As the trucking industry begins to roll into a New Year, ES is making plans to continue to share the knowledge and expertise from the members of ES Community in 2021. Last year, as COVID-19 global pandemic began to impact all of daily lives, ES launched the IN-SITE 2020 Online Series, which focused on exploring the opportunities and resources that are available for small businesses in trucking through the ES Community. The response to the offerings from IN-SITE 2020 within the ES Community and within the trucking industry has inspired ES to plan an IN-SITE 2021 Online Series.
ES is currently in the process of examining possible topics and subject-matter experts for IN-SITE 2021 as we develop online programming that can speak to the needs of owner-operators, independent contractors and fleet owners. Our team at ES is excited about the opportunities and possibilities that are ahead in 2021, and our IN-SITE 2021 programming, featuring a new series of webinars and more episodes of our podcast, will seek to help place those who access our program content in the best position to succeed.
ES will be providing more details on IN-SITE 2021 in the near future. If you have not already joined us for our previous webinars and podcasts, ES would like to invite you to check out our IN-SITE 2020 Online Series. We have assembled all three webinars from 2020 and our podcast catalog on one, easy-to-access web page. The webinars and podcasts cover a range of topics that still remain timely as we enter a new year.
To access our full collection of webinars and podcasts from IN-SITE 2020, please click here.
Although we can’t get together this year for a new Christmas message, our message to you is “timeless”, so we are sharing our Christmas video from last year. We wish for you all to stay safe and healthy during this holiday season.
Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
By Leah Shaver, President & CEO of The National Transportation Institute
I want to take a moment to reflect on 2020 and plant some seeds as you plan for 2021. First, my genuine, heartfelt thanks to all of you for what you are doing to keep our country moving through this difficult time. During the coronavirus pandemic, as professional truck drivers continue to deliver necessities across North America, I am cheering for you, I worry about you, I hope the best for you and today, I am so happy to connect with you!
I own and operate the National Transportation Institute (NTI), where we serve information and support to folks who employ or contract with professional drivers or work with companies that do. We aim to deliver opportunities for fleets to grow, to attract additional workers, and then expand in their marketplace with that appropriately compensated, engaged, and retained workforce. We also help service organizations expand into the trucking industry. I serve as an officer on the board of directors of The Women In Trucking Association, and I work part time as a talk-radio host on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Trucking Radio.
Consider their motto – With ES You Never Stand Alone. As a small business owner myself, I know the cost of your time. There are countless hurdles that you must navigate, obstacles to overcome, expenses that must be covered, fires to put out. So many of you have told me how much easier it is to operate with ES behind you. ES does not stop at financing the truck – their community provides support and leverage – they provide carrier advocacy, so business owners can focus on generating revenue, and not on day-to-day issues, and they also leverage their experience and contacts to negotiate and make available a variety of other resources and services to their business community.
ES does what they say they’ll do – At NTI, we tell our customers that numbers tell a story. ES has some of the lowest turnover of any company we survey. Career path is vital, and it’s something that is missing from many professional drivers’ careers. In a traditional workplace, progression from one stage of work to another ultimately peaking in our career is expected. Becoming an Owner-Operator has satisfied that need for drivers historically, and to do so with support at ES, ensures an owner’s extra safety net for success. As you examine your current support system, think about doing the same thing you’re doing now, without that safety net.
Drown out the noise of what is around you – The shortage of qualified workers is real to any company in the business of moving goods right now. What does that mean to you? It means that most companies looking to add capacity are putting their best foot forward in ads, the pitch, the sale, all the while hoping to convert you from interested to sitting in their seat. Most companies eliminated growth plans and overhead from March through May, but by August, I was quite impressed at the number of trailer orders vs truck orders. As companies seek to respond to the demand for capacity, many are targeting Owner-Operators and promoting Lease Purchase. Not every shiny temptation merits investigation.
You didn’t come this far to only come this far – Consider your time and investment and ask yourself: How much have you invested in your equipment? How far have you come on your journey? Why did you start in the first place? You have made a commitment that betters your future so if you walk away, what are you leaving behind?
