Dale Wiederholt, 51, Hazel Green, WI, has been involved in trucking for the past 28 years. He has been an owner-operator with his own authority since 1982. His business started out small and expanded in 1989. He currently operates nine trucks – mostly in the tanker and blanket-wrapped furniture businesses.
Dale has been an OOIDA member since 1991. He joined OOIDA because “this organization was the only one that passed my ‘smell test.’ ” He says he also joined because of a desire to be on the right side of the fence on issues. He wanted to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.
Dale says he would like to be an alternate on the OOIDA Board of Directors because it is his way of contributing to an industry that he has been involved with for so long. He wants to be able to help influence some policy and help guide his colleagues in formulating policy. Dale would like to take part in addressing issues “head on.” He believes his business experience would be an asset to the board.
Dale feels that alternate directors should be leaders and advocates on Association issues in all public forums. He believes that they are tasked with searching out answers to build a consensus to effect positive change in the industry. Dale states that alternates and board members alike should lead by example by running compliant and safely, contacting lawmakers on important issues and standing firm on those issues for the benefit of the entire membership.
The biggest problem that new drivers to the industry face, Dale says, is lack of knowledge about the industry. There isn’t much of a program available to teach them about the business. The avenues that brought drivers into the industry 20-30 years ago just aren’t available to drivers today. Young drivers need guidance from experienced ones. Some of them are smart enough to ask for that kind of help, and some of them aren’t.
Dale believes too many guys get engrossed with the lifestyle and forget trucking is a business; it’s a business with a lifestyle. To be successful, truckers need to pay more attention to the business side of trucking. Dale feels that OOIDA is starting to address this issue with the business seminars. He thinks education is very important and is one of the things we need to do to lift the owner-operator up to a level that he can be successful. There are many ways to get tripped up in this business, and truckers need to be aware of those pitfalls.
Dale is married with three sons – 17, 15 and 12. His wife works with him in the trucking business and she is also a medical technologist.
John "Jack" McComb
John “Jack” McComb, 61, of Littleton, CO, has 11 years in the trucking industry with the first 18 months as a company driver and 9 1/2 years as an owner-operator leased to an authorized carrier. Jack currently pulls his own dry van trailer hauling general commodities and hazmat loads for Landstar Ranger.
A 9-year OOIDA member, Jack joined because, “I recognized the importance of having a strong voice in Washington, D.C. for the needs and concerns of all truckers,” he says.
Jack believes the best way to promote and project a positive image is “to teach by example. I am a safe and courteous driver who proudly displays my membership status on my truck and trailer. Other drivers and the public in general see these things, and it all comes together with a positive image.”
The biggest issue for new drivers today, Jack believes, is that they are not receiving appropriate training. It’s a huge issue, but being new to the industry they just don’t know. New drivers need much more experience on the road before we turn them loose.
Jack sees the most important problems faced by owner-operators and drivers as: “fuel costs: We need a federally mandated and enforced fuel surcharge that places the burden where it belongs; cheap freight: The problem is the major companies that promote these rates by hauling at cheap rates just to expedite the relocation of their equipment; and, hours of service: We should be commissioning studies of real truck drivers that would produce a more realistic model. Not all drivers sleep 8-10 hours at a time, and definitely not all drivers can safely drive 11 hours without a break.”
A good business background is needed if you really want to be successful in trucking. Just because your wheels are turning doesn’t mean you are making money.
Jack says that “all my local, state and federal legislators recognize my name as I am a vocal constituent who regularly communicates with their offices on not only trucking issues, but also all other matters that effect our daily lives. I send multiple e-mails to all legislators and follow-up with phone calls.”
“We in the trucking industry tend to pay a lot of lip service to our issues, but only to other members of the industry. We criticize the negative publicity that we receive, but never seem to generate positive publicity that can be seen by the masses.”
Jack retired from the Federal Aviation Administration in 1993 after 22 years as an air traffic controller. He has also started and operated a printing company, a corporate tax firm and – as a nationally registered paramedic – a company that provided standby emergency medical services to the movie industry when shooting on remote sets.
