From two lakes to one couple
Scott and Debbie Alexander (and Tobey) are more than just team drivers for U.S. Xpress – they’re fishing buddies and sometimes that means competitive fishiing duels.
He grew up fishing, mostly for catfish, on Lake Havasu in Arizona with his grandfather. She grew up fishing, mostly for salmon, on Lake Michigan with her father. Today they share a passion for fishing, a beagle named Tobey and a U.S. Xpress 2005 Freightliner Century running the lower 48.
Scott Alexander, 37, has been driving for 10 years now, the last three as a team driver with his wife Debra. Both say fishing is still a passion, but these days for Scott it’s much, much more.
“I love it. If I have a spare few minutes, I’ll be looking for somewhere to fish. I read everything I can get my hands on, and I keep trying to be a better fisherman and win tournaments,” says Scott. “As soon as I get home from the road I get out the pickup, hitch up the boat and I’m off to the lake. When I’m on the water, the cell phone is off and all I’m thinking about is fishing. The road doesn’t even enter my head.”
Born in California, Scott was raised in Arizona. “Fishing came to me from my grandfather. He was an avid, avid fisherman, and we were on Lake Havasu every weekend and most weekday evenings in the summer. Mostly it was catfish, sometimes bass. I really loved spending time on the water with my grandfather. But back then fishing was just passing time; I’d just drop a line in, nothing fancy.
“If I couldn’t be out on the boat, two of my friends and I would go fish from piers or docks or just from the shore. It wasn’t until we moved to live in southern Illinois that I got serious about fishing. Really serious. Debbie’s father really was the one who got me into large mouth bass fishing.”
When Scott got out of the Navy, he went to work in the security business in San Diego. But after rising to the rank of general manager, he discovered there were no more rungs on the ladder of advancement in the industry unless he opened his own company, and he didn’t want to do that. He looked around and decided that trucking gave him the chance to both earn money and be his own boss. He drove locally in San Diego, but then moved to Wisconsin and began hauling milk tankers. After stints at CR England and Dawes Transport, Alexander settled down at U.S. Xpress.
He met Debra, says Scott, when they were both driving for Dawes. “We decided to get together to drive team so we could make more money,” he says, “and it was after we started driving together that we fell in love.”
Ironically, fishing wasn’t something that went into the chemistry of their original attraction. “It wasn’t something we talked about before we were together,” says Scott. “I brought it up after we were together, I guess, and she was kind of nonchalant about it. She said something like ‘oh, yeah, I like to fish,’ and I didn’t think much more about it.
“Then one day I was talking to her father, Howard, and I mentioned what she’d said and he told me all about how she had done some serious fishing when she was a girl. He told me how she’d be up at 5 in the morning every weekend ready and waiting to go fishing out on Lake Michigan with him, rain or shine, and how she was really good at it.”
So why didn’t Debra tell Scott the whole story? “Well,” she says, “it’s not a woman thing; most women who fish don’t brag about it.”
But Debra is accomplished with rod and reel, able to beat both her husband and her father on occasion.
“I grew up fishing with my dad, and salmon was what we mainly looked for,” she says. “Lake Michigan wasn’t really a bad place all the time, but you had to be prepared in case it turned bad quickly. We had the right boat and safety equipment for it; we were always safe. But I have been out there when storms came in too quickly and we’d be in waves higher than the boat.”