Andy Kidd

Interview by
Published on
September 16, 2022

In this episode...

What inspired Andy Kidd to be part of the FreightWorks family? From Northern Ireland, Andy Kidd has been ensuring that FreightWorks promotes safe and effective operations since 2012. In this episode, we will learn how Kidd went from being surrounded by his personal faith to making music around the world; sharing how his life experiences correlate to trucking and logistics and the central truth that safety isn’t “avoiding accidents” but ensuring one understands the consequences for every choice they make. This is the first entry of a two-episode talk with FreightWorks Director of Safety, Andy Kidd. A key part of the interview is the central truth that safety isn't “avoiding accidents” but ensuring one understands the consequences of every choice one makes. Kidd believes that faith is a journey you go through in life -- discerning what is important and how your values change. Do you agree with him? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments below. This is a Life By The Mile Episode, delivered by FreightWorks.

Andy Kidd

Andy Kidd is FreightWorks' Safety Director.


the british army headquarters for northern ireland was just literally a few hundred yards up the road so in our classes you we would hear helicopters coming going all the time i mean i'm talking almost like our next tornado all our towns were barricaded off you couldn't drive a car through the center of town because car bombs were the one of the main weapons used by the terrorists welcome to life of the mile delivered by brakeworks one of america's fastest growing podcasts actually produced by trucks indicted to tell stories propelling drivers i need to do something industry all here right now

this life by the mile delivered by freightworks i'm your uh host butch maltby we are so grateful to have andy kidd with us he's the director of safety at freightworks but we're actually going to do two episodes with him this first episode is going to focus on who he is because you know what here's what we want america to know the trucking and logistics industry is filled with incredible stories of caring people and those caring people are what help you get anything that you pick off the shelf any given day and so andy i i'd love that we're going to be able to have a conversation about your life but i especially love the fact that you and i have been friends yes i was just thinking there um before we started the it's about four or five years four or five years and uh i certainly value your friendship every time i get the opportunity to see you you're always very busy texting on that phone not good if you're a driver but being butch molly it's okay to text not while you're driving so right that's the safety part of you coming out but you know you know what andy what has been so incredible you know i came into this with no background in trucking or logistics i don't have an office except the studio we call it freightworks one and the drivers lounge i go out in this kind of shirt and when the drivers see me they'll sometimes come up and say my my clutch is not working and i'm thinking that i have some authority to fix it which i don't but you know what i love the stories of our drivers and i love knowing that you're like a rudder on the ship for freightworks as it comes to the safety area and we're going to talk about that in the second episode but i really want people to know a rich story about you so let's let me just ask this question how did you get to freight works and tell us a little bit about that story well in a way you've already answered that question for me because when you were saying about you know people talk to you and they you know they don't know what you do or who you are and so they just assume because you've got a certain way that you carry yourself this guy looks like he could help me so that's kind of a little bit the story of my life i've found myself in situations where maybe they couldn't find someone that looked like they could help them and i was all there was so they said can you fix this or what what do i do here and uh whether it was the right thing or the wise thing to do i usually had a suggestion and some of those suggestions appeared to work and maybe i spent 10 or 12 years doing you know what the outcome of that the first thing i of course i went to i went to college where are you from tell people where you're from and you know what i've been to ireland so i i i want you to know the picture is it's not ireland it's northern ireland northern ireland no and i think you've been to northern ireland i have been in northern ireland of course i don't want to get too far into the history but northern ireland is in fact the northern now i can't say the northernmost part because ironically southern ireland goes farther north than northern ireland but um northern ireland that shows your attention to detail well it's not much but i think it's about three miles but um the northern ireland born there uh prior to you know the 60s and the late and born in 54. so um 60s came along everything else that was happening in the world but real what happened in our world was a reoccurrence or uh flaring up of the troubles that had bubbled under for a long time and so my childhood from certainly from in my teens was very influenced by the fact that there was trouble you know some you could say civil war but it wasn't civil war in the sense that most people think of it but there was a a very heavy um very oppressive um

