Team Run Smart

Interview by
Published on
January 28, 2022

In this episode...

Freightliner’s “Team Run Smart” is a powerful online portal, bringing truckers and dedicated Freightliner industry pros information and advice which can be used in the quest to become a more successful truck driver. Team Run Smart was launched in 2012 to provide owner-operators with a robust platform to empower and equip drivers, and this diverse and growing community offers a wealth of detailed information and advice for everyone! In this podcast episode, you’ll hear from three of the Team Run Smart PROs, including: •Clark Reed, OTR, Nussbaum Transportation, Hudson, IL •Henry Albert, Owner & Driver, Albert Transportation Inc., Laredo, TX •Jimmy Nevarez, Owner & Driver, Angus Transport Inc., Chico, CA Learn as you listen, and share with a friend!

Clark Reed

Clark Reed is a Roscoe, IL-based over-the-road driver with Nussbaum Transportation and a Freightliner “Team Run Smart” PRO.

Jimmy Nevarez

Jimmy Nevarez Owner & Driver, Angus Transport Inc., Chico, CA. Team Run Smart Pro

Henry Albert

Henry Albert Owner & Driver Albert Transportation, Inc. Laredo, TX. Team Run Smart Pro


I i had an incident when I first started driving where the pitman's arm came off the steering box in my truck while I'm going down the interstate roll highway it was u.s 151 in Wisconsin so 63 miles an hour and a fully loaded trailer and no steering zero and at that point three months into a career that almost it could have taken my life and that that set the tone for my safety that that really things could change like that and that was something out of my control

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 join us we're ready to roll this is a very special episode of life of the mile delivered by freightworks we are so excited we have got an expert panel from freightliner's team run smart tbrun smart is an open community for all truckers who mean business it's where you can look for expertise you can use right away and in our fast-paced 30 minutes we're going to tap into all of that great expertise we have got clark reed he's an over-the-road driver with nussbaum transportation henry albert owner and driver for albert transportation jimmy navares owner and driver for angus transport and i'm going to ask you real quickly uh gentlemen jimmy let's start with you where where are you calling in from i'm coming to you live from southern california in a little town called oak hills just north of la the dispatch office here for my own fleet great and henry how about you i'm just north of mobile alabama in a town called satisoom alabama at the pilot truck stop all right you know you know what i can already tell you paint pictures in in the way you describe things and how about you clark where are you i met one of our customers here in brazilton georgia i just dropped the load and getting ready to head on to the next one somewhere around atlanta oh great it's great to have this virtual team i almost envisioned that we're sitting around having barbecue at one of those incredible places that our drivers whenever we bring them on the one question they always jump all over it's the question where do you go to eat when you're hungry they always have the exit number and everything all set we also want to thank riley uh holland who's helped us put all of this together so guys let me start out by asking this question i'm going to start with you uh clark i i liked what you said recently in one of your blogs professional drivers make many more decisions than the average person were constantly making decisions that had re that have real life and death possibilities can you comment on that and then also comment just about the decisions that you make that relate to being an efficient effective and safe driver give us some input on that well i think they go hand in hand um if you operate your vehicle safely you're more efficient with at least fuel wise and that that can lead to productivity too so the decisions that you make are do i need to be in the fuel pedal that heavy do i need to follow that car that close do i need to go into this turn that fast do i need to really be in that big of a hurry that i'm making poor decisions so the decision to make good decisions it's conscious you've got to actually set forth and go it seems like a little thing right now but that could turn into a really big thing do i need to do this that way right now and henry let me let me ask you because you also reference the reality that of course safety has to ever be upon you you referenced in one of your blogs recently about an accident that you saw but you also talked about the importance of conscious decision making as it relates to the whole area of fuel efficiency and just being an efficient driver talk about some of the practical tips that you would give to drivers to help them in that arena because it seems like so many drivers just get in a cab and put their pedal to the metal and go what would be some tips that you would give well a real simple one on that notion aside from just being safe at all times and never driving in an unsafe manner and going too fast is to not drive faster than you need to so if you're going to get to a shipper and they're already going to be closed and they're going to be closed for 12 hours why do you have the hammer down trying to get there you know you're just going to get there and spend more time sitting there looking at a dock so never drive faster than you need to to get there it's not uncommon especially if there's not a lot of traffic around me if i'm ahead of schedule to back my speed off to 60 mile an hour because why am i trying to run 65 why am i trying to run 70 um and that just equates into your tires lasting longer your fuel mileage lasting or being better your brake life in fact the truck i just got out of with 550 000 miles still had all the original brake shoes on it it's amazing that's just it just lowers the cost in all ways and you always find the truck that gets the best fuel mileage generally has the best safety along with having the lowest maintenance cost which all translates to profit and loss and the bottom line let me ask you this question were you always this way or uh i mean when you started out of driving how long have you driven i've been driving since 1983 and yeah i've always been that way since like i couldn't i let a truck idle i've pried myself i've only left the truck idle one night in my life and that's because i fell asleep with it the flu when i fell asleep at a 12-volt heating pad i used to sleep on before i had an apu i had a window fan i could never bring myself to having a four to five hundred horsepower engine idling just to keep me warm or cold so yeah my focus has always been there that's that's really good now jimmy how about you when you think about the day-to-day decisions that are that are made by the way i loved your little blog posts that talked about carbon monoxide that's an easy thing to overlook so it seems like all three of you have an attention to detail but when it comes to those day-to-day decisions that you make that affect fuel economy what are a couple of tips that you'd give you know for for something as easily overlooked as carbon monoxide detectors in a truck we have them in our home yeah it's easily something that you know you can look at for safety but when it comes to fuel economy and overall numbers you know fuel's expensive we're in it to win it right now the fuel is expensive as heck so what you want to do is like henry said make sure and for me safety fuel economy everything a lot is to be said about trip planning you know don't get yourself caught you know think ahead plan ahead because you get yourself into a place where you're going to hurry because you weren't planning ahead and you have to lay into it more you have to burn more fuel you have to be more susceptible to the increased chance for accidents so a lot goes to be said for anyone that runs within my fleet that i dispatch plan ahead trip planning is key make sure you allow for the unexpected well you know it also seems clark can weigh in on this it seems that your your drivers that have a high attention to detail and keep their ego out of the way keep their frustration out of the way at the end of the day that's better business it's not just you're gonna feel better and you're not gonna deal with stress but it's better business to do that how would you encourage some of the younger drivers that are coming in to fleets around the country who just they're so urgent to get from point a to point b and they're quick to get frustrated what would you say to them

