Owner-Operator of the Month

James Jaillet | March 01, 2011

Under the hood


SMITH DIRECTS MUSIC at his church, the Tri-State Community Church in Dubuque, Iowa. He’s also written and directed three church plays, one of which became a community theater play. “I was really kind of roped into it,” he says. “Someone found out I could sing, and I play the guitar, too, so I joined the music team and took over as worship leader just a few months ago.”

Smith’s first driving job was at Schneider as a company driver in 1991 and 1992.

KARATE has engaged Smith and his daughters at Springers Martial Arts Academy in Dubuque for years. “It’s something that we can do together on weekends when I’m home and something that gives me a little peace of mind that they can defend themselves if they have to,” Smith says.

SMITH APPLIED for police officer positions at the local department. He passed the tests and made it to certification lists, but was never chosen, he says. “I’ve always been interested in stopping the criminal element and spending more time at home, but it just didn’t work out that way,” Smith says.

Advice from a veteran

• “Live below your means,” Smith says. “If the checkbook is stretched to the limit in good times, you’re not going to make it in the bad.”

• Set aside $10,000 as a cushion for accidents, illness, injuries, breakdowns and economic slowdowns.

• Pay off credit cards in full each month, which can help as a guide to limit the amount you charge, too.

• “Check your wires and hoses for signs of rubbing,” he says. “Wrap, strap or replace these small items before they cause big problems.”

Timeline Bryan Smith

1969 Born July 24

1987-1991 Serves in Marine Corps and tours Desert Storm in Saudi Arabia

1991 Starts as company driver for Schneider National

1994 Purchases first truck, 1991 Freightliner FDL 120

1995 Marries wife, Martha Kretz

1999 Daughter Emily is born

2003 Daughter Bethany is born

2005 Daughter Vivian is born

2008 Purchases fourth and current truck, a 2009 Peterbilt 386

Bryan Smith is a finalist for the 2012 Owner-operator of the Year, which is sponsored by Cummins Engines and produced by Overdrive and the Truckload Carriers Association. The winner will be announced at TCA’s annual convention, March 4-7, 2012, in Orlando, Fla.

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