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This is the trancscript of the Rick Roehl podcast episode released on 11/29/2021.

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- Welcome to another episode of "Keeping It Roehl." I'm Michael.

- And I'm Roman. Mike, how was your weekend this past weekend?

- It was really nice. Took a nice long weekend on the bike. How 'bout yourself?

- Well, I was here at work all weekend, doing my duties here. Met a few new drivers, talked to them, helped them out. So you know what we do on the weekends here being an additional training, help out when we can, what we can do for them. Mike, why don't you introduce who we have today.

- Tell us a little bit about how you became where you're at and maybe a brief history from Rick's point of view of the company Roehl from when it started with Everett.

- Sure, yeah. I know some guys have heard this. I know when I would talk with orientation groups, I know some guys had heard this part of it, but you know, basically Roehl began as a family business that my dad started and he started with one truck and was able to add another truck one year and another truck the next year. And so started out mostly hauling lumber for sawmills in the area. And well my grandpa had a sawmill, too, and so really he learned how to drive a truck by delivering lumber for his customers. So then he decided to buy his truck that he could run himself and work for some other sawmills. That was in '62 and so then I wasn't around until late in '62. I didn't start playing with the trucks until probably, you know, when I was 10 or 11, something like that.

- How was it growing up with Everett? I don't know him that well, but how was it growing up with him? How was he?

- Well, he was always pretty even tempered and it wasn't where we did a lot of things on the weekends, you know? Like this last weekend, we went up, spent some time on the boat.

- Right, that sounds nice.

- We didn't have a boat though. We had trucks.

- Did you spend a lot of time growing up servicing trucks, up under trucks, working on 'em?

- Saturdays were mostly, well back then we didn't have air dryers, so we treated the air system with alcohol, so they wouldn't freeze. And you know, if water got in the system it wouldn't wouldn't lock up the valves or anything. So they actually don't recommend doing that anymore just because it does dry out the seals.

- I grew up, my father was a diesel mechanic and owned trucks. A lot smaller than where you're at now. But I grew up, I was up under 'em, I was pulling 'em into shops for 'em, a lot very similar to what you're saying. Yeah, so I know where you're-- My vacation was I didn't have to work on a truck that day.

- Well, that was Saturday in the winter. Making sure that, well, first you had to drain the system and then add a little bit to it.

- So started out with maintenance and then?

- Yeah, well, then when I was older would help in the shop with sweeping the floors and then I started working on, I would do the services by myself, first the grease service and then oil change, I eventually worked into doing that, too. But when I was in high school I always wanted to drive trucks so then when I turned 18 and finished high school I started driving a truck.

- Who taught ya? Or did you teach yourself?

- Pretty much learned by moving 'em in the yard.

- So from '62 to the time you graduated high school, how much did Roehl grow at that point? Do you remember?

- I don't remember the truck count we had in '81, but my first truck was number 45. And that was one of the older ones at that time. It was probably, I'd say five, six years old.

- At the time?

- What kinda truck was it?

- It was a International Cabover. It was the B model, the B Model Transtar, I think. Ya know, it was the one with the extra extension beneath the cab. The ones before that didn't have that.

- Where'd you all go? I mean, did you just stay local or did you go nationwide? I mean anywhere that you could go you went?

- No, when you're 18, you can only drive in the state of Wisconsin so I had to stay here. And so I did a lot of hauling of gravel too, with the dump trucks and the belly dumps. But otherwise, a big run we had was hauling chips, where we pick 'em up down by Lacrosse and take 'em to Green Bay so that was one thing.

- It was a predominantly local company at that time?

- No, we had I remember, well, this was before I started driving, but the big run early was down to Kentucky. We had a customer, Murray, Kentucky, I think. It was a pallet customer down there. But then before I started driving, we were starting to go most the 48 states.

- At what point, what truck number, what time, did you look at it and go, man, this is gonna be something? Ya know, you look at that point and you go from one truck to 40-some odd trucks, and you go, wow, this is actually gonna be something here?

- Did you guys ever imagine you'd get as big as you are today, back then?

- I don't think so. I mean, we were always glad to have growth, but ya know, we always wanted to make sure we had good business too, not just to grow and not be profitable or be able to pay the bills.

