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Overdrive Radio


The Overdrive Radio podcast is produced by Overdrive magazine, the Voice of the American Trucker for 60-plus years. Host Todd Dills -- with a supporting cast among Overdrive editors, contributors and others -- presents owner-operator business leading lights, interviews with extraordinary independent truckers and small fleet owners, and plenty in the way of trucking business and regulatory news and views. Access an archive of all episodes of Overdrive Radio going back more than a decade via this link: http://overdriveonline.com/overdrive-radio


Tuscaloosa, AL


The Overdrive Radio podcast is produced by Overdrive magazine, the Voice of the American Trucker for 60-plus years. Host Todd Dills -- with a supporting cast among Overdrive editors, contributors and others -- presents owner-operator business leading lights, interviews with extraordinary independent truckers and small fleet owners, and plenty in the way of trucking business and regulatory news and views. Access an archive of all episodes of Overdrive Radio going back more than a decade via this link: http://overdriveonline.com/overdrive-radio






Overdrive 2023 Truckers of the Year: The 'exit interviews' toward the finale, Part 1

This edition of the Overdrive Radio podcast features a roundtable of sorts with four small trucking businesses among 2023 Trucker of the Year contenders. We’re in the process of wrapping up judging of 10 semi-finalists for the final award, with a huge amount of operational diversity among them -- from food-grade and hazmat tanker to car-haul, flatbed and step deck, reefer, hopper, dry van and more. Here, owner-operators John and Sarah Schiltz with their independent Veteran Transportation Services business were joined by fellow independents and now-four-truck Tim and Shelley Pulli of Pulli Express, owner-operator Matthew Karr of K-Mac Trucking, and Texas-based car-haul owner-operator Crystal Rives. It’s been been a tough year on the customer front for Rives’ car-haul operation, yet as with many an owner-operator, a stick-to-it-iveness, hustle and quick-on-her-feet nimble quality as a business owner yielded new opportunities, even in this market. The same can be said for others in the roundtable, including Karr, who when he was featured as our Trucker of the Month in May was playing the waiting game on final registrations, insurance and more to go back out under his own authority after a big profit year leased in 2022. The conversation amongst the four businesses was centered on the year just passed -- the challenges faced, and just how they chose to overcome (or at least start the process of overcoming) the worst of them throughout 2023. Stay tuned next week for the remainder of the 2023 Trucker of the Year contenders. Read about all of them via http://overdriveonline.com/trucker-of-the-year Catch a playlist, too, featuring all 10 of the contending operations via https://soundcloud.com/overdriveradio/sets/overdrives-2023-trucker-of-the


A plan to not just survive -- but thrive -- through the bottom of the freight market

"If you do what you've always done, you will only get what you've always gotten." --Kevin Rutherford Reticence to change has been the downfall of many a life, and many a business. Small fleets and owner-operators aren’t exempt, of course. If you recognize the name after the quote here, you’re probably not alone among Overdrive Radio listeners and Overdrive readers who’ve taken motivation from Rutherford in the past. The longtime radio host is a past contributor to Overdrive who found his particular, singular talent for motivating and helping owner-operators in part through decades-past appearances in early installments of Partners in Business seminar series at the Mid-America Trucking Show. Since, Rutherford’s been a lot: in addition to a radio host a fitness and wellness coach, writer, owner-operator business advice man and group leader and more. But he started back in the 1980s just like so many here. One man, with one truck, and an ability to learn from mistakes made. This Overdrive Radio podcast drops into Rutherford’s story as he told it several weeks back now to attendees of the National Association of Small Trucking Companies’ annual conference here in Nashville. His mission that evening was to walk attendees through a plan to solidify the business base to take advantage of opportunities at the market's bottom to excel for long-term trucking at the top. Rutherford’s plan may be simple-sounding, but it's plenty complicated and variable in the execution. And he's a real pro at delivering it and making any trucking business owner think hard about how, and why, you do what you do.


Homer Hogg's top 5 diesel fault codes: At No. 1, emissions issues that you can do something about

At the annual conference of the National Association of Small Trucking Companies a couple weeks back in Nashville, TA Petro Truck Service VP Homer Hogg presented results from his analysis of recent-history fault codes seen by the three leading all-model diagnostic equipment providers. He analyzed codes data to determine the five biggest parts of the trucks those codes were related to. At No. 1, probably no surprise, were aftertreatment-related codes, and his talk featured here then provided an informative look at persnickety emissions systems in 2010 and later trucks -- with actionable steps owner-operators and small fleets can take to guard against some of the most common issues seen. Among the recommendations he makes: **When the dashboard lights up, don’t clear those codes. Techs need them to properly diagnose any issue. **Clean the DEF doser once a year, at least. **Change your DEF filter according to manufacturer-recommended intervals. **Keep a “clean room” approach around the DEF tank, particularly when you’re pumping the fluid. **Keep SCR-system efficiency tests in mind to periodically examine it to prevent NOx sensor failures. **Most importantly, perhaps, don’t fall for the "delete kit" trap, if you want qualified mechanics to be able to help you work issues out. Other helpful emissions-related coverage: https://www.overdriveonline.com/overdrive-radio/podcast/15066117/emissions-maintenance-how-to-get-the-correct-diagnosis-repair https://www.overdriveonline.com/equipment/article/15290372/how-to-delete-emissions-issues-without-breaking-the-bank https://www.overdriveonline.com/maintenance/article/15540134/fuel-treatments-becoming-part-of-owneroperators-pm-routine