atmosphere that lay over our country my this school for example that i went to i was very blessed very fortunate to go to i attended a quaker school okay um at the society of friends and there was one of those in our town and they were they're a pacifistic sort of bridge building kind of oh yes community right conscientious objectors and um but very influential throughout history william pan william pan actually didn't attend the school that i went to but he visited there i'm not sure for how long but i often remember sitting in what we call the study hall and it was it dated the actual room dated back to 1734. the study hall you were in and william penn had been in there so i often thought you know william pan of course i i wasn't so aware of what the significance of william panite it was just i knew he he did something pretty influential on the other side of what we call the pond pretty influential uh just the west there across the pond yeah so that was there and the army headquarters the british army headquarters for northern ireland was just literally a few hundred yards up the road so in our classes you we would hear helicopters coming and going all the time i mean i'm talking almost like our next door neighbor so we were always very aware of it and of course life uh all our towns were barricaded off you couldn't drive a car through the center of town because car bombs were they one of the uh main uh weapons used by the terrorists and and of course for people that don't know you're you're talking about uh the activities of the irish republican army you're talking about you know the protestant catholic conflicts you're talking about issues related to the queen and britain and uk right it was messy and and people you know without trying to lose track of where we're going people ask me today you know that's all over now isn't it it's not really um it's it's maybe manifesting itself in different ways of course we've got the current we've all been through the last five years if you followed followed british politics at all brexit was the number one thing and the number one issue on brexit was the role of northern ireland and um i don't want to say how i feel about it necessarily but there are a group of people in northern ireland who feel that they were pretty much sold down the river by boris johnson and you know so they they're they're contending with the fact that their their perceived ties or their perceived security within the union with great britain uh isn't what it used to be and um it's very funny i was speaking to my brother a few weeks ago and he said you know you get all this thing on the on the political front where there's you know the the one you know the peace accord that came about in 98 um is regarded as something that people want to maintain above everything else and yet this the community is still very divided so the the accord didn't really get to the root of that but it did settle some things down on the surface but his comment to me was quite interesting was it's actually a time of incredible economic opportunity because you've now got northern ireland which is officially still part of the european union and yet still part of the uk and my brother said you know a lot of people are the business people are saying guys just be quiet we're doing great you know right growing great you know so and perhaps that sort of irony is right at the core of the irish culture well and you know what that's a great segue here for those of you that are just kind of checking in here on the youtube channel this is andy kidd the director of safety at freightworks and you know what i'm pretty sure there's not a more eclectic or erudite director of safety for any trucking company in the country i'm not being exaggerated and saying that he's talking about his background in in northern ireland now now andy let me ask you this so at some point coming out of the bubble of all of that the cauldron of that political stuff you know you're obviously somebody that's bi-cultural at what point did you find yourself on a path that brought you to freight works try not to get lost in the answer but just going back to the previous what we're talking about i went to a quaker school i grew up in the protestant community but couldn't really identify with the extremes on either side why can't we live together and what is so important that we want to kill somebody for that it sounds like a driver's line conversation yes and so um i was very much um open to you know and northern ireland is the last stop on the line there's not a lot of through traffic you know geographically speaking if you live in holland benj belgium france or something like that you get there you meet people you know those those influences can impact and influence your your culture your society northern ireland is the end of the line and i don't mean that in a derogatory sense i just mean there's not a lot of through um traffic so you know we tend to have entrenched positions and um that's part of my character and uh um at times i can you know hold on to the soapbox a little bit longer than perhaps i shoot in defense of the really pure safety message or anything that i particularly feel is important and and as i get older i'm trying to be slower to speak more ready to listen and and trying to feel what is a value in what this person is saying and that and that that of course is biblical and and while we have a diverse community here at great works certainly the founders josh ray farmer and others and the senior people like you are people of faith and so the bible talks about that being slow to speak and that faith is a tremendous thing because uh just the last few weeks and some people my friends have been talking to and into in church coming to the realization that faith is a journey it's not an entrance position it's not a place where you've arrived it's a journey it's the journey is the destination yes you know if you you want to say it's it's if we all had a you know a badge you would say in northern ireland back to northern ireland when we were learning to drive you had to put l plates on the back of your car and everybody knew you were learning to drive you know is that what l meant that's what l meant and then and this is pretty unique i think there might be some other places in the world after you passed your test you got to change the l to an r which was for restricted and you couldn't go over 45 miles per hour and you know everybody kind of give you a wide burst your safety journey was inculcated so early andy i never knew this i'm not sure that i totally you know when they when i could change my l to an r i'm not sure i was really thrilled about that but you know safety or you know survival is all around us um i had an amazing experience i hope i'm not jumping too far but

