Imagine this: you’re on the road, looking to safely make it to your destination. As you drive well within the speed limit, a vehicle comes speeding out of nowhere to cut you off. Then as you prepare to make a wide turn, another vehicle doesn’t give you as much space as you’d like, delaying you as you try and make that turn. And after sitting through heavy traffic and driving non-stop for hours, you are greeted with “what took you so long?” instead of “thank you very much for your hard work!” For driver manager Kevin Stone, it is important to BE KIND when working with truck drivers. As their 24/7 connection to everything else, Kevin wants FreightWorks’ drivers to feel that they have someone they can always call or message for anything, whether it’s a concern with their truck, a question about work, or to just talk to as they power through the long haul.
Kevin Stone is one of FreightWork's Driver Manager.
sometimes people may see a truck driving as being um big money or whatever but when you look at it then the sacrifice they make and what they have to go through every day I have a lot of sympathy a lot of empathy about the compassion and I try to work with them because um by and large they keep our economy going welcome the life of the mile delivered by freightworks one of America's fastest growing podcasts actually produced by Trucking indicted to tell stories compelling drivers I need to do something Insight like Industries all here right now this light by the mile delivered by freightworks I'm your host Butch Maltby and you know what we want to make sure that you like share and engage with our YouTube channel it's really important that you do that it's the way that we grow the audience and bring on exciting guests like the person I'm going to talk to Now Kevin Stone Kevin I'm so grateful you're a driver manager at freightworks and listen don't leave this podcast okay you're going to hear some insightful interesting things about his life and the way freightworks supports drivers so I'm so glad you're you're here you know it's hard to get folks that work to sit in that seed yes it is hard it is hard it's pretty busy out there um and uh my name is Kevin Stone and it's an honor to be here to share whatever you want to share whatever you want to hear great now Kevin I'm going to ask you this question because people will probably text and say he doesn't sound like he's from North Carolina where where did you grow up and where are you from I was born in Kingston Jamaica I grew up in Kingston for a while then I moved to a town called May Pen in a parish of Clarendon okay and I was there for most of my young life and then I moved to um after many Journeys to New York City okay I'm from New York City here in good North Carolina right so so like New York City like New York City Manhattan sure sure I I I I I know I know it well I used to say at the Helmsley hotel at 44th Street my dad was born in the Bronx and uh new friends at Bronx High School science and you know New York is incredible now listen you're a driver manager and we have drivers and we have people that are interested in transportation and Logistics that watch these podcasts and then we have folks that are here with the company what does a driver manager do well what I do what I consider myself is an advocate I'm an advocate for the truck driver I primarily are looking for his or her's interest so I've done everything from making sure the laundry is taken care of to where to make sure that their loads are there to make sure if they have any emergencies to contact their families I am their connection to the outside world per se whatever they need they call me and I say all right let me see how I can help you and I will if it doesn't end here I connect it to who needs to go to and I I'm there to help them and they can call me anytime that is that is so good now how many drivers are you responsible for I'm right now I'm responsible for 16 drivers okay and and what kind of routes do they run mostly um we call it decam the eastern regional side people what DCM is dedicated kimors okay so that's like most of my routes are like between golf ports to um Carlisle it's on the east coast Carlisle Pennsylvania yeah and um in between so then we go to Morristown Florida most of the Eastern region that's what I do okay and and what does commerce do they're mainly manufacture paint you know like um so most of our products contain ingredients that are used to making paint so we just we transport that okay and and so your drivers probably need to have a Hazmat doesn't it yeah sometimes but most of what I transport what I manage does not require Hazmat but um some of it does but a lot of it do do not so oh yeah it does come in handy a lot of times to have your Hazmat certification okay now let me let me ask you this question how did you come to freightworks I know there's a long and evolved story and you know we often say this to people our life of the mile freightworks is a very diverse company and there are people of faith and people that have no faith and people that are Searchers and the like of course the management and the founding is built on God's unshakable word it's a Biblical foundation and I know you because you're my friend as a person of Faith so you need to feel free to share when I ask this question how did you come to freightworks how you came well that's a very interesting question because um my background actually is science right I have a bachelor's in chemistry and I actually was working in Pharmaceuticals before I came here yes and during covet and it got very hard and and um initially when um I think my wife asked me