For years now, Henry Albert has made a name for himself as the trucker with a tie.
The OOIDA member and board member alternate has turned heads by insisting on wearing a button-down shirt and dress tie while walking into truck stops, unloading at docks, or negotiating contracts.
Henry believes the tie has opened doors and started conversations that would never have happened otherwise, even in the pressed uniforms he once wore.
“The more I did it, the more benefits I noticed from it,” Henry told Land Line. “It’s been a game-changer.”
For nearly a year, Henry has taken his presence to the world of Web logging or blogging. In fall 2007, Henry began driving a 2009 Freightliner Cascadia, reporting back to Freightliner and blogging about the experience at www.SliceofTruckerLife.com.
A recent post included a brief description of his new Air Slipper aerodynamic side curtains for his 53-foot dry van and the mileage he hopes to improve, though Henry says he enjoys blogging about the positives of life on the road more than technical issues.
“When I blog I’m usually trying to find something positive,” Henry said. “Before I blogged, I don’t think I was always seeking out those positive things. It’s been great; it’s been a real eye-opener.”
The experience with a major OEM has allowed Henry an insider’s view of truck research, he says, and may even have improved Freightliner’s internal communication.
“A lot of people don’t see all the troubleshooting and all the tests. You can only imagine what would go wrong if they didn’t, when you see all their efforts,” Henry said. “And it’s been good for them. The people we report back to are getting unfiltered information back from us on the truck, whereas before it had to come all the way up through several company levels.”
It’s the same respect Henry says he began noticing a few years ago after he started wearing the tie to work, some 20 years into his trucking career.
“I wished I’d started sooner,” he said.
The tie-wearing concept began on a dare that he wouldn’t last a week in a tie, and Henry said the effort has predictably started a number of negative conversations with some drivers.
“You can put as many crabs into a bathtub as you want, but none will ever make it out,” Henry said. “As soon as one starts climbing, the others will say, ‘oh my god, you’ll die out there!’ ”
Henry’s latest blog was entered by his wife, Karen, who described Henry’s recent dirt biking accident, which resulted in a concussion and fractured shoulder bone.
Though he’ll be off the road briefly, Henry said he’s looking forward to getting behind both the wheel and his computer to describe his day-to-day business – including his work attire.
“I might even start wearing a tuxedo next,” he said, with a laugh.
– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer