OOIDA member leads the way as Mother Trucker

| Tuesday, December 18, 2001

For almost 40 years, OOIDA member Jeannie Holtz raised a family and worked as a bookkeeper in southwestern Michigan. With her children long out of the nest, and bored with actuarial charts, double-entry bookkeeping and the daily 9 to 5, she leaped at an opportunity to leave it all behind three years ago for a new profession in the trucking industry.

One of the first things Jeannie discovered in her new role as pilot car operator was the wide range of differences in rules and regulations concerning oversize loads throughout the United States and District of Columbia. For a load requiring one escort in a given state, crossing into the next involved dealing with a whole new set of requirements.

"Sometimes even experienced haulers had difficulty deciding what was required," Holtz says. "And then there's the curfews..." Many cities, sometimes entire counties and regions, impose restrictions on big loads during busy traffic periods. "Heavy fines are the order of the day for violations, and it's hard enough for haulers to make a buck today even if everything goes smoothly," she says.

"On a trip requiring passage through more than a half-dozen states I was nearly frantic trying to determine what was required where," she says, "When it occurred to me that I could most likely bring a semblance of order out of chaos."

On her return home and during her downtime for most of the next year, Jeannie began collecting, clarifying, and collating rules and regulations of each state, and organizing them in an easy to use format. By the end of 1999, she was ready to publish, and found a ready market with trucking companies, drivers and pilot car operators.

While working on the "load atlas," Jeannie began planning to form her own pilot car service. "I have a friend who was recovering from heart surgery and had been pretty much confined for quite awhile, and asked if he'd like to make a short run with me," she says. Deadheading home they talked about the business and came up with the corporate name "Mother Trucker," and the term "load atlas." Jeannie then designed her logo - a stylized self-portrait - and a big load legend was born.

Jeannie has recently begun publication of her 2001 atlas, "and, this year, we added another atlas for the Canadian provinces, which will ease the burden for drivers and escorts who must cross international boundaries." So far, Jeannie says demand has been good and is increasing. "Sometimes I have to work far into the night in my so-called 'down time' just to keep the orders filled," she says. "But, I'm not complaining."

For more information, visit www.pilotcarservice.com/mothertrucker/, or call Jeannie at (561) 762-8246.

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