last year my family we we go on family um vacation george family trips together we went to outer banks of course we visited the wright brothers museum i've been i've had a very strong interest kitty hawk in aviation all my life and it was it was incred it was incredible because what dawned on me there was what was the difference between the wright brothers and everybody else and what dawn and me they succeeded the way i saw it i mean there were character traits they were they persevered they had you know whatever it was personally but one thing that i'd never thought about before was they went somewhere that if they crashed they would have a soft landing isn't that something safety to me i thought very clearly and and they were very they were cautious they were pioneers they were so interesting they were moving the needle you know not just moving the needle they were creating they were changing the world exactly and it all it i don't think it would have happened so quickly or at that time i mean if they hadn't had that approach to it they were very cautious they took you know the benefited from incremental improvements in what they did every day knowing that if this doesn't work out that sounds pretty soft and i'll say i have never i'm a student of history and i have to say this i have never heard that interpretation and but but you know what andy you know what's so interesting to me already in this conversation it's so clear that your life experiences are informing and have informed your role as director of safety like what what does that story you mean to you as it relates to trucking and logistics well you know i and again thinking about my life and looking back on it which you know we as we get older we do more of that than we did when we're younger um when we're you know in our 20s and 30s we think life is going to last forever you know and as you get older you realize that it's not and you know anyway uh i was thinking about how the ability to discern what is important and and and how your values change just going back to northern ireland um the police force because they discovered that the terrorists easiest way to target them was was to have a speeding car and they would follow it and be trapped in an ambush uh in other words yeah so a car fast-moving car goes past them and they get lured into an ambush so for a long time they did not enforce any speed limit so i grew up totally unaware of the speed limits and you know so i i don't want anyone to think that i was a very safe it's really it's really important though for the drivers at frayworks to know that the director of safety believes in speed limits and guidelines yes and but she grew up in an environment where

