Channel 19

Todd Dills

Calling all independents; New profile series seeks nominations

| July 25, 2011

Are you an owner-operator running with your own authority? A two-three-truck fleet owner with a unique approach to trucking success? If you’ve been following Overdrive Dollars & Sense columnist and radio host Kevin Rutherford’s columns over the past couple months, you know he’s gotten into a series about taking your business to the next level with contemplation of adding a truck. Though you can certainly lease more than one truck, depending on the motor carrier, many such expansions will come from freight opportunity a driver with his or her own authority sees from his shipper customer or customers.

And yes, though the naysayers are often screaming at quite high decibel levels, and the difficulties of successfully launching a small business remain many, the dream of running under your own authority continues to be one that many pursue with success. As such I’m embarking on a series of stories about independents here at and in the pages of the magazine to chart the course for those thinking about making the move.

If you’re running with your own authority, whether with one or a couple-few trucks, or know somebody who’d fit the description and would be up for a story, be in touch — contact me via the comments to this post or email directly at tdills [at]

One such independent, now retired owner-operator Tobby Donalson of McMinnville, Tenn., ran from the 1960s to 2008 without once leasing to another carrier — he hauled nursery products and pickles regularly, among other commodities. I mention him here because I finally got an opportunity to get to McMinnville back in late May after seeing his custom 1959 Peterbilt 351 tractor at last year’s first annual Nashville Chrome and Class truck show. There’s a story in the new (Fall) edition of Custom Rigs magazine about the truck, and a photo gallery below for my pics from the day.

  • Kathy CharLee

    Dedication. Enthusiasm. Involvement. I cannot think of three better words to describe Jeff Barnes, owner/operator of J&S Enterprises.

    I would like to nominate Jeff for consideration of writing a story about his trucking career and decision to expand his company … along with the thrills and heartaches in getting there. He is a 3rd generation trucker — his tireless efforts, innovative thinking, leadership skills, and strong commitment to clients within the trucking industry has made him the person he is today.

    He was the featured story for 10-4 magazine in October, 2010. You can visit his website for more information at

  • Pingback: Custom Rigs | Blog | Retirement Rewards strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.