Former drivers, raise hands high!

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I had a great conversation a few days back with a broker from the Allen Lund company. Based out of Lund’s Phoenix, Ariz., office, Bryan Lundberg, originally of Minnesota, wasn’t always a business development specialist for a West-Coast-headquartered freight brokerage. At just the age of 28, Lundberg has run as an owner-operator and managed a small fleet. At its height, he says, he “had 18-19 trucks. I owned 8 of them and was managing” the balance of the fleet, KAL Logistics, with his father.

Bryan LundbergBryan Lundberg

Lundberg ran as an owner-operator himself, too. “I really miss that part of it,” he says today, recalling his Cat-powered 2005 Kenworth W900L. “I purchased that one before I could cross state lines” up in Minnesota. “I was 19 or 20, and I just continued to do custom work on it” as the years went by.

Early morning on his 21st birthday, he wasn’t out partying with friends, but he wasn’t at home, either. He was parked off I-90 in Luverne, Minn., waiting for midnight to come to cross the state line into South Dakota. “I was parked there and I crossed waiting for somebody to pull me into the scale before Sioux Falls,” he says.

All about trucking? You bet.

In 2010 the Kenworth he owned placed 1st in Working Bobtail at the Richard Crane Memorial Truck Beauty Contest at the Mid-American Trucking Show, then 2nd in the same class at the Overdrive‘s Pride & Polish event in Dallas.

The 2005 Kenworth W900L Lundberg formerly owned.The 2005 Kenworth W900L Lundberg formerly owned.

When he and his wife decided to move to Phoenix a few years back now, toward the end of his time as an owner-operator as he and his wife contemplated growing the family (and warmer weather), a shipper customer referred him to an agency-model brokerage he joined for a time. Now, however, he’s an employee of the Allen Lund Company, an employee-only brokerage — analogous to a fleet that only runs its own trucks with company drivers.

“I leave for work about at 4:30 in the morning and get home by 5 every day. I spend nights and weekends with” his two-year-old son, he says. “He is in love with cars and trucks. We can sit on the couch for hours watching Youtube videos of tractors and cars and trucks. It’s really great to see that and to see how kids are interested in seeing the big-rigs.”

As a broker, though he deals more and more with the shipper side of the equation building new business, his experience as a trucker he holds close at all times. “When you think you’re having a bad day” around an office, Lundberg says, “I think of how many days I might have to go without seeing [his son]. Now I can really relate to how hard that’s gotta be to be out there for so many” of the fathers and mothers among drivers. “I’m always remembering who I am and where I came from – where I was previously, fighting customers on detention and things like that.”

If the driver deserves detention, he adds, simply, “he deserves it” and as the broker now he’ll fight for it. He calls excess and uncompensated waits the biggest problem he sees right now, especially in produce, which accounts for around 70 percent of the Phoenix Allen Lund office’s business, he estimates. “I’m constantly trying to remember what drivers are going through, and trying to push back [on shippers that don’t get it] as much as I can.”

Which is all to say, well, there are many paths through the trucking business. If you’ve gone from primarily working as a company driver or owner-operator on to a different role in trucking (whether in safety, dispatch, maintenance or another fleet or elsewhere, and perhaps back the other way to the truck, as is most definitely common), I’d love to hear your story. Write me at tdills [at] randallreilly.com or drop a comment below.

Meantime, here’s a few shots of Lundberg’s 2005 KW from back when. He says he sold the rig to an operator around Phoenix who at the time was running produce from Arizona to the East Coast and back. “I have not seen the truck in a couple years.”

This look like yours?

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