Small fleets find a way: 2023 challenges, from slowdown to recruiting, equipment devaluation, more

This edition of Overdrive Radio features a special spotlight of sorts on what a wild and wooly year it’s been -- for everyone is some way, that's sure, yet no less for Overdrive’s 2023 Small Fleet Champs. As was noted up top of our previous podcast, last week at the National Association of Small Trucking Companies’ annual conference we recognized four finalists as well as several other past semi-finalists, finalists and champs in attendance. Ahead of the presentation Thursday, November 2, Overdrive Radio host Todd Dills sat down with this year’s four contenders with a particular topic of discussion in mind. That's the biggest challenges each fleet had faced throughout the year so far, and just what steps they'd taken to address the difficulties, from freight slowdowns from lynchpin customers in some instances to pressure on rates from customers, too, and recruiting struggles, equipment devaluation concerns and more. Featured herein are: Champs in the 3-10-truck division: **Bill Barhite, owner of Silt, Colorado-based Butterfly Xpress: https://www.overdriveonline.com/small-fleet-champ/article/15546088/butterfly-xpress-offers-big-benefits-as-a-small-fleet **Larry Wallace, owner of Henrico, Virginia-headquartered Wallace and Sons Transport: https://www.overdriveonline.com/small-fleet-champ/article/15544008/wallace-sons-transports-bakery-residuals-trucking-niche And in the 11-30-truck division: **Adam Johnson, K&D Transport owner out of Spring Valley, Wisconsin: https://www.overdriveonline.com/small-fleet-champ/article/15544771/kd-transport-owner-in-the-groove-with-thirdgen-flatbed-fleet **Larry Limp, owner of LNL Trucking of Bedford, Indiana: https://www.overdriveonline.com/small-fleet-champ/article/15546199/lnl-trucking-stands-on-strong-financial-foundation-to-thrive More profiles of Overdrive's Small Fleet Champ semi-finalists in addition to the final four: https://www.overdriveonline.com/small-fleet-champ


Owner-operator John Schiltz's top-notch team with business and life partner: Trucker of the Month

Today on the podcast we’re featuring Overdrive News Editor Matt Cole’s talk with October Trucker of the Month John Schiltz, nominated for the Overdrive 2023 Trucker of the Year award by his wife and now fully-minted, CDL-holding business partner, Sarah Schiltz: https://www.overdriveonline.com/trucker-of-the-year/article/15637523/owneroperator-john-schiltz-a-keen-eye-on-maintenance The pair run a two-truck fleet as a team and pull alongside each other in a pair of Kenworths (a 1999 W9 and a 2013 T660) running fresh vegetables to canning operations in the Midwest during harvest season, flatbed and RGN platform freight much of the rest of the year. You can probably guess just what they’ve been up to in recent times out of their Wisconsin home base as vegetable harvests wrap up. What emerges from this talk with both John and Sarah, though John officially gets the Trucker of the Month nod, is a spotlight on the teamwork it truly takes to excel as an owner-operator business. John’s quick to credit Sarah with a large part of his recent-years’ success, buttoning up the biz to where it is today. More from the Trucker of the Year program this past year: http://overdriveonline.com/trucker-of-the-year Find all Overdrive Radio episodes featuring 10 Truckers of the Month for 2023 via this playlist: https://soundcloud.com/overdriveradio/sets/overdrives-2023-trucker-of-the


Without accessible power, battery-electric Class 8 trucks don't stand a chance, even in drayage

That's the message in a certain way of the very existence of companies like Forum Mobility, around for just a couple years as a vehicle-charging-services and equipment leasing company. Company regional director Ron Hunt leads the podcast with that very notion, sounding like many an owner-operator in wait-and-see mode around electric-drive tech and battery-charging-infrastructure development. Hunt’s a veteran of the trucking world who got involved with electric-truck start-up Xos Trucks some time back. Yet what he learned led him to the charging-infrastructure side, in part given absolutely huge barriers that exist to any widespread adoption of electric Class 8s. On October 25 we published the anchor story in a series around electric-drive-power realities, in which Alex Lockie unveiled and contextualized Overdrive readers’ views on the current state of electrification as it relates the specific needs of their mostly OTR businesses: https://www.overdriveonline.com/equipment/article/15544337/teslas-semi-may-blow-past-diesels-uphill-but-truckers-see-limits Putting it quite succinctly, here’s how one owner-operator commenter in some ways summed up current views on the nature of quite literally all battery-electric Class 8 technology as it relates to bedrock operational feasibility OTR: "It's not going to work, the power grid can't handle it, and the trucks don't go far enough on a charge." Hunt and his colleagues at the Forum Mobility company aim to help on the grid front, and well realize any “electric revolution” will be a good long time in coming to trucking, even port drayage where they're specializing. It is certainly growing fast if electric Class 8 tractors running in California still only number in the low three digits, Ron Hunt emphasized. Port drayage in the state is where those units are most prominent, for good reason. The California Air Resources Board has done everything it can to really make the market there, with an end-of-year deadline for dray haulers to register their diesels within CARB’s system. And as of the first of the year, if lawsuits don’t derail this particular deadline (a little more on that in the podcast, and here: https://www.overdriveonline.com/regulations/article/15636769/california-trucking-association-seeks-injunction-of-diesel-truck-ban ), any truck registered to work California ports must be a “zero emissions vehicle” – we’ll use that ZEV shorthand a bit, though no manufactured product in today’s world is truly “zero emissions." Forum Mobility is aiming nonetheless to be a power provider with subscription-based charging access to sites in both Southern and Northern California specifically built with drayage trucks in mind. They’re also combining electric truck-lease services with those charging-power subscriptions for those who want to pursue that kind of model, as they build a planned six facilities over the next couple years. Today on the podcast, excerpts from a talk with Ron Hunt and two other Forum reps about how the business got its start and just where it’s planning to go to serve drayage haulers in California, and beyond. Another related element of the series is this feature about Hight Logistics, Forum Mobility's partner small fleet now running five electric trucks in SoCal ports leased through Forum: https://www.overdriveonline.com/equipment/article/15546421/small-fleet-owner-predicts-longterm-roi-with-batteryelectric


