Trucker of the Month: A Centered Life

Lanier Norville | December 01, 2009

An immaculate truck is a small part of Bower’s larger penchant for keeping customers. “I am intentional in the way I speak to people and the way I dress,” he says, in a clipped Pennsylvanian accent. “In our industry we make first impressions daily – sometimes even several times in one day.”

To lower fuel and other costs, Bower plans routes carefully and is frugal with trim on his rig. “I don’t think it’s advantageous from the financial end to put a lot of stuff on that you don’t get back.”

He manages his own finances, always keeping copies of records in his truck. Every month’s receipts go in an envelope, with purchases written on the front, he says: “It is imperative to know your fixed costs. Then you must learn to anticipate your variable costs, and you must always live within your means.” He netted $60,000 last year.

He credits being accident-free for 31 years to his practicality and faith. “I give Christ my full credit for that,” he says. “When you mentally decide you want to be safe, you will be safe.”

Since Bower’s return to regional hauling this September, he has helped build a youth room onto his church, Redland Valley BIC, where he has served as a trustee for seven years. Such involvement “is a true testimony to his faith in God” and dedication to his community, says Dale Lance, youth pastor at Redland Valley.

As a Horning Trucking company driver in 1978, Bower drove this 1976 Peterbilt cabover. Photo courtesy Leonard Bower.

Dec. 20, 1956: Born in Harrisburg, Pa.

1977: First driving job for Horning Trucking

1981: Bought first truck, a 1977 Kenworth, and leased to Erieview Cartage

1984: Leased to National Carriers

1991: Married Jill Kerschner

1992: Began team driving with Jill

1995: Leased to A. Duie Pyle Transportation

1996-1998: Son Max and daughters Jacy and Sadie are born

2003: Purchased current truck, a 2003 Western Star Low Max

2005: Leased to PGT Trucking and began flatbedding

2008: Leased to Mercer Transportation

2009: Leased to Fraley and Schilling

Trucker trivia

BOWER AND HIS WIFE Jill Bower drove team on a dedicated run from Pennsylvania to California each week from 1993 until 1996. “We’d leave Monday, be there Wednesday and be home by Friday,” he says. “We made $750,000 in three years.”

THE NEEDY in Bay City, Mich., got help from Bower this summer when he, his family and other members in his church took up hammers and nails to build houses. strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.