- So your customers, how did you find 'em? I mean obviously we don't have what we have today, the internet and stuff like that, how did you guys go out and get your? Do you still have customers from then today? How about that one?

- Well, there's a couple. There's Felker Brothers here in town. We started hauling for them I think back in the 70s. The one customer that had the Kentucky delivery, that was the pallet factory, Woodruff Pallet, down in Vesper, and right now they switched that hauling over to vans and sometimes it doesn't work. Well, in the winter is when it doesn't work out as well 'cause you get the moisture inside.

- In the chips you're talking about?

- No, that's the pallets.

- Oh the pallets, okay.

- The original pallet haul was all on flatbed, but then a lotta places now, they don't want the pallets getting dirty so they put 'em in a van.

- How do you contribute you keeping them customers and the ones we have now? How have you managed to keep that base of customers?

- Just gotta take care of 'em, you know? And the drivers see the customers more often than any of us here and so that's a big part of it, but you know, also responding to the needs that they have. And well, you asked before about how did we find customers, 'cause we didn't have sales people or we didn't have telemarketing or anything like that. So a lot of our leads were from drivers. You know, a driver would make a delivery or a pickup and say, well, this place is shipping here and there. So then we'd call 'em up and go visit, if that was something that was doable and so a lot of it was just leads and from one customer hiring you to make a delivery someplace so then you found out they had something going on and they might need you to move something and you just ask them and sometimes you would get a good response. But at that period, I forgot to mention this as we were talking about the growth, in 1980 the federal government deregulated the trucking industry and what that meant was trucking companies could make agreements with shippers without the federal government approval. Where prior to that, you had to make an application to the federal government and your shipper had to support that application, and they would grant you permission, they called it authority, to haul for that shipper or to make those moves. And they would name it specifically as this type of commodity from this place to those states. And so it was a very highly regulated industry. So when that law became effective in 1980, we were able to talk to a lot more shippers.

- Did that seem to benefit the industry more? It made it better?

- Well, it opened up a lot of opportunities for companies like ours. You know, it did create some turmoil though, too. There was a lot of, I would say LTL companies, in particular, it seemed like they ceased doing business. I mean, there was a couple in Marshfield even. But it's not that we were hauling the same freight as them, but it created more competition, it became more competitive, and we were a smaller company with a lower cost base, so it was a beneficial thing for us.

- And now you the rest of the story basically, right? Paul Harvey. So Rick how do you guys come together as a family when you guys have to make decisions about the company?

- I'm blessed that we don't have a lot of turmoil with our family. You know, I'm the CEO and the majority shareholder and so I pretty much make quite a few of the decisions. There's some decisions that we consult, but for the most part I make a lot of those CEO type decisions. You know there's some shareholder decisions that as a family we make, but those aren't everyday things or those are more rare.

- Okay, so speaking of decisions, do you ever get in that mindset that when you get home I know me personally, I get home and I go, oh, I'm the boss here, and then your wife puts you in check real quick. Whoops, I'm not at all.

- So now you're not the boss.

- You forgot to flip the switch, yeah.

- I couldn't resist.

- Normal family like everybody else, right?

- Well one thing, my wife, Tamie, she works in the office as well and so she's aware of everything that we do to keep things goin' so she understands. She doesn't put a lotta pressure on. But yeah, there's certainly the dynamic that switches once you leave the office.

- It's funny, mostly every family, and they're higher up in something and when they get you always get back to that level ground there.

- That's good. Okay, everybody knows where we're at today. Actually, how many trucks do we have total in the fleet right now?

- I think we got a little over 2000 trucks.

- Started from one Mike, you know, it's easier for one, look at it, you know? Any plans to make it 2500, 3000? I mean, is that a goal or do you kind of like where it's at right now?

- Well we'd always like to grow because we can spread our overhead a little bit more and so investments that we have in our terminals, that's probably the biggest thing, and other investments are a little bit of the trailer pool but usually when you add trucks you gotta add trailers as well. But another big overhead is our non-driver wages so by having more loads that we can spread those costs over it does create an advantage in the margin but you know, you can grow a certain point then you have to add those overhead items as well.

