Speakout – September 2009

‘No Apology’ made for setting standard

In response to your column on how owner-operators can survive recessions (Pulse, June 2009), I am opting to face it head on. I have been a trucker for 26 years and an owner-operator for the last 13.

In the last nine months, I have adjusted my business plan, mapped out both short and long-term strategies for the future and decided to publicize my business as much as possible.
These times allow people to look deep within and raise themselves to a higher level, if they have the fortitude. As a nation, we have become complacent. As an individual, one can choose either to be the standard or to set the standard.

The American economy follows the trucking industry, so truckers need to set the example and move this nation as we have done in the past. And more than 60 percent of today’s driving force is the owner-operator. When I was a kid, my dad loaded us all in his 1972 Buick Electra 225, fired up the big 455 c.i. V-8 and took full responsibility for his family’s well-being. How tragic if we, as a group, don’t set the example for our families.

We owe it to our military service personnel, who have made many sacrifices, to see that we have life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We can honor these individuals by holding down the homeland until their return.

I have officially entered what I call my No Apology Campaign for having faith in a living God and for having the independent spirit needed by owner-operators. My motto is to truck as hard as I can for as long as I can and let the road take the rest. Hopefully your readers have taken needed measures to weather the storm that’s here.
Middleburg, Fla.

“There ain’t enough truck parking as it is. Now they just made it worse. – Trucker Mike Hendrick, of Buffalo, N.Y., in the Roanoke
Times of 18 recently closed rest areas in Virginia

How have shipping rates affected your work?

“I haul what they call polarized coke, and it’s holding up pretty well.”
Thorsby, Ala. | Evergreen Transport

“I made more money when gas and diesel fuel prices were high than I’m making now. I spent more but I made more. They’re not paying as much of a fuel surcharge now.”
Callao, Va. | Owner-operator under his own authority

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“Rates went down when fuel went down, and they haven’t come up as fuel has come back up. What’s the bottom line?”
Flatwoods, W.V. | Owner-operator under his own authority

“It’s not enough income.”
Arat, N.C.
Owner-operator leased to Landstar

“Some of my rates haven’t changed. But I’m ready to get out. You want to be hopeful, but realistically things aren’t ever going to be the same.”
Addison, Mich. | Owner-operator, L&G

“It’s not enough, but I drive the same amount this year as I did last year.”
Chattanooga, Tenn.| Werner Transportation

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