CREAM OF THE CROP…Stephen Lasley

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.

SECOND CHANCE…Leniel Kimble

I’m beyond moved by the persistence and heart-felt adoration this Legend driver conveys. His inspirational life-story tugs at my heart strings, while his sincere tone and southern charm warms my soul. The cordial answer, “Yes ma’am” was repeated often, reiterating his genuine mannerism.

Our interview with Leniel Kimble, 28-year veteran truck driver from Louisiana, encompassed many highs and lows, impactful memories from his childhood, and the untimely loss of loved ones. Choosing to share his testimony with our reading audience is as powerful as his ability in the fight to live the life of his dreams after facing life-threatening health complications.

Leniel grew up in a rural community where he embraced the country lifestyle. The Kimble family raised chickens, while cows and horses roamed the surrounding pastures. His father, Walter gifted him his first horse at the age of three which sparked his love of riding that later advanced to motorcycles, then onto much larger vehicles. Both of his parents were extremely hands-on with a strict work ethic that was to be followed suit by nothing less than expected. Walter made a career as a construction laborer, while his mother Lucy worked around the clock cooking and cleaning; caring for their full household. Though the ages of the Kimble kids were spaced up to twenty-three years between the oldest to youngest, they were an extremely close-knit family brought up on the true meaning of hard work. Each child was responsible for pitching in on their share of chores and look after one another. No matter what situation a family member faced, they handled everything together, as a team. Fully supportive, kind, and loving. Just as their parents had shown them.

Two of Leniel’s brothers drove trucks for a living. So, naturally he caught the bug, as well. In fact, his earliest memory of trucking dates back to when he was eight years old. He had a brother that drove log trucks and would let him ride with him sometimes. That feeling of peace that only truckers can relate to, never officially went away. I’ve been told there is something about driving a truck that gets in your blood and only grows over time…

In 1983, Leniel graduated high school on a Wednesday, then immediately landed a job working for a Division of the State that following Friday. A year later, he obtained his chauffeurs license to operate a dump truck. He then began driving part-time for a friend that owned a small company, pulling tanker. By the age of 24, Leniel began his career driving a truck and has since accumulated close to 3 million life-time miles.

Over the course of twenty-seven years with the state, Leniel’s job completely merged into transportation which led him to school to earn his license as a mechanic. Before retiring in 2008, Leniel spent the last seven years as their shop foreman. At the time, he and his brother went into business together and purchased a truck to haul grain for local farmers. Only able to drive part-time, Leniel eventually grew enough business to venture out on his own. With twenty years of experience driving professionally, in 2009 Leniel went on the road full-time establishing L. Kimble Trucking, LLC.

Let’s rewind a bit, because there is one major obstacle that Leniel had to overcome before achieving his dream of starting his own business. At the height of his career, instilled with all the education and in-sight possible, from how to pull every type of trailer to the maintenance to keep one in play, fate intervened. In 2007, after adhering to his intuition Leniel went to the doctor for an explanation as to his recent symptoms: dizziness, confusion, and one side of his body felt irregular. His body’s signs were met with the news that he had suffered a stroke.

Leniel let the news sink in and was somewhat relieved to finally have answers. Not knowing while waiting to receive a diagnosis can be the scariest stage. For Leniel, the worst of his condition came two weeks later. Another stroke.

Just when Leniel was at his darkest moment, the stroke had taken his vision. Ultimately, causing him to lose his license; along with all that he had spent his entire life building. Eight months into recovery, Leniel’s eyesight slowly began to return. He speaks in more detail on the emotional journey to regaining his health.

“That was rough for me, because I thought I was going to have to sell everything. And the most haunting part was accepting that I was never going to be able to drive a truck again. But, the good Lord took care of me! I started to improve and with the help and care of my family, I found my way back. I had to take a ton of tests before I was able to start back driving, but my business is bigger now than before I was sick! At one point, I thought my career was over. You can’t imagine how hard that was to swallow. This is my life… driving trucks and working on them. It’s what I love to do! I’m so thankful for the chance to keep doing it still today.”

Shortly after his reinstatement, Leniel found a project that he was able to pour his heart into. With all the grief, sadness, then happiness and excitement from the rollercoaster of emotions, Leniel wanted to take advantage of this second chance. Channeling the passion that was once taken from him, leaving Leniel in an unknown place of vulnerability, he started with a 1985 Peterbilt 359. He stripped it completely down, and totally rebuilt it again from the ground up. Five months later, Big Mama hit the road.