i've said this before but the key i think is learning to control the things you can control let go of the stuff you can't so that that driver that passed you and cut you off you can't control that he did that so sitting there getting mad at that driver and you know laying on the air horn it might make you feel better for a second but in reality that's not doing anything so we get so frustrated and worked up with those emotions that at the end of the day we've been so angry at all this stuff all day that our down time is affected and then we push ourselves the next day and we run into the same problem again and again and again so control what you can control let go of that stuff that you can't and find a way to just be at peace with it because if you're angry all the time you're going to be angry all the time and that's not good at all now jimmy how do you how do you manage that you know what people that are uninformed don't realize that the world of trucking and logistics has so many variables you're dealing with trucks that break down it just happens you're dealing with weather you're dealing with demanding clients in many cases you're dealing with driver managers that need load planners how do you deal with all of that what's the way that you manage all of that in the midst of it all and being in the being in the midst of it all is definitely what it is since i've stepped out of the truck and into the fleet manager role um for my own fleet it is hectic um you know the number one thing is always expect the unexpected this is trucking it's not a matter of if it's going to happen it's when it's going to happen so you know you don't want to you don't want to always push yourself to the very edge and just cut yourself oh so short uh you know make sure you plan ahead you know we use things like satellite mapping we use things like google traffic all these different things to try to plan ahead uh use technology to your advantage you know we're really big on technology different apps weather apps you know i use windy as far as to forecast things uh speaking of chaos my least favorite part of weather is wind because it's one of the weathers you can't fight because you can't see it so we use an app called windy uh that i've preached to all my drivers and i use it even when i'm dispatching the trucks to forecast wind up to 10 days in advance because we do some empty running here running short haul throughout the western region you want to make sure that i'm not running an empty truck through 50 mile an hour gusts that are coming straight at the side of his truck so use the technology to help you forecast well you know and in terms of uh a lack of predictability it's also true with podcasts we've lost henry here we're hopeful that we can get them back on but in the midst of it you know we got to keep moving forward uh clark let me let me ask you this it seems to me that as the industry is changing and there's more and more emphasis on all the little ways that you can create profitability talk specifically about the uh and there he is you're back we're so grateful we were just we were just talking about the unpredictability of the trucking and logistics uh enterprise and you became uh an unknown uh illustration of all that so we're glad to have you back but but talk talk talk a little bit in this changing supply size situation with trucking and logistics all the different variables all the things that you hear out there what what do you see as a practical daily discipline for a driver as it relates to fuel efficiency specifically you know what we have to commend freightliner for pulling this team together because i really want to make sure we pull out of you some practical hacks and tips for drivers so what are things that come natural to you clark and the other two of you be thinking about this that relate to saving money on fuel like what just comes natural the biggest thing for me is maintaining a good following distance regardless of the traffic conditions i which i think you may have seen i've done videos about it where maintaining that space in front of you one that prevents you from having to slow down and come to a stop so in order to get back up to speed you've got to use fuel so anytime you slow down you're burning fuel because you've got to use fuel to get you back up to speed so if you can maintain that speed i think henry likes to call it creating heat if you can if you can avoid creating heat by using your brakes and using your engine more you're going to save fuel and you're going to be a safer driver and you'll be more relaxed at the end of the day too speaking of henry there he went again but that's the key for me is to just maintain my falling distance it's amazing if you pay attention when you do that whether you leave 20 feet or 200 feet people are going to grab that space they just want that space you'll see people coming up the left side they hurry up and they stop and then they get going again and they stop and get going again they stop and there's me just cruising right on through not having to jam on the brakes not having to mash on the pedal to keep up that that's a habit i got into and i think that's probably the biggest key to at least my fuel economy gains is maintain that space just keep a steady speed jimmy what did you first start driving uh so i've been at it for about 20 years now so uh it's been a little bit what what has changed in the whole driving experience in those 20 years for you for me i'll be you know completely honest i got into it with one of the larger carriers and as a company driver worked my way all the way up to having my own fleet but the things over the years that have changed for me was i didn't come into it like henry had explained he came into it conscious of the costs the fuel you know i came into it as a company driver for a big fleet it was all about counting the miles and money i was making so over the years i've had this evolution through the driver life cycle that has helped us to help me to really fully understand the importance of costs and when it comes to a trucking fleet so it's really an evolution of my own thinking that's come from start to finish full circle uh understanding all the costs and being conscious of them and then helping relay that now to the drivers that drive for me clark let me let me ask you this uh when you when you look back on the start of your career in in trucking and logistics uh it's an important question how much of you changed just because you've been driving as long as you have been and what would you say are some of the key lessons that you learned along the way were there any dramatic circumstances or situations or anything that sort of prompted your learning to be accelerated what what what changed i mean what changes for a driver in the years that they drive uh i think my um my patience has changed a lot um i try not to be as hot-headed and you know we're talking about decisions you used to just jump at decisions and i think that's probably the biggest thing that's changed for me and not jumping to conclusions i i had an incident when i first started driving where the pitman arm came off the steering box in my truck while i'm going down the interstate wall the highway it was us 151 in wisconsin so 63 mile an hour and a fully loaded trailer and no steering zero and at that point three months into a career that almost it could have taken my life and that that set the tone for my safety that that really things could change like that and that was something out of my control so like we talked earlier learning how to control the things i can control and let the other stuff go and just deal with them as they come that that was the biggest thing i had to learn and to be honest with you butch i'm still learning that something it's easy to get hotheaded and want to fly off the handle and taking a breath and reassessing sometimes it's a necessary thing to do but that's that's the biggest thing i learned was to be patient well you know i i remember my father who was an airline pilot that used to uh retell the maxim there are old pilots and there are bold pilots but there are no old bold pilots and uh it may be true in the in the professional trucking uh arena as well jimmy let let me ask you this uh talk a little bit because uh we've been impressed with freightliner's prescient thinking and bringing together this group what has this group meant to you now this group through the different evolutions we've had has been a really a melting pot for knowledge uh everything it's brought to the table from start to finish i think i'm going on my eighth year as a team run smart pro has been a good way to meld ideas we've always put together a group of drivers that are really well not only knowledge but open to ideas so we're able to bounce ideas off of each other all the time that's where we get a lot of our blog and video blog content is bouncing stuff off each other you know we've really on the outside of team run smart we're actually all really good friends so we've become our own little family throughout the years and it's it's really been a good way to not only share our successes in the industry but also uh to get out there and tell other people how we've done it but being the people that never learn or claim know everything we're always continually learning so it's nice to be able to share it both ways through teamwork and smart with those that follow uh everything we do and then you know we take it in as well and use that as content so it's it's a great melting pot for everything within the trucking industry henry welcome back and uh we're going to keep you we're going to capture you and keep you right now and i'm going to ask you i'm going to ask you a question um let me let me ask you this there's been some of the themes that have come out in recent podcasts drivers that have been driving for a while said there used to be a camaraderie among drivers that has changed and it's not there the way that it used to be would you say that's true or not clark let me go to you with that question sure um it's it's there but it's not the same i think one of the reasons we had they had such camaraderie even when i started driving only 17 years ago was you didn't have a way to keep in touch with their families easily cell phones were just barely a thing uh video like we're doing right now there's no way so you relied on other drivers to help you out if you broke down on the side of the road you might not be able to get to a phone so drivers helped each other out now we've got so much technology at our hands that it's easy just to reach out and and get a hold of dispatch and say i need someone to come fix my truck or whatever but i'll tell you a real quick story i was stuck at the base of um lookout pass out in uh montana going into idaho where we were they shut it down a couple of trucks had got sideways going up the hill they shuttered down where we were stopped there was zero cell service for anybody and the only reason i know that is because people start getting on a cb and they were helping each other out and they were passing out water and then helping each other chain up and they were finding out what was going on making sure everybody was okay the camaraderie came back because that's all there was there was a cb and a lot of people in trouble at the same time where if things are going good you can pick up the phone and i can call jimmy i can call henry i can call home i can do whatever so i don't think the camaraderie is dead it's just kind of taking a different form and jimmy how how would you address that i mean do you develop a rhythm and a flow with drivers that are on similar paths and lanes that you're on uh do you have some people that have been friends through the years yeah it's kind of funny that you say that because uh the the choice last year you know i've always been around the two three truck mark and the choice to triple the size of my fleet last year came because i had drivers that were driving for me who had friends and then friends of friends so i always joke around saying that i've built misfit fleet of truckers because they're all uh 90 of them friends that have driven for the same company for the past 20 to 25 years together and they wanted to have the ultimate dream of uh being an owner operator and coming to run for a fleet they can provide them the uh the support that they needed so it definitely uh we have that camaraderie within my fleet because there's there's that sense of friendship and like a big family we always joke around that way well you know speaking of a big family we're going to make sure that we get henry on as a guest an individual guest uh for life of the mile delivered by freightworks uh we had a little technical issue here so we're gonna go on with the two of you we've got about nine minutes left let me ask you this question and it's uh about freightliners specifically i mean it's obvious that freightliner had prescient thinking they were creative and strategic and pulling all of you together uh clark i want to start with you just talk a little bit about what this group has meant to you and why you would encourage other drivers to be a part of it