Decisions have consequences, good or bad – Quick decisions lead to quick deficit – In 20 years of working in this industry, I often find that folks that make quick decisions about their next career stop don’t consider the cost of the move. We’ve been tracking pay outcomes for professional drivers for 25 years. Drivers that switch jobs make 26.2% less in their first year at a motor carrier than full-year drivers at the same company.
Focus on the road ahead – After a rocky start, 2020 has shaped up to prove how vital your role is in North America. It’s the year to thank a trucker and I don’t see that stopping anytime soon. The outlook for 2021 and beyond is stellar so do not drop your momentum. Do a self-assessment as you wrap up this year to determine what you can do to improve margins and meet with your service coordinator to communicate your needs, worries, goals and achievements. Meet with your CPA to evaluate plans before you wrap up the year and visualize how you and your business are positioned at the end of next year, and the year after that.
Look inside your circle as you evaluate and reach out to see what growth opportunities exist for you.
Want to stay connected on air and off? https://www.facebook.com/leahshaversiriusxm
Get in on the conversation next week as I’ll be hosting Road Dog Live 12/21-12/23 1600-1900 ET. My holiday plans are cancelled due to COVID so join in and share some holiday cheer! Don’t have SiriusXM? SiriusXM wants you to know just how grateful we are for your ESSENTIAL service with free access just for professional drivers! Feel free to share with your friends! http://www.siriusxm.com/ThanksTruckers #thankatrucker #spreadsunshine #bettertogether
In the Cards: Danny & Crystal Cobb Build a Winning Hand & Strong Business Through ES Path To Ownership Program
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.”
Expediter Services, a leader in capacity solutions and ownership opportunities within the trucking industry, is pleased to announce that the company’s collaborative program with the Women In Trucking Association to create 150 women-owned businesses in transportation recently reached a major milestone. The 150 Business Challenge, which was launched in November of 2017, marked its third anniversary by having helped more than 100 new women-owned business get their respective starts within the trucking industry. Today, the total number of businesses launched through the 150 Business Challenge now stands at 105.
“When we partnered with Expediter Services (ES) three years ago to launch the 150 Business Challenge, we were so excited and that enthusiasm continues to this day. Through this program, ES has helped aspiring women entrepreneurs by removing some of the most trying obstacles when it comes to starting a business in trucking,” said Ellen Voie, President & CEO of the Women In Trucking Association (WIT).
The 150 Business Challenge follows the proven working model that ES utilizes in offering truck ownership opportunities and assisting the program participants in establishing profitable small businesses through a variety of support mechanisms found within the ES Community. Professional drivers interested in the ES truck ownership programs, like the 150 Business Challenge, go through a screening and qualification process, including an evaluation period.
In addition to looking at work history, it is during the evaluation period program that participants are given the opportunity by ES to demonstrate their attitude, their aptitude and their work ethic. The company’s process for qualifying truck ownership program participants is unique because it places a greater emphasis on a driver’s work history over a traditional credit score. ES offers qualified participants competitive, market-rate financing for professional drivers seeking to own trucks from the leading equipment brands in the industry.
“We know what it means to push through a hard time in order to get ahead,” said ES President Jason Williams. “Over the years as we have developed our programs, we took note of the hurdles women have faced in trucking from a financial standpoint when looking to start a business, and that was part of our inspiration as we started the 150 Business Challenge three years ago. We believe in helping people and allowing them to make the most of an opportunity.”
“The 150 Business Challenge has become a platform for success because ES offers women more than the opportunity to buy a new truck. This is a truly comprehensive program that delivers access to the support that business owners need to prosper and grow”
~ Ellen Voie
The Business 150 Challenge provides participants the opportunity to drive as an owner-operator for one of the partner carriers in the ES Community. Members of the 150 Business Challenge are now a part of the fleets at FedEx Custom Critical, Forward Air and Panther Premium Logistics, a service of ArcBest. As part of the additional support that is available, ES also provides program participants access to a complete set of services and discounts through the ES Community that cover the key areas of fuel, maintenance, insurance and back-office support. Other services and discounts are also available through the ES Community.
