Laura Burgess

Interview by
Published on
September 28, 2022

In this episode...

Laura Burgess is a load planner at FreightWorks and as daily professional support for our drivers knows the challenges of balancing the shifting needs of customers, the company, and most vitally the men and women who keep freight moving across our beautiful America. Having an eager heart to listen, problem-solving when required, and ultimately honoring commitments made to customers is her professional path, a daily assignment for her often complex responsibilities. There’s nothing “simple” about freight companies keeping America moving. But there are unshakable values like those expressed at FreightWorks, ensuring every load is lifted and a promise kept!

Laura Burgess

Laura is one of freightWorks' Load Planners


May 2nd I was sitting at home and you know that was like on a Saturday May 4th Joyce calls me at 9 00 a.m in the morning security VP of operations yeah she called me and offered me to work a job on second shift and I was like I think she said to you if you want to pray about it I I may have just gone ahead and said hey I've prayed while we're on the phone let's let's go for this so I was excited Welcome to Night for the mile delivered by freightworks one of America's fastest growing podcasts actually produced by truck indicted to tell story compelling driver story I need to do something Industries all here right now it's like with a mile delivered by freightworks I'm your host Butch malpe and it's a delight today to have Laura Burgess with us she is a load planner for freightworks now before we get into the conversation which is really going to unpack what load planners do among other things we want to make sure that you like share subscribe help us grow this channel we're trying to get to a thousand subscribers the next 45 days you can help us do that so Laura it's hard to get people that are driver managers or load planners or Josh farmer or anybody on the front front lines of the work to come sit in the seat and we're grateful you took a little time away to do that thank you for having me Butch I've been looking forward to it well absolutely all right well let's let's start out by explaining for people quickly what does a load planner do well as the term goes it you plan loads of course I can expound on that by saying you start with where they're going to be you know yeah you have your driver and your truck and my my guys and gals mostly the regional Dole drivers we pick up in Bessemer City which is near Charlotte the Gastonia area so they pick up their loads and they drive third shift pretty much they they uh like 6 p.m they pick them up that that night and as far and then they drive them to somewhere up north like we have a couple of different like three or four different places we go to so a load planner in my instance you know plans what days they start and what days they finish and the loads in between okay and and so to tell but you've got you've got a dedicated account and a dedicated group of of drivers and one of the things we love at freightworks is that we have a commitment to relationships not just transactions and as a byproduct of that we have these dedicated relationships like like Doles so talk a little bit about what dole does I mean people know when they go to the grocery store but explain them a little bit well uh actually actually Dole is mostly packages of lettuce different types of lettuce things put together with it carrots or whatever you want to add in there you know and we they just package those and we have a great relationship with Dole and Misty the customer service there girl that works here for us used to work for Dole so she she has a great relationship with them and so we put our customers you know first absolutely at the top of the list and our drivers understand that Misty's put that into US strongly to make sure our you know we deliver our loads on time we pick up on time I don't know any other way to operate than making sure your loads are picked up making sure they're delivered and making sure the drivers are comfortable with their schedules you know checking on them in between so Dole is an integral part of freight Freight works and we appreciate them a great deal now what what's interesting about the Dole runs is that they're during the night right yes yes can you explain a little bit what that's like for drivers I mean it takes a a different kind of commitment on the part of drivers and yes I'd really like you to just not wax eloquent but describe what it's like to drive during the night I mean some drivers love it others don't can you talk about that well you have to have you know some fortitude to drive nights it's not for everyone but my drivers I'd say my drivers are tough I mean they really are tough they they endure you know driving all night and then when they get to the receiver a lot of times it's like stop and go it's like okay they'll text you your load you need to move to the door they'll call you you know we got your bills and so it's it's a lot of broken sleep so you have to be a special kind of a girl or a guy to to do the dull run to me and they are all tough and they're they've got good spirits all of them are are amazing to me how well they take the run and and they really like it because the thing a good thing about adult also is it's the same every week a lot of the other runs like the comores it's not the same every