This Legend driver comes to us from Lake Dallas, a city located in the Lone Star State of Texas. Born the oldest of three children and raised in Chicago, Illinois Stephen Lasley didn’t make the venture down south until after his junior year in high school. Wanting to live with his father, he didn’t anticipate the many changes that would accompany the move.
The surroundings that Stephen had been familiar with his entire life were no longer a security blanket: his siblings, school friends, the neighborhoods; he had to begin a new life in an unknown area far away from all that he’s ever known. Adding to the circumstances, Stephen’s father was a full-time truck driver which meant he was out on the road for extended periods of time. Trusting that everything would work out and remaining hopeful, he welcomed the challenge of settling into place. Being a natural athlete, he excelled in sports such as; football and track & field, which helped make the process of switching schools a bit easier. As adults, we aren’t particularly fond of change, but as a young teenager it was Stephen’s fearlessness that allowed him to adjust to change smoothly. Over time, that same courage in his younger days developed into heroism and bravery, leading him to become the military veteran we know today, with a background in law enforcement.
Originally, Stephen’s intentions were to pursue another avenue. After high school he continued his education earning a Bachelor’s Degree as an electronic engineer, only to realize that he was meant to work a less stationary job. At the age of 23 he enlisted in the military, joining the United States Air Force Police. His extent of travel went international, sending him overseas to Greenland, Turkey, and Japan. Following his time in the service, he continued along the same practice by landing a jailer position at a Sherriff’s Department upon returning home to Texas.
His ever-changing lifestyle as a professional truck driver has in many ways mirrored the way of life Stephen represented as a military officer. The code of conduct to succeed in both worlds are immensely stern. The amount of self-discipline cannot waiver, and constant temperance is needed along with the ability to remain strong-willed, but with a level head. He gives respect often, while pride is displayed through action and his quality of performance. It’s important to Stephen that his work ethic in all facets represents his character: honorable, above satisfactory, and worthy of praise.
In 2010, Stephen joined the driving force of BCT, Inc. a PCA transportation company. Running as an owner operator, he currently pulls dry van over the road for their Louisiana terminal, based out of DeRidder. What initially attracted Stephen to BCT is that they are a military friendly trucking company. The commitment and effort towards inviting military veterans into the trucking realm is offered through their incentives and programs geared towards helping acclimate the process of establishing a career as a skillful driver, as well as, assist in the growth of their drivers’ future for the long run.
“Here with BCT, the atmosphere at the terminal is great! If you need anything, they help you any way they can. Our home-time is awesome and there is no forced dispatch. Also, they’re very flexible. Meaning, you can make as much or as little as you want. Everything is up to you. Most importantly, they provide room to grow.”
As of right now, Stephen owns two trucks and is considering adding one more to Lasley Trucking, Inc.; eventually retiring from driving, but continuing to manage the business with all three trucks on the road. However, that’s years down the road. In the meantime, he’s on a regional route running through the southern states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. With 3 million miles under his belt over the course of 15 years, Stephen has no intention of slowing down. He says, “This job is my livelihood, so I take it personal.” That passion and sense of urgency to perform at the best of his capability was the same fire that his father rendered through his dedication to trucking.
Being a second-generation trucker, Stephen’s curiosity to know more about the business wasn’t as well-received as he had hoped for in his earlier days. Both of his parents tried to steer Stephen towards any other profession rather than trucking, simply due to the demanding responsibilities that come with the territory. Stephen’s father dedicating over 35 years to the trucking industry, but struggled to get his trucking career off the ground as an owner operator. For Stephen, his father’s untimely death at the early age of 53 awakened an eager desperation he felt that he needed to fulfill. Every mile mark and accomplishment Stephen exceeds, he does so in honor of his late father. “When I was younger, because my dad knew how hard the job was, he wanted a different life for me. But ultimately, he is the reason I’m able to do what I do today, and why I push myself so hard to prevail. He was an extremely hard worker with a work ethic like no other! He taught me to always be courteous and he never believed in being late, not for anything. I learned a lot from him, how to map everything out; from where and when to fuel, and how to keep everything documented. He was very knowledgeable, that’s where I get the gene of wanting to share what I know so I can help others become better. How he impacted my life is the reason I try to make up for what all he was cut short from achieving. By making sure that I succeeded as a company driver, then as an owner operator, and continuing to keep his legacy alive through the milestones I strive to reach each day moving forward is my dedication to him,” Stephen explained.