this i'm kind of going off of what jimmy said earlier about it it's a great community of drivers that we can bounce ideas off of each other not just the pros but the people that go to and watch the videos and read the blogs and you can comment on all that stuff it's a good place to bounce ideas and to get a different point of view as a company driver i've got a different point of view than jimmy would have as as a fleet owner and as henry would have as an owner operator so being able to to see those different points of view and bounce ideas and this might work for a guy this might not work for a guy it's been a real big has been a real big thing for me and i i think for the trucking community too those that are part of it i i think they probably all get something out of it well you know i just have to say this from going through the blogs and the videos and getting to know what freightliner is organized here there are tremendous nuggets practical nuggets and i want to encourage everybody go take a look at what uh they're doing now jimmy uh speak to that issue as well what why would you encourage a driver to be a part of what you're now uh listed as a pro in yeah you know i've i've stood by the brand but it's not brand centric so that's what's so nice is it's a run what you or run what you brought because regardless of whether you drive a freightliner peterbilt kenworth mac all drivers share the same kind of thoughts in the industry you know we sit behind the wheel think about these things all day as we're driving so it's nice to be able to go somewhere share those thoughts read up and know hey i'm not the only one going through this uh it's it's a great group no matter what you drive or how you drive i mean i've had uh some clients of mine that are brokers and customers even go on and check it out and they're like well this is really neat that you guys are able to pull something together like this so it's nice that anyone can do it receive knowledge share knowledge go on comment on videos even on our youtube pages and things like that and be able to to take part in you know just what we're all going through every single day in a truck well you know in anticipation of our being together in life by the mile delivered by freight works i had some people i asked about team run smart and i said you know one of the great things welcome henry can you hear us henry can you hear us