day every week these guys start out on they say if they start out for instance on Sunday they're back in town like Friday morning they have all day Saturday off and then they go out Sunday night okay so they have like instead of a 34 hour break they make they get like 60 hours and they can plan their appointments their days off because it is the same every week although they drive nights you know they get the same schedule every week which helps a lot now how big is the team how big is that driving team per Dole right right now I have 11 drivers and and they're diverse they're different ages different yeah you have some women I have one lady driver one woman driver on the Dole team yes and she's great she's excellent that is that is so good and and so what would be a typical night for them or describe what they would do well they have to be at Dole no later than 6 00 p.m at night in Bessemer right we try to let Dole know also if they are running a little bit late we try to stay in constant touch with Dole if they have to finish their break or say their 34 hour break isn't up we'll let Joe know they're they'll be showing up at 7 p.m so anytime we have a change we try to stay in touch with Dole let them know so they say they pick up their load it's it's ready it's what we call dropping hook yeah they bring an empty trailer in they drop it they hook to their loaded trailer they're out on the road they may go to to Jessup Maryland Carlisle Pennsylvania Perryville Maryland on their first run of the week it's their shorter run so they'll say like I said they start at 6 PM they may deliver at four in the morning at Jessup they get unloaded they have to say PC to the nearest truck stop so they don't mess up their break because as you know you know there's a lot of rules and regulations with driving you've got to take your break and if you mess that break up because they have to pick up that night again so it's just constant non-stop right it may get empty at four in the morning and that night at you know eight o'clock at night they've got to get their next load or six o'clock at night so they can't mess up their their schedules so you have to learn about hours of service you know how to help them with their clocks manage their time so that's all part of it it's interesting because some of the drivers of course freightworks one Studio here is right around the corner from the driver's lounge and I tell people I used to have a little office over there and it just it wasn't working for me I wanted to be with the drivers so I get to talk to them and uh it's interesting because some drivers like to drive at night oh some absolutely want to drive can you talk about that a little bit because for some it's a prefer third way to go right because there's a lot of pluses to driving at night because there's less traffic there's less like times you have to go through the weigh stations because they're not open as much so that saves a lot of headache you know for the drivers I mean some drivers can do both we have drivers here that they can switch from night to day we have some drivers absolutely cannot drive nights or days they have to pick one or the other but it's you know it's just being up all night and being able to sleep in the day you know basically I mean I've worked night shift when I was here I've done all three shifts so my thing about third shift is it's kind of quiet and peaceful I kind of liked it because of that so I don't know if that's one of their reasons that's one of mine for liking third shift now tell us a little bit about how you came to freightworks well I came to freightworks and I remember the exact day it was May 4th 2020. it was like in the height of covid and the job I was doing at the time just kind of shut down you know where everybody just kind of like got told to stay at home so that was it um of course they were paying like Mega unemployment insurance at time so you know that wasn't a such a bad thing but I'm not one to sit at home and thankfully I mean May 2nd I was sitting at home and you know that was like on a Saturday May 4th Joyce calls me at 9 00 a.m in the morning security the BP of operations yeah she called me and offered me to work a job on second shift and I was like I think she said to you if you want to pray about it I I may have just gone ahead and said hey I've prayed while we're on the phone let's let's go for this so I was excited right and and and what did you when you first came in what did you have to learn I mean uh yeah I had to learn that what is Bob selling what is deadhead because I had no idea what anything there is a whole language there isn't there yes you know you know I tell people I came into this Josh and I talked Joyce and I uh and I had no background in trucking Logistics and there's a whole language right yes yeah so like bobtailing and what bobtail means as for those of you who don't know which you don't have a trailer on the back of you or just you truck and you're driving down the road which feels real different the drivers tell me oh I'm sure completely would be a lot easier you know than having to haul the 53-foot trailer but you know you got to have the trailer to make any money so she's we sat down for a couple of hours and she told me a little bit about it then I went on second shift working with Bill creason yeah and that was a pleasure I learned I was on a week just watching you know but there's nothing like getting