'Trucking Legends': New podcast charts 70-year career of Ken Greff

Nashville, Tennessee-based Ken Greff in this edition of Overdrive Radio tells the tale of the early years of his 70-year trucking career in and around trucking, much of it spent in truck sales in Tennessee. Yet Greff got his start behind the wheel far away from the U.S. Southeast in Western Canada, driving and owning trucks in a variety of operations. The podcast excerpts the first edition of a new effort by host and McMahon Truck Centers sales rep Corey Price, who lives due East of Nashville near Cookeville, Tennessee. Price interviewed Greff for the first episode of what he’s calling, simply, “Trucking Legends,” an old-school-trucking podcast he envisions as a repository for preserving the stories of those who’ve been in the business going way back. Spotify link to the show is here, but you can find it via most podcast platforms: https://open.spotify.com/show/03I3nAD4uLhcCPAMSpdqmZ Corey Price has known Greff since his days as lead man in the Music City chapter of the American Truck Historical Society, and Greff served as a sales mentor to him when he took his first truck-sales job at an International dealer in Cookeville. Along the way, Price, a truck and trucking history enthusiast since he was a kid, got to know Greff’s past a good bit better -- it stretches all the way back to World War II times when, shortly thereafter, as a teenager, he got his start trucking via a little bit of a subterfuge on the part of his mother, as you’ll hear in the episode. (It included his first part-owned truck, the early-1950s White Western Star pictured in the thumbnail image for this episode.) As noted, Greff's story is excerpted from the first edition of what Corey Price hopes will eventually be a monthly podcast. Along the way, as we run through Ken Greff’s early days trucking toward how he got from driving and owning rigs in Western Canada to sales in Middle Tennessee, we’ll hear more from Price, too, on his motivation for creating the podcast. If you've got a tip on a veritable trucking legend you feel like Price ought to feature, he asks that you let him know via his email: cbprice@benlomand.net


Speed limiter mandate: Safety, congestion concerns high among truckers opposed

Misplaced priorities, too, according to K&D Transport's Andrew Axelson in this edition of Overdrive Radio: "Instead of limiting the speed on trucks, they should really limit the speed on cars," he said. That where he contends most of the outlandish speed issues on American highways today sits. This round of viewpoints on the FMCSA's move toward a speed limiter device mandate for in-use trucks follows September news picked up via the Department of Transportation’s regulatory calendar update that month that seemed to suggest FMCSA had settled on a 68-mph speed setting for its planned proposal of a mandate. When he got that news, Overdrive Radio host Todd Dills was immediately reminded of the time in 2012 when the federal agency appeared to be proposing to adopt fairly stringent sleep apnea screening restrictions as official regulatory guidance, only to almost immediately retract that, citing a “clerical error” after the restrictions were published in the Federal Register for comment: https://www.overdriveonline.com/channel-19/article/14877502/sleep-apnea-reg-recommendations-comments-closed Among other things, those apnea-screening restrictions would have required any trucker with a body-mass-index measure of just 35 to undergo apnea testing as a condition of getting a medical card. The notion that this could be bona fide guidance set off shockwaves around trucking. Congress soon after forbade the agency to change official sleep apnea guidance or regulation through any process other than formal rulemaking. When it comes to a speed-limiter mandate today, somewhat similar dynamics are play. As with changes to the sleep apnea approach back then, it’s clear FMCSA wants to move on a mandate for speed-limiter use, yet what speed setting is to be adopted remains the big question. FMCSA quickly retracted the language suggesting the 68 mph setting reported, among other details, from the DOT regs calendar: https://www.overdriveonline.com/regulations/article/15635000/68-mph-dot-report-sheds-light-fmcsas-speed-limiter-intent But also as with the apnea “leak” in 2012, the shockwaves have continued to ripple out. In this podcast, we drop into the scene around the Mayberry Truck Show in Mt. Airy, North Carolina, at the end of last month just after the latest speed-limiter news emerged. Overdrive video editor Lawson Rudisill found that the 68-mph news traveled fast, and gathered a bevy of views from owner-operators and other truckers in attendance at the truck show. Dive in here for a round of views from six owners and operators. More from Rudisill's video work at the Mayberry Truck Show: **Benefit truck convoy: https://www.overdriveonline.com/custom-rigs/video/15635690/watch-the-rigs-roll-through-at-mayberry-truck-show **Full show walkthrough: https://www.overdriveonline.com/custom-rigs/video/15635538/a-long-walk-through-the-2023-mayberry-truck-show


