Miles Ahead

| May 01, 2012

Company Driver of the Year

 

Meet the 2012 Truckers News/TCA Company Driver of the Year

By Todd Dills

 

The Driver

John Moeller

Age: 56

Place of residence: Marshfield, Wis.

Safe miles: 4 million-plus

Company: Roehl Transport

Trailer type: Curtainside, after decades flatbedding.

Family: Wife: Deb; children: Jenna, Derek, Jared.

Favorite load destination: The Pacific Northwest, for the scenery.

Most memorable haul: Loaded Golden Eagle Log Home from Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., to Soldotna, Alaska.

The Truck

2006 Freightliner Coronado

Engine: Detroit Series 60

Transmission: 13-speed manual

Sleeper: 72 inches

Drive tires: 445/50R22.5 Michelin singles with siped blocks

Other features: Dual 140-gallon fuel tanks, ThermoKing TriPac diesel APU, PC Drivertech communications module with fuel optimizer built in

 

Consider the background and these winning qualities of success, perseverance and safety of a particular truck driver.

“I just didn’t feel like tarping and strapping so much anymore.” – John Moeller on his move to hauling curtainside freight after tearing the meniscus in his left knee a year and a half ago.

He prefers his former 2001 Freightliner Classic to the 2006 Coronado he drives today and, according to his wife, believes a truck just doesn’t look right without a proper visor. He has logged upward of 4 million safe miles, averaging 140,000 miles yearly, nearly all of them as an employee of Roehl Transport of Marshfield, Wis.

He was reared in Chili, Wis., on a farm that, for the last year and a half of high school, he more or less worked himself as the youngest of four children in the family. It soured him on farm work, and led him to a series of jobs — first as a welder for six months at a Kohler factory in Sheboygan, Wis., then to generator manufacturer Marathon Electric. He learned driving with Fischer Truck & Bus Services, working the two-stick shifter in a local gravel truck for a year and a half. In 1979, he answered an ad to become one of about 30 drivers then at Roehl.

He believes there are four kinds of drivers: Those home every night, those out Monday-Friday and home on the weekends, those on a dedicated account and long-haulers. He settled into his niche over-the-road, toting a flatbed, after he found dedicated steel hauling between Minneapolis and Chicago to contain some of the same tedium he’d experienced in other, less-mobile jobs.

On the long road, he got what he wanted — the freedom to achieve the earning potential he needed.

Nestled among farm fields 200 yards from the western end of Airport Road, just off County Road B, at the edge of Marshfield, his home was built to his family’s design. It includes an imposing stonework chimney custom-made by his father-in-law, and is located on a placid pond at his property’s western border. The sunset view from a white-washed swing at the pond’s eastern edge is a photographer’s dream, and his two Japanese Akita dogs, Rocco and Akira, utilize the waters frequently to cool off in the summer.

His immediate family consists of his wife, Deb; Jenna and Derek, 27, fraternal twins born a year and a half after the couple’s wedding May 14, 1983; and Jared, 21. All remain a part of their lives in the home on Airport Road.

Deb is outspoken about her pride in her husband’s achievements — and their family’s participation in his trucking career. The pair began their courtship the day after Christmas in 1981, the year she started working in the Roehl office.

As part of the prize for winning the Company Driver of the Year award, John Moeller received this Cummins-powered Dodge Ram 2500, pictured in front of his Marshfield, Wis., home.

As an engagement present, he built a garage to go along with her house, where they lived for three years before the twins were born.

OverdriveOnline.com strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.