Channel 19

Todd Dills

Setting the pace with owner-operator Henry Albert

| November 08, 2011

Sunday’s post on Overdrive 2007 Trucker of the Year Henry Albert’s blog caught my eye with what it says about thinking outside the box to ensure success in running an independent business. In the post, Albert visits an old haunt of his, Charlotte’s Metrolina speedway (the old grandstands here pictured by Albert), shuttered long since the days he wheeled a stock car around its oval. “I learned so much from those race days,” he wrote on the blog — how to set goals, budget, work with his team and, most importantly, the value of “never being afraid to try new ideas. Experience taught me that if you do everything like everyone else, you can only expect the same results as those you follow. I learned that taking the path less traveled can earn you a win! At times, I needed to cut a path of my own in order to gain an advantage over my competition.”

Albert’s independent business has flourished in recent years with his laser-like attention to every aspect of it, but perhaps fuel mileage more than anything else — he called me recently with reports of near 10 mpg average mileage hauling not-exactly-light freight in his dry van, modified for maximum aerodynamics. Give a full read to his Sunday blog post, part of his ongoing work pushing a Freightliner Cascadia and Detroit DD15 with 2010 emissions technology to the limits of efficiency in Freightliner’s Slice of Trucker Life program.

And for more evidence of how thinking outside the box can be a benefit to your business, check out Lucinda Coulter’s “Name game” cover story on various owner-operator efforts at marketing their businesses in interesting ways in the November issue, out now. Also in the new issue, I detailed a couple new ideas for owner-operator leasing models that some fleets are trying out to combat growing attention to independent contractor control from various quarters. The goal of the models is to enhance operator freedom with nontraditional lease contracts. Read it here and tell me what you think these models may mean for you in the future.