Freight Fest: Host-to-host with Rahmel Wattley of the Truck N' Hustle podcast

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Updated Aug 16, 2023

In this week's edition of Overdrive Radio, peek through a window at an upcoming conference in Houston, Freight Fest, now in its second year and building on a the journey of one New Jersey-based Rahmel Wattley, host of the 2019-founded Truck N' Hustle podcast.

That's right, for this edition, it’s podcast host-to-podcast host, as it were. My conversation with Wattley details what owner-operators and small fleets can expect out of the four-day Freight Fest, September 28-October 1 at the Hilton Americas hotel in Houston. It extends the general trucking-business-entrepreneurship themes of Truck N' Hustle with networking and education opportunities various and sundry, and the success of the podcast bringing together disparate communities around the industry. Presenters are many, including reps at freight-factoring company OTR Capital, a sponsor of the event, and voices many of you will be familiar with from Overdrive Radio, too, like that of Innovative Logistics Group founder Adam Wingfield. (Wingfield's tale of his start trucking as an owner-operator and subsequent growth featured on the podcast earlier in the year.)

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Rahmel Wattley hopes Freight Fest is a place where small fleets and owner-operators, specifically, can lay the groundwork for a fundamental goal of many -- growth, whether through the insights of fellow owner-ops and fleet owners or support partners like Wingfield and many others. Catch a full list of speakers/presenters at the conference via this link. 

Along the way, we’ll also hear Wattley's story in trucking, from his first experience getting a CDL in the early part of this century to dispatching for, then managing a small fleet and opening his own businesses aimed at putting CDL drivers in a position to garner longer-term employment with fleets. With all of his endeavors, he’s always got growth in his own mind, but not only that. One trucking media guy talking to another on the podcast, the subject came up of Overdrive’s 60-plus-year history, reaching back to times well before your friendly neighborhood Overdrive Radio host’s birth. Wattley's, too.

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Overdrive Radio logoSubscribe to the podcast on your listening platform of choice for early access to the weekly Overdrive Radio series -- it drops typically every Friday to the feed and follows here at OverdriveOnline.com and in Overdrive's Youtube and Facebook feeds the following week. You can subscribe via Apple and Google podcasts, Spotify, TuneIn, most anywhere you listen.For longevity in any business, Wattley noted, the desire for growth is necessarily tempered by greater needs. "I tell people all the time, 'things don’t happen overnight'," he said. "Sometimes I have to reel myself in because I want to see so much growth so fast. … That’s not how it works" in business, though. "To be around forever, you have to take your time and build that strong foundation." Truck N' Hustle has "had great success in a short amount of time," but what he truly hopes is that it will be a "forever business," of a fashion, and still be around come 2079 with its own 60-year history.

And if so, "Now we’re talking," he said. "That’s what it’s about."

Freight Fest is another piece of that. Listen on for more detail on how Wattley envisions the event, in part inspired by the SHE Trucking expo back in 2021 in Chattanooga Tennessee. 

[Related: How to master work-life balance trucking over-the-road


Transcript

Todd Dills: Hey everybody, and Happy Friday to the podcast subscribers and, well, Monday if you're catching this one via the world-famous overdriveonline.com, where the show is posting August 14th. Today, we're peeking through a window onto a conference in its second year coming up down in Houston building on a thus far four-year journey of one New Jersey-based Rahmel Wattley.

I'm Todd Dills, your host for this edition of Overdrive Radio and it's host to host today, as it were. Wattley's the voice and principle progenitor of a podcast himself. Truck N' Hustle, around now for more than four years and well-known among entrepreneurs of a variety of stripes all around trucking, transportation, including owner-operators and small fleets and a variety of trucking niches. Freight Fest then is Wattley and company's conference, upcoming next month in Houston, building on the success of his podcast and bringing together disparate communities around trucking.

Rahmel Wattley: This is our second year. The first one was last year, November 4th through the 6th in Houston, Texas at the Royal Sonesta. We stayed in Houston this year, so it's going to be September 28th through October 1st at Hilton Americas. Basically what Freight Fest is, it's what Truck N' Hustle is. I like to call it Truck N' Hustle on steroids. It's an opportunity for us to bring all of our guests from Truck N' Hustle, from the podcast as well as other people from just our network, as we've been just trekking across the country.

