From: OOIDA President Jim Johnston
To: OOIDA Members
Re: Important Election Information!
The 2006 membership election to seat five new alternates on the OOIDA Board of Directors is in full swing. Ballots went out in the mail the last part of June. It is very important that you as an OOIDA member take the opportunity to participate in this election by voting for those nominees that you feel are qualified to sit on the OOIDA Board. The election process is a very important part of your membership as you are responsible for electing those individuals that lead and guide your Association.
Also, as part of the election process, we will broadcast mini-interviews of the nominees on our XM Satellite Radio show, “Land Line Now.” We will also post audio interviews on our OOIDA Web site for members only. OOIDA members can Click here to listen. This is being done to aid you in the decision making process..
Thanks for your support and please don't forget to VOTE! Your completed ballot must be received at OOIDA headquarters by Aug. 4 to be counted.
Editor's note: These candidate profiles were compiled by the OOIDA Board of Directors nominating committee.
Henry Albert, 43, Mooresville, NC, has 23 years' experience in the industry, startingas a trailer jockey for a private carrier until he gained enough experience to become a road driver. He then moved to North Carolina and a new job as a driver for a private carrier, where he also ran the shipping office and learned about rates and trucking companies.
Almost 10 years ago, he bought a truck and trailer and launched his own trucking company with his own operating authority. While driving for private carriers, Henry hauled mostly food products. In his own business, he transports a variety of building materials including steel, aluminum and granite on a flatbed trailer, primarily on the East Coast.
Henry has been an OOIDA member for almost seven years. He joined because he wanted to be part of an organization that promotes trucking to be a respected profession. Henry believes that the key to success in this industry is how you present yourself so others will value your time. He wears a tie except when he is tarping. Henry says, "When I call on a customer, I show respect and I get it in return."
Henry believes his experience would benefit the Board and members. He says he has a unique perspective in trucking from his experience and also from his background in car racing where the rules changed every year. "When I'm told something, I always go to the opposite side to see if it makes sense." When DOT regulations appear to be more restrictive, he finds ways to make them work to his advantage.
Henry supports OOIDA's run compliant efforts and its focus on education for new drivers. He says the biggest problems for new drivers are avoiding getting sucked into running illegal to make money and "share cropping" through lease purchase programs.
Time, fuel and training are the most important issues. Drivers should run compliant and stop hiding lost time. Educating members on how to charge and collect a surcharge could prove beneficial and training that would force carriers to have a vested interest in their drivers would help put an end to dime-a-dozen drivers. Education will empower the members to make the necessary changes.
Henry is married and has a 12-year-old son. He enjoys church, camping, reading, ATVs and dirt bike riding, as well as auto racing.
Terry L. Button, 48, Rushville, NY, started driving right out of high school and worked his way through college driving. Terry has been an owner-operator since 1980 and a member of OOIDA since 1992. He initially joined the Association to participate in insurance programs, but then realized the importance of an organization to further the ideals and interests of small business - and to stay informed of rules and regulations.
Terry's experience includes hauling flat glass, bulk dump, general and refrigerated freight, hay, grain, and produce. He currently operates as an exempt carrier of agricultural products and a private carrier of his own products.
Terry says his experience and knowledge of fostering small business and decision-making skills would help shape and promote policies for the future and beyond.
He sees the major industry problem as the number of rude, inconsiderate drivers that cast a negative stigma on all truckers with the public and shippers and receivers. Acknowledging this is a tough problem, Terry believes the answers include enforcement, penalties and a commitment of the industry to higher standards.
Other major problems include the driver's inability to get needed rest because of idling or parking restrictions. Terry advocates idling restrictions - except when a driver is in the bunk - and economic incentives to private business and state agencies for additional parking. He also believes the government should spend highway tax dollars on safety and pavement condition, instead of E-ZPass lanes.
He believes contacting lawmakers should be done personally and politely, making certain they know you want a response. He also believes the industry should do more positive things for the public. Trucking is a business that is the most important to the U.S. after agriculture, he says, because agriculture feeds the nation.
Terry participates in the National Hay Association, two college alumni groups and fraternities, the USDA County Committee and Yates County Chamber of Commerce. He enjoys family, sports, outdoor activities and traveling in the U.S., Europe and South America.