Super-sweet spot hauling chocolate for Roger and Rita Wilson's two-truck operation

In this edition of Overdrive Radio, the clarion voices of the spectacular pair of owner-operators behind Chicago-area-based, two-truck Rita’s Absolute Trucking. That’d be Roger and Rita Wilson, who made a match with marriage in 1998 after separate histories trucking, Rita toting butter up and down the Eastern seaboard, Roger with an OTR history that stretches back to hauling swinging meat in 1970 his first time out over-the-road. Through the 1980s, he worked with a friend in LTL consolidation out of the Chicago area, growing to 50 trucks there before venturing out on his own with five. Then Rita brought two of her own to the operation, becoming Rita's Absolute early this century and growing to 15 units. They’ve had big ups and downs managing fleets both, but after a slow period of downsizing over more than decade are now settled squarely into a super-sweet niche moving reefer trailers full of finished chocolate mostly between Chicago and Pennsylvania, for a single customer. The pair were our Truckers of the Month for September, and regular Overdrive readers may recall their story recently published at OverdriveOnline.com: https://www.overdriveonline.com/trucker-of-the-year/article/15635072/lifes-a-lot-easier-ownerops-find-sweet-spot-with-two-trucks In that story, we heard from a Ryder System rep directly about the Wilsons’ work with their warehousing customer in Blommer Chocolate Company, who've been the Wilson's customer for two decades now. Ryder had nothing but praise for Rita’s Absolute Trucking, for sure. Yet after the story published, we also heard back finally from a rep from Blommer. Janie Moore called Rita and Roger Wilson’s Absolute Trucking the “Absolute best. If I could have more carriers like them it would be a joy!” Moore has worked with the pair for eight years, she said, and they’ve “helped simplify managing" and now totally dominate "the Illinois to Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania to Illinois lanes. Locally,” too, Rita has been a godsend, she added. “There were times we had more loads to move than they could manage legally in a day. Rita would go out of her way and rent a trailer for preloading purposes. This was not a Blommer request, but instead a decision she made to assist. And for that we are forever grateful.” In eight years, Moore said, “I can count on one hand the times where they were late or delayed. While we know things happen beyond the carrier’s control, they have been more than proactive and giving us advance notification on mishaps, transportation delays, breakdowns, and etc.” A worthy pair to honor, no doubt. And, clearly, they’ve found a sweet spot hauling chocolate.


Has your trucking income taken a beating this down cycle? You're not alone

Owner-operator business services firm ATBS' midyear owner-operator update session September 19 revealed a few different ways the average ATBS client might make up the income loss we’ve seen over the last year and a half -- on average, it’s been an almost 10% decline. In real terms, though, as ATBS VP Mike Hosted notes at the top of this edition, a 1% increase in fuel mileage would get all of that back for the average owner-operator. In short, there are tangible things that can be done to combat what's been tough times of late, particularly in the spot markets for freight. For this edition, know that there’s also a Youtube version that is airing the same day that includes Mike Hosted’s presentation in full, if you want to follow along with all his slides presenting market and operating analysis data: https://youtu.be/toHRRbwi1Pc Podcast listeners can download the slides, too. Follow along via the link you'll find here: http://overdriveonline.com/15634919 The audio comes from ATBS’ annual midyear temperature taking of the trucking market for owner-operators, offering a variety of insights. Things have changed mightily since this time a year ago. Rates are down big-time in the spot market, a little less so but also down in the contract market. That’s come with some positives. With declining demand, used-truck prices are way down, too, and parts and other maintenance difficulties, though not entirely resolved, seem to be getting better. Hosted here runs through a bevy of the data for a market update, but also dives into real numbers averaged among clients who are independents with authority and/or small fleet operators and leased flatbed, reefer and dry van owners, to present bellwether industry averages against which to benchmark your own business performance. A couple things definitely have not changed for the better since last year. Fuel’s recent moves have taken it back to the highest of highs, ever more reason to focus on fuel mileage improvement. And in addition to the long rates tumble, there’s another market-impacting element that’s decidedly worse coming out of the freight highs of the post-COVID period -- the cost of borrowing. Yet there are a variety of indicators that have the folks at ATBS, Hosted included, feeling like we’ve hit the bottom of this market – quite some time ago, in fact. And though we’re probably going to stay here a while when it comes to rates, for owners who can weather the storm, the bottom line could look considerably better this time next year. Owners looking for additional business-planning and other management tips, among a myriad of other topics, can find more in the Overdrive/ATBS-coproduced "Partners in Business" manual for new and established owner-operators, a comprehensive guide to running a small trucking business: http://overdriveonline.com/pib


