June O-O of the Month

Elizabeth Manning | June 08, 2012

Owner-operator’s dedication to business is an outgrowth of his commitment to his extended family.

Owner-operator Gary McGinnis is as dedicated to customer care and work ethic as he is to his family – not an easy feat for a trucker, McGinnis says.

His “roadside inspections are always clean, he knows and remembers the names of all of the people at loading docks, and customers routinely ask to speak with him,” says Doug Moat, director of safety for Universal Am-Can. “When you hear about good, salt-of-the-earth Southern people, Gary fills the mind’s eye of everything you would expect.”

When invited to an out-of-town meeting to receive his award as 2012 Contractor of the Year for Universal Am-Can, McGinnis asked if he could bring his wife and granddaughter with him.

“Most truckers would consider that trip a free party, but Gary wanted to share the time with his family,” Moat says. McGinnis is able to be home most weekends and stops occasionally during the week. “I’m a pretty hard worker, though,” he says. “I drive every day of the work week most of the time … despite the fact that I can choose my hours freely.”

Hauling freight for Procter & Gamble much of his time, McGinnis transports dry goods like toilet paper, paper towels and diapers to Texas. There, McGinnis picks up whatever freight is available.

On trips home, McGinnis enjoys his 11-year-old German shepherd-Labrador mix, Ziggy, who “loves the farm too much to go on the road with me.” Besides going fishing and working in the yard, McGinnis tinkers on a 1977 Ford truck he’s owned for about 13 years.

Dedication to family parallels work ethic, shown here in 2003 with grandkids and the first truck he ever purchased.

McGinnis, 58, also makes time for his wife of 23 years, Sandy, and their granddaughter Mercedes, who lives with them. He also enjoys inviting his and Sandy’s combined five kids and six grandchildren to the farm to relax.

“Sometimes Mercedes will go fishing with me … now it’s computers and cell phones. She’s starting to get boys on her mind,” McGinnis says.

“I’ve made all my big family events. When my daughter had her children, I chose loads that would take me through where she lived so I could spend some time with her,” McGinnis says.

The biggest advantage of being an owner-operator, McGinnis says, is the independence. Because he can choose his own routes, he regularly runs from Missouri to Texas, so his home in Tuckerman, Ark., is a stop along the way.

“I work according to what I spend, but in recent years I have cut down on my mileage somewhat,” McGinnis says. He ran over 138,000 miles in 2010, bringing in a net income of $52,000.

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