you know you know trying to tie a little bit together here safety um we all kind of believe as we're younger that we can do whatever we want and the outcomes will always we can deal with it um and uh particularly when you think about safety you know i wouldn't have ever thought of myself as someone who's very cautious and on the contrary i've done a lot of crazy things um including learning to fly but um it's safety is not how you know well you survive bad situations safety is much more of an attitude of weighing the situation this could be if i don't do this i could have a bad outcome rather than just thinking oh i'm a safe driver you know so part of my job is helping people individuals yes we do have a safety program but my favorite thing in the job that i do is like what you do to where i'm one-on-one with the driver and he'll come to me and he'll say you know something you said the other day really struck me and i was thinking about we've connected right we've we've elevated you've got a bridge there yes and you can converse and talk and yeah so um that that's that that it's a strange i never would have envisaged that i would end up in safety you know i out of college i went into the music industry um was a recording engineer record producer and you know in in that era of the 60s sorry the 70 i'm not i'm not i was born in the 60s and grew up throughout the 60s but um the 70s and the 80s were much more you know again pushing at the limits of musical expression the punk the new wave the you know all that type of stuff and andy you you actually know i'm going to say it because you probably won't you know instruments you know pianos for example and and i i've it's been a blessing to watch you from afar do what you do with pianos which is a god-given ability but talk a little bit about how instruments came into your life and and what they what they mean because you're a steward of that just like you are a steward of safety your great works i'm not quite sure you know looking back that you i i certainly never studied anything if i had to say anything about my life i've never really done anything for a significant period of time that i was trained to do and so i've had to learn uh most people call it the school of hard knocks um and certainly i think the lessons learned there are more memorable and they stick with you more readily and form your character perhaps more than a degree or a four-year degree can do and so um after i worked in the music industry and for example you know as a recording engineer first of all it's you know placing the microphones recording you know making sure the levels were right doing all this kind of thing and then you know i started telling people to the musicians well wouldn't we be better to play that this way than do this when they kind of looked at me and they said you play and i would say oh no you know because i i don't see myself as a musician but i could hear things and say well you know that wouldn't that sound better if we change this or something like that and they they always think you're a musician the person behind the people is often the person that's with god's direction most influential andy and so so you're basically saying you would hear something and say hey you know what maybe we could do it this way or that way i i had a seminal moment that i remember according to you one time we had i'm pretty sure it was maybe 20 or 30 members of the london symphony orchestra and who were over dubbing the london symphony well we weren't it was not the la but they were members of session players but you know what that's an iconic symphony and uh they had their their uh arranger there and he had all these huge huge scripts you know and they were all reading off the manuscript and they played through and everybody played according to their notes and uh i listened carefully and i thought there's a wrong note in there seems like it's the cellos or something i said could you just check this i think there's a wrong note in the cellos and i played it to him and he got one through checked out on his paper and i wonder what he was doing he checked out his paper and eventually said and he looked at you're right and he looked at me like so you've been to music college i said i said no i just heard the wrong note that is okay for those of you that are listening this is life by the mile delivered by freight works listen if you've not subscribed to the youtube channel please do that like share engage be involved sandy kid the director of maintenance of freight works and what an incredible insight it's like in the midst andy i'm beginning to see the picture of safety because in the cacophony of that the chaos of that hearing a wrong note and doing something about it is a big part of what safety is about and and drivers you know drivers without getting too much into the character and typical drivers they have some amazing abilities and i have enormous respect for them enormous respect for the life that they are prepared to to to do and yet function still as a person and and put my life and our families lives and everyone's life you know they they are the guardians not only of the food that we get delivered to our table they also to a very great extent shepherd the the rest of the unaware and ill-informed traffic that's out there on our highways a lot of times they have to they have to take avoiding action defensive action which because someone else wasn't paying attention you mean like john q public that doesn't understand it's 80 000 pounds yes you got entrances and exits and no one really thanks them for that you know and i get people calling and i think of a call just a few weeks ago uh a lady called me and said i don't want to complain about your driver i was coming onto the interstate and and your driver and and he didn't move over to let me on and i i kind of listened and i said ma'am so your problem is that you think it's his job to let you on no it's your job to merge and yes it's working together you know yes if my driver can help you doing that but he doesn't have to stop his truck to let you on because that's a much more dangerous thing than you managing the the intersection that or the you know the merging people isn't it true andy so many just regular drivers don't understand the machine what it takes to stop 80 000 pounds right i mean they're you know brake checking a truck and i mean it's we we really need to jerk people up don't we to understand better just you know a car to come into a stop in response to a situation at 60 miles an hour it's going to be two to you know almost 300 feet with the reaction time and then the actual braking time 300 feet it's way beyond that for a truck although technology has is very much coming to the rescue here because i was in a truck um at a demonstration of some new technology that's coming out with bendix a few weeks ago at the