Meet Tommy Marshall: Lead hauler with ESPN College Gameday tour team truckers

Also in the podcast: Matt Cole live from the Guilty by Association Truck Show in Joplin Missouri in the area around 4 State Trucks there: https://www.overdriveonline.com/custom-rigs/article/15634903/guilty-by-association-truck-show-starts-strong-in-joplin Cole reports from Day 1 at GBATS -- How many owner-operators were at the show? What’s the mood in what’s certainly been a challenging year for so many small-business truckers? Cole spoke as owner-operators were getting parked up at 4 State Trucks and the surrounding area in Joplin, Missouri, for a bit of an update on how things were looking on-site at one of the absolutely biggest gatherings of the trucking community the nation over. Cole also directed traffic with Game Creek Video entertainment-biz hauler Tommy Marshall out along University Avenue at the Alabama campus in Tuscaloosa. Marshall is lead driver every fall for a crew of seven rigs and operators that make up quite a unique trucking niche. If you’ve been to OverdriveOnline.com this past week you’ll likely know that Marshall is the lead man for the mobile-television production of ESPN’s College Gameday broadcast, which airs every Saturday throughout the Fall ahead of the day’s football games, live from a different university site each week: https://www.overdriveonline.com/business/article/15634571/a-unique-beast-behind-the-scenes-on-mobile-tv-production-trucking Drop into some of Cole’s detailed reporting around the operation, with Marshall in the production studio truck for Game Creek Video and several operators from a few different companies dedicated to the production. That includes West River Light and Sound, and longtime trucker Gerry Glass. It’s Glass’s initial contact that led to the opportunity Cole got to spend with Tommy Marshall and the rest of the crew in Tuscaloosa two weeks back. Glass got in touch with Overdrive Radio host Todd Dills on Labor Day Monday, as the crew was prepping to head to Tuscaloosa to stage on the campus for Alabama v. Texas. Would we be interested in seeing what they do firsthand? Gerry Glass asked. Overdrive is headquartered in Tuscaloosa, of course, but Dills live in Nashville, Tennessee. However; Cole was the perfect man for the job, a U. of A. Crimson Tide fan, no less. He was on-hand for their initial unloading two days later, on Wednesday, and parts of the set-up the following days, too, with Tommy Marshall as a guide. Marshall and crew do a great deal more than just drive in such a production, of course -- in fact, driving might be the least time-consuming part of the whole affair, depending on whatever university location Gameday chooses week to week. Cole ultimately delivered with a detailed look at the mobile-TV trucking niche. Find that and other reports from a wide array of freight niche operations via our occasional Niche Hauls series, collected via this link: https://www.overdriveonline.com/t/4378936


Grabbing history's reins with 1978 W900A on '96 Dodge chassis, '46 Brockway, more: Adam Johnson

K&D Transport third-generation owner/manager Adam Johnson in this Overdrive Radio edition narrates the beginnings of his grandfather’s time trucking with a 1946 Brockway he purchased without the seats to save a little on the price. – It was a different time, and Johnson’s grandfather was back from World War II, where he was a POW for 18 months, Johnson said, a story he told in part attendant to our recent profile of K&D Transport recognition their semi-finalist status in Overdrive's Small Fleet Championship this year: https://www.overdriveonline.com/small-fleet-champ/article/15544771/kd-transport-owner-in-the-groove-with-thirdgen-flatbed-fleet In the podcast, we pick up around the edges of the parts of Adam Johnson and the K&D Transport fleet’s story that we didn’t much cover in that business feature. The 14-truck fleet has quite a story, particularly with regard to recent-history moves that have cemented its current mix of flatbed freight. Yet there’s more to Johnson particularly than just straight-up business. Or rather there are other aspects to the breadth and depth of his businesses that are well worthy of attention beyond the story we told at Overdrive. Johnson’s increasingly established himself in the custom-truck world with Johnson Hill Customs, also offering general maintenance and repair services to local operators, in addition to maintaining the K&D fleet and everything else that comes with managing a trucking business. In this portion of our recent conversation, too, you’ll hear a man with a sharp eye for details to help build pride and dedication among the team, saving and making money all the while. Along the way, details about his seven-year-old son's rig, a 1978 Kenworth W900A body Johnson used to build what amounts to a Frankensteined pickup on a 1990s Dodge chassis. His and other custom KW owners' sons had a quite a blast with it before, during and after Kenworth's big 100th-anniversary truck parade earlier this year, in which it and other among K&D trucks ran.


Beating the odds, from Chicago construction dump to OTR: Trucker of the Month Steve Massat

Owner-operator Steven Massat is today headquartered in Addison, Illinois, and leased to nearby small fleet T Max Transportation with quite a special truck. Regular Overdrive readers may well have seen his story at OverdriveOnline.com a couple weeks back now: https://www.overdriveonline.com/trucker-of-the-year/article/15546000/ownerop-overcomes-physical-challenge-for-successful-career There, owner-operator Massat was named August Trucker of the Month, putting him in the running for Overdrive's 2023 Trucker of the Year award: http://overdriveonline.com/trucker-of-the-year We’ve been counting down the months this year with profiles of and podcasts with each of the individual monthly semi-finalist owners -- or teams of owners, as it were. In this week's edition, Massat describes the teamwork he and his wife make of the business -- she handles much of the back office work while he runs the roads and, on the weekend, utilizes a purpose-built shop to maintain the late 1980s-built B-model Cat engine in that special rig, a beautiful 1989 Marmon. Back-office and other family support proves critical for the owner. When he was just 18 years old he was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis -- his life since that has been one of managing pain and complications day after day. He’s 53 now, though, and after decades of dump work with various Chicago construction outfits as an owner-operator, what used to be his winter time home at T Max is now a year-round affair. Outbound from the region, he serves T Max direct customers, often running spot market loads back, however slim pickings have been for those returns of late. His success sits on a foundation of conversative maintenance intervals, a laser focus on efficiency, and other smart business basics.