Man, we're all over the place just meeting new people all the time. So just bringing everybody together in one place and it's really just about exploring the different niches of transportation, so we're covering everything end to end. We have people from oil and gas, we have people from intermodal, freight forwarders, freight brokers, fleet owners, just bringing them all on one stage to talk about their particular subject matter of expertise, and then bringing the people that can bring it all together for them, people like Dean Croke from DAT, freight analysts and consultants that help you with planning and funding and opportunities through the SBA, government contracting. It's just a space where there's just tons of just opportunity, man. That's really what it's all about. Just putting everybody in one room, and we could just share resources, just learn and grow from each other.

Todd Dills: Among presenters are anyone from reps at Freight Factoring Company OTR Capital, a sponsor of the event, and voices many of you will be familiar with from Overdrive Radio too, like Innovative Logistics Group founder Adam Wingfield, whose tale of his start in trucking as an owner-operator and subsequent growth featured on the podcast earlier in the year. Rahmel Wattley hopes Freight Fest is a place where small fleets and owner-operators specifically can lay the groundwork for a fundamental goal of many.

Rahmel Wattley: Growth, man. Number one is networking. You get to connect with some of your peers out there, other fleet owners, people who are doing the same things that you're doing. You get to learn from them and then we're bringing people to the stage that could add value to your business. So if you're looking to pivot, we know the market's been brutal. A lot of people have been struggling. They're looking for different opportunities, they're looking for other ways to continue to thrive. So, that's what we're bringing.

So the pitch is if you want to get around people that can help you grow your business, they're going to be at Freight Fest, and that's what it's all about. So, we've really put together a list of people that we feel can add the most value from our network.

Todd Dills: You can find a list of presenters at freightfest.com, and listen on for more detail of how Wattley envisions the event, in part inspired by the SHE Trucking Expo back in 2021 in Chattanooga. We'll also hear his own story in trucking from his first experience getting a CDL in the early part of this century to dispatching, to managing a small fleet and opening his own businesses aimed at putting CDL drivers in a position to garner longer term employment with fleets and more. With all of his endeavors, he's always got growth in mind, but also other concerns.

We got to talking about the fact that our conversation was what it was, a trucking media guy talking to another and Overdrive's 60 plus year history, reaching way back to times well before your friendly neighborhood Overdrive Radio host's birth. For longevity in any business, Wattley noted, the desire for growth is necessarily tempered by greater needs.

Rahmel Wattley: I tell people all the time, things don't happen overnight, and sometimes I have to even reel myself in because I want to see so much growth so fast. I'm like, "Man, that's not how it works."

Todd Dills: You got to be steady.

Rahmel Wattley: You got to be steady.

Todd Dills: You got to be steady.

Rahmel Wattley: You got to take your time. It's a process, man. To be around forever, you have to take your time and build that strong foundation, and that's what I want us to be, a forever business. So, I understand it's not going to happen overnight. We've had great success in a short amount of time, but it's good and humbling to hear when somebody's been around since the 60s and the 70s. That's what we want to be. 2000, what? Whatever it will be 40 years from now, will Truck N' Hustle still be here? Will we stand the test of time?

Todd Dills: In 2080?

Rahmel Wattley: 2080, 2080. Now we-

Todd Dills: 2079. That would be 60 years.

Rahmel Wattley: Right, now we’re talking. Now we’re talking. That's what it's about, man. That's what it's about.

Todd Dills: On the other side of a break, we'll dive right into the beginning of Rahmel Wattley's story. Keep tuned.

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Todd Dills: Find out more about Defender and other Howes fuel treatments at H-O-W-E-S, howesproducts.com. Okay, here's Rahmel Wattley, taking us back to his beginnings with a CDL about two decades ago.

Rahmel Wattley: I've been in transportation for half my life. I got into the industry through getting a CDL. I got my CDL in... It was either 2002, '03, '04, one of them, I'm not sure, don't hold me to it. But got my CDL because I was unemployed. I needed a job quite honestly, and it was a means to an end. I saw a want ad, $50,000 to be a truck driver. I was like, "Cool, let's do it." Right after I got the CDL, quickly learned that driving the truck was not my forte. I just wasn't really comfortable behind the wheel, and I've managed many drivers over the years and I've worked with many drivers, and I always say you know a driver at the handshake. You shake their hand, and you know if that guy or that girl is a driver or not.