- What do you like for ratio of trailer to truck? What's your good range there?

- It depends on the business you're doing, but right now we're, I think, 2.8 to 2.9 van trailers to a truck but as you bring on new business, if that business needs eight trailers at the location, you might only have any one day six drivers that are doing work for that customer but the eight trailers are something that some of the other business doesn't require and so the more of those type of things you have the harder it is to define it by a ratio of how this works. For reefer trailers, you know, they are a lot more expensive, and so we don't leave those sit around, as much as some customers would like. A lotta times we run into issues with customers who just like the extra storage room and so they don't unload 'em and so then when the driver thinks he's gonna be at a place and get an empty trailer, it's not there. And that happens on vans too. but our ratio is about 1.6 to 1.7 for reefer trailers to reefer drivers. Flatbeds are probably in that same neighborhood too. I haven't looked at that recently. There's not as many flatbed customers that want trailers, but there are some, you know. We have those customers that it works out well. We don't have to have the driver wait to put that on.

- I've heard that some, too, where you're saying some of the customers are using them for storage. Have you found a way to resolve some of that issue?

- Well at the drive ends, we have the cargo sensors, and so if a customer doesn't unload or uses the trailer too much for their benefit, not for ours, we do bill 'em. So it's something that technology allows us to do. For the reefers, we don't have the certainty of the cargo sensor, but we know if the reefer is running, and we also know if the driver shows up and it's not empty, we can investigate that further that way.

- Makes sense. So with some of the trailers being used for storage from some of the customers, have you seen a lot of detention? You know, how have we been handling that here at Roehl?

- Well, that's the reason we have more trailers than we have drivers so that we don't have to have drivers waiting for the customer to put the product on or to take it off too. So it's a really nice, convenient. It's not a free convenience, but it is convenient when it works. And so that's one thing that we heard at the driver advisory group meeting that we had a couple weeks ago is just the time that they're not driving down the road. Most drivers wanna drive. And so we understand that and that's why we do have some more trailers. Every day we wish we had more trailers, so it's not where we've got the ideal amount or that every time we go to get an empty one that there's one there, but it is something we put a lot of effort into. And it's something that we're looking at to increase our driver satisfaction, which should help us with our retention.

- Yeah, and how's that going so far this year with our driver retention?

- We had a good year going until probably late May and we just had more turnover than we'd had all year. In fact I'll mention, I think a lot of drivers have heard us talk about our WIG. That's our Wildly Important Goal. And so this is this process that the people at Franklin Covey helped us put together, but it's their process really. And so the Wildly Important Goal is defined as if you could change one thing in your business and improve it without affecting anything else, what would have the most impact? Hands down we know if we can lower our driver turnover, our business improves in so many ways. You know, we have better service to our customers. We have less accident frequency. We have a lot of productivity benefits by just having guys that are here longer. So a lotta things. All of us know that when you do something longer, you get better at it and so you don't spend as much time doing it and so you can see those benefits.

- Question that I'm sure some of your newer drivers had, or even potential GYCDL drivers in the program that we have here. So we keep our drivers, okay? We have that retain and we're not losing as many. Is that gonna affect how many possible new drivers we could have that we train here at our facility? Would you slow that down or would you say, hey, come on, we can always grow? 'Cause I remember you mentioned we could add trucks or something or add business. Is that something that you would do? 'Cause that would be something on everybody's mind. Somebody that was maybe possibly thinking about coming here, well, I'm gonna wait three months, four months, whatever they think of at home and all of a sudden, no, we're keeping our drivers, so we're not gonna bring in as many as we normally do.

- Well, we're always trying to bring in drivers, especially right now. Right now the business environment is really good and every employer wishes they had more people, in fact, that's one of the issues that we run into with trailers not being unloaded. Some places that we make deliveries too, or we go to pick up product, they just don't have enough people to run the forklifts to put the product on. Or they might not have enough people to manufacture the product to complete it for the customers. So right now we want to add more people because there's customers that would like us to do more hauling for them. The challenge is getting the qualified drivers and keeping the drivers that are in our fleet.

- What have you guys done to keep the ones we have?