Leniel didn’t stop there. On to his next creation, Blue Diamond. A 1987 Peterbilt 359 dark blue with light blue stripes. Both trucks have been featured in magazines, with one making its debut in a calendar. Leniel enters his trucks in various shows and has taken home several awards, but he states that his trucks will always be working show trucks. Trucks that he takes great pride in. He may have been the one that rebuilt the trucks, but those massive vehicles in return, rebuilt his hope that this is the path that he was meant to be on. He says, “No matter where I go, I always get compliments on my trucks. That makes me feel good when people talk about trucks and mention mine, considering as old as mine are. It makes me proud knowing that I built them myself, with my eyes.”

Providing his clients with top-notch service goes above the typical quality of work. Leniel considers his craft more along the lines of a personal obligation given of himself, trusted to another person. A promise that he will see to it that the level of service they receive on his behalf goes beyond their expectations. Demonstrating this work ethic is the foundation to his success and continued growth, producing returning clientele and referrals. Growing up, Walter exhibited the same attentiveness in his work. Leniel continues, “My father wanted 100% in everything. School, work, it didn’t matter. He expected you to do your best and never believed in being late. He has been the biggest influence on my whole life, because I’ve been the same way since I was a child.”

Leniel’s trucking career is the outcome of such hard work. You name it, he’s pulled it: tanker, refrigerated, flatbed; the list goes on. He currently has a hopper bottom, end dump, step deck, and a landoll trailer used to haul heavy equipment and oversized shipments. He adds, “…but regardless how committed you are to your work schedule, when it comes to trucking you can’t just like it. You seriously have to love it to be successful at it.” Closing in on three decades of experience in the field of trucking, the amount of knowledge that Leniel has gained throughout his lifespan is limitless. Reserved and humble, he says that it all goes back to the basics.

“Be ready to work. Go in early, work the weekends or holidays. I understand that with families it’s not easy, but proving that you’re willing to put in the time will pay off in the long run.

If you get burned out, take a break. Then, come back refreshed and go at it again. In our profession, it’s all about dedication. How dedicated are you?

And second, you must keep the maintenance up on your equipment. Any true truck driver will attest to that. Faithful and proper maintenance on a truck is as important as air is to our lungs. To keep your business alive, your equipment has to be available and ready.

If you keep everything I mentioned in-line, it’s smooth sailing. Work hard, be on time, and keep your equipment up and running at all times!”

L. Kimble Trucking currently runs regional with six trucks and two additional drivers, prominently throughout Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and occasionally Texas for local brokers, private clients, and several companies direct.

I spoke with one of Leniel’s sisters, Lola and she shared a small bit of her brother’s outlook on life, since his health is back to normal. She says, “After the strokes and having to recover the way he did, Leniel realized that he had a second chance at life. And every day forward he has made the best of each one. All of us are so proud of him and how he represents the Kimble family name. He does so much for our family, the extended family, our community and church family, too. He’s just a good-hearted people-person that enjoys a joy-filled life. And he deserves it! We’re all thankful he’s been blessed with this second chance, just as much as he is!”

As a commendable business man, Leniel presents himself with strong characteristics that are deep-rooted, courtesy of his late parents. He has been a deacon of his church, Zion Travelers Baptist Church since the 90’s where he was originally baptized at the age of thirteen. Aside from work and trucks, he enjoys tailgating during football games in support of his favorite football team, the Jaguars of Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He also likes to travel, RV style all over the south to neighboring states, such as; Alabama and Florida.

Leniel lost his mother in 1996 to breast cancer. Four years later, his father passed. As the years went by, more were diagnosed with cancer, leaving their loved ones devastated and helpless without a way to help. Leniel wanted to make a difference. He banned together with his family to discuss a plan that would provide a platform where people could find a positive support system, and give back to those suffering. He wanted to commemorate the lives of everyone affected by cancer, past and present.

For the past five summers, Leniel and his family have put on a trucking event hosted at the State Capital Raceway, located in Port Allen, Louisiana to raise donations and awareness for cancer. All proceeds go directly to the American Cancer Society. The show titled, Kimble Trucking for Cancer started in 2013 and has grown to feature up to fifty trucks. For 2017 alone, the truck show raised over $12,000 in honor of cancer survivors, loved ones that have passed on, as well as, family and friends that are still in the fight against the deadly disease.

There is no doubt that Leniel’s message is clear: A second chance is never guaranteed. Live your life doing what you love and take care of your family. Life is short and too valuable to do anything less than the two.

WHAT COMES NATURAL…..Mark Andrade

This Legend article features a truck driver that doesn’t come from a long line of ties to the trucking industry. Not a single family member was ever in the business. His father served in the U.S. Navy; the desire to follow in that same direction was held in consideration before choosing a much different path. Both careers granted a similar balance that allowed the men an opportunity to provide a good lifestyle for their families while doing what they love for a living. Mark Andrade bestows a huge level of respect upon his father, stating that it was his strong work ethic and perspective on doing things the right way that influenced his own demeanor and attitude in the way he conducts himself.