You have it or you don't, and I just frankly did not have it. I had to come to terms with that very early, so when I got my license, I was like, "All right, cool. I had this license, I passed the test, I got the CDL, but I don't really feel comfortable driving this truck." So, I got an opportunity very early. I was actually looking for a job and I got introduced to this guy who ran a small mom and pop company called Bond Transfer. They were based out of Maryland and they were on location in New Jersey at a warehouse called Ball Plastics.

What they did, what Bond did was they delivered the plastic bottles for Pepsis all throughout the country. So Ball Plastics would create these plastic bottles out the resin. The resin will be delivered. It would become a bottle. They'd put 22 pallets on a 48-foot trailer, and they ship it out all over the country. Cranston, Rhode Island, all these different places.

So when I was going there for the driving job, I was very transparent with the guy who was the manager there and I was like, "Listen, I don't know if I'm really cut out for this, but I'm just doing it." I'm just having an honest conversation with him. He was like, "Have you ever thought about being a dispatcher?" I was like, "What's a dispatcher?" I don't even know what that is at the point because I'm still new to the industry. So he was like, "Man, you're basically managing the guys." You let them know what routes they're going to do and just manage them. You seem like you're a very personable guy. You seem cool. I like you. I think you'd be good at it." I had some small managerial experience from doing other things prior to that. I was like, "All right, cool."

I said, "That sounds interesting." I was like, "What's it paying?" Because that's the main thing, I'm thinking about the money. $45,000 was the starting salary. So at this time in the early two 2000s, that was a lot of money to me.

With no college degree, mind you, I had no experience in the industry at all. Brand new industry to me. He was like, "I'll pay you 45K a year to do this job," just off of that one meeting. He just liked me. He thought I was a cool guy. So I was like, "Cool." So we went through the process. He had a lot of pull over the owners and everything like that. He vouched for me. He said, "I like this guy. I want him to be here." He got me the job.

That was my entrance into the industry right there. So, I ended up working at that company. They're a small family business. I worked with them for four years. The guy who actually hired me ended up actually getting fired, because he stole some money from them, which was funny, right? He was creating these fake companies and billing them to himself and taking a bunch of money. That's a whole other story. But here's the thing, because it was such a small operation, it was only me, him, and two other people who worked in the office and I was the next man up. So when they got rid of him, I knew the most in the office. So just by default, they were like, "Hey, Rahmel, can you run things?" They called me RJ. "Hey, RJ, can you run things while we find another manager?"

They never found another manager. I ended up being the manager. I ended up running that operation. So eventually things happened, it was a second generation business where it was the family business. The sons took over, but the sons weren't really as, they weren't really trucking trucking guys.

Todd Dills: They weren't invested in it.

Rahmel Wattley: They weren't invested in it. That happens a lot. So, they ended up losing a lot of their business and they ended up selling and going... They went out of business actually. They didn't sell. This is like 20 years I'm going back. So after that, I didn't have a job. I went through another opportunity through just networking, I had a friend who worked over at Ryder, so I ended up going to work for Ryder Integrated Logistics for their CVS account.

So I had all the experience that I learned at Bond. Started working for Ryder. I ended up working for Ryder for about seven years. Learned a ton about operations, just running a trucking company. Ryder is the big boys, they do everything right, so learned from Ryder. And then in 2015, I started my own company. So, I actually started a staffing business. So while I was at Ryder, we basically had about 60 guys that we kept on full-time, but because we were doing a CVS account, there would be these seasonal spikes.

So during Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine's Day, all the times when there's an increased amount of goods to be delivered, they would hire other drivers and they would get these companies called lease companies, and they'd reach out to these companies and they would have 10 to 15 guys at a time working. These guys almost became a part of our driver pool, because they worked with us so much. So I'm starting to make relationships with these guys because I'm dispatching them, I'm putting them on the routes, and I'm also building a lot of rapport with a lot of the owners just through booking these guys.

So one day the bright idea hit me, I'm like, "Man, I could do this business." I'm also looking at the invoices, I'm looking at what they're billing, I'm like, "Hold on. So they just billed $40 an hour, they're paying the driver $20 an hour, and there's $20 there that's not accounted for. I'm assuming there's some costs in there, maybe some workers' comp, some this, that, and the third, but I'm sure there's some money to be made there." I was like, "This is a very easy business."