Where Stephen started his driving career was the perfect fit for what he was looking for in a trucking company. Immediately hired on after driving school, he promised to stay on for one year, but remained with them for eight years. Based out of Fort Worth, Texas he pulled refrigerated freight to areas totally opposite of where he operates now; up to Colorado, then over and down the east coast and back to his home state of Chicago before returning to Texas, often staying out for three or more months each trip. Crossing over from the military into trucking, the lifestyle of having to move around a lot, experiencing different scenery and new faces every day is the essence in what puts Stephen at ease. His sociability thrives because of transition, diversity, and change.
Before trucking became his life’s passion, Stephen’s first love was bodybuilding. The entire concept of a person’s development to reach a mental goal of a desired physique through strength and discipline captivated him. The moment he laid eyes on a magazine that featured a man, displaying his muscularity in prime fashion: flexed muscles in a flattering pose, with a soft expression as if to say, Yes, you too can look like this …Stephen’s obsession with all that bodybuilding entailed began taking its course. He says, “As a young kid I was very little for my age. I remember my auntie had this magazine at her house, I was no older than eight years old at the time. There was this man on the cover and everything about him intrigued me. I told my auntie, I’m going to be one of these guys! I’d get her mop buckets, fill them with water and I’d curl them by the handles like weights. Later, she took me to Toys R’ Us and bought me some water weights to use instead. I kept at it, finding other means of weights to increase the pressure as I grew stronger. I started using cement weights, and by thirteen I was benching 315 pounds.” Stephen carried his love for the art of bodybuilding with him through all phases of his life. In high school, his physical ability was an advantage during sports. He continued to improve upon his health and physique while serving in the Air Force, which in turn landed him on a team with the Armed Forces Sports (AFS) program. The AFS is a culmination of military service members including the United States Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps. Stephen seized his opportunity to promote a positive image as a bodybuilder through encouraging physical fitness while representing our country. For three years, he dominated his weight division taking first place in each competition. His final year of service, he went on to win the title, Mr. Japan in 2000.
A year later, while working at the Sherriff’s Department he was preparing for another competition, at the request of his youngest daughter. With three girls in total, anything they asked of him, if possible Stephen was sure to make it happen. The importance of this particular competition was that afterwards, he planned on taking his lifelong dream as a bodybuilder to the next level; competing as a professional. Unfortunately, fate had other plans…
While driving home off-duty, Stephen was struck by a drunk driver. His truck was hit on impact from behind, causing him to plow through a ditch and directly into a tanker truck parked at a gas station that was filling pumps. Thankfully there were no fatalities, however Stephen spent the following week hospitalized with five discs inserted into his neck. He endured three months of physical therapy and the tough decision to walk away from pursuing a future in bodybuilding altogether.
Given all his life experiences, Stephen explains how every high and low point in his past has helped shape him into the man we know today. As a veteran, everything in the military is about learning and teaching. He uses those skills in his current position as a trucker, often relied on as a driver liaison between other drivers and company personnel. When he doesn’t have the answers for someone in-need, he gladly acts as the middle person to seek a solution, continually absorbing knowledge in the process.
Working as a police officer, the importance of treating everyone equal and with respect is a virtue that has earned Stephen the admiration of his friends and family. His ethical principles in which he never ceases to stray away from is what constitutes Stephen as a great role model in a profession undoubtedly known to employee individuals that are willing to put in the time and hard work to persevere. Military veterans are encouraged to consider the many roles that could benefit from the domestication of proficiency in the trucking industry. Stephen touches base on different angles of the business with advice to fellow veterans. Whether on the recruiting side of the desk, or sitting in the seat of a truck, men and women of the military forces are sure to find a purpose in the field of transportation.
For company drivers, Stephen recommends factoring in home-time and their terminal locations before committing to a company. These two pointers played a major part to the success in his driving career thus far. Then, once you have found your niche, stay loyal. As for owner operators, he states that due diligence is key. “Always do your research, don’t make rash decisions, and hold yourself accountable. You must be disciplined in all aspects of the business, mentally and physically,” he said.
Of all areas throughout Stephen’s life that he is best-known for, he wishes only to be recognized as a friend. Someone that anyone can call on for help; a hard worker and knowledgeable driver; a faithful patriot; and an overall noble human being. He’s one of the best in an elite class of professionals who strive to represent a positive image as a truck driver.