Last fall, Spotlight News spoke with husband and wife expediting team Jackie Rocha and Michael Barclay. (Read their story here). As you may recall, they had recently taken the Path To Ownership, after driving as contract drivers for owners Patrick Lee and Eric Hyfield (Business partners who themselves started with ES as contractors several years ago, and grew a successful fleet). In this issue, we take a look at what they’ve achieved since our first interview, and the opportunities they see through their windshield for the future.
Even though Rocha and Barclay are young entrepreneurs (they’re both in their twenties), and relatively new to the transportation business, they knew from the beginning they wanted to become owners. According to Rocha, they looked at a number of different opportunities before taking ES’s PTO. “We had a desire to be owner-operators from the very start. I remember thinking about it even back when we were in training as drivers. We talked to our trainer about it and even discussed lease-purchase programs and other opportunities for truck ownership. In the end, there really aren’t that many viable choices to become a true owner. I’m just glad we discovered ES and their Path to Ownership. In this business, you have to do your research to find the best opportunity to be successful, and we found it.”
Another aspect of the business that’s important to this young team is the concept of community. “We believe in reaching out to young people and telling them about the industry,” said Barclay. “There’s just so much opportunity that we want to be advocates; to get people excited about transportation. Also, we appreciate the community that ES has built. It’s something that we rely on constantly, so we Never Stand Alone. We feel that within the trucking industry, there’s no stronger community and it’s real. That’s why we’ll be visiting the Success In
Sometimes you just know when it’s the right time to make a life-change. When Adam and Misty Johnson decided to change the direction of their lives and careers, they looked at a variety of paths. But ultimately, they chose transportation because of their love of travel, as well as the opportunity it offered. After pursuing various options, they found the right motor carrier with Forward Air and the right Path To Ownership with ES. Read more to see how their path led to Success In Trucking.
Misty, how did you and Adam get started in transportation? Adam and I both worked for years in a metal fabrication factory. It was just about the only thing to do in the small town where we lived. We both decided that we wanted more out of life and began looking around for a new career that offered more opportunity. Adam started watching YouTube videos and studied online to learn about becoming a truck driver and that’s how he got his CDL, that was in August of 2015. After he had been on the road only a short time, I saw that he was really enjoying it. In November, I decided to get into the business, but I went to a driving school to get my training and CDL. That’s how we both wound up in transportation and we love and enjoy our new career!
Once we both had our CDL’s, we worked for a trucking company for about two years as company drivers. Our goal at the time was to drive as “locally” as we could, but we found out we didn’t enjoy this aspect of the business as we had originally thought and the money definitely wasn’t there. We switched companies and worked there for about a year. That’s when we decided that working as company drivers wasn’t really what we wanted to do. We wanted to own our own truck and do this business on our own terms.
Why did you choose Forward Air as your motor carrier? Adam and I did a lot of research about various transportation companies and carriers. We liked Forward Air’s rate structure. Also, we talked to several people that have worked with Forward Air for many years. and their feedback was very positive. Of all the companies we looked at, they were the best fit for us. We’ve enjoyed being here, they’re an outstanding company and the relationship has been very beneficial for our business.
How did you find out about ES and the Path To Ownership? When we first came on board with Forward Air, we told them about our desire to become truck owners. From the very start, our recruiter told us about ES and their PTO — that ES takes your work experience, aptitude and attitude into account when it comes to getting qualified to buy a truck. This sounded like a great opportunity and we were interested to learn more.
Soon, we were in touch with a recruiter at ES. He explained all about the program. In a nutshell, we would run as an independent contractor for ES under their umbrella of support, driving one of their trucks. During this time, ES would evaluate our performance, including attitude, aptitude, work ethic and work history to ensure that we’d be able to generate the revenue necessary to run our business profitably. We felt that this opportunity was too good to pass up and began our Path To Ownership. This was in September of 2018. ES’s PTO opportunity sealed the deal for us come to Forward Air, and are we glad we did!
Tell us about finishing your Path to Ownership? In about the second week of December, we got a call from our ES Service Coordinator, Lee Burkhalter, telling us that our revenue looked good, our attitude was great and that we showed the aptitude needed as owner-operators, and that our work ethic was wonderful. He asked if we’d like to finish our Path To Ownership. We were thrilled and emphatically said YES!