I already had the network of drivers. So in 2015, I started my own staffing company. I left Ryder and I started Ultimate Driver Staffing, which was my own driver staffing company. We grew that. I did about 1.2 million in revenue my first year doing that business, but we had a lot of failures because I didn't understand business. I just got into it, and even though I made a ton of money, I ended up being in the red because of workers' comp and certain things I didn't fully understand.

When I had that workers' comp audit, I wasn't putting aside money for workers' comp and different things that I should've been doing, managing my finances correctly. So I learned a lot of lessons, and that ended up trailing me for the next two to three years, and it actually caused a rift between my partner and I. We actually ended up dissolving that business, so I actually ended up selling to him because I had to get out of it. We just were disagreeing. The direction for the business, we were seeing it two different ways at that point. So, I sold to him and then I had a little interim in 2019.

That's when I started Truck N' Hustle, so the catalyst of Truck N' Hustle was basically to talk about entrepreneurship and opportunities in transportation and logistics from my point of view, because I'm an entrepreneur, I started a business, but I had so many failures and so many things went wrong, I wanted to just talk to other people who had similar stories like me and save people who were embarking on those entrepreneurial journeys from going through the same type of things that I had. So, that was my idea, like I'm going to do that through this podcast medium.

That's when everything started. I ended up starting another staffing company shortly after that, as I built Truck N' Hustle. So I still own another staffing company as well, Mega Driver Solutions out of Mount Laurel, New Jersey. But I'm able to also build Truck N' Hustle as well. So yeah, that's the story of how we got here.

Todd Dills: You're putting contract drivers with companies that need them on a temporary basis?

Rahmel Wattley: That's it, it's very easy.

Todd Dills: Or a long-term. Is it a long-term basis too?

Rahmel Wattley: Usually, it's long-term. So we call ourselves a temp agency, but in most cases, those guys end up working there three to six months, sometimes a year. Sometimes we transition them and they hire them outright. It's just an opportunity for companies to be able to have a driver and they get to test them out. They get to test the waters before they actually marry them.

So they use companies like ours, and then we carry all the liability. We pay workers' comp, we cover all the employment costs, we run everything from the MVRs, do drug testing, PSPs, we do everything, all the dirty work. Then we give them the driver, they take the driver, and they can use them when they need them, and then when they don't need them, the driver will go and work somewhere else. But we have a lot of guys who are older, guys who are semi-retired and their wife has medical benefits and they're good. They just want to work a couple hours a week.

And then we have some guys who just like the flexibility of being able to say no to a route. Like, "Nah, I don't want to work this week. I'm good." So they'll choose when they want to work and those guys, they exist out there. They're just flex guys and that's the kind of guys we have, man, but we have a good group of guys. So yep, that's what we do.

Todd Dills: You're not working with owner-operators over there, I don't imagine?

Rahmel Wattley: No, no. No owner-operators. In fact, all of our guys are local, so everybody's a 14-hour day. Some accounts, we used to do some postal accounts where we do some layovers, like a 10-hour layover, but for the most part, they're working 14 hours max. They're home every day, they get paid hourly. We don't do any OTR because it's not really our strong suit.

We tried it at certain points, but it's hard to bill and hard to make it work for the owners and for carriers and fleet owners. So we've always just stuck to an hourly pay model and we've just done that, and that's what works for us. We also are within our area, so we don't service anywhere outside of Jersey, Philadelphia, Delaware. We won't really go past that area. I'm in South Jersey. Mount Laurel, New Jersey, so I'm about 15 minutes away from the bridge, the Tacony Palmyra Bridge, which will bring you right into Downtown Philadelphia.

Todd Dills: Are you from there originally?

Rahmel Wattley: No. So I'm originally from Brooklyn, New York, moved out of there when I was young though, moved to Central Jersey, a place called Heights Sound. That's where I went to high school. I don't know if you're familiar with it, but it's near Trenton, New Jersey. Then after that, I moved back to New York after I graduated for about three years. Then I moved back to South Jersey, back to Jersey, met my wife. She lived in South Jersey and that's how I ended up out here in South Jersey, and I've been there ever since.