Mark takes his position as an owner operator extremely serious, for it’s the nature of the business. When you offer a service, the quality of work provided is a direct image of who you are as a person; as a business professional; and all connections in which support you. His display of skills and serviceability spans over 20 years in the business, with 2 million lifetime miles to date. I asked Mark, what made him chose trucking as a profession. His response elucidated why we feature drivers such as him. “Trucking is what I know. I studied heavy diesel truck repair in college, so my background is anything to do with mechanics… driving a truck is definitely not the easier option, especially being away from home, but it just comes natural for me,” he said. Another valuable lesson passed on from his father: always stay willing to help another. He continues, “This business is tough and can tend to make people less willing to help each other. I was taught to go above and beyond to help anyone that needs help. I do for others before I help myself and I do the same thing for the company that I work with. It’s just the way I am.”

   The amount of effort he ingrains into his work, he also devotes to the people his life revolves around. Mark is an extremely hard worker, dedicated to achieving success; never settling, constantly wanting to improve. At the same time, he understands the importance of maintaining healthy and happy relationships with his family. So, when he leaves out, often for extended periods of time the sacrifice is still present, but supported. Given the occupation and conditions of their agreement, truck drivers are likely to miss out on birthdays, celebrations, and holidays. It’s a part of the job. Although, what is accepted is not always easy.

As a family man, Mark aligns his priorities with home-time at the top of the list. Before joining the DB Kustom Trucks program and going back out on the road, he knew that without the approval of his family the deal would never work.

“I came across a DB Kustom Facebook ad, even though I had been following them for over a year, at that given moment it happened to be good timing. This time I went in depth, checking out the program they offered. I started doing my research on the company, and weighing out my options. I had to get my family and girlfriend, Candice to support the idea before going any further with it. I knew life on the road and with me being away from them would be hard… for them, as it would be for me. It wasn’t long after when I made the first move and submitted my prequalification form.”

Originally from Waterbury, Connecticut Mark’s childhood consisted of the typical family atmosphere, being the youngest of three siblings. Both parents worked full-time, his mother as a nurse and his father owned a liquor store. While still in high school, Mark recalls staring out the window at trucks sitting at a nearby traffic light, thinking to himself how sharp they looked. After high school, he enrolled at Ohio Technical College located in Cleveland, Ohio to pursue a career as a certified mechanic. The private technical college also offers a CDL program that Mark signed up for too. After completing both courses, he opted for the lane he presumed to be more beneficial to his needs. He says, “When I graduated I figured why twist wrenches when I could drive and get paid more right away? Besides, when I got behind the wheel, I took to driving like a fish to water. Again, it’s what comes natural.”

His first driving job was a commercial route running a Peterbilt 357 rear loader as a local trash hauler. For over three years, Mark worked for the family-owned company. Servicing the immediate area only made it possible for him to return home every day and spend time with his family. While working his route, Mark met two individuals that he credits for tuning him into tractor trailers and becoming an owner operator. “When I met Carmen, I connected with him in many ways. My father had always said that you must work for what you want and work hard at it. Carmen did exactly that! I remember thinking that I wanted to be just like him. He owned all his equipment and worked on them himself. He had this old school Peterbilt that he kept super clean… getting to see that classic was a highlight to my day. When I talked to Carmen about becoming an owner operator his answers went back to, ‘…if it were easy, everyone would do it.’ He even told me to go buy a hot dog cart, because I would have less headaches. But like any man, if you tell me not to do something I’m more determined to prove that I can.”

While seriously debating the urge to branch out on his own, another customer of Mark’s was selling his 1998 Peterbilt 379. Mark continues, “It was a dream truck! The specs were perfect, it was purple with ghost flames, and had every bit of chrome you could put on a truck. Unfortunately for me, getting financed to start a new business at the age of 21 with no business experience was nearly impossible. But the banks saying no didn’t stop me either.” Deciding to go over the road, Mark switched companies pulling fuel tractor trailers running hazardous waste to Pennsylvania and Ohio. Living in the truck, steadily on the move resulted in Mark burning out. Unable to pull completely away for long, he purchased a 1994 Kenworth W900B with a 425HP mechanical CAT engine and a 15-speed transmission. “It was my first truck at 22 years old. I had it for years and ran tipper trailer, flatbed, refers and dry vans with it,” he said. With two decades of driving experience under his belt, Mark touches a little on the highs and lows of his trucking career.

“The fact that I have a clean driving record is big to me. Especially considering the areas I travel through on my routes from Ohio and Boston. Knowing that I never rolled over, I haven’t caused any injuries, nothing; that’s probably the biggest part of what I’m the proudest of.

