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Tim Norlin with KC Phillips on RoadDog Live



Listen to Tim Norlin, Roehl's VP of Driver Employment, and KC Phillips discuss the Pandemic, home daily trucking jobs, home weekly regional jobs and so much more on RoadDog Live on SiriusXM. 

Listen to part 1.

Listen to part 2

Want to read the conversation? We've got the transcript, too. 

Announcer:  This is the Virtual American Truck Show, live on SiriusXM's Road Dog Trucking Radio channel 146 and on the app.
KC Phillips:  That's what that stands for. I thought it was something to do with chicken grease. I didn't know. The Virtual American Truck Show. VATS, and we've got vats and vats of it here. And joining me is Tim Norlin. We need some vats of cheese curds, dude.
Tim Norlin:  Hey, I can fix you up. No problem.
KC Phillips:  Great to have you on. Tim is the Vice President of Driver Employment with Roehl. Tim, it's been too long. How have you been, sir?
Tim Norlin:  I have been well. Been well trying to get through this pandemic, and hopefully we're at the tail end here. I'm really hopeful. I was fortunate enough, I got my first shot on Tuesday.
KC Phillips:  Oh, good for you.
Tim Norlin:  So one more to go in three weeks.
KC Phillips:  Are you doing the Moderna or the Pfizer? What are they giving you?
Tim Norlin:  Got the Pfizer. I got the Pfizer. Yeah.
KC Phillips:  Pfizer. Got you. You're a card carrying member then. You have your vaccination card.
Tim Norlin:  I have the card. Yep. It's incomplete yet, but won't be long. I'll have the punch card completed.
KC Phillips:  There you go. And you know you can go get Krispy Kreme donuts with that thing, right?
Tim Norlin:  I know. We need a Krispy Kreme in Central Wisconsin.
KC Phillips:  I hear you. Well, it's great to be with you. Folks, if you guys want to jump in, if you've got some questions for Tim, you want to bend his ear a little bit, he is willing to take those phone calls. (888) 876-2336. Tim, I know you got a lot of great news to share with us, but I do like to start as always with reminding folks just who Roehl is. So talk a little bit about who your company is.
Tim Norlin:  Absolutely. Yeah, we're a truckload carrier based out of Marshfield, Wisconsin. We came into existence in 1962, Everett Roehl. With one truck, built the company. The company today is run by Everett's son, Rick, who was a truck driver himself and still is a truck driver for Roehl Transport. He was an owner/operator for many years with the company before he finally came into the office. And, to this day, every once in a while, he'll put on the hat and the jeans, and jump in the truck, and take a few loads out there just to stay in touch with our drivers. And I think that's fantastic, but we operate nationwide. We've got dry van, flatbed, refrigerated, dedicated, and heavy haul divisions. So a lot of different opportunities for drivers looking for something other than your traditional long haul, over-the-road freight.
KC Phillips:  And I do know that a lot of times people like a little diversity in their jobs. Do you find that a lot of drivers with Roehl are locking in with one type of a position, or do they like to move around a bit?
Tim Norlin:  Yeah. I've seen both. We've got one driver, he's been doing the same thing for five million miles with Roehl. The whole time doing the same thing. We've got other drivers that every four or five, six months, they want to try something different, change it up a little bit. Get a little bit different scenery. And that's fine as well. We appreciate that, and we want drivers to have options when they come to work for us.
KC Phillips:  Yeah. I know that people do like switching it up a little bit. Variety, as they say, is the spice of life, and I think it holds true in trucking, too. I do know that the idea of what works for a lot of people in trucking in the past few years. I guess it was 2018 when we really started hearing it. Had to do more with home time. And I wonder if there are any opportunities that Roehl has where you can guarantee a driver a certain amount of home time.
Tim Norlin:  That's something that Roehl's always been known for is being able to choose what you do and when you're going to be home from what we call the home time plus fleets, where drivers can choose to stay out a week at a time, 11 to 14 days at a time. We've got seven on, seven off. They can work 14 days, go home seven days. And through the pandemic, what we've found out is more and more drivers want to be home every day. So for a traditional truckload carrier running your regular routes all over the country, that can be a tough challenge to build jobs like that.

But we took it on. We sat down, challenged our operations and salespeople to look at our freight density in different lanes. They'd come up with jobs that allow us to get drivers home on a daily basis, and I'm proud to say that we now have over 200 of our drivers that get home every single day.
KC Phillips:  Wow.
Tim Norlin:  And we're adding more and more all the time. In fact, we just added seven more home daily jobs today for drivers looking for that being able to spend time with the family and knowing what they're doing every day.
KC Phillips:  So, Tim, can you share with me a little bit about the different types of lanes that you're talking about? What geographic area are you covering today?
Tim Norlin:  Yeah, so with the home daily drivers, we've got opportunities really all over the country, and we're trying to build more as we see that we can do that. But right now, Atlanta; Dallas; Minneapolis; the Chicago market; Dayton and Columbus, Ohio; eastern Pennsylvania around the Bensalem area, we've got home daily driving jobs.