- Well, the big thing we're doing is to create an outreach so that our drivers know their fleet managers. I know they all know their fleet managers, but we want them to be able to call them if they've got any issue. We've heard, and this came up in a driver advisory group meeting, where the question was asked, how come a driver wouldn't call their fleet manager if they had that question? And even drivers that had experience, had a reluctance to make that call. And so I guess it was common among the drivers that were there, they said that it's common that drivers don't wanna appear to not know as much as they were expected to know but especially for someone who's new. I mean there's no expectation that you know everything and there's no expectation that you're not gonna need some help. And so to create that comfort to pick the phone and make that call is huge, I think.

- Everybody knows what happened last year. You know, the pandemic, COVID, and us as a company, we did pretty good last year business wise, correct?

- Yeah, we had a really good year.

- And why is that? What did Roehl provide that some of the other companies in the industry couldn't maintain or couldn't give them, these customers ? Do you know that answer?

- I know what happened to us but I don't know what happened in most other trucking companies. But I bet they were going through a lotta the same thing. One thing I know, we continued to hire drivers, even though there was a period of probably six weeks that the economy really tanked. There was that period when water and tissue and all that stuff was being purchased and really the demand to move that stuff was outstripping the supply, but then it fell off a cliff. And so there were some companies that shut down hiring and training, training probably more so. But there wasn't many people to hire. I mean, there wasn't many people that were looking to change jobs during that period. So naturally our groups in orientation were much lower and even training was much lower. Just people didn't wanna travel and visit a new place and sit in a room with a bunch of strangers and learn about a new job. And so it was naturally lower and our driver group drifted down but the the demand was down too so it was not where it was we felt we were missing business.

- I mean this year now, it seems like the media's telling us that it's coming back to a point. In some areas of the country that they're starting to see a raise in cases. Last year, learning experience. So we should be able to do just as good as we did last year, this year in theory, right?

- Hopefully.

- Says that with a snicker, yeah.

- We're trying to do that and it's a good time right now because people have goods to move and there's demand for the products and so we're trying to meet that, but we are shorter than our goal of drivers in trucks. And so we're working feverishly to correct that and we're putting drivers in, get your CDL, and plus drivers who know how to drive. We hire those as well.

- Yeah, we seem to get a good bunch coming through the GYCDL program and we got great instructors over there that bring 'em up and our trainers are outstanding. We've had a few of them on air.

- Yeah, well, and here's another thing that last year was really good, and so far this year it's really good as well, is we've had good safety results and so that's a product of what the drivers are taught and how they execute their day.

- Well, I mean they hear that from the day one, when they came in here, from the Roehl Way, our cornerstone value is safety, and they really, really drive that home, and they perform that in every function of this industry.

- Well, good job, you guys. They really practice safety and that's something that we always have to retain that value so that we can avoid spending those monies fixing stuff

- So along with what we were talking about with COVID, obviously health, wellness. Little bit that we talked earlier, you have some things that you'd like to talk about with that?

- Yeah, you guys talked with Tiana and she heads up our wellness program here at Roehl and we're in our infancy, but we'd like everybody to be as healthy as they can be. And I know it's harder when you're living on the road. It's harder to get those healthy choices for your meals and it's a little bit more challenging to have a regular eating schedule just because of sometimes the trips and the locations you're at, and the customer commitments that are out there, and so it's just harder to maintain that regular rhythm, but we wanna help out as much as we can and make those options available.

- Yeah, Mike, I remember when we had her on the show, a lotta good information. Rick, did you hear about Mike's kale recipe? He's got a perfect one, if you're into that.

- Kale? Isn't that seaweed?

- Yeah, well, I don't know. He's got a great recipe. Maybe he'll tell you about it afterwards but it's a good one, it's a good one. I think you're gonna like it so we'll talk afterwards on that one.

- And as simple as getting outta the truck and doing a little bit of exercise, it always helps. Lotta people wanna get somewhere and they're tired, and they just wanna climb into bed and call it a day, but getting outta the truck, stretching your legs a little bit, that helps.

- How did you do your health and wellness and eating and diet when you were driving?

- Well, I pulled flatbeds so that keeps you in shape to a degree, but as you do the longer trips it is harder because you're not out there moving the tarps or whatever.

