Leigh Ann

Interview by
Published on
December 22, 2021

In this episode...

Leigh Anne Harris is a caring, compassionate Driver Manager at FreightWorks who understands her primary role is to serve each driver for whom she’s responsible with respect, diligence, and excellence. She paints the picture in this episode of what FreightWorks drivers have to manage each day and the lengths to which she and her colleagues go to insure loads are delivered on time and with safety as priority #1. Her personal faith informs everything she does and in this open-hearted conversation, it’s so clear how consistent communication with drivers is the key to finding a smooth path for daily success. When FreightWorks says “we care for drivers” the evidence is found in the committed staff like Leigh Anne. She goes the extra mile! Find out why.

Leigh Ann

Leigh Ann Harris is a caring, compassionate Driver Manager at FreightWorks who understands her primary role is to serve each driver for whom she’s responsible with respect, diligence, and excellence.


this to you you actually had a couple of drivers that were lobbying me to say you need Leigh Ann on soon so there's obviously more than just they are not a truck number to you no they're not

life by the mile delivered by freight works is your 30-minute weekly podcast adventure you'll hear the hearts soul and passions of those who keep America moving to join us we're ready to roll

in today's episode of life by the mile delivered by freight works we have Leigh Ann harris she's a driver manager strong person of faith very committed to her drivers just an excellent illustration of what freight works are all about you're going to enjoy hearing her story as we say with everybody welcome thank you glad to be here Leigh Ann we invariably will start with the question how did you end up where you are and you and I were actually talking about this the other day uh we have people that are people of faith and people with not a faith commitment we're all one big family but we're open and we're free when we talk about uh how we've been led in the ways that we've been led so I want you to tell the story how did you end up becoming a driver manager and then after you established that we'll talk a little bit about what you do every day um i

when i came here i wasn't quite sure what i was doing i was asked by mr farmer if i would have josh the founder yeah the founder owner i was asked to help with a project which i had no idea what i was doing um when i came honestly i i can't quite say except maybe it was like after reportings i think i kept hearing something about after reports so i was doing whatever i was doing i was watching jordan and emily at that time do all the rest okay booking loads etc etc um occasionally one would holler out to the other so and so is empty he's been empty for four hours he needs a load you know right and the other one said i'm i'm trying to get uh uh customers to pay their bills you know so so you were there in the early early days yes i was probably the third i'm thinking i was maybe the third office employee okay next to mechanics you know drivers and that's when you did whatever needed to get done yes right yes um at that point i went and said to my sister who's married to josh farmer um that that um i'm thinking i might need some more hours you know maybe working working there and somehow josh thought i needed more hours at the place i was working prior to that and i said no no i think you need some help but freight works so that's how i got here um so you may have participated in getting your job by saying i think i need to maybe help there i mean i was i was i thought the two were a little bit overwhelmed and all they were doing and it looked very exciting and truth no matter the prospect once i realized what i was doing the prospect to me of being a faith-based person