We were soon in touch with ES Truck Sales Manager, Danny Vernon. He helped us source a brand new 2019 Freightliner Cascadia from Stoops Freightliner. It’s such a nice truck and it’s very well equipped. It has a Comfort Pro Carrier APU to save fuel, and we also had a grill guard installed to protect the front end.
The next step was to submit our paperwork to ES Equipment Finance, fulfilling a list of requirements. In a very short amount of time we were approved. From the time we first began the PTO, until the final purchase of our truck, ES kept us up-to-date throughout the entire process. Everything was smooth and easy and we’re just thrilled about becoming owners.
How has being a truck owner affected your business? Just as we anticipated, being owners carries greater responsibility, but it also has greater rewards. Our new truck gives our business an edge when it comes to putting more money in our pocket. We are now even more in charge of our success as business owners and we love it. We also love the support we get from ES. The savings we get on fuel and insurance is great, too. When you combine this with their back office support, we truly Never Stand Alone.
What are your future plans? Our plan is to pay off this truck and run it for about six months to a year after it’s paid off. Then, we’d like to start building a fleet and begin adding more trucks as we go forward. We feel that with ES behind us, we’ll definitely be able to meet this goal.
A Woman in Transportation’s Perspective
What has your career been like as a woman in the transportation field? It’s funny, I used to be deathly afraid of semi trucks because my family was in an accident as a child with a dirt hauler. But after deciding to get my CDL, I was able to put all of that behind me. I absolutely love what I do and transportation has been a great career path. Also, I think ES’s 150 Women-Owned Business challenge is such a terrific way to help women build a business. I would encourage any women looking into the transportation field to take advantage of this initiative. (Read more about the WIT/ES 150 women-owned business initiative here)
How do you balance your business workload? Adam and I are a team. We always back each other up and split our responsibilities 50/50. There are some areas that each of us do better than the other. I’m much better at the paperwork, but he does most of taking care of the truck. There’s always a give and take, but when it comes down to it, we both do what is necessary to keep our business on track.
Women have a lot to offer transportation. I would encourage anyone (male or female), to do their research and find the transportation path that fits them best. Forward Air and ES turned out to be a great path for us!
You read the headline right! If You Can Drive a Truck, You Can Own the Truck. At ES we take this statement seriously. We also take your Success In Trucking seriously, that’s why we’re hosting the Success In Trucking Expo (SITE) at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, June 7 & 8.
The SITE is designed to be an annual event that focuses on helping owner-operators and fleet owners upgrade and/or grow their businesses.The program for the SITE will feature speakers discussing topics designed to share industry knowledge and practical experience to benefit the attendees as they look to build, upgrade and expand their businesses. The motor carriers and vendors participating in the SITE have been hand-picked by ES because of their desire to help the attendees in reaching their goals within the trucking industry. Check out the information below to learn more and to register. Also, friday night’s guest speaker will be former Cincinnati Bengals offensive lineman, Pro Football Hall of Famer and Entrepreneur Anthony Muñoz).
Space is limited. Register Today!
June 7-8: Mark The Date & Join Us for The Success In Trucking Expo
Learn why the Success In Trucking Expo (SITE) promises to become one of most unique and impactful events held in the trucking industry for professional drivers, owner-operators and fleet owners. In coming to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway June 7-8, you will get a true sense of the deep commitment and the comprehensive support provided to ES ownership program participants. The program format of the SITE has been designed to share the kind of industry knowledge and practical experience that will benefit the attendees as they look to build, upgrade and expand their businesses. ES is offering free hotel accommodations for a select group of pre-qualified Expo registrants. Check out all the details and make your plans to be at the SITE by clicking here.
Video Preview of The Success In Trucking Expo
The countdown is moving closer to June 7th and the inaugural edition of the Success In Trucking Expo (SITE). We put together a video preview of what you can expect to experience at the SITE. You will also be introduced to members of the ES Community who bought their trucks and started their small businesses utilizing the expertise and support of ES. To watch the video, please click here.