um what about working at freightworks and I at first I said nah no there's no test tubes there no that's not my my my field but you know I inquired a god and I felt like it was at the time I had I was laid off by the company and they even they called me to come back and I felt no I felt like it was a will of God for me to come here and I've thoroughly enjoyed it because I consider myself a minister and I with these my drivers that I have they're not just a number it's like a little church it's a little congregation and I'm here to serve them I'm a servant for them so whatever they need and they call me they and they call me at night they call me while I'm a house and I talked to them and many times they know what they're doing they've driven for years but they need someone to talk to and I'm I'm there that's what I'm here for right right now now Kevin let me let me ask you this when you think about your drivers and what you deal with when they call in a lot of people in the marketplace don't realize the stress and the struggles that drivers go through can you paint a picture take as much time as you need okay about what a driver may deal with every day I must say before I became my driving manager I was not aware I mean because I had family members who had trucking companies too my uncle but when consider yourself like when you when we had coveted and you were at home by yourself you were um in quarantine and if I think if I drive I have a truck being the truck by himself all day long the whole day the whole day long like somebody being insulted a confinement that's think about it sometimes it's hard unless they have a good support group that they can talk to they can call and and while they're driving and keep them in touch it's emotionally very hard so excuse me it's a lot of times with drivers I've come to understand that you're on the road and what happens a lot of times on the road people are not considering this is big truck that is cut in front of them they cut them off and they you you're talking about like your average John driver the average driver yeah I don't care yeah I don't care that's big truck and people don't consider them that if they're going to turn they need to have more room right so they have to put up with the majority of people not being aware that hey this truck might need some more room that's hard this truck might need this and they they get treated pretty badly and then when they go to the shippers a lot of this um the shipping offices are not very kind they're not very connected but that's the deal with the the the crowd all day long and it's it can be trying at times so when they're driving it's it's very stressful when they go to a shipping or receiving it's very stressful and they have to find time to and to make that law through a lot of construction it seemed like everywhere you go is Construction and then the truck might not be Flawless you might have a little hiccup where it breaks down here and there and they have the pressure of being there where they have to go on time so by the time they call me it's all there it's all built up and they call me and a lot of times I just listen and then I do try to say hey take this route or do this or it's okay you'll be all right your safety is number one let's make sure we take care of all that and so it's people don't realize and then being away from their family yes to me that's the toughest thing you know you could have a they have a family who's sick or just miss their family or little children or children yeah so it's not but they're making a sacrifice to provide for their own for their families so I respect that I do respect that so when they it's sometimes people may see a truck driving as being um big money or whatever but when you look at it then the sacrifice they make and what they have to go through every day I have a lot of sympathy a lot of empathy a lot of compassion and I try to work with them because um by and large they keep our economy going they do I mean without them it would be a total wreck in our economy and then made a sacrifice to for a country for us and sometimes so when they call on the phone and they're like I understand I'm not listening and most of the time by time they're done we're all buddies again with talking and everything is fine just they have a lot to deal with and and you're there
Minister a friend a brother whatever they need that's it you know what Kevin at some point early in your life you may have prayed a prayer God make a minister out of me and if you didn't you you did later in life and now you've got a Ministry because it really people don't realize that if America's Truckers all decided to have a bad week a little bit is that our economy and our country would have a bad year all it would take is every trucker in America saying this is not a great week for me I'm just gonna not move anything and to catch up from all of that and and people don't realize that don't do they they don't realize that they don't realize how important they are to our economy I mean and they don't realize how they are important to truckers because sometimes one smile or have a good day sir can mean a whole and make their day and you know so we we can't take nothing for granted so I don't take that for granted I in the past I used to but know that when I'm in it now and I can see from the inside because I used to work in shipping and receiving in other companies when I worked before yeah so you're like where's this truck what's going on you know but now I can see a ton of things could happen between here and there sure you you got you got weather you've got mechanical issues