in there and getting your own computer getting and set up and jumping into it so I jumped right into it and I've loved it ever since now what's interesting is you got the load planners you have the driver managers and I remember for my short experience of having a little office there things would be just kind of quiet there'd be a lull and then all of a sudden everything was changing everywhere right and uh and so talk a little bit about some of the situations you encounter and and how you get a hold of dealing with them like what would be common things you deal with there's some trial by fire in this job for sure and you learn a lot by you know daily experiences like I've had you know experiences wherein I've you know had a driver that his truck was broke down and I you know I kept thinking it was going to be ready and I I really I learned a lot from this lesson with Dole you don't want to wait to the last minute to know if somebody's truck's going to be ready and it was kind of an intense situation where in the truck wasn't ready in time and it was very stressful from for me and we ended up having to like broke with a load out at the last minute and explained to people what that means because there's some people that I don't know explain what brokering a load means well for instance we have it with our asset side which is our drivers our trucks our trailers they're all usually at all there are trailers anyway well when you don't when you aren't able to get the load covered with one of our Frameworks drivers you we have The Brokerage Department which we pass the load on to them and they have to find a carrier to take that load go pick that truck that trailer up at Dole so it was kind of last minute I learned not to wait to the last minute with things like that because it was very stressful because we don't want to mess up I don't like messing up anything you know and so I learned to like kind of you know if your truck's not ready up three or four hours ahead of time go ahead and give the load over to brokerage instead of wait until 30 minutes before when everybody's like scrambling and desperate right and that affects cost too because you end up having to pay what you wouldn't otherwise right and but it's it's amazing how everybody comes together though because we we made a special channel channel called Dole emergencies on our slack messages and so everybody jumps in Josh gets involved Joyce gets involved and it gets it gets fixed no matter what the problem is it's like everybody gets together and puts their heads together and and it's really it's such an amazing family we have here how everything flows and how everything works together I I tell people you know I wouldn't I wouldn't just be in trucking I would only be at freightworks because it's the it's the family that we have here that makes it what it is and that's why I'm here today we're we're going to talk a little bit about that in a minute can you tell me Laura about the relationship and the interplay between drivers driver managers customer service and load planners how does that all work well it's a final machine I mean it gets you know more grease daily as we all work together but we have the slack message Channel which helps a lot because it's hard to you know it's easier to message people these days than to try to call people it's just so for instance I have a you know a load that needs to be covered or whatever then I might get in with brokerage if I need it covered there and I'll just message them or if I talk to Misty or the or Lindsay or anybody in customer service you know hey I've got I got an they say I've got an extra Dole load you have anybody that can cover it I mean it's just we all work together and then I'll call and see if we have any driver available you have to look at your McLeod board to see what's available so it's all a it's all working together it's kind of kind of hard to explain if somebody asked me what I do like how what is a load planner it's like do you have two hours because it's it's very involved right right and and you have an interplay with other functions but taken together right I've tried to explain to people it's like an ecosystem or like a solar system exactly where all of the different elements are required to ultimately help the the customer get what what what they need right can you talk a little bit about some of the uh things that make for a strong partnership with Dole specifically because one of the things we're going to do in the days ahead is we're actually going to try to get on some of the folks from commercials and and from Driscoll's and other Dole and from other places to talk about how it used to be you would have a customer and an organization a company but now more and more you plan together you work together can you talk a little bit about that well I think one main thing is you got to always not put yourself first like us as the company Freight works you have to really put your customer first you know I learned that from working in Home Improvement store before no the customer was always right no matter what so you might as well just go ahead and let them be right instead of waiting until it gets to the upper management you know that's what I learned back then but they feel that when you put them first and and we really do you know strive to think no matter what they want we're trying to please please them because we want to keep that relationship