“The 150 Business Challenge has become a platform for success because ES offers women more than the opportunity to buy a new truck. This is a truly comprehensive program that delivers access to the support that business owners need to prosper and grow,” said Ellen. “ES has done an amazing job with 150 Business Challenge, and we’re looking forward to seeing the next steps this program will take in 2021.”
Long before the collaboration with WIT on the 150 Business Challenge, ES had established a reputation in the industry for opening doors for women who are seeking to become business owners in trucking. Today, the number of women within the ES Community who are fleet owners, owner-operators or independent contract drivers involved in the programs offered by the company now exceeds 38 percent of the ES fleet.
Looking specifically at results from the 150 Business Challenge, the small businesses that have been established through this program have developed a solid track record of success and growth. According to officials at ES, this group of small businesses started through the 150 Business Challenge are generating a combined revenue total well in excess of $2 million per month.
“One of the most rewarding parts of the 150 Business Challenge for our team at ES has been the opportunity to work with the great people we get to welcome into the program. We have really enjoyed working with new entrepreneurs and watching these small businesses get started, achieve success and grow,” said Jason. “Obviously, everyone in business has faced some unique headwinds in 2020. We are grateful to be able to serve as a resource for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to find their success in trucking. We are looking forward to welcoming the 150th business started through the 150 Business Challenge during 2021.”
As we enter the season of Thanksgiving, the entire team at ES would like to pause for a moment and reflect on the importance of counting our collective blessings. The past year has been both challenging and remarkable, and 2020 has been a year of counting. From votes in an election year to the volume of COVID-19 cases, numbers have been a main topic of our national conversation. Yet, in preparation for Thanksgiving in 2020, our team at ES would encourage everyone to look toward the light in a year that has been cloudy.
As we look back on 2020, one of the keys to success within the ES Community has been the ability of our community members to focus on counting the number of blessings no matter how many problems may have been mounting up. Throughout the year, we saw examples of the independent contract drivers, owner-operators, fleet owners, motor carriers and vendors within the ES Community pause to look at what they had in hand and what they had built as they stepped forward to address the challenges they faced this year. We are thankful that our community members chose to take this approach to 2020. The positive way you stepped forward in these unprecedented times led to both personal growth and business growth.
The blessings that the ES Community has received in a year of challenges that no one could anticipate will no doubt make Thanksgiving in 2020 one of the most memorable and meaningful seasons that we have experienced.
As our entire team at ES looks back on 2020, we are humbled, grateful and thankful for the collective strength and character of everyone we serve. Every member of our community – the independent contractors, owner-operators, fleet owners, motor carriers and vendors – all of you kept ES moving forward. Most importantly, as our nation faced the reality of a global pandemic, our ES Community did our part in keeping the American supply chain moving. Thank you for continuing to answer the call. America needs YOU, and our entire ES team appreciates YOU!
ES is always working to bring together the people and resources to create programs, services and opportunities to help support your business, no matter the road ahead. With ES you Never Stand Alone!!!!
We want each of you to know how thankful we are for you and the opportunity to help you grow your business.
IN-SITE 2020 Podcast: Women In Trucking Association President & CEO Ellen Voie Discusses Success of 150 Business Challenge
Prior to the opening of the Women In Trucking Association’s annual Accelerate Conference, the IN-SITE 2020 Podcast had an opportunity to interview Ellen Voie, the President and CEO of the Women In Trucking Association (WIT). Expediter Services is proud to serve as a Gold Level Partner of WIT, and ES will be one of the exhibitors during Accelerate 2020, which will be a virtual conference held on November 12-13.
Through the podcast, Ellen gives our listeners a preview of Accelerate 2020 and the adjustments that WIT has made to convert the popular conference into a virtual event. She also discusses the continuing success of the Business 150 Challenge, the collaborative initiative between ES and WIT to help create 150 women-owned businesses in transportation. Announced during the Accelerate Conference in 2017, the 150 Business Challenge continues to be a success. After three years of operation, the program has now assisted in the creation of more than 100 new women-owned trucking businesses.