Todd Dills: Truck N' Hustle, you guys have a wide range of guests on there.

Rahmel Wattley: We do.

Todd Dills: Overdrive is pretty narrowly focused. It's intended for owner-operator/small trucking fleet owner. But you guys are covering anything from people getting into brokerage to you pick up on over the road themes with the truck parking episode that you recently had, but it all does kind of-

Rahmel Wattley: Tie together.

Todd Dills: ... tie back to starting a business generally.

Rahmel Wattley: It does.

Todd Dills: There's all different kinds of businesses that can be started in this world of trucking and transportation. What can we expect from Truck N' Hustle?

Rahmel Wattley: When I started Truck N' Hustle, it was about just the entrepreneurial spirit, because I was starting it based off of my own story and I was like, "I've been in this industry for so long, but I don't have a traditional trucking company," but I'm still a service provider for trucking companies. And there's tons of different ways that you can do that. So my thing was I want to explore all the different niches. I want to talk to all different business owners and just talk about all these different ways that people have created businesses for themselves in this industry, supply chain logistics, from end to end.

It's definitely rooted in entrepreneurship because I just love entrepreneurship. That's what excites me. I love to see people take something or take nothing and turn it into something. That excites me and I'm just naturally inquisitive about business. So really when I'm having these conversations, I'm just interested. It's almost like the cheat code, because for me, I'm learning for myself because I may want to start a business in your niche or I may want to partner with you or explore that opportunity myself.

So, I have a reason to kind of pick your brain and you can tell me all the insider information and all the good stuff that I would have to actually do the business to find out, I could learn from you. So just hearing those stories just excites me, and that's what Truck N' Hustle is about, but it's for everybody. I mean, if you're a company driver, it's still for you too because it's still applicable. You know what I mean? Some company drivers aspire to be owner-operators someday or fleet owners, and some don't. Some are cool just driving for the company, and that's what they like.

That's their superpower, and they're good with that, and we're for all of it. So I don't want to isolate and just say it's only for entrepreneurs because it's not, it's for everybody in this industry, because even if you're a company driver, you need to understand what's going on with other people in leadership. You need to understand how the fleet owner thinks.

Todd Dills: True.

Rahmel Wattley: You need to understand how the supply chain works because all this stuff affects you, it all trickles down. So I think it's just important for anybody in the industry to just learn and just pay attention to what's going on and pay attention to the people that are making things happen in this industry and that are going to somehow impact you in some way.

So, that's really what it's about. It's been cool because I've never really seen that before in this industry. I've noticed through my career, this industry is extremely segmented. It's very cliquey. Everybody stays in their own corner and they don't really get out and connect with other people from different areas of the business, and a lot of platforms are like that as well, to where it's like, "Hey, this is our niche. This is who we talk to, and that's it. This is who we service."

That's cool because that's needed, because there's a lot of underserved people that need somebody that's going to make sure they're speaking directly to them to be able to serve them, but my goal was how could we bring all that together? How could we do something where everybody feels welcome on one platform and everybody could have the commonality of saying, "Hey, I was on Truck N' Hustle," or "I engage with Truck N' Hustle," in some way, and that's the starting point now.

Now that breaks the ice and that starts the conversation of all right, cool. We both know Truck N' Hustle, where do we go from here? It's a conversation starter, you know what I mean? I've just never really seen anything like that to where our mission statement is globally connecting transportation and logistics professionals. So it doesn't matter who you are, any professional in this business, in this environment, we want to see how they intersect and we want to start having those conversations to see how we can help each other and ultimately help each other grow, because the goal is for us to all work together to be able to be successful, whatever success looks like for you. My version of success may not be the other person's version of success, but whatever your version is, I love it.

I love it for you, do it, do it hard, and make sure you reach that goal. But we just want to keep on just giving you whatever you need to get to that point. So I'm just like, "Man, who can I talk to? Who can I reach out to?" It could be somebody in mergers and acquisitions who's doing $100 million deals. Maybe a company driver may not identify with that right away, but why not? They should. They should understand that. You know what I mean? So it's like we want to create the platform where everybody is able to be in one place and just learn about each other, and hopefully that brings the industry closer together. The industry that I know, we need to bring it together, and we always talk about bringing it together, but who's taking the actions to actually do it? So that's our goal, that's our mission.