Howard Hart, 60, of Maple Falls, WA, has been a full-time truck driver for 11 years, and prior to that, he moonlighted as a driver while holding down other jobs. He joined OOIDA about a year after starting his first stint as a full-time driver. His wife, Pam, later joined him in the truck as a team driver.
He has experience transporting cattle, grain, fertilizer, hydrogen peroxide, agricultural equipment and dry freight.
Howard currently drives the "Spirit of the American Trucker" OOIDA tour truck. He and Pam visit with and recruit members at truck stops, truck shows and related events.
In addition to his own promotion and projection of a positive image of trucking, Howard believes he offers the Board and Association a unique and real-time perspective on issues affecting drivers all over the country. He says "we get the pulse of the industry every day from talking with drivers at the tour truck."
Howard believes he and others on the Board can be a better asset by identifying problems and working through solutions that could be presented to the Board. He sees his job as keeping current on all Association activities and conveying this information to the membership.
He sees the biggest problem for truckers as hours of service - they must be reasonable and flexible to accommodate the needs of truckers. Other problems are a lack of parking in secure areas, and better driver training that actually results in a driver being adequately trained for all aspects of the job. To accomplish these, Howard believes we should continue vigorous support for positive changes and equally aggressive opposition to any law or regulation that goes against these goals.
Howard communicates with his lawmakers regularly though mail, e-mail and phone. "I consider activism on the part of members as being the key to change ... to our benefit ... that is what gets results," he says.
Howard has been married to Pam for more than 40 years. They have two grown daughters and two grandchildren. He enjoys reading classical literature, current affairs, and listening to classical music. He also studied accounting after high school and enjoys playing poker.
Grover "Dee" Jones, 63, Redfield, AR, has been involved in trucking for 31 years with most of that time (28 ½ years) as a company driver. He has hauled meat, produce, furniture, pallets, paper goods, general freight and RVs. He is currently semi-retired.
Dee has been an OOIDA member for nearly 14 years, joining as a result of a U.S. DOT pilot project to randomly test drivers for drugs and alcohol at the roadside and at weigh stations. His late wife, Ruth, who also drove, was picked for one of the tests. She refused. Dee said before that incident he had not known that company drivers could join. Dee says, "I contribute by promoting OOIDA day-to-day along the highway and on the truckers' cruise."
Dee sees the biggest issue for new drivers and experienced ones as the hours-of-service regulations; they are not adequate to get the job done without reform. Other issues for all include rates and surcharges. Dee says his solution is to assist members in collective bargaining and lobbying lawmakers for surcharges until it's passed. He also sees the image of trucking as an untrue media representation that must be fought.
Dee says the way to be successful as an owner-operator is to know your costs. For a company driver, it is to know the company. Find one you are comfortable with - how many miles you can get, home time, benefits - and a company that you can stay with.
Dee says the most effective way to communicate with lawmakers is at "the ballot box. Working for or against a candidate will get his/her attention."
Dee was previously elected as an alternate to the Board. He says, "I have time to serve because I'm semi-retired."
Dee is married. He has 12 children and 27 grandchildren. Other interests include the National Association of Show Trucks, NRA, North American Hunting Club, ocean cruises, camping and cooking.
Wayne E. Huey, 47, Jamesport, MO, has 25 years' driving experience. His first two years were spent as a company driver pulling a reefer. He then bought a truck and spent the next three years pulling rail containers and piggyback trailers. In 1986, he switched to flatbed trailers and began taking loads all over the country leased to a carrier. In addition to trucking, Wayne also farms and has interest in real estate. He says he likes to work all the time.
Wayne has been an OOIDA member since 1988, initially joining for program participation and to have an Association that will fight regulations. He is interested in serving on the Board because he says, "you can't take all the time ... this is a way to give back to the industry."
He sees the biggest issues for new drivers as: 1) fuel problem; 2) driver turnover - the way drivers are treated as second-class citizens; and 3) driver education. Wayne sees a mandatory fuel surcharge with a 100-percent pass-through provision as the most important priority, lobbying for government regulations that allow you "to make a profit," and the need for lease-purchase trucks to have a "standard lease that will work like it is supposed to."