- You did flatbed and I know that's where Roehl originally come from with the lumber. What made 'em go in the direction more driving, I know there's more driving and reefer than there are flatbed now, is there any particular, just the industry took 'em that direction?

- Well, most of the fleet was flatbed but we always had a few drive ends. You know, the earliest customers were like soda pop distributors and beer distributors so they'd hired us to take empties down to the brewery and bring back the full ones. So had a few that way. Then we had a door customer, not the Masonite here in town, but it was a different one that relocated, and we always made their deliveries on vans. But then when the deregulation came along in 1980, we were able to make contact with paper mills in the area. And Wisconsin had a lotta paper mills and so they shipped paper all over and so there was a lot more freight. And before I really was out traveling on the highways, I really thought most trucking was done on a flatbed, but turns out there's more product being moved in a drive in and in reefers.

- Do you still go out on the road once in a while yet?

- Here and there, yeah. It's probably been over a year since I've been out, but I like doing it, it's fun.

- That'd be kind of cool pulling in to a truck stop and you're over there, back in, and Rick Roehl back next to ya. It's like what the? Hey, you look familiar.

- I mean when you do go out, you see another driver for Roehl and they recognize you, you just talk normal right? It's not like, oh my gosh, they kind of stay away from you or do they just come up to you and talk to you like we are right now?

- I think pretty normal. I mean some probably don't recognize me.

- Have you run into just where they've come up and talked to you and they obviously don't know who you were. And you were, hey, that's me.

- That hasn't happened for a while.

- That would be funny.

- Rick, along with the health part of it, exercise, diet, in the early seventies, when you were able to cross borders with the truck, how did you eat? I mean, you didn't have like refrigerators, you weren't able to keep stuff cool, refrigerated, did you have that back then or how did you manage that?

- Early seventies? Well now I must really look old. Like the mid-80s.

- Mid-80s, I'm sorry, early 80s, I did my math wrong, I apologize. Early 80s, yeah.

- Well, actually I didn't have all that great of eating habits, and actually there wasn't much for options either. The trucks back then, they didn't have any way, unless you were running the engine to generate battery power, but one thing I did do is cut down to like twice a day. Like a mid-morning breakfast and a mid-afternoon meal. It seemed like if I would eat like at normal supper time, then I would be more drowsy and so I'd have to stop earlier so eating at about two or three in the afternoon did work for me. But I gotta tell ya, I wasn't that good at measuring portions or anything like that.

- You didn't meal prep is what you're saying.

- That's really advanced in that area today, right?

- Yeah.

- You know, we got refrigerators. We have microwaves we can put in.

- Yeah, the new trucks have power inverters.

- Power inverters. Many ways, you can put like a Crockpot in there, cook in there.

- I've heard some of the stories of the people preparing, I mean, it was a three course meal on their truck going down the road. They got it and it's cooking while they're. I did that and then the hardest thing about that was you would smell it cooking while I was driving and I gotta hurry up and get there, I'm hungry.

- So there's a lotta ways we can eat healthier now with the technology that we are allowed in the truck and that they make specifically for inside the truck, ya know? So again, anything that you have any questions about that we can always go to Tiana. She'll answer all your questions. She's a great person, very smart from what we had her on the show.

- She's fantastic.

- Taught me a lot a little bit. Not a little bit. Taught me a lot.

- But you're so fit, though.

- Yeah, I'm getting there, all right? I'm on the delayed cycle.

- Well, now all this knowledge you have about food selection, see I didn't have that back then.

- One thing Tianna V. told me was start small. Cut something out once. And I've been doing that. So obviously, I mean Mike knows, my son got engaged, so my goal lose some weight for his wedding, you know? So I have something to look forward to.

- And I have a question for you. I know your Roehl is big into the military, honoring our veterans and everything. You yourself, you served?

- No, I didn't, no.

- Okay, I know Roman did as well. What got you guys to that point to where you're so big on honoring the military?

- Well, for one thing they've really helped our country, they've really made a significant sacrifice to serve their country and that is very commendable, but ya know, another thing is their lifestyle is somewhat similar to the lifestyle of over the road drivers. They've moved away from home to go do their service and they're training, it's probably been months at some of those periods where they've been away from home. And so they have somewhat of a flavor of what that entails because working with get your CDL or even new drivers who join the company from getting their CDL, I think probably the biggest adjustment is the lifestyle. You're pretty much living in the truck and away from home.

