Trucker of the Month
For 35 years Jones has used that formula pulling reefers. In recent years, he has hauled frozen meat to the Mexican border and returned with produce, having changed from coast-to-coast hauls to regional ones a few years ago.
While his passion for driving has remained the same, he continues to run the Jones Truck Brokers brokerage he started in 1999. The business mirrors his regional hauls, taking frozen meat to the border and returning with produce. Excluding profits from his brokerage, Jones’ driving earned him a $100,000 net income last year. His wife, Eleanor Jones, runs their business office.
Cory Stuefen, manager of Joplin Peterbilt Body Shop, says that “Jerry is very thorough and old-school and that’s what I like. I don’t think you can find a more honest person around.”
Jim LeFaive, Cherry Growers Logistics manager and one of Jones’ customers, calls him a “hard worker, dedicated to his job. He’s on time every time.”
A longtime love of tinkering has helped Jones save money. Ten years ago he came up with the idea for a device that cools the truck cab from the reefer unit, even with the truck turned off at night for eight to 10 hours.
When diesel spiked at $4.70 a gallon in 2008, he put his plan into action with the help of mechanic Mike Hoffman.
“On trips back and forth to South Texas Valley, I save 50 gallons a week and that’s on short trips,” Jones says of the device he calls the Gizmo.
While inventing is a hobby, driving is Jones’ “cup of tea,” he says. “I’ve always enjoyed the thrill of what’s over the next hill.”
Sept. 15, 1950: Born in Nevada, Mo.
1967: Drove first tractor-trailer
1970: Drafted into U.S. Army and served in Korea
1973: Bought first truck, a 1973 Kenworth, and leased to Hofer Inc.
1975: Bought first reefer trailer
1989: Became company driver for Consolidated Freightways
1989: Married Eleanor Kennon
1993: Awarded five-year safety award from Consolidated Freightways
1994: Returned to reefer hauling
1999: Started brokerage business
2009: Created “Gizmo” device to help cool truck cab
HIS 1989 HARLEY-DAVIDSON Springer Softtail powered Jones and his wife, Eleanor, to the Grand Canyon one summer, over bumpy cattle guards and through an Indian reservation. “We rode it all over Kansas City, Mo.,” Eleanor says. Their trips included one that went on old Route 66.
JONES’ 2003 PETERBILT 379, which he modified to look like a 1980 Kenworth Gold Nugget, made it into the 2004 Shell Rotella SuperRigs calendar. The truck was photographed at an old mill in Magnolia, Ohio, at daylight.
WATCH Jerry Jones at OverdriveOnline.com