and being able to reach out to people who otherwise may never step foot in church or maybe didn't even have an opportunity to go to church on sundays because they were busy driving or whatever that just enthralled me right and all of a sudden in my heart i said i need to be a part of this um because i figured what an opportunity it would be to reach out to people who who you know in my growing up years i can remember my dad having a cb and i was young and we used to kind of play and and what i knew of drivers were kind of mean old you know tough tough fellas and um and but they're people too they're people too and they need jesus just like i did and you know i may never speak his name jesus name i do but i mean in some cases i may never do that but i'm introducing them all the time by how i reach out to them because that's what my heart is um so you know from that point then um i started doing accounts receivables which meant i took in driver bills right and made invoices out of them so we could be paid right and that's when we most of our loads were um through brokers and then at some point i got to be um uh third shift which kind of you know i would say tell people when third shift is well it's it was for me it was 11 11 p.m to 7 a.m and um i really enjoyed it and somewhere in the background i guess i had enough discourse or whatever interaction with drivers for their bills when my phone number showed up on their phone they knew leanne was calling to ask for bills and they were going to stop and send them right send them over so i enjoyed that bit of interaction and so then when i got to be third shift it was kind of like i was everybody's driver manager i mean i didn't necessarily direct where they were going but right so i really enjoyed that and i really had it on my heart to do that and at some point i remember having a meeting with josh and joyce and i thought hey this is my opportunity and josh says andy needs some help in safety would you be interested in doing that hmm okay i hadn't given it any thought ever right but um and one time i guess after a little bit of doing that because it was totally different it was totally different life was very different safety is halt uh we're monitoring how you're doing where you're going what your speed is yeah it's changed it was very different yeah and um so i sat down one time we were having dinner and my sister and josh and he said so what do you think about safety and i said well there's a lot more action in operations but i said a little chance to be a in the safety department will make me the best driver manager you ever had right so i did that for a while and the door opened up for me to be a driver manager you know what folks this is a good example when we talk about the fact that freight works is a family and it's a family of stories different stories leanne is just giving an example of how she ended up in the position that we're going to talk about in just a minute today but the reality is this is a company that's prepared to hear your story and as we hear your story it gives us the opportunity to determine is this a place where you can come and grow and distinguish yourself professionally so i want to make sure i take this opportunity before we go a little deeper here with leanne's story make sure that you subscribe to this youtube channel make sure that you become a digital ambassador push it out to other people we want the audience to grow so that we can continue to tell the incredible stories of trucking and logistics like the one that we're going to hear from liam so you became a driver manager what does a drive tell people what does driver manager do um because what i overhear sometimes is a phone call will come in there's chaos something broke down something's not working with a shipper a receiver and it seems like you have to parachute into a problem and with god's help fix it talk about what you do um i have always called myself i don't know i don't i don't manage anybody um you know when i worked in safety united orientation i enjoyed rolling out the red carpet telling them welcome to the family this is how we are this is what we do this is how we're all going to work together and so that's what i that's what i consider myself i'm i'm their partner um i don't lord over um i'm here in my seat because they're here to drive a truck right and i've always you know that's what i've always felt i wouldn't have a job if it wasn't for them coming here and one thing i believed since the beginning i knew god brought me here i believe every single driver that comes here is brought here by the hand of god i honestly believe that if they aren't here 10 hours 10 days 10 weeks or 10 months i know god brought them here for something right and just like he did with me i i believe that so when i when i relate with them whatever it is um i want to help them do their job better you know my statement has always been i don't move freight i'm not here to move freight that's not what i do my job is to make sure they have the essentials that they need be it you know proper working truck or trailer food in their refrigerator have a refrigerator some of them you get in a rental truck and there's no refrigerator and i'm lobbying to do the best i can to get a driver's driver so-and-so needs a refrigerator can we do that right um or if it's some sort of touch that they need um for their heart whatever it is how many different people are you responsible for um i don't know 25 or something like that and it would be uh over the road it would be drivers on designated routes just describe the the mix of people that you're responsible for most of the ones i do are um east coast west coast um what sometimes that may mean going south and then going west but typically that's what they do they're the that might be for weather for weather things or depending what the load availability is if we don't have anything running directly west we may send them south with something that's going west but that's ultimately what they do so i have solo drivers um and team drivers and um um and i love every one of them and i think they know that if they don't know it that would be very strange

i mentioned this to you you actually had a couple of drivers that were lobbying me to say you need leanne on soon so there's obviously more than just uh they are not a truck number to you no they're not no and they come often from other companies where they've been beat up they've been lied to they have had promises not kept so talk a little bit about how you try to reinforce for them look we're gonna speak the truth i um do you find some that come and that person is wondering is this true now some of the ones i haven't been here for a while um so i had basically a little bit of relationship with them on getting bills in etc etc but um even some of the new ones you know i pretty much start off by saying you know this is this is how i am i'm with you i'm for you um i'll do whatever i can to make your job maybe not easier but at least work better um i'm i'm kind of one of those that if uh planning pops up with the load going so and so that i may say i don't think that's gonna work i don't know if that's gonna work and um that's very interesting real quickly let's take a diversion there so you really are the point of interface between the load planner and the driver yeah talk we'll talk about that a little bit so the load plater does what and the driver's ready for what and you do what you're like the shock absorber yes yeah pretty much so uh and i've taken lots of shocks i'll tell you or lots of absorption um so the planner has x amount of loads available they have x amount of drivers and when those drivers are available for the loads that are available and they're assigning drivers to loads and which is great um and that's what they do i i like having that rapport with the planner so i can say now these folks prefer this do you have one planner you work with or yes for the most for the most part if if for instance they take a southern route they may you may have a pen connect with another so but for the most part they know how each person does and if they don't i usually tell them and if it can work out we'll make it work out uh that's that's what i i want to make it work for them if if something doesn't seem right there i may go to um silas who's driver manager manager and say look this they seem to be having a trouble with this what can we do um sometimes there's incentive for them to do that and that you know if i can come back and say okay you mean a financial incentive i'd say you know would this work out yeah sometimes a painful circumstance can be erased if the financial compensation is right yeah right so is that truth it happens it happens um i i can i can get an angry fella to say uh are you kidding i'm not doing that and after i come back and say well will x amount work for you well that's fine i'm not doing it again but i'll do it for it okay so those are the kinds of conversations that that you have yeah you it also seems to me leanne that you need to be somebody that can anticipate what's really going on in the life of a driver true in other words you need to have a hold not just on their log and how much they've driven and when they need to stop but things going on at home things going on with is that talk about that a little bit that you're really like an early warning system that it may seem like everything's okay but there's some things that are brewing beneath the surface right and you're an advocate for them right with the company is that fair to say yeah yeah talk about that a little bit um they have families they have issues that happen too they have um needs you know be it uh i don't know license related or dot-related for or things what's going on they can be a death in their family it could be a health challenge things with their children or there's all kinds of issues so i'm i'm all about