charlotte speedway and we were traveling 57 miles an hour in a truck that weighed roughly 60 thousand pounds with its load and everything and from when the driver applied the brakes we were at a dead stop in 149 feet that's incredible i was seat belted i was strapped in like a test pilot you know but it it it was amazing you wouldn't want to do it every day but you know that technology but it's possible it's getting exactly yes and on and you know and we'll also get into right and in the second episode that we'll do together by the way folks this is uh andy kidd the director of safety at freight works so we're going to have a subsequent uh episode talking more about the details of this but let me let me go back to the human side of this for a minute andy you actually from your life experiences are now able to apply all of this you know about guitars too talk about that quickly well i was uh when i was uh coming out of or wanting to transition from being recording engineer and producer i had my own studio in belfast in the early 80s mid 80s and i had of course i traveled a lot in the world i traveled i had worked in america i'd worked a lot in scandinavia i'd lived in scandinavia and worked with a lot of great musicians there when i moved back to northern ireland and i had a relationship with my my wife and we got married and working with musicians who wanted to start at seven in the evening and work to four in the morning wasn't really what i thought the future should be and i'd been doing it for 12 years so at that time took really a year off and i drove a van a panel van for a friend of mine for i think about 100 bucks a week and i loved it it was great you know and i have i didn't always take the shortest route from a to b because if i found out that if you know i didn't have to be there to two o'clock and i could take a different route through the mountains and get there i enjoyed that for a year long story short i ended up doing television for a little while and while i was doing that um found out and had a relationship with george louden very well known in guitar builder and was having problems with this company eventually it went into receivership and i got together with a group of friends and we took that over and i did that for 10 years so i learned at that stage a lot about woodworking doing something to an incredibly high level um i learned a lot about that and i was the finance director i was the marketing director i was the person who did everything and so that was a tremendous experience that really i would never have done that had it not been for the relationship with george lowden i i literally went to some friends and northern ireland didn't have a lot going for it and whenever that company was faced with actually gibson guitars wanted to take it over and i knew that it would disappear they were after the intellectual property and that and it would disappear and so i felt northern ireland cannot afford to lose live guitars and i no idea that certainly didn't think that i would end up directing it but i did and did that for 10 years and that's actually how we came to america which was our largest market and we we provided guitars for some of the most world famous artists which anyway and um so i got banan and even back when i was recording i recorded with many studios where they're beautiful pianos never thought i would ever spend ever become interested in how to piano works tuning it working with it and doing that kind of thing so you never know kind of you look back and you think i never thought i never thought i'd live in america i remember one time very quickly just on i traveled all to the states a lot in those days and back in the 70s and 80s and i remember one time landing at greenville spartanburg yes and you know i stayed on the plane because my final destination was houston or something like that and i went up to the front was talking to the pilots i said so where are we and they said greenville spartan i said where's that never thinking that one day i'd be living within you know 30-40 miles exactly and you know what folks this is this has been an incredible conversation with my dear friend andy kidd who's the director of safety at freight works you know i say this sometimes in conversations the mark of a good conversation is they come to an end quickly and we're about to take our exit andy but you know what we're going to have the opportunity very soon to do an episode two with you and drill down on how your life experiences have influenced you know the 12-string guitar the piano playing all of that is a metaphor for what you're doing with safety and for those of you that want to hear about that you have to like share subscribe to the youtube channel and come back on and and listen again one of my greatest joys is to pretend not pretend forgive me not pretend but but to say i'm like a qvc host and i get to give you a gift and we've got a minute and 30 seconds to do that and uh so growing up in northern ireland we did not wear ball caps and my family have any time i put a ball cap on they look at me and go there's something about your head that just doesn't work with a ball cap so okay all all right all right so so listen for those of you that are from northern ireland that wear ball caps please forgive my friend andy's comment it's okay for you but uh we got this genuine yeti mug of course it's got the life of the mile logo on the front it's got the freightworks uh logo on the back this is freightworks one studio we're so excited by the way by uh god's provision of these new peterbilt trucks and the drivers and keeping them safe is the terminal responsibility of uh andy kids so we want you to have have that andy and you know what i'm looking forward and it works great with hot tea okay it works great with hot tea and when we we have you on next which is going to be soon we'll figure out a way in the conversational interchange to talk about tea which i know you're probably an expert in this my young grandson who's 18 months old one of his first words i think in the next few weeks would be he already knows hot and tea and i think he's going to put them together together with kappa there we go is life by the mile delivered by freightworks andy kidd the director of safety we're so grateful that you keep coming back make sure you like share and subscribe twice a week we believe it's the fastest growing podcast delivered by a trucking company and we're blessed because of you thanks for watching this episode you know life by the mile delivered by freightworks is one of the newest largest and fastest growing podcasts actually produced by a trucking company now we want you to like and share this episode if you'd like to see more episodes click here and make sure that you subscribe to this channel by clicking here we'll see you there


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