Now the most difficult part of the job, as most would agree, I would have to say is finding the balance between work and your family life. When you’re home, spend that time with them. When you’re away, talk on the phone with them. Stay in communication. It sounds easy enough, but it’s important that you both are comfortable with the situation or it’s just miserable for you and for them.

So yeah, when you are away on the road, don’t just do your job because it pays the bills. You’re basically sacrificing so much to do it, so why not perform your job at the full max potential possible? Give the very best of yourself to the job. And then, when you can, put all of that same effort into your home-time and before you know it everything falls into place.”

   By 2000, Mark was overloaded with errands. On top of running his own trucking business, between bookkeeping and truck maintenance, he also took on a multi-family apartment building, which required more provision than expected. His days were long with little time left for his children; son, Ezra and daughter, Nadia. After a few years of round-the-clock pressure, he sold his truck with intentions to reestablish his direction. As a seasoned driver, it’s normal to consider taking on the whole nine yards, but recognizing when there is an overabundance that is causing more stress than comfort, it’s necessary to react quick. Otherwise, the repercussions backfire.

Mark landed a driving job for a company based out of Connecticut, known as R.E.D. Technologies, LLC. Specializing in transportation and disposal solutions, R.E.D. also provides environmental remediation services and heavy highway site construction. Mark started out as a dump truck driver. Over the course of 11 years, he transitioned through many positions. He says, “I took on the responsibility when it came to purchasing the rest of the trucks. From tractors, to roll off trucks and equipment, I located them and negotiated all the deals. As their logistics specialist, I managed client orders and dispatch while still running my own truck.” Once promoted to management over the waste transfer facility operations, Mark came off the road altogether. Years later, when the company opened a rail transfer facility, Mark handled all the logistics.

He took that experience and improved his overall proficiency. His ability to execute multiple jobs concurrently pushed him to appreciate the technique of running a business. He was ready to venture out on his own again, and DB Kustom Trucks was the perfect fit for what he was looking for as an owner operator. The lease to purchase program that DB Kustom Trucks offer their drivers is:

1.) Select a custom designed truck, complete & ready to drive.

2.)Select a truck under current construction with the option to aid in finishing the design.

3.)Select to build your very own custom designed truck.

Dave and Dan Brown, business owners of DB Kustom Trucks established the program specifically for owner operators to succeed, complete with mentorship, schooling, and all the resources available to ensure each driver is equipped with the knowledge and support to grow their trucking business. With over 50 years combined in the trucking industry, both Dave and Dan are experienced fleet owners that custom design each DB Kustom Truck, along with their creative team, from the interior to its exterior. When an owner operator takes ownership, they also take with them the pride that went into creating their dream truck. Mark says, “I was surprised at how easy it was to go through the DB Kustom Trucks program to get a show truck. Unlike most leases I’ve come across, theirs comes with a show truck that has been rebuilt from bumper to bumper. It comes with a job partnered through a company that just so happens to be the largest bulk chemical hauler in America. There is really no reason not to succeed with their program in place. You make the money you want by the amount of work you choose to do. If you don’t work, you won’t succeed. It’s that simple. They provide all the structure needed, the rest falls on the driver.”

When speaking with Dan Brown, he discussed how Mark was paired with the DB Kustom truck, Mango Tango. “Mark is very determined, he’s a hard worker, and had been a KW fan all his life. He fit the mold of what we look for in an owner operator. He’s confident, has pride in his work, and isn’t afraid to go after what he wants. He’s one of those guys! The Mango Tango was his ultimate dream truck. The 2003 KW W900L has a 6NZ CAT, 18-speed with 550 horsepower, it’s painted Tangerine Over Orange, which is a special three stage paint process. Overall, it was Mark’s dream truck and now he owns it. I couldn’t have picked a better guy to put in it,” Dan said. Mark later suggested that if another driver exhibited the same passion for the business as he did, he would consider purchasing another DB Kustom Truck and slowly grow a small fleet. For now, he is good with concentrating on his one truck and enjoying his off time with family.

Some advice that Mark shares for new drivers that are eager to prove themselves is to not work so hard that the desire to continue fades away. He says, “Don’t burn yourself out, like I did in the beginning. Be sure to take your personal time, go enjoy other stuff besides work. There is more to life than just the steering wheel. And if you’ve been at it a while and you’re already there, take a vacation! Go figure out what’s important. If it leads you back to trucking and it’s just what comes natural for you, slow things down and learn how to enjoy it again.”


   What challenges you, shapes you. When Mark was told that being an owner operator was tough, he admits to underestimating the obligations that go along with the title. He claims that his pride is what has pushed him this far. Pride is self-awareness of your worth; the effort in which to prove value through your actions; or the enjoyment of achievement. Driving a truck is what comes natural for Mark; pride is what drives the man.