strong that's that's really that's really good and they've been a customer for a while now right longer than I know because I've you know of course like I said been here two years and I think Dole's been going on since practically day one and maybe 2013. and what is so interesting is some of these dedicated routes that we have like comores or Driscoll's or Dole they're often asking us to look to do more if we can and Dole is asking us to do more now so we're hoping we can come up with drivers to do that what what kind of what if you were to it's a great opportunity for you to say uh if you were recruiting some drivers right now what would you tell them about why this is a great place to work and why Dole is a good account to be on what would you tell them well first thing I would tell them is well one of the things I would tell them is watch the podcast and watch the drivers and see what they say about about Freight works because that's where you're going to get a lot of your your information that you really believe is from the drivers themselves and like even my Dole driver Dennis Barton he's going to be showing up pretty soon he did a great job he did a great job it was so good and and you know what gives me joy parenthetically here real quickly you know we don't chase many rabbits but every so often we we do this is one little rabbit I loved how authentic he was yeah you could tell he's a hard worker his word is his bond he's going to do what he says and uh he even talked in the podcast without giving away many of the details about not getting all lathered up and worked up about things you can't control right and I just thought you know what if Laura and others have got drivers like this freightworks has drivers like this what a blessing so what else would you say to driver potential drivers ones that are kicking the tires and saying I may want to leave and right go somewhere else I've heard a lot about other trucking companies you know wherein the people that have come here just tell told us personally that they felt like they weren't treated fairly or they weren't treated honestly and so one one thing I've always wanted to say I don't know if it's been on the podcast is about the the pay the way you get paid here as we before you get yours your actual check you get a summary which like a lot of times it's easy to forget like hey I had breakdown or hey I had detention we want to make sure drivers get paid what they were supposed to get paid so the summary shows exactly before they get their check what it's going to look like and what it's supposed no surprises right and if we miss something they say they call me hey you forgot my detention from Jessup and I'm saying I'm sorry we added and it's on there um we got 24 7 365 dispatch we have real people are going to be answering the phones I mean people that put their heart and soul into it and it starts at the top with Josh because any company you work for it's going to be the person at the top is going to reflect the way they were ever the way it works I mean I know Josh for like 20 years and I know he's he is what he is he's honest he's going to tell it like tell it like it is it's a hard worker his family I know his mom and dad they're hard workers I've been at their house helping in the Mom's Kitchen I mean she's she's always got something for you to do you know that when I remember going there that's just the way they are and that's the way they treat their people and then of course so many of the drivers know uh Papa you know we call them Papa Ray and he is what he's the Executive Vice President but he's he's even more than a chaplain he's a dear friend an older brother and coach and mentor and and and all of those things when you look at the days ahead Laura for uh a company like Dole what are some of the new opportunities and challenges that you see because you're you're in the trenches right so what are some of the things that and it may reflect some of what's happening in the marketplace because we know that we're in an industry that's very cyclical and chaotic and right Lots going on these days from the front lines what are you seeing well I'm hoping the supply chain stays running smoothly I know back you know a few months ago Dole was had to shut down for some instances of some kind of problem with bacteria you know and it was shut down for three months I'm just hoping we don't have anything else like that but things like that happen these days more than frequently than you'd like so that's one case or thing you have to watch out for it's like what happens if something shuts down you know and then you've got your drivers where and you've got to find them loads elsewhere so that's one challenge I would say just just the economy itself and the way things are just the fuel prices and but you know God's kept us running I mean it's amazing how you know there's nothing stops what God's put in motion and I feel like that's the way freightworks is I mean if you if you put your faith in him then he takes care of everything he's going to take care of Dole just like he's taking care of freight works that is that is so good and you know we're Unapologetic here uh on life of the mile delivered by freightworks about the fact that look we have a company filled with diverse people and not everybody is a follower of Jesus or religious or faith driven but the foundation of the company and all of the key leadership and many