He has a bachelor’s degree in business and an MBA in finance from the University of Colorado. He likes to play golf and write computer programs.
DuWayne Marshall, 48, Watertown, WI, has 27 years in trucking – 26 as an owner-operator leased to a carrier and one as an owner-operator with his own authority. DuWayne currently hauls fresh produce and food products.
DuWayne has been an OOIDA member since 2001. He joined because he believes in what the Association stands for.
DuWayne is running for alternate director because he believes that as an experienced owner-operator he can communicate with just about anybody from John Q. Public to state and local officials and his fellow truckers about the positive things that the industry does and what the Association strives to do. DuWayne says that he is in a unique position as he is both a carrier and a broker. This enables him “to really see the industry from different sides of the same problem.”
According to DuWayne, lack of training is one of the most important issues faced by new drivers to the industry. He believes carriers and trucking schools “pump these guys out too fast and they don’t have the experience they truly need to be successful.”
To be successful, you need to know your job – what you are going to do and how you are going to do it. You need to know how much equipment to buy to get the job done. Too many guys overanalyze or underanalyze trucking and don’t have the experience to make themselves successful.
DuWayne sees unfair competition (captive leases and lease purchase agreements), the unwillingness of elected officials to enforce existing regulations, and loading abuses by shippers and receivers to be the most significant problems faced by a majority of owner-operators and drivers today.
DuWayne considers education to be the most effective way to change our industry for the better for the benefit of all OOIDA members. We need to educate drivers on good business practices. We need to educate lawmakers about the industry.
DuWayne knows that OOIDA has grown into a large organization; he believes his knowledge and experience could be an asset to the board. Along with running his trucking company, he runs a small brokerage and a small lawn care and landscaping business where he has one full-time and four part-time employees. He manages all three businesses and takes care of the finances, payroll and taxes for each.
DuWayne is married and has a son and daughter, both in college. When DuWayne is not trucking, he likes to golf.
Louis "Lou" Esposito
Louis “Lou” Esposito, 60, of Duanesburg, NY, has been in the trucking business since 1968. He started out as a company driver; he was a driver steward for 4 years and president of an in-house or independent union for a major East Coast food retailer for more than 20 years. He is currently an owner-operator with his own authority hauling general freight.
Lou has been a member since 2001. He joined OOIDA because he “wanted to be part of an organization that best represents drivers and owner-operators.”
Lou is running for alternate director because he feels his experience being a union president, dealing with trucking issues, and negotiating contracts puts him in a position to help the organization. He also believes he can be helpful with regard to communications with lawmakers.
He remains in constant contact with his state legislators regarding different issues in New York State. He recently made a presentation to assembly members and senators regarding the state’s ton-mileage tax.
As far as the role of an alternate, Lou believes alternate directors should support the board members and provide the help needed to achieve the goals of the Association. Alternates should try to develop new ways to create a more positive image for the trucking industry. They should promote OOIDA and try to enlist new members. The more members, the louder and stronger the voice.
Proper training is the most important issue faced by new drivers to the industry, according to Lou. Very few have the appropriate training when they get into the industry. Lou helped to develop a driver training program for a company he worked for. This program required many hours of training before they were allowed on the road. Prior to his involvement, the company handed drivers the keys with little or no training.
To be successful, Lou feels that drivers should be able to negotiate their own contracts with companies. Lou says that he has nothing against brokers because they serve a purpose, but he believes more owner-operators need to develop relationships directly with shippers. Those customers will pay you well if you provide them good service. Excellent service leads to higher rates. Lou does not haul any cheap freight.
Lou believes one of the most important problems faced by a majority of drivers and owner-operators today is the cross border Mexican trucking program. He feels that truckers need to keep calling and writing elected officials, and they also need to encourage others to call and write. Another problem Lou identifies is the new hours-of-service regulations. He believes the solution is to try to educate the people making the rules when those people lack appropriate knowledge about the trucking industry. Lou has been married 39 years.
Gary Carr, 64, of Wayne, ME, has been trucking for more than 14 years and is an owner-operator with his own authority. In the past, he has hauled frozen food, produce and nursery stock. Currently, he pulls a reefer in long-haul operation.
