HOME: Kenton, Tenn.
FAMILY: Wife Terri, daughter Cori, 18, and son Colt, 15
LEASED TO: Bay State Moving Systems for United Van Lines
RIG: 2002 International 9900ix
FREIGHT: Trade show equipment, electronics
ACCIDENT-FREE: 21 years, 2 million miles
Most truckers don’t have a lot to write home about, but Tim Brady, 50, does. Leased to Bay State Moving Systems in Chicopee, Mass., an agent for United Van Lines, Brady catalogs every step of his travels through photographs from a dashboard-mounted digital camera and through fact gathering for future trivia questions. Four times a school year, he’ll compile all his geography trivia into a newsletter on the computer in his truck and send it off via wireless Internet to 300 second through fourth graders at Ridgemont Elementary School in Obion County, Tenn.
It all started when his daughter was in the fourth grade, and she came up with the idea that a mascot, Billy Beaver, would travel with her dad and send back postcards and trivia questions. Cori’s now a freshman in college, but the Billy Beaver program is still going strong, with three more stuffed-animal mascots in tow, Gus Dragon, George Primate and Arthur Bear.
Not only that, but Tim and his wife Terri, who often rides with him and has a 20-year writing career, have expanded their writing and trucking experience into the book market with an owner-operator financial guide, Driven4Profits, and a fiction book, Romancing the Road, a love story with a trucking twist.
They’re in the process of putting together two more novels, a sequel to Romancing the Road and a trucking thriller. The Bradys self-publish the Driven4Profits book, but use a print-on-demand publisher for the fiction.
But trucking and publishing are not what Brady had planned on doing with his life.
At 21, he started out as an apprentice to be a chef. At 25, he started selling yachts, and then a few years later he ended up on a ride to Alberta, Canada, with his brother-in-law, a trucker, to help unload. Something about trucking clicked, and he’s been at it ever since, with four United Van Lines agents and with no accidents and no moving violations.
“Tim Brady is part of an elite fleet, and he takes care of our most important customers because of his professionalism,” says Liz Schofield, owner and president of Bay State Moving Systems. “He has zero defects in safety claims, and he meets and exceeds customer expectations.”
Along with many safe-driving awards, Brady still carries his learned trades with him on the road. Just because he’s in a smaller kitchen doesn’t mean he can’t cook a gourmet meal. He cooks omelets, crepes, soufflés and Belgian waffles in his cab. His favorite meal to cook: “It depends on the hour of the day,” Brady says. “That’s like asking an artist which painting was his favorite to paint. It’s all about how you use your spices and how you build the whole meal.”
But no matter if he’s trucking or cooking, Brady’s found that one truth holds steady: “Learn the basics and apply them. You can’t lose.”
Even if you haven’t seen his picture on the back of his own book, you might recognize him because he’s featured in a nationwide ad campaign for Rand McNally, and he’s on the back of the 2003 edition of the Rand McNally Motor Carriers’ Road Atlas. “I sort of just fell into that,” he says. “I bought Rand McNally’s Route Tools, and the company asked for a testimonial, and then they called and asked if I would be interested in being in their ads.” Then, through International, I ended up in Transport Topics and The Trucker. “All of a sudden, I was everywhere,” he says.
SECRET TO YOUR SUCCESS: My background in business management, accounting and sales gives me an approach to trucking from all sides of the business. And I am driven by customer service.
HOW TRUCKERS CAN HELP THE INDUSTRY: I operate on the mantra: Be courteous, be patient and be safe. We must also give to our communities and live by example, not by words.
FAVORITE LOAD: Digital equipment for television stations. My daughter is going to the University of Tennessee-Martin for broadcast journalism, so I like to get information that will help her in the future.
LEAST FAVORITE LOAD: Office moves. They’re always labor-intensive.
MOST UNUSUAL LOAD: This lady was moving, and she wanted to take a granite boulder that was about 5 feet by 5 feet with her. Her husband had proposed to her on that boulder. It was about 6,000 pounds, and it was still buried in the ground, so we had to dig it out.
DREAM VACATION: A trip that would emulate a seven-month motorcycle trip I took in 1971 that covered the United States and Canada, except I would do it in a motor-home.
DREAM FOR THE FUTURE: Drive when I want, stop when I want and smell the flowers when I want.
PET PEEVE: Four-wheelers that don’t understand 18-wheelers and a lack of patience and courtesy.
MOTTO: I’m a can-do driver. There’s nowhere in business to say, “We can’t do that.”
If you’re interested in learning more about Tim and Terri Brady’s books, you can go to their website www.writeuptheroad.com or call (731) 749-8567.
Do you know an exemplary owner-operator with 15 years of trucking experience and an excellent safety record? Write to Laura Crackel, Overdrive, P.O. Box 3187, Tuscaloosa, AL 35403, or e-mail lcrackel@eTrucker.com. Honorees are considered for Trucker of the Year.