M. Carl Smith, Sr., 57, Marysville, Ohio
Carl Smith first joined OOIDA in 1983 and has been in trucking most of his adult life. Carl knew he wanted to be a truck driver at age 12 so after high school he joined the Army and learned to drive as part of his training. Carl bought his first truck in 1983 through a lease-purchase program with Riss International in Kansas City, paid off that truck and bought a new one in 1985. Carl has worn many hats in the trucking industry from trucker and fleet owner to dispatcher, terminal manager, truck/trailer sales, driver trainer and truck mechanic. He is currently an owner-operator leased to a carrier pulling a chemical tanker.
Carl would like to become part of the OOIDA Board for himself and for the Association. He would like to use the knowledge he has learned over the past 40 years and give back to the industry that has given him so much. Carl said there is no one involved in trucking that has done the things OOIDA has and is doing for the small business trucker. He really wants to be an advocate for professional drivers, and OOIDA is the only place to do that.
Carl believes that when new drivers enter trucking they face the difficulty of living the life that is required of the job. He says the easiest thing about being a truck driver is driving the truck; you can teach just about anyone to point the truck down the road. Everything else is the hard part – the hours you have to work, the time spent away from home and family and friends, the responsibility you must have to get that load delivered, the vigilance you must have on the road at all times. These things can be overwhelming to first-time drivers. If we can prepare new drivers for the lifestyle, we can retain more drivers for careers in trucking.
To be successful in trucking, the most important and vital part of running a small business trucking company is being able to take control of the maintenance and repair of your vehicle. No matter the age of the truck, it’s going to need preventative, routine and emergency breakdown maintenance. Carl took a course in vocational school on truck mechanics, which was just the beginning of his experience learning to work on trucks. That knowledge and experience has served him well and continues to help him daily. Being able to contain those costs and get your truck back on the road is imperative to running a good business.
When Carl is not running up and down the road for fun and profit, he is an active member in his church, a hobby farmer and he enjoys repairing and restoring trucks and cars.