Inside an explosion of cyber crime in brokered-freight networks, with DAT's Jeff Hopper

For this edition of Overdrive Radio, DAT Freight and Analytics' Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Hopper, who’s been with the company now for decades, notes the undeniable spike in double brokering, in identity theft and hop-in, hop-out "take the money and run" and other schemes that has led to a doubling of staff in DAT’s compliance department as well as a host of other in-process security enhancements there: https://www.overdriveonline.com/business/article/15542218/dat-steps-up-fight-against-freight-fraud-but-is-it-enough DAT's not alone, of course -- competitors at Truckstop.com have been doing similar things when it comes ID’ing the various types of “bad behavior” and working with the good guys out there to put a stop to it where possible, in no small part thanks to the efforts of a myriad of small business truckers to raise the temperature around the issue of double brokering and other fraud: https://www.overdriveonline.com/business/article/15541639/the-third-parties-following-truckers-around-freight-networks Among those is Matthew Patrick, with GMH Transportation. Regular readers may recall his two-part "The double-brokering slow burn" at OverdriveOnline.com a couple weeks back: https://www.overdriveonline.com/overdrive-extra/article/15543642/double-brokering-scourge-how-it-works-how-to-fight-back The stories outlined a year and more’s worth of efforts undertaken to identify some of the bad actors and take action to get them removed from the platforms where they ply their “trade.’ DAT’s Jeff Hopper in today’s episode of Overdrive Radio called it all organized cyber crime, really. Before our talk with Hopper featured in this episode, we share a particular case that Patrick sent along earlier this week at about the same time we were getting ready to talk to Hopper. The case involved two different examples in which two different brokers’ loads were double-brokered by a single entity, the “Cheetah Import and Export” broker, MC# 1477261. What stood out to Patrick was that in each double-brokered load case, Cheetah offered considerably more to move the load than what the original brokers offered a carrier, suggestive of a company in what Patrick calls the “take the money run” phase of a double broker’s evolution. You know the story if you’ve read Overdrive over years now -- run up as much in revenue as you can, stiff all the carriers, and disappear into the ether when the bond is cashed and canceled: https://www.overdriveonline.com/business/article/14897461/broker-scams-owneroperators-and-fleets-need-to-be-aware-of Over the course of the last few days, it looks like that particular broker’s bond company has notified the feds of impending cancelation -- a bond that was effective starting in early August this year is now set to cancel September 29, flagged in FMCSA’s Licensing and Insurance public portal as such. We called the bond company the morning of Friday, September 1, and they noted five claims for nonpayment already, the largest of the claims for $5,000. Attempts to contact the broker by phone for comment yielded only a day’s-long busy signal. Email then sent to the entity's primary contact laid out all of these details and asked if the company planned to respond to claims on the bond. That gleaned only a short response in an unsigned return email from a rep with the display name "Gevork Sulian": “What are you talking about? What happened? We are 1 year in this industry and never had a problem with our carriers.” As far as Matt Patrick knows, despite having filed complaints against this particular company, they were still able to post loads on DAT as of Friday. DAT reps assured that that they are investigating the complaints, but be forewarned if this company comes calling, or you run across any company’s overly high rates on the boards. Scams abound, as Jeff Hopper further emphasizes in today’s edition of Overdrive Radio.


After Yellow ceased operations, trucker Chris Dowdy's picking up the pieces

Chris Dowdy counts he and his wife, Paula, and their family among the lucky ones. The subject of this edition of Overdrive Radio is one ripped right from the last month or so of a myriad headlines -- the bankruptcy and ceasing operations of Yellow, The LTL giant finally shut after being propped up by an astounding amount of loaned money straight from the U.S. taxpayer in recent years. That followed the business generally struggling financially for many more. The largely union workforce there was a home for many, many people, though, and that included Dowdy for a substantial part of the last decade or so. If his name sounds familiar, longtime Overdrive readers among you may well recall his time driving for Wooten Transports with a home base in Memphis, when he spearheaded an initiative he called Truckers for Hope years ago: https://www.overdriveonline.com/channel-19/article/14885626/new-truckers-for-hope-initiative-to-benefit-st-jude Through the philanthropic effort, Dowdy staged visits to St. Jude’s and Ronald MacDonad House in Memphis with other drivers to deliver a message of trucking goodwill for children and their families there: https://www.overdriveonline.com/channel-19/article/14887082/truckers-for-hopes-round-two-at-st-jude-close-brush-with-60-below The Truckers for Hope effort’s still in the back of his mind for a restart post-COVID, but he’s had bigger fish to fry this past month with the loss of work since Yellow shut down. As noted, though, he’s one of the lucky ones, soon to start a regional gig doing what he’s done for most of the past quarter-century -- "harassing traffic," as he puts it, joking. Yeah, that means "driving." Others laid off with Yellow shutting down haven’t been so lucky, and as with any such company implosion, though business press charts the financial missteps: https://www.overdriveonline.com/business/article/15543136/a-yellow-bankruptcy-would-influence-freight-used-trucks **The ensuing lawsuits: https://www.overdriveonline.com/business/article/15543677/former-yellow-employee-files-suit-over-layoff-notice-i96-i75-closures **The reorganizations with creditors and the like: https://www.overdriveonline.com/business/article/15542702/yellow-looming-teamster-strike-breaches-labor-agreement ... what’s often lost in coverage is the toll it all takes on the individual people who are cast off to scramble for their future. Hear Dowdy's story and worry particularly for non-CDL former Yellow employees here.


