Owner-Operator of the Month
‘Professional tourist’ from the land down under sets her sights over and above.
By James Jaillet
When Australia native Jeanette Simpson immigrated to the United States in 1999, she had a background in banking she wanted to employ in a business of her own.
The same year, she earned a CDL and started work as a company driver for Keystone Freight Corp. That was partly to become a “professional tourist,” she says, but also to advance her career.
“I wanted to see the country, and what better way to see it,” she says. “But I could also see the potential in trucking from a business aspect.”
In 2001, she bought a truck and leased to Keystone, but moved to Landstar in 2002. In 2007, she bought a 1999 Freightliner Century, which she still drives.
Through a divorce and severance of a team operation, “I continued to push the business,” she says. “I wanted it to be successful, so I did everything I could to do that.”
She’s propelled her business to the high-risk, high-value – and high-paying – freight operation it is today. Her business netted roughly $75,000 in 2011.
She’s leased to Landstar Ranger and, due to the nature of the freight, can’t talk publicly about it.
“Jenny’s taken her owner-operator business from a once struggling start-up to a successful operation by creating and implementing a business plan,” Landstar CEO Henry Gerkens says. She “represents our industry’s best when it comes to safe driving skills and professionalism.”
Here’s what Simpson says makes a successful owner-operator:
ACT LIKE A PROFESSIONAL. “The No. 1 thing is to be personable and communicate well,” Simpson says, “meaning your company, customers, brokers, basically everybody.
“You have to keep your head on your shoulders and keep your cool. You can’t just get upset over anything. Also, dress professionally. Don’t go up to customers looking like 100 miles of bad road.”
If customers “remember you for good reasons, they’ll want you back,” says the Grand Prairie, Texas, resident. “If you say you’re going to do something, do it. I don’t take a load unless I can give it 100 percent.”
Simpson “steps up professional standards in everything she does,” Landstar Logistics agent Mike Jackson. “She keeps herself active and does a tremendous job. She’s one of the few in the industry that goes the extra mile to ensure everyone’s satisfied with her work.”