In addition to discussing the relationship that WIT has developed with ES over the years, the podcast provided Ellen an opportunity to look back at her career in trucking and building WIT from the ground up. Toward the end of the podcast, Ellen reflects on the development and growth of the Women In Trucking Radio Show, which can be heard every Saturday on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Trucking Radio Channel 146.
To access our full collection of webinars and podcasts from IN-SITE 2020, please click here.
IN-SITE 2020 Podcast Series Sponsored By Stoops Freightliner
Over the past decade, Joe and Carol Shelton have become shining examples of what is possible through the ES Community. The timeline of Sheltons’ growth from industry newcomers with a dream to the reality of successfully operating a family-owned business with a 12-truck fleet stands as a testament to hard work and the support offered through the ES Community. Just take a look at what the Sheltons have been able to do over the past 10 years.
In 2010, Joe and Carol began working with ES as part of the couple’s effort to build a trucking business. In 2011, the Sheltons became fleet owners with FedEx Custom Critical, operating their own LLC, R2R Associates, while utilizing the programs and services ES offers to small business owners in trucking.
At the beginning of 2014, Carol exited the driver’s seat of the truck to focus her energies on handling the day-to-day operations. Dean Shelton then joined the family business to create a father-son driving team for a period of time during the company’s growth and development. The Sheltons’ daughter, Evin Watkins, followed in her brother’s footsteps, joining the company to assist with working on payroll and accounting needs.
Through their time out on the road and behind the wheel, Joe and Carol have been able to bring a perspective and an understanding while working with the drivers in their fleet. When it comes to setting up their fleet for success, Joe and Carol place an intense focus on creating a hassle-free environment for the members of their fleet.
In running a fleet of custom-built trucks, featuring large sleepers and other extras, the Sheltons are seeking to provide their fleet with maximum comfort and the kinds of amenities that help to make life on the road as smooth as possible. One of the hallmarks of the company’s operation is the fact that the Sheltons take great pride in their fleet and they always strive to keep the R2R fleet well-maintained and profitable for both the company and its independent contractors. At R2R, maintenance, safety and driver morale are always the top priority.
Spotlight News recently caught up with Joe and Carol during preparations for their participation in the IN-SITE 2020 webinar series. Joe and Carol were part of a panel of business owners who participated the webinar. To view a replay of the webinar, please click here.
Now for the Q&A with Joe and Carol…
How have you adjusted to operating your business during COVID-19?
Joe: We have always been careful to maintain cash reserves as part of our operation. You never know when situations are going to come up, and having cash reserves proved to be very important this year. We were prepared for when it happened, and our cash reserves, along with the Paycheck Protection Program, have helped to carry us through so far.
We have been able to maintain our fleet size that we had prior to the pandemic. We had 12 trucks before things started and we’re still at 12 trucks. One of the keys to maintaining our fleet is the fact that we have very good teams driving for us. They have kept our trucks moving and busy. Our teams have continued to step up and that’s really helped.
Can you talk to us about your experience with the support and the services that are available to your business through the ES Community?
Joe: This is one of my favorite topics, and you’ll find me preaching about ES all the time. There are so many places that ES works to make a difference for your business. For us, it’s been the maintenance program and their fuel program as well as their sales and finance programs.
Let’s take maintenance, for example. If you are running a trucking business, maintenance is a very big deal. We have 12 trucks, and our operation is a family business with four members of the family. Before we started using the ES maintenance program, we were getting calls at two and three in the morning when a truck had a problem. That’s just part of the trucking business. But with the maintenance program that we can access through the ES Community, we are able to have 24-hour maintenance support. We are able to set parameters with the maintenance team on how to handle things after hours. That’s been great. Plus, through the maintenance program, we are able to schedule preventive maintenance as well. Having access to a strong maintenance program means the world to me and our business. I can’t say enough about the maintenance program that is offered through the ES Community.