you've got traffic right you've got you know truck drivers are human women and men and they get sick sometimes you got shippers receivers you got company you got all of that and uh you know I used to have an office right there around the corner from where you are and I told Joyce the VP of operations I said you know what I want to be closer to where the drivers are yeah so I miss being over there but I would look out my little office and sometimes all of you driver managers everything would be calm and then all of a sudden everybody was dealing with a situation can you talk about that talk about how you deal with your other colleagues and Driver managers well you know we're all one big family we're in that room right there and it's good it's good because I like it because you can hear what's going on over there and what happens with that driver will affect my driver what happens with because he might be having a delivery to the to the to the terminal that my driver picks up so if his truck breaks down and then it makes my guy gonna be late for his delivery and I over here like so so what's going on what's going on tonight we all jump in and try to fix and we all like brainstorm so you're a team we're our team we all work together so we all try to break some oil oh your driver my driver can relieve yours my driver can pick up for you I can call my driver and see if he can rescue that load for you so we're all like a when some when the whistle goes off we always we jump in and of course most people here at life of the mile don't know that you're physically right next to yourself you're like you're like the FAA Tower at LaGuardia or JFK airport and you're all right in there together right managing all your your drivers do you help each other when you have a problem oh yeah like I said I'm like if like like today on one driver call says oh this road is blocked standstill traffic can't move so then I I notify whoever is in and then all the drivers that are going in that direction we can notify the hey don't go there take a detour that road is blocked so we can all the spread the the news all the way out to help everybody or like a driver go to uh a receiver and it says hey we got 200 trucks here it's going to be two hours before they get loaded just be ready when you came with a sit and wait I'm not gonna then we can tell the driver hey you're going to be in there but it's gonna be a long wait because this truck's there and it we that's why it's like a hub so we can just relay information and if something gets to where nobody can and we say hey Joyce this is what's going on and she will jump in and that's all of how it is so good and you know what folks I want to make sure you know this is life by the mile delivered by freightworks I'm your host Butch malpe this is Kevin Stone he's a driver manager make sure you hit that subscribe button you know what we also want to make sure you know this if you're a driver and you work for another company we never disparage other companies never but if you're considering the possibility of finding a new home this is a great place so reach out to us reach out you know it is folks like Kevin are just a different expression of what the company is all about you know we're not perfect but we're committed to be as good as we can be and we very much support drivers Now Kevin let me let me ask you this when you look at the drivers you manage they they're diverse right talk talk a little bit about that yeah like um they're like I have one driver who's he was here yesterday so let's go go for lunch comes to find out he is back on he is a a chemist in his he's from his own country he was a chemist in his country and he works
yeah yeah science and stuff yeah then I have another driver he was um he was a preacher at one point you know I mean it was a minister himself so we could connect it up everybody has different backgrounds and one guy he does he just likes to fish and Hunt he's from left in the country so we have all different backgrounds and I can one good thing about I mean I've traveled a lot I've been from Jamaica to Canada my wife is Swedish I've been to Sweden we're gonna come to your family in a minute yeah so so but so it helps me to be able to relate to almost every background and everybody is different some guys when they call me some guys are like I said No Nonsense they don't want to talk too much um hello Kevin what's my load what's my number bye talk to you tomorrow that's it they're just like while some guys some guys some lady still once called me say how was your day how was your family I don't talk a little bit and I talk with them just to get to know them so it's very diverse everyone is different and it makes it interesting I believe it doesn't make it boring really because you don't know what to expect when when you were growing up when you were growing up uh did you play with trucks no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no it's okay no when I grew up my mom would tell you I was in the kitchen mixing things together making sure you were yes you would tell my friends he was always doing something or uh in Jamaica would make her own toys you know we didn't have like here we just get up and make a little carton be down the road or find a tire somewhere so we did I didn't have the um the things the same same kind of flow with it that that others do yeah it was a lot different at some point God put it on your heart that you were to be here yes he did he did put him because then I mean when the I I really inquired God and I really prayed and I felt like I said God I feel like it's your way for me to be here and it's not