henry if you can hear us you just jump in and answer a question even if i haven't asked one uh in any event i told the i told the people that the thing that's impressed me so much about the group that you're in and freightliner's commitment here is that it doesn't feel like a commercial it feels like a clearing house of driver expertise where you're putting it all out in a salad bar and saying hey here's some things we've learned perhaps that will help you and that's tremendously impressive because you can persuade people only insofar as they can identify with you and all the different drivers that you feature and the content should have people saying yeah i can see myself in that that that will help me is is that seems to be an organizing principle is that true clark yeah i think so other than like our our truck reviews i don't we don't get vehicle specific so the information out there like jimmy said it doesn't matter what you're driving doesn't matter uh what your duty cycle is it matters are you a driver you professional driver we we got something for you here and come on board we'll be glad to talk to you about anything so i think it's a great i think it's a great place to go and get that and get well we talked about camaraderie there's a little bit of that on there too well you know one of the things for the days ahead that we want to do is i want to get uh jimmy you uh henry and clark uh you've already been on once before we want to get you back on and drill down even further in some of these different areas life of the mile delivered by freightworks our commitment is just to tell the story of america's professional drivers with an understanding that what they manage what all of you manage is far beyond what the general public really understands and so we want to empower and encourage and really amplify the positive stories that are being told um we're so grateful to freightliner for uh helping pull this together for riley for giving us the attention to be able to do this and uh henry has been off and on we're gonna make sure we get his voice in an individual broadcast at some point let me ask you one final question uh clark as you look at the days ahead i want to ask you real quickly what would you say to people that are younger in age that are considering the career that you've taken what would be your short apologetic your quick pitch on why they ought to consider professional driving

