which regular Channel 19 readers no doubt noticed. I had a mini-vacation with friends and family -- hearing news of the SpaceX launch in the auto on the way home to Nashville, I couldn't help but think of owner-operator blogger Phil Madsen's greatest post of all time, which in my view may well have been this one. In it, Madsen imagines a nighmarish future of airborne DOT drones policing all manner ...

Read More

Log-haulers, Bastrop County TX wants you

In addition to the Lost Pines Log Pull competition Bastrop nonprofit Logs to Lumber is hosting this coming weekend to add competitive spirit to their efforts harvesting viable timber from an area devastated by wildfires last year and help more than 1,700 homeowners rebuild, Jamaica Morz, working with the organization, could also use a little timber/lumber-hauling help. "We are currently working with a grassroots organization, Logs to Lumber, that has made an arrangement with a sawmill ...

Read More

When do you shop online for trucks, parts?

The "Best Practices for Car Dealers" infographic below (click through it for a larger version) shows results of a survey conducted by the folks at Carwoo.com of its auto-shopper users and auto dealers that suggests many dealers are missing customer needs at peak times for online searching/shopping. Though of course the commercial truck and consumer auto markets are different worlds, by and large, we wondered: What times of day do you typically find yourself needing online ...

Read More