Trucker of the Month: On the go
Part of Fry’s success is due to his organizational skills. He has only one rule: to keep his business and personal accounts separate. “Doing so helps me keep track of my earnings and expenses, and at the end of the day, I end up taking more money home,” he says.
To keep expenses in check, “you’ve got to do your own maintenance,” Fry says. He greases and polishes his 2003 Kenworth T600, rotates his tires and checks air pressure in his back yard between runs. He says rotating his own tires saves him at least $300 each time. Friends regularly drop by his house to work on their trucks, too.
Fry handles his equipment just as carefully as he does his earnings and expenses. In 21 years as a commercial driver, Fry has not had a single accident, ticket or moving violation. “I run the speed limit and give plenty of following distance,” he says.
Another way Fry balances expenses is by picking up extra loads. Living just 15 minutes from the Greatwide yard means he’s often available at a moment’s notice. Dispatcher Shannon Treadway says Fry helped her out of a bind more than once when she was new on the job five years ago. Working nights was especially stressful, Treadway says.
On one of her first nights on the job, “at 2 a.m. a guy fell off a load,” Treadway says. Fry was one of the first owner-operators she’d met at Greatwide, so she called him first.
“Artie got up in the middle of the night and came and took that load, no questions asked,” she says. The two have been friends ever since, and Fry is still the first person Treadway calls in tough situations.
FRY RESCUED Greatwide colleague Clyde McKee in the throes of a heart attack in 2008. Fry had stopped south of San Antonio to refuel and called for help when he noticed McKee parked nearby, his driver’s side door ajar and he slumped over the steering wheel. Fry returned McKee’s truck to his Temple, Texas home. “I did what I was supposed to,” Fry said. His friend recovered in the hospital.
FISHING IS GOOD on Stillhouse Lake, where Fry makes his home. This August, he caught 52 channel catfish in one day. Fry said he cleaned them and was waiting for the perfect fish fry weather to take them out of the freezer.