Trucker of the Month
‘My No. 1 idol’
A brother’s influence imparts to Louisiana driver aheart for the road and a successful career
Ron Boudreaux used to be his older brother’s shadow. Whatever job Charles held, Ron says he was “right there behind him.” Charles started out cutting down trees, then moved to making local deliveries in the Houston area.
After Charles took up trucking, he included his younger brother. Driving along Interstate 10 near the Louisiana-Texas border one day in the late 1970s, Charles pulled over and told then 25-year-old Ron to get behind the wheel.
“He asked me, ‘Do you think you can do this?’ and I said, ‘I don’t know.’ He said, ‘Well I think you can,’” Boudreaux says. “I didn’t even know how to shift the gears, but he taught me how to drive. He taught me the old-fashioned way.”
Boudreaux picked up more than just operating skills from his older brother. The 57-year-old owner-operator says his brother taught him mechanics and how to use maps and plan routes. “He even did his best to keep me out of trouble.”
The Youngstown, La., native and resident landed his first driving job hauling supplies and equipment to oil fields for a Houston-based company named Joe D. Hughes in 1978. Twenty years later, Boudreaux took his life savings into the Baton Rouge, La., Freightliner dealership and bought a 1997 Classic.
That year, 1998, he became the first owner-operator at the newly founded Raider Express. He’s still with Raider, hauling fresh and frozen meats nationwide.
“The first five years of my career, I told myself, ‘Well, one day I’m going to have my own truck. One day I’m going to have a big pretty truck,’” Boudreaux says. “I never gave up. Every day out here it’s like a dream come true.”
Boudreaux traded his Freightliner in 2006 for a 2007 Coronado. The next year, he netted $60,000 and reached 1 million accident-free miles.
He says it’s hard to succeed as a one-truck operation. “Prices keep going up and up and up,” he says. “Your wages don’t.” To counteract that, Boudreaux says he strives to keep overhead down, manage fixed costs, be diligent with preventive maintenance and occasionally work extra days.
Boudreaux practices what he preaches, says Raider Express President Mike Eggleton Sr. Boudreaux has worked with him his entire trucking career, following him from Joe D. Hughes to two other companies and eventually Raider.
“He’s the hardest working man I know. He’s never late on a load,” Eggleton says. “You can absolutely depend on him being where he says he’s going to be when he says he’s going to be there.”