Listen Up: ES Leaders Discuss SITE & Truck Ownership Programs On The Women In Trucking Radio Show
Women In Trucking President & CEO Ellen Voie welcomed Jason Williams and Jeff Tacker from the ES Leadership Team to the Women In Trucking Radio Show On SiriusXM’s Road Dog Trucking Channel. The show also featured discussions with participants in the truck ownership programs offered by ES. You can hear an edited replay of the show courtesy of SiriusXM and Women In Trucking. To listen to the replay of the show, please click here.
In 2016, William Boettner chose Panther Premium Logistics as his motor carrier. He had performed a lot of research about what would be his next career move and hauling expedited freight looked like a good opportunity. He soon found out that other opportunities awaited him as he learned about ES’s PTO (Path to Ownership). This path led him to a great deal on truck finance, and he soon leveraged this opportunity to start building a fleet. Read more to see how he leveraged the power of the PTO to be come a Success In Trucking.
How did you get started in transportation? I started my transportation career back in the early 1990’s. I worked construction and had gotten injured, that’s when I decided to get my CDL. After graduating from trucking school, I went to work with a transportation company. Over the next year or so, I pursued several opportunities with various trucking firms looking for the right fit. I drove over-the-road and then decided to drive locally to be near my kids. Once my children got older, I went back to driving over-the-road again.
Tell us about your Path to Ownership for your first truck? About three years ago, I wound up getting into a traditional lease purchase, which turned out to be a real fiasco. The lease purchase company would never stand behind their truck and they gave absolutely no business support whatsoever. I walked away from the lease and actually purchased a truck of my own. The truck soon began to have some issues, but I stuck with it. At about this time, I signed on with Panther Premium Logistics who had recently begun to promote ES’s PTO program. I had done a lot of research about companies that I wanted to work with and Panther was at the top of the list. It’s a great place to be and I definitely made the right decision coming here. The fact that they utilize ES’s PTO to help owners realize their dream was icing on the cake.
The folks at Panther told me about the Path to Ownership and recommended that I take a look at the program. This sounded good since I wasn’t really happy with the truck I just bought. Also, I knew a couple of contractors at Panther who had taken the PTO and their trucks were really nice — and they had gotten great financing from ES Equipment Finance. I was soon in touch with the ES team. They said I could use the revenue numbers I had generated with the truck I already owned and brought to Panther in order to get qualified. This sounded like a no lose proposition to get into a better truck with better financing and support. It was just that much better… so I soon began my Path To Ownership. During this time, ES evaluated my attitude, aptitude, work ethic, and earning performance with Panther.
It wasn’t long before I got a call from ES telling me that my earnings looked good and asked if I was ready to complete my Path to Ownership. The answer was a definite YES! I soon got in touch with Danny Vernon, ES Truck Sales Manager and he helped me source a brand new 2019 Western Star. The truck was fully loaded and also had a Comfort Air APU, which helps me save on fuel. I submitted my paperwork to ES Equipment Finance and fulfilled a list of requirements. It wasn’t long before I got my approval and the truck was mine! The process was straight forward and actually quite easy. The ES team was very helpful throughout the entire buying process.
Tell us about purchasing your second truck from ES? After operating my first truck purchased under the PTO for a year, I decided that I wanted to start building a fleet. The process was a bit different than the first time around in the fact that I now had a track record with ES and a relationship, making them familiar with my work history and how I run my business. After telling ES about my plans, they conducted a stringent analysis of my past performance based on my attitude, aptitude and work history to make sure I was ready. I found this process helpful because it provided me with a solid evaluation of my own abilities of how much I’ve achieved over the last year.
Based on my analysis and evaluation, I got the green light to grow my fleet. I once again got with Danny Vernon at ES Truck Sales and he found me a very nice low mileage 2017 Western Star. It was also well equipped just like my first one and it too had a Comfort Air APU. I submitted my paperwork to ES Equipment Finance and it wasn’t long before I was approved. The entire process was just as easy as the first time.
ES’s PTO program is a terrific way for someone to not only own a truck, but to build on their success if they choose to. The ES team has always been there with discounts on fuel, insurance, maintenance and more, so I Never Stand Alone. I would recommend the PTO at Panther to anyone looking to become an owner-operator. There’s just no where else out there that can get you into a truck like ES and Panther.
