The Peterbilt Series Part 1

Interview by
Published on
January 11, 2022

In this episode...

In this program David Culpepper, Sales Representative for The Pete Store LLC Greenville, SC discusses the Peterbilt Motors Company advantage and what a fleet upgrade will mean for FreightWorks’ professional drivers.

David Culpepper

David Culpepper is a Truck Sales representative for The Pete Store in Greenville.


position yeah so um in the world of trucks, uh you have um you have brands that are focused more on um inexpensive trucks and large volume okay um and then you have brands that are focused more on uh luxury and class if you will so Peterbilt um as I have explained to countless folks um is more like the Cadillac of trucks okay right so when you get in a Peterbilt you can tell there's a difference between another brand right

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 in this episode of life of the mile delivered by freightworks it's an incredible opportunity that we have today we have david culpepper you're a truck sales representative with uh pete peterbilt what do people call it yeah the peterbilt store is the the group the peterbilt store and that's in uh greenville i'm out of green based out of greenwich okay all right and uh we're actually gonna do two episodes it's the first time we've done it this way at life of the mile delivered by freightworks episode one we're going to cover a number of things about your personal background the nature of our strategic relationship with peterbilt second episode we'll go into more detail about what's happening in the trucking industry how trucks are changing we hear that so much by the way from drivers when i ask them the question do you remember the first truck that you ever drove some of the especially they talk about over cabs uh some of the stories that they tell are incredible so we have really looked forward to having our strategic partner peterbilt represented here on life by the mile as we move into about our 40th uh episode so welcome thanks much glad to be here great well let me let me start by asking a question that we ask most people who come which is how in the world did you get your start in trucking and logistics and this whole world that you now uh are a representative in yeah so um i actually started out in the car business um way back in 2006. and started out selling cars and then moved over into the service side of things kind of moved my way up in the car dealer world and then five years ago i was working at a dealer and uh were you in south carolina i was in south yep in greenville in greenville and uh my customers uh were the two sales managers for peterbilt and uh we had been we had become friends over about a couple of years span and uh and then one day they were walking out the door and uh they threw a couple cards on my desk and they said hey give us a call and i was like about what that's interesting okay so here you are where were you selling cars or what were you doing no i was in services i was an assistant service manager at a uh at a volkswagen store okay and they had volkswagens as their company cars and so that's okay that's kind of how so you made a connection with peterbilt because they were your customers and you were in service in a bw store they throw their cards down and then what happened uh so then kind of the stars aligned with some job we'll call them issues and then i was going to take a position there as a as a parts uh sales guy okay that uh position was filled and um and then the sales position came up so called these guys and then that was that was it now did you know anything about peterbilt before all of that happened i knew nothing um nothing about trucks whatsoever so uh the day that they put their cards down on my desk uh i i get in my car and i'm driving home and i'm driving down the highway and i'm seeing all these trucks truck after truck after truck after truck and i'm like well somebody's got to be selling all these things right you know and they can't be cheap so somebody's doing okay right right and but they're also having the opportunity to help people and that's kind of that's kind of what i've always kind of you know prided myself on is is helping people um are helping companies helping people individuals become more efficient so well you know one of the things david that i noticed when you were out here for the mirror eye demonstration i think that's when i last uh saw you is that you have a strong service orientation so whether it's going to be helping people who've got an issue with their volkswagen or in this particular case helping people understand how they can find a transportation solution through uh peterbilt uh that just seems to be something that's in your wheelhouse is that true uh i i would say so yeah um you know just this kind of idea of not only helping business owners but helping drivers um helping you know fleet managers and things like that just kind of form a relationship you know that's that's kind of really what my goal is well let me let me ask you this question uh because it's been so interesting is we've had different drivers come on of different ages solos teams different ethnicities backgrounds all of it uh whenever i ask people a question about what was your first truck they always seem to know and they can and some can describe a detail like every part of the engine and what it was like and how it shifted and everything tell me a little bit about the general marketplace perception of peterbilt up against uh you know other other truck companies and i i know you a little bit to know that you're not somebody that slams other companies that's not your your path but just put describe that galaxy if you will that solar system of different truck brands and and what peterbilt sees as its value proposition yeah so um in the world of trucks uh you have um you have brands that are focused more on um inexpensive trucks and large volume okay and then you have brands that are focused more on uh luxury and class if you will um you mean for the driver well not only for the driver just for the overall brand okay um and so you have some manufacturers that cater more towards large fleets and some that cater more towards the drivers themselves right so peterbilt um as i have explained to countless folks is more like the cadillac of trucks okay right so when you get in a peterbilt you can tell there's a difference between another brand right when you slip into the seat what would be like an example of that so just the dash layout real really the