Keeping It Roehl

CEO Rick Roehl joins Roman and Michael on the official Roehl Transport Keeping It Roehl Podcast. They discuss some Roehl Transport history and where we are going in the future.

Show Notes

CEO Rick Roehl joins Roman and Michael on the official Roehl Transport Keeping It Roehl Podcast. They discuss some Roehl Transport history and where we are going in the future, including our safety results and our health & wellness program.

Rick has done most every job in the company, from company driver to fleet manager to load planner and everything in between. Rick maintains his Class A CDL. He's a professional driver who still gets behind the wheel to stay close to our drivers and customers. Roehl drivers are leaders, and our leader is a driver.

Learn more about Roehl Transport services, truck driving jobs and on-the-job get your cdl training

What is Keeping It Roehl?

This is the official Roehl Transport Podcast! Join hosts Roman and MichaelĀ as they share news, stories and teammate interviews. Want to share feedback? Send us an email to

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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.

(thunder rumbling)

("Also sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30")

- 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.

(men laughing)

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.

(men laughing)

We had trucks.

(men laughing)

- 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.

(men laughing)

- 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.

(Rick laughing)

Whoops, I'm not at all.

(men laughing)

- So now you're not the boss.

(men laughing)

- You forgot to flip the switch, yeah.

- I couldn't resist.

(men laughing)

- Normal family like
everybody else, right?

(men laughing)

- 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.

(men laughing)

- 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.

(men laughing)

- 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 (chuckles)

- 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.

(men laughing)

It's like what the?

(men laughing)

Hey, you look familiar.

(men laughing)

- 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.

(men laughing)

- That hasn't happened for a while.

(men laughing)

- That would be funny.

(men laughing)

- 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.

(men laughing)

Like the mid-80s.

- Mid-80s, I'm sorry, early 80s,

I did my math wrong, I apologize.

(men laughing)

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.

(men laughing)

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

(men laughing)

- 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.

(men laughing)

- Well, now all this knowledge you have

about food selection, see I
didn't have that back then.

(men laughing)

- 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 (laughs)

- 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.

(men laughing)

- 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?

(men laughing)

Sorry, Demetria.

(men laughing)

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.

(men laughing)

- 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.

(helicopter blades whirring)

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 (laughs)

- 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.

(funky music)