The best of the best from trucker-songwriter Tony Justice: The story behind 'Greatest Shifts'

Trucker-songwriter leading light Tony Justice's new "Greatest Shifts" record features six new tracks, five originals plus a fantastic rendition of Jerry Reed's classic "Eastbound and Down," and 14 previously released highlights from four records -- "Apple Pie Moonshine," "Brothers of the Highway," "Stars Stripes and White Lines," and "18 Gears to Life." Those records comprise a decades' worth of music from Justice, excluding unfortunately his first trucking-themed record, "On the Road," for reasons he explains in this Overdrive Radio edition. Herein, Overdrive Radio host Todd Dills' recent conversation with Justice about the new material on the album and the background behind the production is interspersed with plenty opportunity to hear some of the new music. ("On the Road" you can hear via this link: https://open.spotify.com/album/5gsluBHAVUqMjotVyxbvli?si=VJklYb17TVWsm9KFMnjt-A ) Among previously released material is a "dance remix" of Justice's “Last of the Cowboys” tune, first featured a couple of albums and a few years ago now. It’s arguably his greatest shift in terms of its general popularity out there, as he notes in the podcast. But in other ways, as he also notes, all of these tracks have a special meaning for him. Listen on for more, all of it remastered and sweetened in various ways. Find links to conversation with Justice about most of his prior records, too, via the links below: "18 Gears to Life": https://www.overdriveonline.com/overdrive-radio/podcast/15066892/tony-justices-18-gears-to-life-record-inside-the-music "Stars, Stripes and White Lines": https://www.overdriveonline.com/overdrive-radio/podcast/14892637/audio-tour-through-tony-justices-new-stars-stripes-and-white-lines-album "Brothers of the Highway": https://www.overdriveonline.com/overdrive-radio/podcast/14890756/podcast-tony-justices-brothers-of-the-highway-the-trucking-brotherhood-reinforced "Apple Pie Moonshine": https://www.overdriveonline.com/overdrive-radio/podcast/14885429/podcast-behind-the-new-tony-justice-record-more-song-samples-too


Introducing Freight Fest, host-to-host with Truck N' Hustle podcast's Rahmel Wattley

Today we’re peeking through a window onto a conference in its second year and coming up down in Houston, building on a thus-far-four-year journey of one New Jersey-based Rahmel Wattley, host of the 2019-founded Truck N' Hustle podcast. That's right, for this edition of Overdrive Radio, it’s host-to-host, as it were. Truck N’ Hustle, well-known among entrepreneurs of a variety of stripes all around trucking and transportation, pitches to owner-operators and small fleets in a variety of trucking niches, among other transport pros. Freight Fest, then, is Wattley and company’s conference upcoming next month in Houston, building on the success of his podcast in bringing together disparate communities around the business. Among presenters there 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 trucking as an owner-operator and subsequent growth featured on the podcast earlier in the year: https://www.overdriveonline.com/overdrive-radio/podcast/15540815/owneroperators-can-master-worklife-balance-in-trucking 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. Along the way, 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 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, and more. With all of his endeavors, he’s always got growth in his own mind, but also other concerns, too. One trucking media talking to another, the subject came up of Overdrive’s 60-plus-year history, reaching way back to times well before your friendly neighborhood Overdrive Radio host’s birth. Wattley's, too. For longevity in any business, Wattley noted, the desire for growth is necessarily tempered by greater needs. He hopes Truck N' Hustle is laying a steady, solid foundation such that it, too, will be around come 2079. Find a list of presenters scheduled to speak at Freight Fest via the event website: http://freightfest.com Listen on for more detail on how Wattley envisions the event, in part inspired by the SHE Trucking expo back in 2021 in Chattanooga: https://www.overdriveonline.com/overdrive-radio/podcast/15279870/growing-trucking-influence-of-minorityowned-business Find Truck N' Hustle wherever you listen to podcasts.