of the people that are involved in making Freight Works go every day we we look to another source not our own abilities to manage everything that's going on and so it's great so often in the driver's Lounge to have these conversations with people that will ask questions about all of that and we we like to tell people and this is very important if you're somebody looking for a company that has a faith commitment to everything that it does it may not be for you but this is a great place to come because when we say we're going to keep our promises right it's not just because we're making a human in promise it's because God tells us still right and so a lot of people have asked me about the whys behind the what's like why do you do what you do and it's a great opportunity well let me ask you this uh personally where were you born where'd you grow up I I was born in Murfreesboro Tennessee like 30 miles from Nashville okay this MTSU there yes I went to college there I graduated Middle Tennessee State University yeah I don't know why I remember we talked about this before I remember colleges and cities uh so so I couldn't believe that Butch what's that I can believe that you remember colleges okay well help me Jesus uh so so you grew up in Murfreesboro okay until I was 36. okay yeah and uh and then you then first migrated here yes in 2001. okay and uh when you were growing up did you were you one of those young ladies that played with trucks I don't remember playing with trucks I remember more like being outside and climbing trees and going to the creek and catching crawled ads and things like that because I grew up in the country it's it's really interesting because our our our women drivers uh I'll often ask them because I'm so curious to know how did you get involved in in trucking and Logistics and we've had a handful that said you know what when when the boys were out playing with Tonka trucks in sand lots or whatever I'd like those trucks too and it just it gives me a lot of Joy because God gives gifts and abilities to people and uh you know it's really interesting I've had College friends and of course I spent too many years in college and graduate school and all of that and some of them because of this podcast the rumor out there is which is driving a truck now because see that yeah which is which is funny but um well talk now how many load planners are there there's three three yes so it's you and Logan and Arthur and Arthur yes right and how do you relate to each other in the company we work together very closely Logan and Arthur and I for instance we have to split a lot of loads and I have the local drivers explain to people what that means well we keep our drivers moving the best way to keep them moving is not to have them sitting waiting to pick up well because no one's making money the company is not the driver's not if they're not if they're sitting right and that's another thing about freightworks is that we're going to keep our drivers moving we we actually expect them to use their 70 hour clock by pretty much working 70 hours like I've heard other companies where they'll give you a low that should take two days and it's a five-day Transit and they just give it to you make you sit on it for three days we are not like that if Freight works we want our we want people to make money and the the best way for the drivers to make money is get you know keep moving Life by the mile right so um I'll pick up loads for Logan and Arthur and Statesville or Greensboro High Point or deliver a load in Black so you're talking to the other load planners because you're if the commitment is to keep it moving keep the freight moving then you have to talk to each other about what can we do to keep that moving along yes and it's it's been a very good test for me because it it it hits that flow you think you have because sometimes you think your day is set with all your local drivers and then Logan's like hey Laura can you pick up a load in High Point for me today well arth is like can you pick up a load for me in Troutman today or whatever and you know I'm like well let me look at my board and see what we've got going on and I you know I try to help out you know try to to figure out a way to get it picked up now when you use the term board because we have people that are subscribers that don't know what that means can you explain to them what that is right it's McLeod it's our huge you know software system that we use so uh everything is on there that you could need and if it's not if it goes down we're stuck yeah it's it's basically the driver the asset yeah it's everything everything where we're going where we're going where we're at everything's tracked trucks track trailers tracked so you know how many hours they have left on their clock everything's on there so yeah you know I remember the first one of the first times I came into freightworks and the driver manager area it reminded me of a time that I was in an air traffic control center yes in LaGuardia and it just felt like okay it's not airplanes it's trucks and they're all over the place and they got to get to places and you're managing all of that and uh and it's hard for people to understand how in that cacophony and that group you can make all of it all of it happen but you do and there's a good spirit among people right absolutely and at the end of the day everything gets done because sometimes when you come in at 8 30 