To be successful, a driver should find a good company or good accounts - find a niche and watch your money.
Wayne sees the most effective way to change our industry for the benefit of members is by safe driving - better driving schools.
Wayne believes drivers' ed classes in schools should teach students to drive around trucks. He says if you start it in school, it can carry on through the adult years, and maybe, improve driving habits to save lives forever.
Michael A. Laizure, 32, College Place, WA, has been active in trucking for the past 13 years, with the first two years as a company driver and the past 11 as an owner-operator.
Mike has been an OOIDA member for six years. He was first attracted to the organization because of the quality and class of members he met. He says he could see that this was the one and only group that is exclusively for truckers and small business and has been able to see how important the Association is for the industry.
Mike's previous experience includes transporting reefer, van, flat, expedited, explosives, weapons, radioactive, pharmaceuticals and aerospace. He currently owns two trucks and trailers, with one leased to FedEx Custom Critical and the other used to haul freight under his own operating authority.
Mike says his experience as driver, owner-operator and now a motor carrier, his passion for the industry and his ability to relate his experiences to lawmakers, would make him a good member of the Board. He is very pleased with his ability to communicate with current members of the Board and his ability to share information with the membership.
He sees the biggest issue for new drivers as education - access to the information they need to be successful. The biggest problems for the industry are: 1) leases; 2) retention of qualified, experienced drivers and owner-operators; and 3) regulatory issues and enforcement of existing rules before making new ones.
Mike says members must be a constant and persistent voice on issues to bring real-world knowledge into legislators' decision-making processes.
Mike believes OOIDA should start a mentorship program where experienced members can help others to be better educated and grow.
Mike is married with four children. He belongs to the NRA and enjoys hunting, fishing, home improvements and his family. He is an avid reader and contributing writer to "On Times."
Sue Lynch, 50, Prairie du Chien, WI, was first exposed to driving as a youngster. When her trucking grandfather bought into a truck stop, she went to work there and eventually worked every position in the stop, including manager. While there, she met her husband, Bill, who was a 20-plus-year driver. When Bill decided to buy a truck, she left the truck stop, went to driving school and joined him running team. Loading through carriers and brokers didn't work well for them, so Bill opted for them to get their own authority. Sue then left the truck to stay home to arrange loads. Once permanent accounts were established, she rejoined Bill as a team driver.
In 2004, Bill suffered a near-fatal, serious illness. "We debated whether to shut down the truck," Sue says, "but decided to switch all of our business to me so I could continue running it." She has. Sue currently hauls parts for Yamaha from Wisconsin to Georgia and Case and Holland tractors back north weekly.
Sue joined OOIDA at the urging of her husband, who felt this was best for them for accurate information, service and insurance. Sue believes the Board needs diversity to better represent the growing number of women and minorities in the trucking industry.
Sue believes the biggest issue for new drivers is a lack of training. "So much isn't taught. When you go to a company you learn by doing, but they penalize you for not knowing," she says. "Knowledge is power. There is so much more than driving. You need to be a business manager."
The biggest problems she sees for the industry are: 1) broker problems - not paying on time or at all and too little enforcement of unscrupulous ones; 2) cabotage - unauthorized foreign trucks taking away loads and jobs; and 3) inadequate driver training with new drivers put into trucks without operational knowledge and safety.
Sue takes contacting lawmakers very seriously and she's a big supporter of OOIDA's lobbying activities.
Sue has associate degrees in accounting and finance. She is completing her second term as an alternate to the OOIDA Board. She and Bill have three grown children and six grandchildren. She sponsors two Trucker Buddy classes, enjoys her grandchildren and nieces and nephews. She also enjoys quilting and belongs to the Northeast Iowa Quilt Guild.
Jim Moore, 63, Caldwell, ID, started driving on the family farm in Indiana when not being able to see over the steering wheel was a much bigger issue than not having a license to drive to the local grain elevator. From there as he aged, the farm vehicles were gradually replaced with bigger trucks. Most of his 36 years as an owner-operator have been spent pulling a refrigerated trailer. He also has moved vehicles, furniture, mobile homes and RVs. He currently operates "hot shots" in the Northwest.
His initial membership in OOIDA started in 1979, with continuous membership from 1998 to the present. He says, "I wanted to be part of an organization that looks out for owner-operators."