Obviously, we're from Wisconsin. This is where we built our business. We've got a lot of good customers here, so we've got a lot of great home daily jobs in what we call the dairy land area, which is Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, a little bit of eastern Iowa into northwest Indiana. So fantastic opportunities there.

If you're a driver that needs to be out a little bit more, we've got regional runs that get drivers home weekly. We've got dedicated runs that get drivers home weekly. And then we've still got our traditional over-the-road fleets, dry and refrigerated and flatbed, that keep our drivers out 11 to 14 days. Flatbed probably has the biggest operating area. They're running all 48 states. Our van and our refer drivers, while they could go to any of the 48 states, the majority of their time is spent east of the Rocky Mountains.
KC Phillips:  Wow. You've always heard the saying you can't be all things to all people, right?
Tim Norlin:  Oh, yeah.
KC Phillips:  It sounds like you guys kind of have it covered.
Tim Norlin:  We try.
KC Phillips:  You do, man. It's like, wait a minute. Maybe the best question for me to ask will be, A, what doesn't Roehl do?
Tim Norlin:  Oh, well, let's see. We don't haul a whole lot of sailboat fuel.
KC Phillips:  There you go. Tim Norlin is with us. He's the Vice President of Driver Employment with Roehl. Let's go ahead and take a call. We got one hanging out here for you. Let's go to Gary in Wyoming. Gary, you're on live with Tim Norlin.
Gary:  Good afternoon. I'm just calling to find out if someone's an owner operator, their own authority or has a fleet, if you have a brokerage in bringing them on, or are you just only looking for drivers and building your own company?
Tim Norlin:  No, we actually have independent contractors. They bring their power unit on and operate under our authority. But we also have a brokerage. It's Roehl Logistics, and they do contract with carriers like yourselves that operate under your own authority. And if you want to share your contact information offline with Andre, he can get it to me. I will have someone from our logistics team call you in and make contact.
Gary:  Sounds good.
KC Phillips:  All right, Gary, how many trucks do you own? Are you a one-truck operator or do you own multiple units?
Gary:  Yeah. Well, I'm a little weird. I have an MBA and couldn't find a job, so I ended up getting my own truck.
KC Phillips:  Good. Hey, man, I tell you what, you got to go where the opportunity is. You know what I'm saying?
Tim Norlin:  That's right.
Gary:  Oh, yeah.
KC Phillips:  All right. Well, Gary, thank you for the call. I do have your cell information, Gary. If you're okay with me sharing that, I'll pass that along to Tim.
Gary:  That'd be great. Thank you.
KC Phillips:  All right. Wonderful. All right.
Tim Norlin:  Thanks, Gary.
KC Phillips:  Have a great day today. Yeah, that's awesome. You know, it's crazy. So one thing that I've seen happen during this pandemic, Tim, is I've heard about a lot of people jumping into this industry, and there was a lot of excitement around it, too. People were calling the show saying, I've just started learning how to drive. I've just gotten in the truck. I found this radio station. It's awesome. And that really gives you a good feeling that trucking once again has provided a lot of people with an opportunity and a lot of people with hope when maybe they didn't have any hope.
Tim Norlin:  Absolutely. I got to tell you, 2020 was a rollercoaster year. Things were going great. The pandemic hit in March, and I think everybody kind of paused, and we saw that precipitous drop in the economy. And then trucking just came roaring back, and I haven't seen anybody hit the brakes yet. We're cruising right into 2021.

And the company had a very good year. Our drivers had a very good year. And we think it's going to continue right on through 2021 as the economy really opens back up. The challenge now is there are a number of people, unfortunately, that jumped and got out of our industry during 2020, and we need those drivers back in because the demand for services is just going through the roof right now.
KC Phillips:  Yeah. Well, you've come to a good place. A lot of folks here are talking about it. I think there is a very positive sentiment, and people are optimistic about what will continue to happen.

And just like Gary. A guy has his MBA, a masters of business administration, and he decides, you know what? I'm having difficulty with a traditional job. Maybe I look at this, and all of a sudden he is a business owner. And the sky's the limit in trucking, especially if you get into it right now. So that's a wonderful thing.

Tim, sit tight. We're out of time for the segment. If you guys want in, Tim Norlin, VP of driver employment is with us with Roehl. If you guys want more information, you can go to That's or And when we get back, we'll continue the conversation.

This is The Virtual American Truck Show from Louisville, Kentucky. The only show from Louisville, Kentucky. We'll be back.