further not for the money is not from anything but for the fact that I felt like God says for a season for a Time be here and this is what you're gonna do so I really it it helps me to learn God have a relationship with him and with those around me with his people I've made some great friends since I've been here I mean and even some of the truck drivers who have moved on to other companies still call me and they still say Hey Kevin how you doing on there ask me about and I still talk with them because we become friends so is is is it's it's Way Beyond just being like a a driver manager you I mean you become friends what what are what are the things you know we often have conversations I do with people and they'll say what makes freightworks different if you were to explain to potential employees potential staff potential drivers what makes Freight Works different what would you say to me what makes us different is that we're a family number one another driver is another number or just a name and I've had drivers that said to me there's one driver that told me that the company here worked for before he spoke to his driver manager once in six months oh yes not here you can call at least once a day even if nothing is wrong I said Carl said how you doing what's going on with you watch it flow do you when do you want to go home I make sure like home time is very important very important to all of our drivers and I make sure if with all my ability to make sure you have time to go home and when I say you're gonna go home you're going home because I spoke with many drivers that say you know my other companies that would um not have me go home when I could and they try to I sit out here here we're honest and if something does come up we can say hey this is what happened this is what happened but we're honest with our drivers we treat them like human beings and that and they make good money too and uh so we're here we're also here to make a living so and so so there exactly and you know I've talked to so many drivers and it's and it's just clear the company wins and the driver wins when your load is moving right take care of them and they'll take care of you exactly and so when people uh are committed to work hard and get the job done freightworks is a great place for them to come to is it right I mean I've told them many times I do appreciate what you do now sometimes you're like what I said oh yeah we I appreciate what you do thank you so much you did a great job I'm not just and if they do make a mistake I will say Hey you could have done this better you could learn it this way but also when they do something good I say very good job so I mean so in terms of I I don't I have not worked with many other companies I've heard about them from the driver's account but I can say this much here you're you're treated like a human being with respect and um and they play well too Kevin what are the things that you think make for a good driver manager what what are the characteristics and the qualities that you try to bring to bear every day when you're dealing with drivers because you know it's the company as freightworks gross we're going to get more driver managers so what are what are the things you've seen that help build that bridge with drivers well I mean as I said you know this was not my primary background and I've learned a lot I'm coming from the lab to here was a major jump but I know what I've learned and I'm continually learning is one to listen you have to be first listening to what you're driving and when you say listen you mean really listen listen not just go through one ear to the next you'll listen to what they're saying then you respond and you you do address their needs what they tell you don't just ignore us oh yeah yeah you listen and two along with listening you empathize in a sense where If a driver says hey I'm tired or this will happen you just say okay okay your next load is this no no you're tired how can I help you do you want to rest how can we figure how can we reschedule this thing so make sure so your safety is number one so one thing I learned from me big thing listen and two um being from Jamaica too I speak a little fast sometimes so I've learned to slow down so so they can understand me I have to make sure they can understand me that we're on the same page because sometimes uh we can't get a little mix up because I say something which in my mind is clear but well and and because I know that you're a brother of faith and I am as well there's a scripture in James that talks about being slow to speak and swept it here yes right yes so that's probably a good verse for Bible not Bible managers but driver managers yes isn't it it is so yeah you'd be you'd be slow to speak listen and slow in speaking and you hear what they're saying because sometimes you both can be saying the same thing but it's not communicated right and it can be an explosion to use can you can you tell on the phone sometimes when a driver is just really weary yeah and I can tell and I can tell I'm sometimes no I think it's time for you to take a break and go home and I tell them sometimes I think it's time for uh some home time and we talk about it and they say okay uh a lot of times they will agree so okay so let me go home this time I can tell I mean they want to help you out and and it's good that they want to help and be a blessing but sometimes you guys say Hey you know something you you you're a little tired and I'm looking for them and I ask them I might just say you know oh when is your next home time and that they they kind of get a