Gary has been an OOIDA member for the past 14 years. He joined “to be part of an organization representing independent owner-operators with excellent information and insurance” benefits.
Gary would like to be an alternate director because of the work OOIDA has done. He would like to give back to the Association that has given to him over the years. Gary feels his background could help in that regard. He has degrees in criminology and in business administration from California State University – Long Beach and New Hampshire College; he also has a Ph.D. in economics from Union Institute. He feels that he could offer his skills and experience to the organization.
Gary believes that drivers today face several challenges. One is cash flow. Costs continue to rise from all directions while revenue tends to lag if one does not watch all aspects of a business. Another challenge is taxation. Governments are increasing taxes on fuel, tolls and business, which means we all must educate politicians of the effect on our business. Gary also considers operating laws a problem for drivers. Logbook operating requirements tend to change without consideration of what drivers can do safely. Individuals at all government levels are making laws, and drivers should have more impact on these issues.
Gary also believes that new drivers enter into the field without the appropriate skill level and incorrectly assume truckers make big money. These drivers need to know the actual costs involved. Truckers need to help each other out in this regard. He developed a program that he has given to several drivers that helps them with their quarterly taxes. He also helps drivers identify freight that pays. Gary believes that education on all aspects of the operation is the key to success. He thinks more drivers need to observe freight; take care of the customer; avoid claims; minimize lost or unproductive time; bill customers promptly; and know the costs of expenses and the rate of return that takes into account all areas including risks.
Gary regularly communicates with elected officials via written letters, phone calls and sometimes personal meetings. Gary finds that letters with facts and data have the greatest effect. Personal conversation as a follow-up while dressed appropriately only emphasizes the points being addressed. Education is an ongoing process, which must continue through life.
When Gary is not trucking, he enjoys getting involved in local politics and building and repairing equipment. He has traveled to more than 40 countries during his life.
Henry Albert, 45, Statesville, NC, has more than 26 years’ experience in the trucking industry with 14 years as a company driver and more than 12 as an owner-operator with his own authority. While driving for a carrier, Henry hauled mostly food products. He currently transports a variety of building materials, including steel, granite and aluminum.
Henry has been an OOIDA member since 1999. He joined because he was looking for a group that represented the small business truck operator. Henry states: “I always try to promote our industry and OOIDA in a positive manner. I realize first impressions are important. I strive to maintain a professional appearance and good attitude at all times. I am proud to have been chosen as the ‘2007 Overdrive Truck Driver of the Year.’”
Henry would like to be an alternate director because, in his words, “I have been real involved with trying to get members when I’m out on the road, and I also think I have a lot of insight. I always try to make lemonade out of lemons when I get dealt them and, as we all know, we get a lot of lemons.” Henry says that his strength is always finding a way to make it even when times are down. He has the ability to go around problems and attack them from a different angle. He believes he can share his knowledge with others so they can have the same success he has had in the business.
Henry believes one of the biggest problems with new drivers is that they get sold on the American dream, but they don’t really know how to run their business as a business. They don’t come into this industry adequately prepared. To be successful, Henry believes you must figure out how to get your customer to value you and your services.
Henry feels that time, foreign drivers and congestion on the highways are three of the most important problems faced by a majority of owner-operators and drivers. We need more accountability for carriers and drivers. Too much time is wasted in the trucking industry. Henry also believes we should not allow Mexican trucks into our country. Finally, on congestion, he feels we should educate the public on how highway dollars are being misspent. This would help apply pressure to stop the waste.
Henry is active in contacting his lawmakers. He communicates by fax and Internet, but he prefers to contact elected officials on the phone. Henry says, “I have spoken at times with these folks for over two hours by phone. I have found that as I talked to our legislators, they were very interested and had many questions.”
Henry is married and has one son, Austin. When Henry is not trucking, he enjoys spending time with his family and riding ATVs and dirt bikes. In addition, Henry recently started a new business venture. He leads ATV and dirt bike tours for large groups.