Defensive driving has been the key to staying accident-free throughout a 32-year and counting driving career, says owner-operator Glen Horack.
He’s accumulated more than 4.3 accident-free miles since he started trucking in 1984.
“The biggest challenge to staying accident free is everybody else out here,” he said. “You’ve got to pay attention to everything going on around you at all times.”
For the second year in a row, Horack is a finalist for the Truckload Carriers Association and Overdrive Owner-Operator of the Year award, the winner of which will receive $25,000. The award, sponsored by Cummins and Love’s Travel Stops, recognize drivers who have driven safely, enhanced the image of trucking and served their communities.
Horack and owner-operator Edward Mark Tricco are the two finalists for this year’s Owner-Operator of the Year award. The winner will be named Tuesday, March 8, at TCA’s annual convention in Las Vegas, Nev.
Horack was an Owner-Operator of the Year runner-up last year, and he was named a Missouri Trucking Association Driver of the Month in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. He placed fourth in sleeper class in the 2011 Truck Driving Championships, sixth in 2012 and second in 2013. He’s also won numerous company awards.
Horack, out of Elkland, Mo., is leased to Prime Inc. and has been driving for the company for 23 years, and he said the company has been “the best partner you could ask for.”
“It’s been wonderful working with them for 23 years,” he said. “They take care of me. I have plenty of freedom on the road, and I’m able to make plenty of money. They’re easy to deal with.”
Horack runs a dedicated route between Florida and northwest Canada. He hauls flowers out of Florida, then usually produce back from Canada. He said he stays on the road 8 to 12 weeks at a time with his wife running a team operation.
“I usually go home for about 10 days after being out on the road a couple months, then I get back out there,” he said.
He’s been driving the dedicated run for almost four years, and he said that has made his life as an owner-operator easier because he doesn’t have to worry about finding work.
“A big challenge for owner-operators, especially with how freight is now, is staying busy,” he said. “I don’t have to worry about that as much with my dedicated run.”
Horack added that the biggest piece of advice he could give to new owner-operators is to learn how to manage money.
“You’ve got to be able to watch your money,” he said. “You can’t just go out and spend it on anything. But I think as long as you’re willing to work hard, and if you watch your money, it should be a no brainer to be successful in this business.”
He said one of the main reasons he gets new equipment so often is so he can stay on the road longer.
“You don’t make money when you’re broken down,” he said. “A lot of guys out here buy older equipment, but they stay in the shop as much as they’re on the road. You’ve got to be rolling to make money.”
Horack said he hopes to drive for another seven years before he retires. He said when he gets his new Peterbilt paid off, he wants to write a check for his next truck and cut back on his work.
“On my next truck, I want it to be my retirement truck,” he said. “I run team with my wife right now, and I think with that truck, I’m going to go back to running solo and cut back on my work.”
He added that the most rewarding part of being an owner-operator has been being able to see the country and reap the financial rewards of the business.
“I didn’t graduate high school, so I couldn’t make this kind of money doing anything else,” he said. “Plus, my office is the best view in the country.”