Jim says the most important issue for new drivers is dealing with electronic onboard recording devices, aka black boxes, which he sees coming. Jim also sees loading/unloading and new regulations as important issues.
Major problems for the industry are: 1) fuel cost - put pressure on the oil companies to stop gouging us; 2) HOS issues - continue our fight to correct problems with new HOS rules; and 3) shipping/receiving issues - get legislation to help stop abuse.
Jim says the most important success factors for new drivers are money management and learning from older drivers.
Jim says it is important to set a good example for others and to contact lawmakers by phone or in person, pointing out that he has contacted every state representative in Idaho about speed limit legislation in the state. Jim is now serving his first term as an alternate. Jim says he enjoys the friendship and fellowship of others on the Board.
Jim was a Navy jet mechanic during the Vietnam War era. He is divorced with four grown children. He is a member of the Idaho Snowmobile Association, past president of the Boise Snowmobile Club, member of NRA and Idaho ATV Association.
Gary Lee Ring, 46, Virginia, IL, has been active in trucking for 22 years, starting as a driver hauling grain and fertilizer locally. From there, he moved on to daily runs to Chicago and back. For the past nine years, he has been an owner-operator leased to a carrier moving heavy, oversize loads up to 200,000 pounds on 10 axles throughout the country.
He initially joined OOIDA six years ago for help in fighting a $2,000 ticket he received in Louisiana.
Gary believes OOIDA is the front-runner organization helping to change things, and that his experience, along with 22 years of accident-free driving and working through challenges, would be a benefit to the Board, and he would like to do his part.
The biggest issue for new drivers is more and more pressure, Gary says. Those pressures include congestion on the highways, law enforcement, companies that push and push, low pay, treatment of drivers, and even their families, when a driver can't get home when needed. Gary also points out that drivers aren't adequately trained when they start out, which creates the driver shortage you see when companies can't find drivers for their parked trucks.
Across the board, problems for owner-operators and drivers come from low freight rates and high fuel prices, along with people's rights as drivers.
The key to success, he says, is in sticking with it. Have a game plan, set goals, plan ahead for all things about yourself and your equipment, if you have any. Pay attention to everything to make sure the truck keeps rolling. Stand up for what you believe in, but be willing to work with people to solve problems. Use common sense in all you do.
Gary says he thinks the best way to talk with lawmakers and policymakers is locally, and in person.
He believes more members would make a huge difference. "Look at the National Rifle Association with its millions of members. It makes them one of the strongest lobbying groups in the country. Members are the voice of an organization. And change is accomplished by listening to the voice of the people," he adds.
Gary says being gone from home about 46 weeks a year on average limits his other activities and interests. He and his wife have three sons, two in college and one still at home.
Miles Verhoef, 40, Tomah, WI, started his career behind the wheel as a teenager still in high school driving trucks in the stubble fields of north central Montana. He stuck with the occupation spending 16 years behind the wheel of someone else's truck, before purchasing his own in 1999. He leased it to two different carriers operating throughout the U.S.
About three years ago, he went through OOIDA to get his own operating authority. He currently operates his truck in a three-state area around Wisconsin, hauling general freight LTL to mom-and-pop shops. He has experience with frozen, dry, flat, tank, cows, grain, coke and cement.
Miles has been an OOIDA member for six years. He joined after hearing word of mouth from other drivers about a good organization for drivers and not just bigger carriers. "I have been a proud member of OOIDA and continually promote our agenda. I am always very positive, whether it be in my own trucking business or in promoting my positive beliefs in OOIDA," he says.
Miles sees the biggest problem for new drivers as the lack of adequate training. Training needs to be far more extensive and hands-on in practical situations that new drivers would face. Topping the list of important issues for drivers and owner-operators, Miles says free time spent at shippers and receivers. The only answer to successfully changing this would be to have it federally mandated. As for high fuel prices, Miles says fuel surcharge legislation should be passed and the trucking industry should do more to reduce fuel consumption - reducing demand for fossil fuels. Hours-of-service regulations need to change. Miles would like to see the FMCSA keep the 34-hour restart, allow split sleeper berth and allow off-duty time for breaks.