- They seem to make some of the best drivers too. They've been through the military. They're very committed. They follow things through.

- Way it needs to be done, right? And again, safety, that's what we talk about here and we talked about it earlier, how we push that.

- Where do you see Roehl going in the future? I know it's kind of a blank, "Where do you see it?" But in the future, where do you see us going?

- One of the things we're looking more at is having runs where drivers can be home daily and certainly weekly. We've got well over 50% of our drivers who are home at least weekly, but we've really added to the home daily number of drivers that we have in our fleet. So that is a different model for us. The drivers who are looking forward to spending two weeks on the road, those drivers are fewer than there used to be and so we are really moving toward that. So even on the longer trips that we can have a pretty prescriptive route plan. There's some of the trips that we've been doing for a few years, one that I can think of on the reefer is we go to Arizona from the Midwest here, but the loads out there come right back to here and so try to have more regularity in that regard.

- You see the industry going that direction?

- I think there's others, yeah. I don't know. There's always gonna be a need to move that stuff over longer distance so there's always gonna be those moves but intermodal has taken a lotta those long haul opportunities away. And so I think the successful trucking companies are gonna have to really look at what they do.

- With all the drop yards we have and everything there's always relays that'll get it there and get you back home so that's always nice.

- That's an option, yeah.

- Any plans in the future to maybe have another working terminal someplace else in the country other than what we have now?

- Well right now we have looked at the benefits of having some place like on I-80 in Pennsylvania, more on the Eastern side. Right now we do a lotta business Southeast and Gary Terminal gets a lotta traffic. I mean they keep their head above water. They do a great job down there. But there's a lot of activity and some of that activity is moved from those Eastern parts. And so we don't have a site picked out or anything, but we have some general locations that we think would be good. And like I say, we don't have anything in the works right now but we recognize that there's some things that would benefit us.

- I suppose as you grow?

- Yeah, yeah, sure that would be a significant overhead add so it'd be nice to have a little bit of growth to be able to make a contribution to those costs.

- And guys down in Gary do a great job. I was in that area quite a bit when I drove and I mean from the maintenance on up to the fleet managers and everything out of that. They're just all around great people.

- It's like Chicago O'Hare Airport.

- It is, man.

- Just constantly going through.

- You're cruising through there and you're like where did this come from

- Well, it's such a convenient spot to park because, well when I drove, that was probably the worst thing is. If you got through Chicago then there wasn't any really good places to park down there so having a spot like that is really a nice advantage for a driver.

- Any in the near future? I know Gary has the restaurant inside the terminal. I've heard some of 'em ask some of the drivers that's come through here, hey, is there any restaurants coming in the near future to Marshfield, Appleton, any of the other terminals?

- We don't have any planned right now. We remodeled our break area here in the office in Marshfield. But that's something that I think Gary's the place that has enough traffic to support that. Many of the other places, it'd probably be food getting cold waiting for customers to drive in.

- I guess jacuzzi tubs are completely outta question though.

- Yeah, I don't see any of those on the horizon right now.

- Well, we tried. We tried, we tried.

- Who was it? I think Demitria or somebody come here and asked that question.

- That's right. I wouldn't have said her name now because now he's got it, right? Sorry, Demetria. What about a swimming pool, not a jacuzzi?

- There's none on the horizon right now.

- An infinity pool, let's go. If we're gonna dream, let's dream big.

- Oh boy.

- As far as new equipment and everything, how do you see the electric trucks? I mean, God forbid, they said we'd have flying trucks by now so to automate?

- Can you imagine trucks flying?

- Yeah, ya know.

- Gosh, that'd be something, you know?

- I mean if you had, I don't know, 60 trucks and they just flew in the air. I mean it would be.

- What do you call them, autonomous?

- Autonomous, is that the way you say that?