the first thing that you'll notice is the fit and finish so if you open and shut the door of a peterbilt that alone tells you i mean i can close my eyes and shut the door of five different trucks and tell you which ones it's a different crunch it's totally different well not a crunch at all okay there we go it's very solid okay it's solid yeah very solid um and then just uh just some luxury items that you can get in a peterbilt that you can't really get in other manufacturers um and like i said the fit and finish and and just the overall layout uh you can tell that they have really um put a lot of thought into everything that they put out um in order to uh maximize the driver retention for one um you know on this on this latest model which is the 579 which is what we'll be delivering here in the not too distant future they actually took roughly 600 or so drivers from across the country put them in one room and said hey tell us what you want in a truck okay so what you're saying is that peterbilt really wanted to have a truck that was designed and defined by drivers as opposed to an engineer who's back there saying wouldn't it be great if we did such and such that's correct that's correct they they wanted info from the people that are on the ground right okay boots on the ground this is a coach that i like to call it that must have been a very interesting group so i wasn't there okay but from what i've heard yes a diverse group we'll put it that way yeah well you know it's so interesting because uh it's a generalization but i found it to be generally true and by the way i i knew absolutely nothing i know very little as it is about trucking or logistics when josh farmer and and chris and joyce and jordan and others uh as there was discussion about launching a new communications function so i i feel like every podcast i'm learning more and more right which is which is great but it seems that drivers really have opinions about things like i'm just going to tell you straight up i've had some drivers that have told me if it's not an american company i don't want to drive it oh yeah and you learn a little bit about their politics and whether they're deer hunters and other other things than that and we know that drivers represent a diverse group but uh but is it safe to say that drivers that love peterbilt are very brand loyal i would say that out of all of the manufacturers that i have found myself working for both in the car industry and in the trucking industry um which is only peterbilt but i would say that peterbilt is by far the most brand loyal manufacturer that there is that that i have seen okay you know i'm not and and again what do you attribute that to so peterbilt um has been around for 80 years um and they have they have basically uh stood their ground on what their what their objective is right and it's to provide uh pride and class that that's their one of their number one objectives is to provide um more of an experience with a truck and i think what you've seen over the years is yes peterbilt has has represented the uh long and tall uh if you will which we call hoods which are you know your three eighty nines right seventy nine three fifty nine tall stuff there's a whole language there's a whole language yeah there is yeah which i'm learning more and more every year well i've had i've had drivers sit and talk to me and i've just stopped them and said i have no idea what you're talking about i still do that yeah but uh so so so there's just a lot about peterbilt that identifies with certain people and and they love the brand they love the truck and they're loyal to it yeah i mean there's other things that set peterbilt apart resell value you know they have the best resale value out of any manufacturer reliability durability you know all that stuff is things that peterbilt has really put up in the forefront of their company monitor well and of course what's been happening too is is resale value matters in a market where there's tremendous pressure yeah right i think i overheard a conversation you had with josh about do you have any trucks to sell yeah yeah so uh the used market right now is is incredible um you know none of us have ever seen anything like this and probably won't ever again but even with all of used truck values being as high as they are peterbilts are still consistently bringing a good bit more than any other truck brand as far as the used truck market goes so is fleets upgrade as as freightworks is on the front edge of of doing managing the capital assets that you have of trucks with high resale value is certainly a bottom line kind of thing oh absolutely you know uh one of the great privileges of my life recently was to be part of a small team that went from freightworks down to the factory in denton texas uh i'm a native texan i was born in lubbock and actually lived in kapells right right there in the dfw metroplex it was great to kind of go back home but you know what i have to tell you this i've got friends in the military i've been part of classified briefings at the white house and other places the security at that place was significant now what's up with that so i've i've never really asked anyone that um but i have noticed that as well um i think it probably can be attributed and again this is an assumption but i think it could be attributed to uh peterbilt is a little bit secretive about a lot of their stuff um and they and they don't want it you know they don't want it broadcast out to the world uh so you know that's why uh as you said when we go in phones over here you know no pictures no video you know none of that kind of stuff um so yeah i think that's about it what was so interesting to me was because it was a picture of what peterbilt seems to be it was so interesting to me that you had this on on the on the line on the on the line you had the amalgamation the combination of robotics and then people yeah and uh and where where i've been acquainted with uh you know the automobile industry a little bit with robotics and what it's doing peterbilt still has you know teams of people that are responsible for that one dashboard absolutely and take that real seriously it seems yeah definitely especially on the you know quality control uh you know their qc line there at the end which we saw when we first walked in um that is something that they rely on a certain group of people to make sure that every truck is as perfect as it can get when they and that's every truck they don't just pull a couple here and there you know like other