making their life work with what we do here I mean i you know the la at the moment well I don't think it would ever happen but I tell them I am not the shh I am not the slave driver you've got to go here and i don't do that um I'm not going to do that I will push them

to the level that maybe i think they're capable of more capable even than they think um i mean god does that with all of us he always knows we can go a little further when when my think my incapacity is just not going to go there he may take us and it may take somebody in my life to kind of push me one more step to say he's faithful and i can do that so um i always tell them it's a test it's a test the bible says he wants to find us approved and and he's gonna test us it's gonna happen so i'll always ask him so did you pass well not as good as i could but i said but you made it to the end and that's the bottom line so you know to me that's encouragement for the next time and that's that's what i want to be is an encouragement for them to be able to do their job to go on to do their job to take hold of um emotional issues serious heart issues um you know things that that aren't going right at home or whatever like you said death in the family i mean i'm you know if if they get assigned a load and they text me and say you know my brother's in the hospital and i'm not sure if this is going to work um i mean i'll tell planner i i don't know that this is going to work you know do we i you might consider an alternate plan i mean i'm all about making their life work however i can do that and um i never want to stand in the way of get give give that is so good give an example of like a common problem you may encounter and what you do to try to address it i mean you you've got things that come up with some regularity right well for instance um um i had a driver um recently that um went home and upon getting home found out there was a family member that had been put in the hospital and we had assigned them a load um and i kind of told planner right up front look uh i wouldn't bank on this um this may not happen and um i i you know want to make sure that i check with the driver you know what do you think how's this going and i i want to be available i want to be more on the availability that if they need that time i want to be willing to give it to them we we're all about logistics that means we very likely have somebody else that can step in and pick up that freight and take it you know um that's what i want to do so helping step in the gap and you know there's a legal term ombudsman it's a representative it's somebody who's an advocate that's really what you are for the driver and you know i was speaking to a leanna a new driver recently and it was so interesting he told me he said i won't mention the carrier but it's a huge one he said butch i was out on the road and had an up unsafe truck and they told me keep driving keep driving yeah you can go another 60 miles and every three miles he was having to stop for 60 miles to try to address this problem and he said his truck was all over the place and he said i'm here because this doesn't seem like that kind of place so when when a driver that is here or one that might be watching that's considering kicking the tires here when they hear us say that we're going to keep our promises and we care about you how how does that play out in your job it's it's it's real um i had another driver who actually was having some health issues serious health issues and um bless his heart he was having to he was driving i don't know driving three hours and having to stop to for his body to catch up with how he was feeling and i said are you sure you don't need to do you need to go to the doctor do we need to what do we need to do here and um eventually he did and found out there was some serious implications going on and i'm so glad that he did he was gone for i don't know several months maybe for sure several weeks but he got the care that he needed um he did go to the hospital he went home and went to the hospital and everything another he's a changed man and he um his health is better um he feels better he's gonna be able to do his job better you know and um he told me just not too long ago i said now i i'm not expecting to be uh he said superman and i said well not necessarily but you should do better you know i mean he sounded better on the phone i knew things were better he told me that it was so you know those things are important i mean they can't if they can't do their job frameworks it's not going to be good for us or them right and so i'm all about um getting them healthy having their heart happy i can't tell you how many times i've had somebody they're so upset things just aren't going the right way and you know i mean i've heard it over and over and i said wait wait wait just a minute let's find a happy song and sing it right the dispatch room has probably heard me sing a song or two right here i have one for you and i'll sing in the song right and it's probably very disarming and whatever dark thing is trying to take them over in that moment as we would say it gets it's broken you know speaking of the dispatch room i love that it's an open office talk a little bit about your relationship with the other driver managers um and then i have a quick story to tell we we uh of course we all we all get along great we're all about parts of the puzzle um and you help each other yeah yeah and and we're familiar with each other's drivers you know i've someone said on the line who says that and we pretty much know who that is and um of course i enjoy if i answer the phone it doesn't matter whose driver they are they're they're mine when i pick up the phone you know so however i can help anybody but we have we have a very good relationship and we have a good relationship with the planners even and uh you know if we have to uh walk through some things we do it's it's okay that's again it's logistics so that's what we do we're all about making the parts fit together so that's right and a lot of a lot of you that might be not acquainted at all with trucking and logistics and companies like breitworks don't know all the moving pieces that a driver manager has to manage so you're managing weather loads equipment destinations shippers receivers all of that together right right right um you know a lot of them the ones we have pass over to the colder side of the country