Part 2.
Announcer:  Back to the Virtual American Truck Show. Live on Sirius XM's Road Dog Trucking radio, channel 146 and on the app.
KC Phillips:  We're back. Hey, welcome back into Road Dog Live. I'm KC hanging out with you from Louisville, Kentucky. We got captain lavender in ocean Springs, Mississippi, Andre.
Announcer:  Ha.
KC Phillips:  And he's keeping you between the titches. Tim Norlin, joining us from Wisconsin. He is the Vice President of Driver Employment with Roehl. So sorry about the football team this year, I had to say something. I can't believe that Tampa Bay took the Superbowl, but you guys made a good run at least.
Tim Norlin:  Oh, dude. I finally was over that and you had to bring it up, just like picking a scab.
KC Phillips:  I like picking a scab. Now, it was tough, man. I thought, "There's no way," because I'm not a Tom Brady fan. I mean, I hate to say it, but I didn't want him to win. But at the same time, a part of me did want him to win, because I think I don't like the New England Patriots more than I don't like Tom Brady. So whatever. Anyway, we're not talking about football, we're talking about trucking. And when you talk trucking you think about Roehl. Find out more information online. And Tim, one of the things that a lot of folks ask me after we have truck shows is, "Hey, I really wanted to hear about some of the policies that each company offers." So with rider policy, pet policy, onboarding process, driver pay, how they're paid, so could you just give us a little bit of the policy rundown? And focus on pay too, I think a lot of people are interested in that.
Tim Norlin:  Absolutely. Yeah. I've been doing this a long time, KC, you know that I've been doing it. You and I have been friends and talked for many, many, many years and it just still to this day amazes me how many drivers don't understand how they're paid, what their mileage basis for pay is. Because there's three, really three to four different ways you can be paid. Most drivers are paid household goods, which is the shortest route between city center and city center. Then there's practical route, which is what Roehl moved to, they were one of the first carriers to move to that back in 2004. But that still is city center to city center, but it's the more practical route.
Yeah, it might take a little bit longer to get there, or it might be more miles to get there, but it's a shorter time-wise because it bypasses big cities, et cetera. And then Roehl went to address-to-address practical route. And that is from the actual physical address of your pickup to the actual physical address of your delivery. And when you're talking to the difference between address-to-address and practical route, it's not that much, it's one to two percent, typically. But when you're talking to address-to-address to short route, which is what the majority of carriers still pay their drivers based on, you're looking at 10, 12% difference.
KC Phillips:  Wow.
Tim Norlin:  We just did an informational seminar for our drivers to explain address-to-address, and I'll just give you a short story, really literally short story. St. Louis to Minneapolis, short route miles, 542, address-to-address, 571, that's 29 more miles.
KC Phillips:  Yeah.
Tim Norlin:  Doesn't sound like a whole lot, but that's $14 and 50 cents for a driver making 50 cents a mile. You do that two or three times a week and now you're looking at 2000 or more dollars a year.
KC Phillips:  52 bucks. Yeah, 52 bucks a year. Yeah, or a week rather. That's real money.
Tim Norlin:  Yeah. It's real money, real money. So that's one thing we're really proud of here at Roehl, we pay our drivers address-to-address. It's as close to the actual miles you drive as we can get without incorporating those, what we call, discretionary miles. Maybe you want to get off at exit three and go to the, and another driver on the same load wants to go to the TA. Those are the discretionary miles that don't get paid, but it's as close as we can get. The other thing that Roehl does is we share the profits of our company with all of our employees. The Roehl family has always believed in doing that. Everett was a driver, his son, Rick, who runs our company now is a driver and we realized that without the drivers, this company doesn't make money, so we share the profits. This year for 2020, our drivers earned an additional 4.75% in profit sharing. That's huge. I don't know too many companies that share profits with their employees like that. That's huge. A driver making $60,000 a year, that's almost $3,000.
KC Phillips:  Yeah.
Tim Norlin:  Extra in profit sharing, so.
KC Phillips:  Yeah. That can buy some toys.
Tim Norlin:  Sure.
KC Phillips:  I mean, you could buy a four-wheeler, maybe a UTV, at least get a good down payment one, a bike.
Tim Norlin:  Right. Absolutely. And with our home time options, we'll give you time to enjoy those toys as well.
KC Phillips:  There you go.
Tim Norlin:  So, that's really... What I see as the big things with Roehl is, and our benefits, jeez. Our benefits, I got to tell you, they're hard to beat with anybody. I challenge anybody out there. Give us a call, compare benefit costs here and what your deductible, what your premiums are compared to where you're at now. And all of our drivers, an experienced driver comes on board with us, their benefits start the first of the month after 30 days. That's pretty quick anymore. Especially for the blue cross blue shield benefits that we offer.