Making car-haul look easy with owner-op Crystal Rives: 'Couldn't imagine doing anything else'

She does just about all of it, Crystal Rives, when it comes to the maintenance of her one-truck Texas-intrastate car-haul business. She's put a big emphasis on solid partnerships through the years, whether with a trusted engine/major mechnical shop or a growing stable of customers. That's particularly so since she went out on her own with authority to haul cars in 2016. The move followed almost a decade and a half hauling cars for other companies, work in the Texas oilfield, end dump, side dump, pneumatic and liquid-bulk tank. This Overdrive Radio tour through Rives’ business and history in trucking is part of our monthly series of podcasts and feature profiles of contenders for the 2023 Trucker of the Year award: http://overdrieonline.com/trucker-of-the-year Rives is our July Trucker of the Month, in part recognized for a can-do approach to the work, a real do-it-yourself spirit in trucking and in life. She’s out of Cleburne Texas, south of Fort Worth, where she’s built a steady base of customers among used dealers, restoration specialists and others, hauling in a 2006 Peterbilt 379 she calls "Ruby." Yeah, the Pete's red, and powered by a 550 Caterpillar the previous owner overhauled right before she bought it in 2019. Find some pictures of the unit hauling a load of classic autos to Mecum collectors’ auction in Houston this past April, via this link to the feature profile that announced her contention for Trucker of the Year: https://www.overdriveonline.com/trucker-of-the-year/article/15543167/trucker-of-the-month-crystal-rives-makes-hay-of-carhaul-work She’s no doubt got the bull by the horns, so to speak, with the car-haul business today, though it hasn’t been without it's difficulty, particularly before she went out on her own to serve customers directly. At previous employers as a company driver, she was always the only woman behind the wheel, she said, and added, certainly unnecessary pressure was on in some ways. Since putting out her own shingle, though, her customers believe in her, that’s sure, as she follows through on lessons learned from her grandfather and father about doing more than just talking the talk. As Overdrive Editor Todd Dills wrote in the profile of her business, “Just show them you can do it,” her grandfather always told her, “and that you can do it better than them." The chips fall where you want them, then, more times than not. You can enter the 2023 Trucker of the Year competition via the form at this ink: https://www.overdriveonline.com/page/toptrucker


Lightning round: Owner-operators' worst roads in America, take two

We ask again: What's the worst stretch of road on your routes? Let's keep a spotlight on where state DOTs should put all those tax dollars -- dial 615-852-8530 to weigh in. Here,something of a lightning round of owner-operator responses to our prior call, put out attendant to the podcast several weeks back about the terrible toll I-40 in Arizona is taking from owner-ops' pocketbooks in repairs. Rougher than a corncob? You bet: https://www.overdriveonline.com/overdrive-extra/article/15540092/arizona-i40-rougher-than-a-corncob-you-bet Several viewpoints here from listeners who dialed into our podcast message line with their recommendations for places in the U.S. that especially need work, from more worst-roads "accolades" for I-40 to sections of I-10, I-20, I-74, U.S. 491 and others. As noted in the podcast, some detail on one of those stretches with a big project ongoing in Ohio: https://www.transportation.ohio.gov/projects/projects/104668


Owner-operator Kate Whiting's journey to trucking by way of 1973 W900A custom resto

Today on the podcast, the captivating story of a truck -- and its owner-operator, Kate Whiting of Wisconsin. The rig, a 1973 Kenworth W900A, turned a half-century old this year of the Kenworth company's centennial. Whiting piloted the rig, "Cherry Pie," in the 100th-anniversary parade in Chillicothe, Ohio, back in June: https://www.overdriveonline.com/custom-rigs/article/15541257/kenworth-celebrates-100th-anniversary-with-kenworth-truck-parade That's not its only recent accolade, following the truck's first bit of national notoriety around the time of the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville last year. Overdrive's video from that show of the Cherry Pie 1973 Kenworth W900A has since been viewed tens of thousands of times: https://www.overdriveonline.com/custom-rigs/video/15291440/owneroperator-kate-whitings-1973-kenworth-w900a And with more show participation since the debut of Whiting and her team's immaculate custom-restoration, the accolades have just continued to pile up and pile up. On the podcast, we're joined by Rich Guida of the Howes company, Overdrive Radio’s sponsor, who describes the most recent such accolade. Howes inducted Cherry Pie and owner-operator Kate Whiting into the Howes Hall of Fame: https://www.overdriveonline.com/custom-rigs/article/15542307/cherry-pie-1973-w900a-owner-get-hall-of-fame-nod-from-howes The truck features an old-school, reclaimed Double Eagle sleeper with heart-shaped windows on the sides, a Cat 3408 motor (just the second engine in its long history), and much more that you’ll hear about in today’s edition. Kate Whiting herself tells the story of how she became a part of a tight-knit custom truck restoration community in her immediate Wisconsin environs but also spread across the nation. It's that community, broadly speaking, that is represented by induction of the W900A into the Hall of Fame, Rich Guida said, a testament to the pride and camaraderie that just flows from the community like water. All in the service of preservation, of a fashion, of the many histories tied up in any piece of truck equipment. Kate Whiting's story in trucking is a growing part of that, wrapped in passion for this and other trucks. Today she’s running in a different W900 for Jerry Linander's small fleet hauling mostly furniture in an operation that gets her back home most days to the farm on which she lives. She’s done plenty more OTR work, too, though, as Linander early on urged her to learn the business for herself before she found her way back to his operation. Hear her story in her own words in today's podcast. Visit Howes' virtual Hall of Fame and make your own nominations for it via this link: https://howesproducts.com/hof