and you know they're required to carry chains um if they tell me they don't chain good with me i guess they have socks now too right they do i can't see how those work i don't know if they work because yeah i don't know if they're into that i i told people when we started this podcast i don't know anything about trucking logistics so everything that i'm learning i'm learning from the guests that we have on but uh yeah but you've got to help them get ready and be prepared and anticipate and yeah yeah i mean truth matter if they tell me you know and i've never driven a truck and i can't expect i can't expect me to say you know you got to do so-and-so and so and so when they turn around and tell me but the weather is this or um or you know uh my truck is doing this or i'm going over hills with 40 000 pounds that's another thing 80 000 pounds behind your steering wheel you know i respect that and i honor that and they're gonna know way more than me as far as what they can do and how they can manage that that weight um on a road full of angry drivers trying to get to their own you know place and get out of my way and not realizing how what kind of breaking distance it's a shame it's a it's a shame i think days gone by camaraderie was very high and today it's not that way at all so um i'm i take into account they've done this i don't care if they've done it six years five years six months they've done it more than i have and they have a little more under their belt than i do so i always give them the benefit of the doubt well and it seems so truly in when i've talked to drivers before uh when i invite them to give input about their life they appreciate that they want to be heard and you'll get drivers that talk to you that aren't talking about a load right they just want to keep a relationship oh yeah right yeah and talk about that a little bit i mean it's not always you telling them to do something or fixing a problem no i love hearing i love hearing about what they do when they're home or their family or you know if i ever pick up the phone and say how you doing i may say and how's the dog or how's the cat i mean those are you know parts of our life they're important or you know i have one that um has a new child maybe maybe a year you know so i'll say i need pictures you need to send me pictures or a video or something so you know i i i they're an integral part of my life just like i am with them and it's not all about work um it's about life and their life is important and i want to i want to have that place in their life that they're free to open up and i've got some that do that about personal issues um and however i can be a stabling force that's that's what jesus wants us all to do and like i said i may never speak his name but if i can be a stabling force um although like i said i do speak his name right and i tell him all the time i'm praying for you you know trucks broken down um i'm not sure if i'm gonna make this on time or not i got a prayer for you so leanne when you pray for the drivers what what do you pray for you know i god has a plan for all of our lives psalms 119 says that there's a book with every day of our life written in it and i believe that for them just like it has been for me or for you um so my prayer all the time god your will for their lives your will for their families you know help their health um you know i can't tell you many times i've hung up the phone and said jesus help him help him you know i don't know if they even realize that i do that or that we do that a lot of us do that but i hang up the phone so many times jesus please help them and they may be disturbed a little upset maybe angry and i did the best i could to calm them down um to let them know that i'm with you i'll work this out i'll call you back in just a little bit and i hang on the phone jesus please help him yeah you know and i always find he does i always find he does well and as we often say uh as a diverse community of drivers and and staff with a growing uh enterprise the foundation of the company is so clear and actually if you go to the blog you'll find something that i wrote it's a prayer for freightworks drivers it was one of the first vlogs that we did so whether you're a person of faith or not what you can be assured of is there's a community here a family here that really cares about you and it's very important if you would please make sure you subscribe to the youtube channel here make sure you share this with other people that may be drivers or not who have interest in learning more about the exciting life of truckers and logistics and the like now leanne i will tell you this at one time i was sitting there listening and while it was calm i was hearing driver managers talk about the relative merits of a hand lotion and so it's not always the case that there's a crisis that everybody's trying to fix but i will tell you when the phone starts ringing with issues or problems to solve everybody's very diligent to quickly come to the rescue and do it in a way that's consistent with what it means to keep promises we only have two minutes left and uh every person that comes on wipe of the mile we give a little gift to so we want you to have this little gift on one side is the logo for freightworks it's a genuine yeti mug on the other side is the life by the mile uh logo and so whether it's sweet tea or coffee or whatever it may be we want you to have that as a little token of appreciation for you coming on and the hope and prayer is that things didn't happen back there with your drivers in the short time that you were here this is life by the mile delivered by freightworks it's our twice a week now podcast to try to bring for you uh interesting insights about drivers about staff in this case it's lyanna driver manager every person has a story to tell if you're a driver and you are a mechanic and you have interest in us learning your story and potentially telling your story go to the freight works website go to lifebythemile.com and look at the episodes and again please subscribe to the youtube channel and let folks know there is a company that cares there's a company that keeps its promises there's a company that views you for the individual that god has made you to be this is life by the mile i'm butch malthy the host this has been leanne today come back and see us we're here twice a week


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