manufacturers may do they look over every truck and that's something that they take a lot of pride in yeah and so the it just appeared that the paint job the way the doors fit you know your your dash configuration your tires whatever it might be it's not people operating in a vacuum there really seemed to be a culture oh yeah of we wanted to do it right we want to do it safely we want it done perfectly you just got that sense when you were there absolutely yeah absolutely i think that the people that work there or at least the ones that i have met you know they they take they take a real sense of of accomplishment or pride in their job and they uh i think they're told early and often what they're building what it represents and what kind of product they're expecting now there's been a lot of discussion in the marketplace that affects our industry of trucking and logistics certainly on the supply chain side but there have also been a number of articles and reports on news feeds and major media uh just about manufacturing hold-ups due to shortages and the like can you paint a picture for people that are both informed and people that aren't what are some of the dilemmas that production has been facing in recent months or the past year or so yeah so being a sales rep um you know it's i can't really speak exactly for the factory but i can't tell you what we have seen on our side and you of course have to communicate to a lot of that's correct yeah yeah so um we uh had partnered uh early last year with freightworks uh and and formulated an order uh for a certain amount of trucks and that order was set to start building in august of last year well then it got moved into september and then it got moved into october and then november december and here we are we still haven't had a truck built the first one's being built tomorrow um that's great yeah so we haven't had a truck built yet but that right there is a perfect example of what's going on so i think a lot of manufacturers if not all manufacturers um did a little over promising and under delivering last year very optimistic which is normal but didn't quite grasp the severity of the situation that was going on and so supply chain whether it be one part or whether it be a thousand computer chips or or whatever um that that has really put a clamp on things so just to give you an example yeah a typical car right any car um could take thousands of computer chips right my new computer chips one car right um so a a peterbilt uh only takes i don't know somewhere between a thousand and fifteen hundred right so what happens is when these car companies are putting in orders to these computer chip companies for millions of chips and then here's the truck manufacturers they're only putting in orders for hundreds of thousands of chips well you can kind of see what happens as far as the the lineup goes sure right also it's a squeaky wheel it is so also the car manufacturers i don't know if you've been in a new car here lately but they are getting kind of wild um you know their computer chips are maybe a little more advanced right and so a little more costly and so they start climbing up the ladder as far as who gets what first so that's another thing that's hurt and if you go by any car dealership right now there's no cars on the lot you know we don't have any trucks uh as far as in stock units to sell everything is by order only um but it's it's not only in the manufacturing uh but it's also rearing its ugly head in our parts department right in our service department and trucks are getting delayed and you guys see it here in your shop and you know it's it's become a well it is well and yeah and you have we we pick up on this in in our conversations with uh chris and and tony and eddie and others and in the shop here uh sometimes you have to cannibalize you know to yeah to to keep your your units rolling uh out there and it's not as if you can take a 96 completed truck and deliver it right to somebody and so you might be waiting for a little vendex part or some other kind of something but it's it's real and um now let me let me ask you this because a lot of people i think would be curious to know talk a little bit about what the rhythm is in greenville at at your store i mean what is it like there day to day do you have people coming and going are you meeting with people what are what are your weeks like what are your days like so um i i tried to spend uh the majority of my time out with customers okay um and and how big a area do you see so i covered is it geographically defined it is so um each of each of our uh dealers or dealerships um it's more of a land uh purchase than it is an actual location and that location is determined by the dealer owners and peterbilt where the best location for that would be um so my area actually is a pretty good portion of western north carolina okay um down through the upstate um of south carolina and then i go downtown how far south does upstate still qualify so we have a store um in columbia south carolina also and we have one in knoxville tennessee ringgold georgia savannah um so we kind of have that whole little okay covered but my area covers uh the upstate would go down to green we'll say we'll call it greenwood okay okay um and then our columbia store kind of picks up from there and then they'll go down towards you know the florence area okay and how many peat stores are there in america so the we have 27 uh now locations um and i believe that that qualifies us as the largest privately owned peterbilt dealer in in the country um so yeah we go all the way up to boston um and now we go all the way down to miami so we're we're all all the way up and down the east coast okay and and do you know offhand uh how many how many trucks might come through your region a year oh gosh it's a whole lot yeah it's it's all and and describe a little bit just the range of the kind of customers that you have of course we have a strategic relationship with freightworks and peterbilt but give a range of the kinds of uh people you're dealing with enterprises you're dealing with so i um so i delivered a truck last week to uh a husband and wife uh their owner operators one truck right isn't that great it is it is and that that's something that we at peterbilt see a lot um you know we kind of have a wheelhouse of of kind of a sweet spot if you will of customers whether it be from one to you know say 150 200 trucks where we can really focus on efficiency and we can really focus on helping the people out as much as we can but we