Attention to detail
Leatherwood “takes his time to do everything right, he never gets in altercations with customers or other drivers, he travels all 48 states, and he hauls anything you ask him to — overall, he’s just a great guy,” Shane Winchester says.
LTI “always has people around to talk to if you need help on a load,” Leatherwood says. “I’m never gone from home that long either,” a nice perk as his two kids were growing up over the last decade.
Whenever Leatherwood comes into the office, “he’s always so mild-mannered and cooperative with everyone,” says LTI Operations Manager Jerry Campbell. “He stays busy, his revenue is high, and he never has service issues — his reputation is nearly impeccable with LTI.”
Leatherwood’s arrangement with LTI gives him a lot of freedom to get home to his family in Beaumont. “I don’t have a lot of off-time, but being able to have the option to go home if I need or want it — it’s hard to beat.”
Much of his home time is spent taking care of two horses: a paint stud, Hank, and a solid mare quarterhorse named Stormy. His love for horses even gained him a CB handle with quirky spelling: Horst Shoe.
“I seldom ride them, but they’re beautiful to watch,” Leatherwood says. When he does ride one, it’s the paint stud. “He’s not fixed and he’s still as gentle as a dog.”
3 tips on attitude
• “Be patient. You never know what other drivers will do.”
• “Treat your customers with respect, and they will return the favor.”
• Keep your cool. “I’m not very opinionated, and I think sometimes it helps me out in business because I don’t have a short temper.”
1962: Born in Anchorage, Alaska, and moved to Beaumont, Texas
1985: Began first trucking job hauling produce
1987: Married wife, Sherry
1988: Son, Tri’, was born
1992: Bought first truck, a 1988 Freightliner Classic
1993: Daughter, Shyann, was born
2005: Bought 2000 Freightliner Classic
2011: Bought current truck,
2006 Western Star
James Leatherwood is a finalist for the 2012 Owner-Operator of the Year award, which is sponsored by Overdrive and the Truckload Carriers Association. The winner will be announced at TCA’s annual convention, March 3-6, 2013, in Las Vegas.