or 8 o'clock whatever you don't know if what you're needing to get done is going to get done but it's like by the time the end of the day comes it gets done and everybody's happy we come in happy we leave happy that's just life at freightworks what are what are some of the things as we round around the corner here we've only got about five minutes left what are some of the things that you see in the days ahead that you'd like to grow in yourself personally and get better in personally what what how do you want to grow well uh my load planning is pretty much for regional Dole it's pretty much set I so I'm kind of look forward to maybe learning like to help out Arthur or Logan if they ever need help you know planning loads for over the road just you know or do the commercials just to learn if they needed somebody to step in and do something like that I wouldn't mind that and then if they need help on weekends I mean I'm willing to do whatever I've worked like I said first second and third here I just want to be a blessing whatever I whatever I can learn to help the company is you know that's what I'm wanting to do you know and that so reflects the spirit of great works is everybody's saying I'll do whatever it takes to get the job done and so many of the drivers Lord when they come in here have been beat up in other places I don't know how and we don't bash other companies but we're and we're not perfect we're trying to do the best that God can help us do but so many come to me and tell me stories that are just in some cases horrific right and so uh you know we believe as people of faith that everything we do and everything we say is a reflection of our faith so it's not work in our relationship with God it's all one thing and it I one of the things I love about being the podcast host is I get the opportunity to talk and hear people reflect those values that are right that are so important and you you certainly have done that today it always goes quickly see these conversations are amazing and now I get the opportunity to offer you uh a gift so winter is coming soon and so we've got this luck of the mile genuine you know genuine beanie and uh it's interesting because uh we had somebody I can't remember who it was the recent guest that took this this hat was a real hit at mats I think it's because the Patriotic theme in the back there but it's got the life of the mile leather patch in the front there and then of course we got our uh increasingly iconic freightworks One logo caps so one of those is yours I always feel like I'm decisions I I feel like I'm on a program like QVC I tell people I'm selling something but we're going to give you something so what's your choice well I'll take the cap I'll probably end up giving to some friend but okay I don't probably look too good in caps but well you know what that that that's that's that's great and uh and you know what anytime anybody comes off the front lines of freightworks comes and sits in the left hand chair to tell us their story it's a joy and you know we keep hearing an increasing number of new drivers that tell us they go in and look at the podcasts as a way to kind of safely kick the tires right and uh and then they come back and tell me you know I got to know who Laura was or Joyce was or Joshua so it's a blessing that you've been able to come on today it's been a pleasure thank you this is life of the mile delivered by freightworks I'm your host Butch malpe just a quick reminder please if you haven't subscribed to the YouTube channel make sure you do that very easy just hit the button make sure you get the notifications so every time we've got a new upload you'll be getting a little bell that dings and it will tell you and also make sure you make comments like for example uh what do you think about load planning if you're a driver what it makes for a good load planner what what don't you like about load planning activities give us some Dialogue on that and as you help us grow life of the mile we're going to be able to bring more and more opportunities to you we believe with God's help it's the fastest growing podcast actually produced and delivered by a trucking company and it's because of people like Laura Burgess a load planner here at freightworks that we're able to give you an opportunity to get behind the curtain and learn more about what Trucking and Logistics is all about now in the days ahead we've got some exciting announcements so make sure that you stay very connected we have two times a week that we make uploads and we've got short videos that we also put there and of course you can find us on audio podcast platforms everywhere this life of the mild delivered by freightworks I'm your host Butch Maltby and I also want to give a quick shout out to William Gomez he doesn't get mentioned much but he is the person behind the scenes helping make all of this happen we've got a small little Commando team but it's amazing to see what you can do when you've got commitment and passion and ability and just the diligence to do it again Laura Burgess she is a load planner here at freightworks and it's been a great opportunity to talk today thank 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

Get emails about design, user experience, user interface & productivity each week. We'll keep them short & to the point.

Thank you! Be on a lookout for an email from us!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.