Another big plus for our fleet is the EFS platform that ES utilizes. Through their EFS platform, we have a percentage of each load deposited to our EFS account at each delivery, which can help with cash flow. Also, the EFS platform used by ES is very secure and it provides us with detailed reporting.
Insurance is another huge consideration for anyone in business in this industry, and ES has worked with its vendor network to offer strong and affordable insurance options to the members of the ES Community. The coverage and the discounts on insurance alone make being a part of the ES Community worth it.
What other service offerings have you and your company utilized through the ES Community?
Joe: One of the services that we have found very valuable to our business has been the truck sales arm of ES. If we have truck that is aging out and needs to be sold, ES has a great system where they can post it for us, advertise it, and they even take the calls from the people who are interested in buying the truck. ES sends me the offers they get on the truck. There have been times when ES has provided the financing for the person buying one of my trucks. It’s great.
The services that ES offers to the members of the ES Community are comprehensive. From industry-leading discounts on fuel to discounts on truck washes, ES covers it all. At the end of the day, we consider ES as a business partner, and we believe you have to have strong business partners to succeed in this industry. Everything that ES does is focused on supporting our success and the success of everyone in the ES Community.
The team at ES is always available to help you on whatever comes up. They have some of the most knowledgeable people in the industry – people who will stand by you and walk with you.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Carol: We are very grateful for the relationship that we have built with FedEx Custom Critical over the years. They have been very important to our success and growth over the years. FedEx Custom Critical and ES have formed a great support team for our business. Even given the challenges we’ve faced with COVID, we have done well this year. Of course, we believe that we have the best teams on the road today running in our fleet. Our teams bring it every day, and those efforts make us successful.
Joe: We went back and looked at the month-by-month results for 2018, 2019 and 2020. What we’ve seen so far this year is not too far off the mark, considering all that has happened this year. And while it’s hard to predict what’s going to happen tomorrow or down the road, we do know this: We have great partners in ES and FedEx Custom Critical. They both have shown over the years that they will stand by our business. They are invested in our success.
As we look at things down the road, I’ve been able to talk to the team at ES about what’s happening in the industry, and what they see that’s ahead in the industry. Being able to have those kinds of conversations and being able to have access to that kind of expertise is a big deal.
To learn more about R2R Associates, please click here.
One of the greatest strengths that Amy Williams has utilized while becoming a successful business owner within the ES Community can be found in her powers of observation. Going back to her introduction to trucking, Amy has always displayed the ability to examine a given situation, ask the right questions and build a level of trust based on what’s she’s learned and experienced.
Part of Amy’s approach to running her small business with her husband, Kenneth, can be traced back to her first days in trucking. Kenneth earned his CDL in 1995 and Amy decided to ride along with him. From the jump seat and out on the road, Amy was able to take note of the industry. As an observer, she was able to be a first-hand witness to both the benefits and the challenges presented within what is daily life behind the wheel.
Not long after being on the road with Kenneth, Amy made the decision to go through the process to earn her CDL. She then took the next step and became a team driver with Kenneth.
Amy was presented with another opportunity to consider what she was experiencing within the industry when the call of family put Amy’s driving career on pause. Some medical issues arose for her parents and she went home to help them. In stepping back from the road, Amy gained more perspective on what might be possible. In addition to assisting her parents during this time, Amy was able to earn a degree in medical office management before finding positions working for a hospital and a surgeon. The practical experience that Amy gained in business management would prove to be quite valuable as she entered the next chapter of her career.
Following the loss of her parents in early 2010, Amy was back on the road with Kenneth. They had become interested in truck ownership and building a small business in trucking. Their first attempt at truck ownership landed them with a piece of equipment that presented numerous costly issues and eventually led Kenneth and Amy to sell the truck.
The next attempt Amy and Kenneth made in pursuing their dream of truck ownership involved entering a lease-purchase program through Panther Premium Logistics, a Service of ArcBest. Amy and Kenneth had built a good working relationship with Panther Premium and they had performed well within the fleet. While Amy and Kenneth had established a level a success and independence through participating in a traditional lease-purchase program, they felt like they were still falling short of holding that sense of true ownership with the truck they were running. “We had reached that point where we were paying on the lease and we felt like we were never going to see the benefit of owning the truck,” said Amy.