KC Phillips:  Got you. As far as onboarding, what could a new employee expect? How quickly could they get on the road and signed on with you guys?
Tim Norlin:  We have a two and a half day orientation at one of our facilities. And we typically have our drivers out. We bring them in on Mondays, they do physicals, drug screens, the driver's skills evaluation, the road test, a physical agility test. And ours isn't one of those crazy things where you got to jump on a machine or you got to go to the clinic and pick up milk crates of weights and stuff. We take you out to a track and we say, "Show us how you climb in and out of the truck, make sure you do it the proper way. Show us how you inspect your trailer. Show us how you crank the landing gear. Show us how you climb up on the catwalk and hook and unhook your airlines. Show us how you get in and out of a trailer, make sure that you can do it safely." That's our functional capacity test to make sure that you can handle the physical capabilities of being a truck driver. So none of that in the office nonsense. Our drivers are in trucks and on the road, typically Thursday afternoons.
KC Phillips:  Okay. And are there minimum qualifications that a driver needs to have just to call?
Tim Norlin:  No qualifications needed, other than you need to be 21 years of age. We hire experienced drivers and independent contractors. We will take recent driving school graduates or approved driving schools. And if you don't have a CDL and you want one, we actually have an on the job CDL training program where we will teach you the skills necessary to get your CDL. You're paid while you do it as an employee, you're an employee from day one. And that's what Roehl has been known for that. That's Roehl's bread and butter. We've always been a company that has trained their own drivers, but we are a destination carrier for experienced drivers as well. Our fleets split, about half our hires come from entry level, half our hires are coming from the experience driver world, folks that went someplace else to start their driving careers and have come to Roehl to finish their driving careers.
KC Phillips:  Fantastic. Let's go ahead and take another phone call. Big sexy is in New Mexico. What's up, Sean?
Sean:  All right. How you doing, man? I have been a long time just to let them know, today is my 10th anniversary with the carrier that I'm at.
KC Phillips:  Okay. Congrats.
Sean:  And in October I'll get the title to my truck.
Tim Norlin:  Awesome.
Sean:  And when the Pamela has my title, I'm going to do the river dance right out the door. That's why I'm opening up to where I'm going to go.
KC Phillips:  There you go.
Sean:  What really keyed me to call in today is normally I have not been able to get to call. KC knows this, I would call myself a legalized drug runner. I do a lot of HV medical loads. I'm not on one right now. I got chicken as a gift because... I listen into show, but I'm not able to call in because you can't call during a high val load. It's due to protocols, and I don't want to break that.
Tim Norlin:  Right.
Sean:  But when you said Dayton, Ohio, that got my attention because I don't live too far from Dayton. I live on the Ohio side of Richmond, Indiana.
Tim Norlin:  Okay.
Sean:  And once October comes around and my truck's paid for I'm not really looking to do as a broker side. I wouldn't mind signing on to your authority. Plus, you get a better fleet discount on fuel if you sign under someone's authority, I learned that long ago. And I really would like your website or whatever, because come October, I'm looking to possibly, maybe go somewhere else.
Tim Norlin:  Absolutely.
Sean:  And all I'm looking for is at least to be home on the weekends. My son's going to be playing high school football in a couple of years.
Tim Norlin:  Sure, absolutely. And you live in a fantastic spot. We've got a couple of great opportunities right there. Both of them dedicated opportunities that would have you home on the weekends. So yeah, is our website, R-O-E-H-L. Or you can hit R-A-I-L and it'll take you there as well.
Sean:  All right. I really appreciate it. But I got one joke for you guys. Since I'm a legalized drug runner, I always make good jokes.
KC Phillips:  I got 30 seconds.
Sean:  I have ah, oh, okay. I have a clean record. There was a police officer. I got to know people regularly on some of my routes and this state trooper I was talking to getting coffee, he was talking about how he just arrested people for traveling drugs on the highway. I said, "What are you busting him for? I got 40,000 pounds of morphine."
KC Phillips:  There you go. Thanks, big sexy. Appreciate it, Tim. We're out of time, my friend.
Tim Norlin:  All right, buddy.
KC Phillips:  But I do thank you so much for coming on and getting our Virtual American Truck Show kicked off today.
Tim Norlin:  Hey, thank you, KC. Appreciate it. And thank you, drivers.
KC Phillips:  That is Tim Norlin. You guys can find out more at, or When we get back, we're going to be joined by JB Hunt. Greer. Woodruff, is the senior vice-president of safety, security and driver personnel. You're listening to the Virtual American Truck Show. I'm KC in Louisville, Kentucky. We'll be back.

This page was last updated on 1/31/2024.

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