The only way we could do that is by making inroads and connecting with people like yourself and just making sure that we're open to network. We're open to be the change that we want to see. You know what I mean? We don't have any competition. We work with everybody. Anybody who wants to be a part of this, man, you are more than welcome. You want to come speak on our stage and you're with a different media platform? Come on. We are not against each other. We're working together. So we're trying to figure out how we could all work together, help each other, and that's the only way to do it, man. So far it's been working out for us, and we'll just continue to keep on pushing that, man.

Todd Dills: The conference upcoming late next month is of a piece with that big tent vision. Well, at least hopefully it offers a chance for owner-operators, small fleets, and all manner of trucking and transportation pros to network outside their own little bubbles, as it were.

Rahmel Wattley: September 28th is like the preload, so it's called the load-in. So that's when the events management team is going to come. They're going to load in everything, put all the decorations and everything up, but then we also have a networking mixer that night. So that's the first day, which is Thursday. So the main thing that'll happen on that Thursday is the networking mixer. Then on Friday, we're going to have 9:00 to 5:00. We're still ironing out the run of show, but let's just say for just sake of discussion, 9:00 to 5:00 will be ballroom type of conference.

In between that, we'll have some different breaks and some different activations and so forth. Then on Friday night, we have a VIP dinner, a Mastermind dinner, which we're going to have some very special speakers, a really amazing dinner, and the select people who actually get the VIP tickets will be able to attend that. Then the next day, we'll have more conference, which is going to be the Saturday, and that'll be another 9:00 to 5:00, and then Saturday night, we have another networking mixer as well. And then the let-out is on Sunday. So, there's parts of the conference on all four days, but the bulk of the conference is-

Todd Dills: Friday/Saturday?

Rahmel Wattley: ... Friday and Saturday, and then the load-in and load-out on Thursday and Sunday.

Todd Dills: Not a truck show associated with this, is it?

Rahmel Wattley: No, no, sir.

Todd Dills: Not at a hotel.

Rahmel Wattley: We haven't grown it to that yet. I've definitely had a ton of people say we need to have a truck show as well, but we're just not there yet. So, we're still building it. We're still growing it. There's tons of truck shows that are really great and they're good at what they do. That's a whole different monster that we haven't mastered yet. We still haven't mastered putting together conferences, so we're still learning every day and just trying to perfect that.

But yeah, definitely maybe in the future man, or maybe we'll partner with another great truck show. We've been attending a ton of them. We've gone to Houston Truck Show, California Truck Show, Florida Truck Show. MATS, obviously. So maybe it's a partnership down the line or something we could do to add value to someone else's truck show, but right now, we're not doing that just yet.

Todd Dills: Yeah, I was just curious. I didn't think there was, but yeah, conferences and truck shows and Trucking World go hand in hand, right?

Rahmel Wattley: Oh, for sure. 100%, 100%. No, you're absolutely right. Where we're at downtown, there won't be any room for any trucks, unfortunately.

Todd Dills: Right, yeah. You're at a hotel conference. What most are you looking forward to with this iteration of the conference this year?

Rahmel Wattley: So just seeing new speakers. We have some returning speakers, but we added a bunch of new speakers to the lineup. That's really exciting. New attendees, we have a bunch of new people that didn't attend this year that's coming. Just continuing to grow, man. Growth is just great. We've grown in size. So last year, we had about 750 people there. This year, we're looking to have about a thousand plus. So just seeing that happen is really cool, and just working through it and just seeing it come together is what it's all about. I'm just looking forward to all of it. Then I'm looking forward to when it's over honestly, because I'm beat, man.

Todd Dills: It's probably like a six-month endeavor to put all this together, I would guess. Yeah?

Rahmel Wattley: It really is, and here's the thing, Todd. Most people who do conferences or trade shows, that's all they do all year round. They're prepping for conference or a trade show the entire year. So their sales for sponsorships, all their speakers, they're coordinating, they're doing run of shows, that's all they do. But we have so much other verticals in Truck N' Hustle that we're doing as we put together this conference. It's just a ton of work.