it's way more rewarding than you initially think yeah it's hard work and you might be away from home but the people that you meet and the things that you see and the experiences that you gain being out here on the road amongst the general public if you want to put it that way uh there's life lessons you can learn every single day out here and that's what that's worth way more than a college education if you ask me that's to the point jimmy how about you what would you say if you had 10 young people and they're trying to figure out a career path and they've got the best basic requisite skills to be a good professional driver what would you say to them it would come direct from me and from the heart that it is what you make of it i got into it very young and you know college education aside because i was able to do that while behind the wheel running it's a trade and just like any trade it's what you make of it put your heart into it and approach it with a professional demeanor and you can become successful i mean i'm living proof from the bottom up to my own fleet it can be done the naysayers aside i've proved them wrong my whole life and i'll continue to prove them wrong trucking is a very rewarding career well you know and i have to tell you this when josh farmer the founder of the president of freight works approached me a friend and he said butch can we launch a podcast i said yeah but there's one major issue i don't know anything about trucking and logistics and it's been so great to learn along the way here and uh henry and clark uh henry albert uh jimmy deveras and clark you've been excellent in helping us better understand just how you make day-to-day decisions that enhance fuel economy and safety and just the goodwill that you have along the way henry for whatever reason today was the day it was going to be challenging and and i i said this when you weren't on we're going to we really want you on for a single podcast if we can make it make it work in your schedule uh there's a lot there i can tell viscerally and intuitively uh we want to make sure we honor the time that you have all three of you to me reflect the diversity that's in the trucking and logistics enterprise and more and more is is the supply chain issues show up on the national media with greater frequency of whether you see it or sense it or not there's more and more appreciation for what you do in the trenches uh every single day now off camera we're going to get addresses we've got some things we're going to send you and i want to tell you real quickly this is a genuine yeti mug that says freight works on one side light by the mile on the other you're going to get one of these and then we got a choice of two different kinds of hats and if you're not a hat person you can give it to somebody uh and uh it's been great i'm so grateful clark that we started a relationship you open the door to riley and corporate and we've had the chance to meet the three of you and this is life of the mile delivered by freightworks i'm the host butch maltby and uh these are three of the reasons that we as americans should be appreciative for all of the things that we take for granted every day uh clark henry and jimmy thanks so much for being here look forward to talking to you again soon thank you but nice to be here thank you thanks for having me 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


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