I’ve been able to do some really neat things at Panther with my new truck, including driving the Egyptian mummies to the “Mummies of the World” exhibit at the Arizona Science Center. It was such a great opportunity and it keeps things interesting. It certainly was a thriller! Watch the video here and here.
It often takes courage, commitment and belief in yourself to overcome life’s adversities and the burdensome responsibilities that come with it. Veteran transportation professional Travis Graham understands this all too well, as he overcame a number of personal challenges to take ES’s Path To Ownership (PTO). Read below to see how his path led to Success In Trucking.
How did you get started in transportation? I guess you could say that my career in transportation is a family tradition. I’m a third generation truck driver and I’ve been driving professionally for eighteen years. Before the economy tanked in 2008, I drove for myself. But after that, I started looking for opportunities with an established company. I found Panther and for the last ten years I’ve been signed on with them as my motor carrier.
Why did you choose Panther as your motor carrier? After driving for years for myself. I wanted to be associated with a company that was well established and didn’t make me feel like just a cog in their system. A friend of mine who was driving expedited freight suggested that I look at Panther. I contacted them and liked what I saw. Panther gives me the freedom to choose my own loads and they’ve just been a good company to work with. That’s why I’ve been here for ten years.
Tell us about your Path To Ownership? I’ve been driving one of ES’s trucks as a contract driver ever since signing on with Panther. I’ve always had great communications and support from the ES team, and on more than one occasion, ES management mentioned to me that my revenue were good and that I had the aptitude and attitude necessary to become an owner, and that I should consider taking their Path to Ownership.
Truck ownership was something that I’ve always wanted to do, but other responsibilities often took precedence. I’ve been supporting my disabled mother and stepfather for a number of years. I also have a twelve-year old son that I support. With all of these responsibilities there wasn’t the extra cash flow to buy a truck. But when ES’s PTO came along, it gave me the extra boost I needed to finally qualify for my own truck.
Bobby Gardner, my Service Coordinator at ES, was very supportive and encouraged me to take the PTO. Even with all of my family commitments, it sounded like a good opportunity. The fact that ES would take my work history with Panther, as well as my aptitude and attitude into account when it comes to getting financed, gave me the comfort level I needed to pursue the Path To Ownership.
After taking some time off to deal with some family issues, I happened to be visiting in Southaven, Mississippi. I dropped by the ES offices to say hello. I discussed the PTO with the ES team and decided right then to submit my paperwork to Expediter Equipment Finance just to see where things would go. It wasn’t long before I got the news that I was approved. I finally got my MBA (Much Better Alternative) to truck finance!
What was your next step along your Path To Ownership? ES encouraged me to take the PTO. Since I’ve known the ES team for so long, they let me know that I shouldn’t have any problems getting qualified due to my work history, aptitude and attitude. So, I got with Danny Vernon and picked out a truck — a low mileage 2015 Cascadia with a seventy-two inch sleeper and a ThermoKing APU, which helps me save on fuel. Danny submitted my paperwork to ES Equipment Finance. ESEF then sent me a list of requirements that they needed, I fulfilled all of these and got my approval quickly! The process was straight forward and easy and I took delivery of my truck in September of 2018.
What is it like being a truck owner? Being a new owner started off great for a few weeks. My driving partner and I were rocking, creating a really good income stream — then disaster hit! On October 23rd, I took a fall from the top step of my truck at a truck stop after stepping in diesel fuel. I fell back and hit my head. It took me six weeks recovering at home before I could get back in the truck. My driving partner helped hold everything together during my recovery.
I’ve been back in the truck since just before Christmas and things are going well again. Being an owner definitely has more of an impact on the bottom line. It gives me flexibility and earning power. The support I get from ES is also a real benefit and I Never Stand Alone.
What are the plans for your business going forward? Now that I’ve experienced the earning power of truck ownership, I’ve gained the knowledge and confidence to build on my success. After paying off this truck, my next purchase will be a custom truck set up just for the way I do business!
My driving partner, David Smid,also desires to set out on his own and take ES’s Path To Ownership in the near future. I’m excited for him and understand the dream of owning your own truck and becoming a Success In Trucking. I encourage anyone wanting to become a truck owner to look into the opportunities that ES has to offer.