So not only us doing the conference, us doing our other networking events, we do three other networking events during the year called The Reset, all throughout the country. We're doing our podcast, so we travel for the podcast. We're all over the country shooting that. In addition to that, going to other events, other industry events, I just came back from DC at the National Route Star Motor Carrier Associations Conference. That was a three-day conference at the JW Marriott in DC.

We go to a ton of different organization... their shows. So we're always moving around, so it doesn't stop. So we're doing that while in tandem to while we're doing these other things. So it's just a lot of work, so that's why I said when it's over, man, October 1st, I'll be a happy man. I'll be like, "All right, I can finally breathe now, man, and start thinking about 2024 and the path forward."

Todd Dills: In some ways, as anyone who's helped plan an annual conference or truck show might suspect, Wattley's already there in fact, planning for 2024.

Rahmel Wattley: Next year, actually. I'm going down to Houston. I go to LA next week and then a week after that, I'm in Houston. So we're going to actually finalize 2024. So, we're looking at some other places just to make sure we're probably going to keep it in the same venue, but we just want to make sure before we go ahead and make that commitment. Once you lock in, it's locked.

Todd Dills: You're committed.

Rahmel Wattley: You're committed, man. You're committed. They got you. So, we want to just make sure that's where we want to have it for the next year, and we even thought about taking it out of Houston. We played with the idea, but we're like, "Ah, we like Houston, man." We feel good about Houston, so we'll probably end up keeping it there, and it just may be a Houston thing forever.

Todd Dills: If you can't be in Houston, keep an eye out for the next year for one of Wattley's reset events hosted in various locales around the nation to build momentum toward the fall conference.

Rahmel Wattley: So we've had Philly, we just did Chicago. Prior to that, we did Philly, we did Atlanta, Houston, and then Orlando. So coming up in 2024, we have Los Angeles, we have Washington DC, and we have Dallas, Texas. So what the resets are, they're the road to Freight Fest, that's our way to start promoting Freight Fest early and then start the networking early, so what we typically do is we do a brunch. It's usually from 1:00 to 5:00 PM on a Saturday or a Sunday. We do a brunch, really. We always make sure we choose a place with good food, and then we do some networking activations, games for people to network, and then we always have a live podcast panel, and then we have a special speaker. So it's a four-part event where you have a special guest speaker, a live podcast panel about a particular topic.

So for example, the last one in Chicago, we had a freight broker, gentleman by the name of Chris Erlandson from Capital Logistics Group, and we had another guy by the name Kyle Lintner. He's a consultant. He's an Adam Wingfield type of guy, freight analyst and so forth. So they were both our speakers and the one prior to that, we had a guy who owns a dump truck company, has like 40 dump trucks.

Prior to that one, we had a guy who owns a heavy haul company and a car hauling company. They did a panel together. So we always focused on a different niche, you know what I mean? So it's just like Truck N Hustle, so every reset, you don't know which niche will... Well, you do know because we promote it, but it's always going to be something different that's going to be the topic for the event, and we just move around and just continue doing it.

Yeah, that's what the reset is. Obviously your trucking background, you know what a reset is, reset your hours. It's that time to take a break, and let your hair down, network, relax a little bit, and just have fun and just meet people, man. That's what it's about, and they're extremely successful. People come away from them with tons of business contacts, just learnings and just a good time.

They get to meet our team, get to meet each other, because there's a lot of people that get to meet some of our guests from the podcast. So it's just a good time for us to connect before Freight Fest. But the goal, the methodology behind it was how can we do something to build the momentum to Freight Fest? It's like, let's do these networking events, and then we continue to build up the anticipation for the big one at the end of the year.

Todd Dills: That big one is upcoming, as noted, September 28th through October 1st in Houston. You find more detail via the event website at freightfest.com. Here's a big thanks to Rahmel Wattley, host of the Truck N' Hustle podcast, for joining us here on Overdrive Radio for the talk. You can find him wherever you're listening to Overdrive Radio. We're on Apple and Google Podcasts, SoundCloud, and Spotify, Podcast Addict, Overcast FM, and many, many others, including world-famous overdriveonline.com, that's /overdrive-radio. If you're listening there, you'll find a link over to Wattley's Truck N' Hustle podcast as well as the Freight Fest site.

Here's a big thanks for listening. Any feedback or tips for me directly, use our podcast message line at (615) 852-8530. Always love to hear from you.