Diane Beaver and Marvin Lang started their transportation career with the dream of becoming expediters, owning their own truck and building a business and a legacy for their family. They were able to achieve their goals through ES’s PTO (Path to Ownership), and getting a Much Better Alternative (MBA) to truck finance. Read more to see how their path made them a Success In Trucking.
Diane, how did you and Marvin get started in transportation? I drove a truck years ago with my ex-husband, but wound up getting out of the business for various reasons. Most recently, Marvin and I were drivers for Uber and Lyft. We got so tired of the abuse from so many of the passengers that we decided we needed something different and began looking at trucking and transportation; expediting specifically.
What brought you to expediting and ultimately to FedEx as your carrier? After getting our CDL’s in 2016, we started out driving for a couple of large trucking companies and almost went broke at one. The other gave us no support after my mother was diagnosed with a terminal illness. We knew then and there that we needed to make a change. From the beginning, we wanted to get into expediting, but we were mistakenly told by other people in the industry that we had to get at least a year’s worth of experience under our belt before we could go to FedEx, which ultimately was our goal.
The decision to break free from where we were working at the time was difficult because we had a guarantee of so much money a week. But we knew that to be happy, to be expediters and to someday be owners, we had to leave that company and find a way to make our dreams come true.
A friend who was in expediting told us about ES and how they help people get into the business and become owners through their Path to Ownership (PTO) and MBA (Much Better Alternative) to truck finance programs. The opportunity sounded good, so we gave them a call. The first person I spoke with was ES Recruiter, Kim Smith. We told her about our desire to get into the expediting field. She told us about a number of options and carriers open to us. We knew that FedEx was where we wanted to be and that’s who we chose. To work for FedEx has been a goal of ours since starting in the business. They are a great company and we are extremely pleased to be signed on to them as a White Glove team.
Tell us about taking the Path to Ownership (PTO)? Right away, we told Kim about our desire to become owners — that was the first week in April of this year. She gave us more details about their PTO and MBA. It was unlike anything we had ever heard before in the industry. Kim explained that we could drive as contract drivers using one of ES’s trucks, while being signed on with FedEx as our carrier. Over a short period of time, ES would assess our attitude, aptitude and earning potential, even taking our work history into account when it came to getting financed. We were floored by the opportunity.
We asked a lot of questions and the ES team answered all of them, explaining how the program worked. I even requested information from our Fleet Manager (Patrick Bertrand), about the kind of numbers we would need to generate in order to complete the Path to Ownership. Right away, he shared a spreadsheet outlining the amount of income we would need to generate. It was very useful in helping us prepare, giving us a goal to work towards.
In just over ninety days after hitting the road, we got the call from ES, saying that our numbers were good and asking if we were ready to complete our Path to Ownership. Of course, we said yes! We began the process of finding a truck. ES and Danny Vernon at Expediter Truck Sales was helpful in making sure that whatever truck we got was spec’d correctly. We found just the right one, a 2014 Cascadia with a 100-inch sleeper and a Carrier APU with a shoreline. We then submitted our paperwork to Expediter Equipment Finance. The process was easy and straight-forward and it wasn’t long before we were approved.
How has being an owner effected how you earn and operate? We’re still pretty new to being owners, as we’ve been in our truck a few weeks, but we’re already seeing a positive bump in our bottom line. As far as how we operate, I can state categorically that ES has great support. Our Service Coordinator and the entire ES team have been there for us whenever we have questions or if we need anything so we Never Stand Alone. The fuel card has also been a great tool, helping us save money with every fill up. It’s tremendous!
What are the future plans for your business? Without a doubt, our plans include building a fleet. We feel very strongly that our business is an investment in the future of our family. We have a daughter who wants to help build and manage our business, and our son will soon be getting his CDL. He will be in the position to learn the business from the bottom up. We hope to start taking the step as fleet owners within the next year or so. It’s very exciting to think about the opportunities we can pass on.
A Woman in Transportation’s Perspective
What has it been like for you as a woman in transportation? Early on it was difficult. There was one instance in particular that stands out: My very first load required me backing a trailer into a very tight and crowded dock. I was nervous and apprehensive about doing it right and even making the right impression in front of all the men there that were starting to give me a hard time. I started to get a little rattled. One older gentleman saw what was going on and got out of his truck and came up to me and said, “Look, you can let these guys rattle you and they win, or you can ignore them, do what you know how to do and back this trailer in the right way. He was there with me every step of the way and I was successful in backing that trailer. This whole experience has been a metaphor for my entire career. As a woman, I do what I know how to do in this business and I’m a Success In Trucking!
I think it’s great that ES’s support for the150 Women-Owned Business Challenge also puts women in the position to do what they know how to do and be successful as business owners. (Read more about the WIT/ES 150 women-owned business initiative here)