Miles believes the focus should be education for drivers and owner-operators. Knowledge of the regs and the industry is power. Success is understanding all aspects of your operation, costs - and what it's going to take to make it successful.
As for communicating with lawmakers, Miles says, "Most definitely continue our support to our office in Washington, DC, and their efforts. Support the PAC and keep up on the 'Call to Action.' Contact your local, state and federal offices by phone or mail. Above all else, make sure all communications are done in a respectful and professional manner." Miles also believes that the radio show, "Land Line Now," is one of OOIDA's greatest assets.
Miles and his wife have three children, ages 14 to 10. He enjoys hunting, fishing, target shooting, Shaolin Kempo Karate and is a member of the North American Hunting Club and NRA.
Dale Wiederholt, 48, Hazel Green, WI, grew up on a dairy farm. His professional driving career began in 1978 in tour buses. In 1980, he purchased his first truck, leased it to a carrier and began hauling meat from Iowa to the East Coast. In 1982, he began operating under his own authority. Since 1989, Dale has been transporting furniture across all four time zones and assorted products back to the East Coast. He has one driver and three owner-operators leased to him - all are OOIDA members.
Dale has been a member for 14 years. He was attracted to the organization because of its goals and mission. He says he would like to help the Association keep gaining, to be an open ear for members and to stay focused on the important issues and emerging trends in trucking.
The biggest problem areas for trucking that Dale sees are: 1) predatory pay practices of carriers including questionable deductions, skimming, short miles, lease-purchase plans and much more; 2) state policies and proliferation of toll roads, toll measures, lane restrictions, split speed limits and revenue tickets; and 3) the lack of meaningful driver-training standards and a structured level of recognizing driving credentials, experience and professionalism. Dale says we must keep the heat on carriers, the industry, states and the federal government on the problem areas.
He would like to see a voluntary mentoring program that could match new drivers with experienced ones to promote education, cohesiveness and greater understanding and camaraderie among drivers; experienced, professional or master through a verifiable credentialing system that would encourage and reward continuing education and professionalism.
Dale sees the factors most important to success as taking care of business, controlling costs and revenues, and disciplining yourself to stay focused on the job without being distracted.
Dale has been married for 23 years and has three teenage sons. He has a degree in agricultural business and is a member of the Technology & Maintenance Council, Wisconsin Motor Carrier Association and AGR agricultural fraternity. He is member of the Hazel Green Fire Department, active in church-sponsored youth programs and enjoys NASCAR dirt track racing.
Bruce Worth, 61, Hartley, IA, has been involved in trucking for the past 32 years, first as a company driver and the past 28 years as an owner-operator working primarily in heavy haul - anything big and ugly, he says. His loads have been throughout the U.S. and as far north as Prudhoe Bay, AK. His most recent work in trucking has been in tow-away operations, a job less physically demanding than heavy haul. In April, he put his truck up for sale.
Bruce has been an OOIDA member for a total of 16 years, joining because it was the only organization representing drivers of all types. He believes all drivers need to come together to stand as one to accomplish anything.
Bruce believes his extensive experience in heavy haul would be an asset to the Board. When he is on the road, he talks to many drivers about the importance of the organization, and communicating with lawmakers on issues that affect truckers.
He sees the most important issue for new drivers as education - they don't know whether they are doing it right or wrong.
He sees the most important element in success as doing your homework - everybody is not cut out for this life.
Important problems Bruce sees are the broker situation and what could be disaster from NAFTA. The price of fuel is a big problem, along with companies or brokers stealing all or part of the fuel surcharge. He sees the solution to some of these issues as some re-regulation. "We live under so many regulations now that a few more, that will work for us, can't hurt," he says.
Bruce believes the most effective way for truckers to influence lawmakers is to make sure OOIDA lobbyists have the funds needed to do the job. "If face-to-face can't be arranged, calls, letters and faxes," he says. Bruce would like to see more fundraisers and every member contribute to the PAC fund so OOIDA could carry the biggest stick on the Hill "and do more on the state level."
Bruce has served as an alternate to the Board for the past two years. Bruce and his wife have three grown children. He is a member of the local American Legion. Hobbies include antiques, especially black powder rifles and handguns. He says, "I used to play a pretty good game of golf, until illness put an end to that."