At the time that Amy and Kenneth stood at what they viewed as a crossroads within their lease-purchase, ES had already established a strong working relationship with ArcBest and Panther Premium. ES had been serving as a leading non-asset capacity provider to Panther Premium, and the companies were examining other possibilities that could create opportunities for aspiring small business owners.
In November of 2017, ES announced a new collaborative program with the Women In Trucking Association (WIT) that put forth the goal of assisting to create 150 new women-owned businesses in transportation. The 150 Business Challenge brought together the outreach of WIT toward aspiring women entrepreneurs with the programs and support from ES, which included attainable access to financing at competitive market rates.
Panther Premium became one of the first fleets to participate in the 150 Business Challenge. As part of the Panther Premium fleet, Amy and Kenneth learned about the program. They saw the 150 Business Challenge as a new path to truck ownership and business growth.
Like most people in the industry, Amy had been pitched more than her share of programs and offers. As she examined ES and what they could offer through the 150 Business Challenge, Amy wanted to know if the reality of what you experience in the program matched up with what ES said about it.
“For us, it was great because ES went beyond looking at a credit score on a piece of paper. They looked at the whole picture. That was a huge help for us. They were able to use our earnings and performance to see how we were making it in the industry”
“At first, we were skeptical because it looked like one of those too-good-to-be-true deals that you see in this industry. But, as we looked further into the program and as we got to know the people at ES, we could see that ES would be invested in our success,” observed Amy. “We moved ahead and ES checked our credit, which wasn’t great at that point. But, as we learned, ES doesn’t just go by your credit score. They look at your work ethic. They look at the working relationship that you have built with your carrier. They also look at what type of person you are.
“For us, it was great because ES went beyond looking at a credit score on a piece of paper. They looked at the whole picture. That was a huge help for us. They were able to use our earnings and performance to see how we were making it in the industry,” she added “ES saw that we were making it with a traditional lease-purchase. So, why not transition over into a truck of our own? Thanks to ES, we were able to get a brand-new truck. It was the best decision we ever made, and the rest is history.”
With her efforts to become a successful business owner during the early days of the 150 Business Challenge, Amy stands as a pioneer in a program that has now launched over 100 new women-owned businesses in trucking. These days, with Kenneth handling the driving duties full-time, Amy returned to being a full-time passenger, managing the administrative duties within their small company, Hot Transport, LLC.
“We are in a great situation. We have been able to continue our relationship with Panther Premium for many years now, and we also very much value being a part of the ES Community,” said Amy. “The team at Panther has always shown us that they care about our success. Panther opened the door and worked with us in making the transition into the 150 Business Challenge with ES. We cannot say enough about the way that Panther and ES have supported us. It’s very clear that both companies are focused on helping us to be in the best position to succeed.”
In late September, Amy joined other business owners in the ES Community to be a part of a panel discussion for the third webinar in the IN-SITE 2020 Online Series. If you would like to watch the webinar featuring Amy or access any of the webinars in the IN-SITE 2020 Series, please click here.
“The future is definitely bright. That’s for sure,” said Amy. “The people at ES and the whole ES Community have been such a blessing to us. I could not see doing this without them. ES cheers you on. From their leadership throughout their entire team, ES stands with you and they encourage you. Anytime, day or night, they are here for you. So, when ES says, you will never stand alone, they truly mean those words. Most importantly, they back up those words with actions.”
For Jacobus Nel, the journey to live the American Dream has been a long road. Jaco has used the wheels of the trucking industry to carry him a distance that spans from his native South Africa to business ownership in the U.S. The most recent miles of this incredible ride have been powered in large part by the program offerings at ES. In fact, Jaco’s experience with the team at ES and the company’s Path To Ownership (PTO) program opened doors to the type of opportunities and success that he could only imagine during his youth.
