Rob Ahlers wears his mantra on his back, permanently. The owner-operator from Akron, Ohio, who now lives in Alexandria, Virginia, says he took his time before choosing his tattoo and was the last one in his family to get inked. As an officer in the Army National Guard and son of a long-haul trucker, he wanted a meaningful tattoo symbolizing his patriotism, leadership roles in the military and his trucking business philosophy.
The bold, eye-catching Latin words stamped across his upper back and shoulders say, “Non Ducor, Duco,” which translates to, “I am not led, I lead.” He sent his tattoo entry into Overdrive’s Show Us Your Ink program and his photo into Truckers News‘ Salute Our Veterans. “Patriotism and trucking go hand in hand,” he says.
U.S. Army Captain Ahlers, 31, now a civilian working for the military, recently started MSR Transport Services with two other veterans. The initials “MSR” stand for the first name of each of the owners — Michael, Sean and Rob — and also are a well-known military acronym for “main supply route.” Since most of the veterans he’s working with are eligible for CDL skills testing waiver (they have two years operating a commercial vehicle as part of their military service), he’s been able to train them to his professional standards.
His mission, along with his partners’, was to start a trucking company to provide meaningful employment to veterans. “We decided we didn’t want to sit around and see our fellow veterans struggle in the workplace, and so we decided to step up and put our resources together to lead the way.” MSR Transport expects to be full operational this month.