Dean and Jenice Andres are a husband and wife transportation team whose dream was to own their own truck. After a short retirement, they overcame health and financial issues to become a Success In Trucking — with support from the right motor carrier, ES’s Path To Ownership and a trip to the SITE. This is their story of success.
Dean, how did you and Jenice get started in Transportation?
I started in the transportation industry thirty eight years ago. When I was younger, I drove a truck for a car rental company picking up equipment. Later, I managed an automobile dealership and just got tired of wearing a suit and tie everyday. I got to thinking about how much I enjoyed driving a truck and got a job as a company driver. I also taught people how to drive a truck and that’s how I met my wife Jenice. That was twenty years ago and we’ve been together ever since, driving and having our own transportation business.
How did you hear about ES and the Path To Ownership?
After being on the road for many years, I decided to retire from driving in 2016 at the age of sixty-two. During my retirement, Jenice drove a truck locally. After about eight months, I was tired of being retired and got my medical card back and decided to get back on the road. This time we were looking for an opportunity where we could be owners. We did a lot of research and found Forward Air. We told their recruiter about our business goals and our desire to become owner-operators. They told us about ES and their PTO (Path To Ownership). We contacted ES right away.
We spoke to the ES recruiter who told us how the PTO worked. He explained how we could drive one of ES’s trucks (while running for Forward Air), for a specified amount of time. During that time period, our attitude, aptitude, work ethic and work history would be evaluated, along with our ability to generate revenue. And if we met all of the criteria, we could qualify to buy our own truck. It sounded like a great opportunity, but we were still a bit apprehensive because a few years ago Jenice and I had experienced a financial setback due to some health issues. The ES recruiter set our minds at ease, explaining that the ES program was different than any other in the industry because they take the above factors into account in order to overcome past financial problems. We were so excited at the opportunity to prove ourselves!
Approval and Visiting the SITE
In February of this year, Jenice and I began our Path To Ownership, driving a truck from ES’s fleet. During our entire evaluation period, we had been in close contact with our Service Coordinator, Lee Brukhalter. During our fourth month, he told us our revenue was strong and we had the attitude, aptitude, work ethic needed to become owners. We were thrilled and ready to take the next step on our Path To Ownership! He also told us about the SITE (Success In Trucking Expo) in Indianapolis, Indiana at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on June 6 & 7th, and asked if we’d like to attend. Even though we hadn’t gotten our new truck yet, we immediately agreed to attend!
Attending the SITE helped us learn even more about ES, the Path To Ownership and their programs designed to support us so we Never Stand Alone. We got the opportunity to talk with ES Equipment Finance folks, as well as other members of the ES team. We also learned about important industry trends from the ES panel experts who spoke at the SITE. It was great to meet and speak with other owners and drivers, too.
The food and fellowship at the SITE was first rate. We got to meet the keynote speaker, Pro Football Hall of Famer, Anthony Muñoz — my wife even won one of his signed jerseys! The SITE was a great experience and I would recommend that anyone looking into entering the transportation business should attend future events hosted by ES.
Tell us about getting your new truck?
Shortly after attending the SITE, we got with Danny Vernon, ES Truck Sales Manager, who helped find us a brand new 2020 Peterbilt 579 tractor. It’s everything we wanted in a truck. It’s well equipped with lots of room, a nice sleeper and a TheremoKing APU that helps us save on fuel. Once we found our truck, we submitted our paperwork to ES Equipment Finance. Within a short time, we were approved and we picked up our truck on June 16th.
Since being in our new truck for only a few short weeks, we can already see that truck ownership has its perks. Our truck is set up the way we want it, and we greatly enjoy working for ourselves. And the greater earning potential is a definite plus. I can see building a small fleet of trucks over the next few years, while utilizing the support offered by ES. We’re extremely excited about the opportunities that lie ahead.
A Woman in Transportation’s Perspective
Jenice, what has your experience been like as a woman in transportation?
It’s been good! I enjoy running my own business. It’s a field that a woman can get into and do well. It’s also a business that I can share with my husband. It’s great being able to work with your spouse.
What advice would you give women who are looking to get into the business?
The best advice I can tell women is to just go for it. If the trucking business is something you’re interested in, do your research and jump in with both feet. There is a lot of opportunity for women nowadays (especially with ES’s support and their 150 women-owned business challenge), and you can make a very good living. I’ve been at it for just over 20 years and I’ve just now found the best opportunity with ES. I also appreciate the fact that their fleet is 38% women-owned, an impressive number in this industry! Read more about the WIT/ES 150 women-owned business initiative by clicking here.