When Danny and Crystal Cobb were considering names for their LLC, they chose Jokers Wild. The name really fit. From their perspective, trucking has become something that was in the cards, and their experience within the ES Community has made them feel like they have drawn an inside straight to success.
A few years ago, Danny had researched and found the trucking industry to be a solid second career option and Crystal followed his lead, allowing them to become a very successful team for Werner Enterprises. The industry truly spoke to Danny and Crystal, and they wanted to make trucking more than a career. So, as Danny and Crystal began looking for the best options in the market to become owner-operators and start their own trucking business, they discovered the ES Path To Ownership (PTO) program when making a connection with Forward Air.
Entering the PTO program in the Summer of 2019, Danny and Crystal brought the same strong work ethic to their runs with Forward Air that they had established in their first days as team drivers.
“Here’s the way that we have always looked at it,” said Danny of his time out on the road. “We’ve got three kids and four grandkids at home in Kentucky. Working in this industry, if we are going to be out here on the road and away from our family, we want to be making money and not sitting around. As we got into the PTO program, we wanted to show ES and Forward Air what we could do as a team, and we found that they helped us make the most of our time on the road.”
While Forward Air and ES got to know Danny and Crystal through their performance on the road, the Cobbs had the opportunity to learn about the services and support available through the ES Community. The combination of Forward Air, the ES Community and the PTO was a perfect fit for the dream Danny and Crystal were looking to realize as business owners.
Earlier this year, Danny and Crystal were ready to take the next steps toward truck ownership and they secured the financing through ES for their truck. They picked up the truck in March. And even though the COVID-19 pandemic had begun to sweep the country and impact the industry, Danny and Crystal still felt like they held all the right cards as they hit the road to begin operating Jokers Wild, LLC. And when Crystal came down with COVID-19 while the Cobbs were on a run through Texas at the time, the response to what became a medical emergency proved they did indeed hold a winning hand.
The Cobbs were stopped in the Houston area when Crystal’s conditions worsened to the point where Danny had to call 911 and get paramedics to take Crystal to the hospital. Crystal spent about three weeks in the hospital before she and Danny were able to travel back home to Kentucky. The recovery process for Crystal took several weeks – a period when their new truck and small business had to stay parked and could not move forward.
“We had gotten our truck and we had been running for about two weeks when Crystal got sick,” Danny recalled. “It was awful for her. She was so sick. But I cannot say enough about the support that we got from ES and Forward Air. They were so supportive of us. Lee Burkhalter, our Service Coordinator, at ES would call to check on us just about every other day to see if we needed anything, and our fleet manager at Forward Air was great about checking on us, too. They really helped in getting us get through what was a tough situation.”
Danny noted that ES removed one of the main concerns Crystal had when it came to addressing the business side of Crystal’s recovery from COVID. As the early days of the pandemic created various shutdowns and began to impact freight volumes, ES responded by offering a 90-day payment deferral plan to ES Community members utilizing ES financing.
“Being able to use that option and not having to worry about making the truck payments while Crystal recovered was a huge relief and a big help to us,” explained Danny. “It gave us the time that we needed to get healthy and to be able to run strong again when we got back on the road.”
Danny and Crystal have been rolling again for some time now, and they are continuing to make the most of their opportunities out on the road with Forward Air and ES, realizing the dream they believed was possible when they first considered starting their own small trucking business.
“We really do feel like we have drawn a winning hand,” said Danny. “You can’t beat the support you receive from ES and Forward Air. I talk to people all the time about the discounts and the services that are available through ES. Like they say, at ES You Never Stand Alone! When someone asks me about our experience, I will tell them to check out ES. If you want to be a successful truck owner, ES is the way to go. If you are willing to do the hard work, ES will help you become a success as a business owner in this industry.”