At an early age, Jaco became fascinated with trucking. The more Jaco learned about the industry, the greater his desire became to find his route to America to become a professional driver. Jaco’s first experience behind the wheel of a big rig in South Africa only served to fuel his desire to obtain a visa and pursue his dream in the United States.
Shortly after his arrival in the U.S., Jaco began working as a farmhand in Indiana. It was through his work on the farm that he met the woman who would become his wife in 2016. It was also during his time on the Indiana farm that Jaco got his first opportunity to drive a big rig in America. The owner of the farm had acquired trucks for his business, and Jaco earned his CDL, allowing him to begin his driving career in the U.S.
In 2019, Jaco was looking for new opportunities in the trucking industry when he spotted advertising from Success In Trucking Powered By ES promoting the company’s inaugural Success In Trucking Expo (SITE), which was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in early June of last year.
“I saw the advertising on Facebook, and I told my wife that I wanted to go the SITE and check it out. At the time, I had just been in a lease-purchase program and I had gotten my fingers burned with it. But the SITE looked like a good opportunity, and my wife and I both went to check it out.” recalled Jaco. “While we were at the SITE, I was impressed with what I saw and with the team at ES and their partner motor carriers which inlcuded FedEx Custom Critical, Forward Air and Panther Premium Logistics A Service of ArcBest. I could see this was different and that the ES Community cared about my success.”
Within weeks of attending the SITE, Jaco had entered into the Path To Ownership (PTO) Program from ES, which allows independent contract drivers to drive a truck that ES owns while operating under the authority of one of the ES partner carriers. The PTO program provides the opportunity to get a feel for the responsibilities involved as an independent contractor and a potential business owner. It also gives the program participant and ES an opportunity to get to know each other. Jaco picked Forward Air as the partner motor carrier he wanted to operate at on his PTO (Path To Ownership).
Slightly less than a year after entering the PTO program, Jaco was in a position to purchase a truck from ES and establish his own small trucking business operating at Forward Air. In 2020, Jaco became an owner-operator within the ES Community, buying his first truck from ES and continuing to drive as part of the Forward Air fleet. Jaco’s small business is J Nel Trucking, LLC.
To get a sense of the confidence and support that ES and the ES Community provides for program participants, Jaco purchased his truck and launched his business just a few weeks after the COVID-19 National Emergency had been declared.
“It was kind of scary in the early stages of COVID. The key that I found was to just stay calm and to push forward – keep going and look at the positive side of what you can achieve,” said Jaco, whose work ethic helped him power through the first days of the COVID crisis to see his business now benefit from a freight market that is heating up. “I have been very busy, and it’s been great. Communication is one of the keys to success. I have a great team behind me with ES and Forward Air. Forward Air has had record-setting freight levels and is keeping my truck and my business moving forward.”
“I have the support that I need to be successful. In trucking, you have to understand that all weeks are not the same. One week may be good one and another week may not be good,” he continued. “It’s never a perfect climb. There are ups and downs. You have to be ready to roll with the punches. They key is to keep your head up and to keep moving – making sure that you are available to take advantage of the opportunities that are out there.”
“I’ve been working with the ES team now for about the last year and a half, and one of the greatest things about is ES is that they are true to their word” ~ Jacobus Nel
In late September, Jaco joined other business owners in the ES Community to be a part of a panel discussion for the third webinar in the IN-SITE 2020 Online Series. If you would like to watch the webinar featuring Jaco or access any of the webinars in the IN-SITE 2020 Series, please click here.
“I must say that I have dealt with a couple of other companies within the trucking industry, and there’s a different atmosphere around ES. They always make you feel welcome,” said Jaco. “Plus, the programs they have in place for fuel, maintenance, insurance and business support, for example, really make a difference for those of us who are running a business while we are out on the road.
“I’ve been working with the ES team now for about the last year and a half, and one of the greatest things about is ES is that they are true to their word,” he added. “I am very grateful for the help and the advice they have provided for me. Anytime that I’ve a question they have helped me in finding the answer.”