Big bunks, camaraderie in spades: Atlas owner-operators show out

The Atlas Van Lines company held its first-ever Bravo PVO Truck Show and Conference event in Arlington, Texas, in late March -- intended as a networking, educational and appreciation event for the many "professional van operators" (PVOs) doing business within the nationwide Atlas network of agents. 

"The PVO Truck Show is a celebration of the dedication and hard work of our professional van operators," the backbone of the van line's service to customers. That's according to Fleet Corporate Resources Director Aaron Chenoweth, who added the company takes "pride in honoring not just their service, but also their valued trucks."

Atlas Van Lines truck show featuring big-bunk trucksPlenty of big-bunk and other lookers among them, no doubt.All photos courtesy of Atlas Van Lines

The educational component of the attendant conference, all held at Globe Life Stadium, offered owner-operators opportunity to "engage with the leaders of various business units essential to our fleet’s support," Chenoweth added. "The agenda includes a previous-year review, exchange of best practices for minimizing claims, and the latest updates in technology, pricing, and safety. We also discuss legislative changes that have impacted our industry."

Show winners follow.

1st place: Grant Imlach's 2003 Kenworth W900L

Coming out on top was this beauty of a 2003 Kenworth from Grant Imlach, who notes that, though many of his fellow show entrants' super sleepers are "super convenient when you're out on the road," he never "wanted a big sleeper. I always had this stretched- out, long, low, traditional kind of hot rod-looking truck in the back of my head."

He put 22 months' worth of restoration work into the truck to bring it to where it is today, now in his GDI Enterprises company's eighth year owning the KW. 

Grant Imlach's 2003 Kenworth W900L"I literally just turned a dream into a reality," he said of the rig. "I had a vision when I built this truck. It’s taken a long time to get here.”

He's been through the unit "front to back, top to bottom," he said. "Just about had it down to the bare frame rails rebuilding it." It's been stretched and outfitted with an air ride front end, and with a boatload of work on the interior.

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Interior of 2003 Kenworth of Grant ImlachThe black and blue upholstery is new, likewise a 7,000-watt sound system. MTI Acoustics did the wiring, Imlach noted.

If Imlach sounds like a truck-show veteran, think again. This was the first show he's ever entered, and the experience, he noted, was humbling as an honor to "all of the hard work over the years. All of the pride we put into our equipment." 

Next up for the GDI Enterprises owner? "I’ve got a 2013 Peterbilt 389 glider that we’re redoing from the frame up. Cab’s off, bunk’s off, it’s bare chassis right now, and we’ve been picking away at it for almost three years now and we’ve got a long way to go.”

Stay tuned. 

2nd: Herb West's 2020 Volvo VNL64T

Herb West's 2020 Volvo VNL64TLike Imlach, West Relocation owner Herb West was a first-time show entrant with the 2020 Volvo VNL64T. “I never think of my truck as a show truck," he said. "Yeah, I take care of it and do everything to keep it up and keep it clean. I just work in it. I’m in neighborhoods, I go to apartment complexes, you know what I mean?” Clearly it left an impression on show attendees with its a 168-inch ARI legacy sleeper, with plenty in the way of custom vinyl graphics specially designed for the rig.

3rd: Tim Rowan's 2022 Volvo VNL64

Tim Rowan's 2022 Volvo with awning extendedJTR Elite LLC owner Tim Rowan's '22 VNL features a mammoth 180-inch ARI sleeper with sofa bed and top bunk, a 100-gal. water tank and the pictured awning, among other home comforts. Rowan's earned them, that's sure, with 32 years behind him in the moving business, he said. He followed his father and other family into the business. Both his younger brother and brother-in-law have been in it, too.

4th: Bryan Nowak's 2018 Peterbilt 389

Bryan Nowak's 2018 Peterbilt 389"I had to have my hood," Nowak Trucking LLC owner-operator Bryan Nowak said of his decision to replace a prior truck with this one. "I had to have the long-nose Pete. There’s nothing cooler to me than the old-school build," which quality extends to the 132-inch ARI sleeper behind the cab. Owner-operator Nowak notes his prior truck "burnt to the ground," necessitating the investment in the 2018 389. About that sleeper, he added, “There’s nothing better than coming home and the kids wanting to watch Paw Patrol on the TV in the truck.”

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