REMEMBERING A TRUCKING INNOVATOR
Overdrive’s December 2005 cover story (“Back to the Future”) focused on what the trucking future once looked like. The article featured Ronald Zubko and his invention, the Strick Cab-Under. In the memory and honor of Ronald, who died March 3, your readers should know what an extraordinary man he was.
Ron, who died March 3, had more than 46 years of experience in the engineering, research and development, manufacturing, selling, leasing and maintenance of tractor-trailers.
Ron retired from Strick Trailers in 2004. He worked in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe and North, Central and South America as an expert in container and tractor-trailer design. Ron also served as an expert witness, providing opinions on tractor-trailer accidents in court.
Ron’s most notable achievement was the Cab-Under. This invention increased the payload while increasing driver comfort. Two prototypes were built and marketed in the United States and abroad. He received eight other U.S. patents during his career.
Ron’s legacy will be his sense of humor and ability to make those around him comfortable. He had a unique ability to listen before speaking, and this characteristic enveloped those around him.
Ron is survived by a loving wife, five children, seven grandchildren and a sister and brother-in-law who were all very proud of him.
Palm City, Fla.
MEXICO PLAN WILL GIVE OLD TRUCKS AN ENCORE
I see the U.S. DOT has begun implementing its cross-border program, allowing Mexican trucking companies to run unlimited miles into the United States while hauling NAFTA freight between the two nations. Big business again has prevailed by pulling the wool over our eyes with the endorsement of the DOT, despite concerns over vehicle condition, driver background checks and compliance with FMCSA regulations. I doubt that the Mexican government can implement such a broad project without corruption being involved and our national security being harmed.
It’s 2007, and all new engines coming out this year cost $6,000 to $10,000 more because of EPA mandates to cut emissions. In the next few years, our entire U.S. fleet will become cleaner as the older engines are eliminated. The better low-mileage trucks will be resold here in the United States, while the high-mileage, undesirable trucks will either be auctioned off or sold to exporters throughout the world, with a big portion of them going to Mexico. So it appears that some of the old trucks we are disposing of may find their way back on our roadways, thus defeating the purpose of the 2007 emissions standards.
Enough is enough. Keep Mexican trucks in Mexico.
Broken Arrow, Okla.
DON’T FAULT SUCCESS
The letter written by Bill and Melody Fisher [WriteOn, April] attacking 2007 Trucker of the Year Henry Albert’s business model and professionalism is unacceptable.
Judging by Albert’s record in business and regarding safety, I hope there are few owner-operators that would disagree that he is a great choice for Trucker of the Year. He does the things all of us know we need to do, but does them consistently and unapologetically. Understanding the truth about the public perception of drivers is the first step to fixing our industry.
Where Albert chooses to operate and how he maintains his equipment simply can’t be argued against. It obviously has given him the lifestyle he desires.
The old stories about being dragged around in a landfill by a bulldozer and chaining up on a remote mountain pass are fun to tell at the dinner table, but have little to do with true business success. Trucking is a huge industry with many niches. Albert uses solid business skills that will work whether for a reefer hauler, flatbedder or heavy hauler. While modesty is not necessarily his strong area, Albert has established himself as a leader in trucking and absolutely should be commended for it.
BORDER PLAN IS MERELY SCHEME FOR CHEAP LABOR
In reading the column on the Mexican cross-border plan [“Border Disorder,” Viewpoint, April], I can only conclude that you believe your readership is mainly stockholders of publicly traded mega-trucking companies. It’s like saying to carpenters that builders being allowed to hire illegal immigrants is going to help them.
Of course the cross-border pilot program will be under scrutiny at first. Then it’s going to break loose. Schneider National, J.B. Hunt and Swift Transportation will pull a subsidiary hocus-pocus and presto – the 1980s are back with repossessed trucks and bankrupt owner-operators.
The whining about a driver shortage always has been bogus. There are plenty of good drivers in the United States. The problem is finding drivers willing to be gone for weeks at a time for $600 per week, all so these companies can pay their stockholders. With Mexican drivers, these companies now have the new cheap labor force they have been looking to exploit.
Send letters to Write On, Overdrive, P.O. Box 3187, Tuscaloosa, AL 35403, or fax to (205) 750-8070, or e-mail [email protected]. Letters are subject to editing for length and content.