- Yeah, autonomous, that's the self driving trucks. You hear a lot about those technologies and there's cars that have that, more and more features. And our trucks that we have today really have evolved. It started out where automatic transmissions, we're on the second generation now. Back in the 90s there was the first generation that we used some of. And then there was the forward looking radar alert system to help the driver identify things that were in the path. Now they've got the cruise where it'll adjust the cruise speed to the vehicle ahead. And we started getting recently, it was probably in the last couple years, the braking, the trucks will brake now, and so most drivers probably are aware of that. And so there's all these features that are aiding the driver. You know the autonomous type operation, I think is quite a ways down the road, although I do read and hear about things where they're doing tests and those type of things.

- If those developers ever approached you and said, hey, can we use Roehl, for testing or research, would you allow that?

- Depends what it is. I wouldn't say no but I don't think they've got any shortage of things to test that on but you'd have to look at the whole thing. There's certainly gonna be some liability if the driver's not in control. But yeah, I do believe that that's down the road a ways when that's an accepted technology.

- We used to get that coming through GYCDL. That was a good question. Do you think the self driving stuff, I'm gonna be out of a job eventually? And I said probably not in your lifetime

- Right.

- So Rick, I know over the years we've tried different things, different fuels, we've tried some of the propane vehicles, and now I see a lot of the electric vehicles out there. What's your opinion on electric vehicles?

- Well, for heavy trucks, it's probably down the road a ways, too, especially for long haul because of the charge that they can carry in the battery. So there's probably some urban operations that that would work out well for, especially if the weight isn't real high. Right now, from what I've been hearing, is in order for current loads to be hauled on a battery truck they would have to increase the allowable weight by about 10,000 pounds.

- Wow.

- But they say that should only be for 10 years though. After 10 years they think the battery technology will improve and they'll be able to get rid of that exemption. But right now I think it's incredibly expensive and it's lot of prototypes.

- And I would have to change our infrastructure and everything to support all of that weight, yeah.

- Yeah.

- Well not just there. Well, yeah, our infrastructure.

- Our bridges, everything, yeah.

- Even at our terminals, too, we would have to accommodate for all that, training the mechanics, the fuel islands, where we're gonna chare 'em. And you know, where are we getting that from? So yeah, I can see that would be a huge.

- So for the upcoming driver, the ones coming through GYCDL, the experienced ones coming here, do you have any words of advice?

- Well, don't be afraid to ask questions. That's one thing, We talked a little bit about that. But I think don't get discouraged too early. And if you ask questions and get those feedbacks, I think you're gonna find people that are willing to help want you to be successful. We want you to be successful here. And that makes all of our jobs easier.

- I have found that everybody at this company, they may not have your answer right then, but they they'll find your answer and they will get it for you.

- Or direct you to where you need to get that answer. That's one thing that GYCDL does is they stress ask those questions, now is the time. When you get with your driver trainer, ask as many questions as you can. talk to your fleet manager, talk to the maintenance, talk to anybody. When you're at a terminal, go inside the orientation, ask that instructor.

- 'Cause we're just a big company. We're just a big family, that's what I was looking for. We're just a big family. Rick, you've answered a question about the GYCDL end of it. As far as the experienced guys, what do you say for the guy that's reluctant to ask the question? Ya know he doesn't wanna feel less of a driver.

- Well, same thing as other groups. I just encourage you to make that call and ask that question because we're all here to help and we all want you to be successful. We as a team wanna be successful. So do not hesitate. Do not think that there's gonna be any bad outcome by any question you ask.

- And we're just human.

- Absolutely.

- In the end of things we're all human. Feel free to call and ask.

- Exactly, yeah.

- Well, it was a pleasure having you with us today, Rick. I find out a lot of useful information.

- Yeah, it was good getting to know, Rick. I mean we see him once in a while but we actually got to sit down and talk with you, it was fun.

- And I hope everybody enjoyed it.

- Yeah, and everybody make sure that you drive safe, drive the Roehl Way, use that Safe Seven all the time. It was designed for you guys for a reason and that's why we are as successful as we are. Safety is our cornerstone, okay? It was great talking to you, Rick. Can't wait to have you back on the show. It was fun.

- All right, all the drivers, drive safe out there. We'll talk at ya next time and can't wait to talk with our next guest.

- And remember, keep it safe and do it the Roehl Way.


 

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This page was last updated on 07/28/2022