and it's amazing when they've when they know that you're looking out for their home time they know you're not they're just caring about the load or caring about getting this there that they care about them as a person you know Kevin I've had so many drivers around the corner here in the driver's Lounge courses freightworks one Studio that we're in who've told me they come from companies where they felt like a number and I've even had people show me pictures of trucks that were in bad shape and the driver managers or whomever at a company told them you just need to keep driving and we're not that way we really care about can you explain why you believe freightworks cares about our drivers well
I had a driver um well um it was here yesterday and I just thought I just took him out to lunch The company took him out to lunch and he was just floored by that just I'll take but he on the road got sick and you know we could have said I would just go home but instead you know there are the the owner and I mean Josh really went under the way to to take care of him yes all his expenses while he was sick take care of him and I was with him yesterday and that's unheard of and most companies don't do that and right he right now um he'd do whatever I asked him to look at he's so appreciative right now that we took we asked him what do you need if he had a family and make sure we could get him if if we have to rent a car whatever it took to get him home or to get him get him care and not just say go home or whatever we took the chance we took the opportunity to make sure all of his needs were met and that happens all the time and and uh when the truck breaks down and if if they're going to be sitting for a while how can we help you can make it yourself can we get you home can we what can we do we always we always try to look up for their needs and that's and that's the atmosphere or owner and and Joyce or VP all of them have set they have set their the stage for that and it's and so it's easy to do that you know and I and I respect that and it's extremely unusual in an industry that unfortunately views too many drivers women and men as as Commodities yeah you know what Kevin the I I say this on every single podcast pretty much the mark of a great conversation is they flow easily and they end quickly and we're about to have to take our exit because we're soon to our end but not before even though you work here not before I give you the opportunity I never worked at QVC okay but I'm going to give you the opportunity to get a gift for being here and you know what I'm so grateful that you took time to come away from your desk and your drivers that you're responsible for to be here on life of the mile see our purpose is with this podcast is in part to help new drivers get to know people that they'll work with and it's so hard to really understand the culture of a company unless you meet the people and you certainly certainly are part of the ingredients of what has made this a diverse company so I'm going to give you three options here we've got our freightworks one cap okay and we're in freightworks one Studio we've got our life of the mile cap this of course was a big hit at the Mid-America truck show which by the way had more drivers and people a million square feet of uh of exhibit space it was it was a lot of stimulation for me so we've got those two options and then of course Winter is right around the corner and we've got our life of the mile cap with that leather embossed uh logo there so which Kevin we're not going to have to you want this one yeah you know what I could tell I could tell by the way you were looking at it and you know what folks I'm gonna I want to say this to you you learn a little bit about a person by the gift that they pick out this is really nice by the way we had the last person one of the last people that picked this out is a dear friend TJ oddgerson he's in Downers Grove Illinois he's a fire chief oh and he was talking about the relationship between emergency medical workers and fire departments and truck drivers and how they often work together so anyway you're going to be able to go back in there to the drivers uh management area and and have that you know it's really been a joy it's been a pleasure to have you and you know what I tell all of our staff it's just a conversation you know Butch I'm the director of communications I'm the podcast host you know mostly I'm just somebody that's a champion for the company and I love everything that you and all of your colleagues do to make a difference with these drivers that we have who are part of our family this is life of the mile delivered by freightworks I'm your host Butch malpe Kevin Stone here he's a driver manager he is a reflection of the diverse culture and backgrounds that we have at freightworks we don't do it perfectly but we're working hard to be as good as God will allow us to be you can be part of this team if you're a driver and you're interested go to our website get online subscribe to our podcast two times a week and we also have shorts as well and in the middle of all of that if you find your way to this freightworks family you're going to find your way to delightful people yeah Integrity driven people like Kevin Stone I'm so grateful that you came today I am so grateful too I'm honored to be here great have a blessed rest of the day you too thanks for watching this episode you know life by the mile delivery and fastest growing podcast actually produced by trucking company now we want you to like and share this episode if you'd like to see more episodes and bring out the gift and make sure that you 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