also have uh customers such as uh cowan which has thousands of trucks uh up north uh menorah logistics which is one of their main locations is right down from us they've got thousands of trucks um you know waste management purchases from the pete store uh do some business with walmart i mean it's you know it it's a pretty broad scope but we also focus on peterbilt is not only you know in the on highway segment we peterborough is largely known for their vocational segment right dump trucks crane trucks uh you know logging trucks things like that that's actually how peterbilt got its start is in the logging business their first truck ever was a logging truck you watched something yeah yeah that's how actually how everything started well you know what's so interesting is uh when i talk to uh young children and it's not just boys it's also some girls we we've had some great work strivers where when i've asked a female driver tell me about how you got into trucking uh two of them have said to me when i was a little girl i like to play with trucks yeah so i need to ask you a question did you were you in all that stuff when you were younger or not really i wouldn't say uh trucks i was into cars and okay and i still very much am into cars okay um i liked the idea of trucks uh now i i have a son uh foster who's three and he loves what's his name foster okay yeah and he he loves a truck i mean loves a truck um and so he's gotten an early start but as far as you know trucks go yeah i had my tonka trucks in the sandbox and all that kind of stuff but yeah i was i was more of a car more of a car guy okay well david i'll confess this uh when our son samuel was young we he was adopted from korea uh i i used to play trucks with him and uh he was very analytical in his approach to playing so it wasn't just let's go out in the dirt let's go out in the sandbox we were constructing interstate highways interchanges he was asking questions about you know he's probably six at the time questions about where can we put a restaurant where can we put so i i know but but there's a generalization that a lot of young children love trucks and uh and and so tell me a little bit about it it's called the peat store not peterbilt that's right um you've got a lot of uh a lot of folks that come there do you you have folks that just show up oh yeah oh yeah and when they do what are they looking for they just want to look or they're shopping we have some that want to look we have some people that just want to see a truck for the first time we have a lot of people that come in and they want to talk trucks uh we have customers that will be in service and they come back and they want to you know spec out a new truck or get a quote on a new truck let me ask you this have you ever gone over the road in a truck before i have not okay is that something you'll do at some point to deliver a truck yes to actually do trucking probably not okay yeah no but but i could envision just the experience would be something that would be yeah so um i i had my my cdl permit okay and and took a couple of rides during that so yes in that sense i have been you know on the highway or on the road um but actually pulling a trailer or anything like that i haven't haven't done that talk a little bit about uh you know of course we're gonna have two episodes here that'll give us the chance to cover a number of different things but you have the opportunity to interact with a lot of different trucking and logistics firms and people that are in that industry uh in in ways that are just reflective of your observations what are some of the impressions you have of freightworks freightworks has their stuff together um from the from the first moment that i i didn't talk to you about asking you this question no you did not uh so from the first time that i came up here um which was not a very warm reception to some of you um there was still something that set freight works apart uh from some other companies i've i've worked with um and in the year roughly the year that that we've been doing business together is it about a year it is about okay yeah um there there have been some i would call them some special relationships uh formed um you deal with queers a lot deal with chris a lot okay and uh and me and chris yep and me and chris have become uh i would call his friends i don't know if he would but i'll call his friends um and you know sharing sharing things about our families and you know our our churches and you know kind of what we do and you know other than just work right and um that's something that i enjoy doing with with all of my customers uh but you're probably able to do it more with some than others is that safe yeah yeah i would say so um i mean i've got some local people that are literally right down the street from our location in greenville um you guys are up the hill a little bit uh but that's okay um we've developed a a bond and uh you know and they know that i'm here to help and i'm here for them and i know that they're they're here to help me well and i'm just gonna say this as the communications director you were so quick to respond to our request to do a couple of podcasts and uh even bring some swag which we'll talk about in the next episode but let me let me ask you this as you look at trucking and logistics in the days ahead you've got your finger on the pulse because you're interacting with a lot of companies describe in a couple of minutes that we have in episode one here freightworks and peterbilt working together towards the future describe a little bit what you see up ahead so

well with Peterbilt coming on board here at freight works I see a bright future

um, i see uh I see a fleet that will surprise some people with reliability with fuel mileage with driver retention driver recruitment which we know right now is of utmost importance in this industry um and then uh as far as Peterbilt goes you know um I see supply chain issues easing up hopefully and that's me being you know an optimistic salesperson um but I see a continued relationship building uh not just with our sales department but also with our parts and service departments um and uh yeah i see things going very well we know the thing in conversations with josh that's always been so true uh in his description of freight works is interested in relationships not just transactions right and when you look at a very significant capital investment in the kind of fleet that we're talking about how many trucks uh right now we're at 75. okay yeah i mean we're talking about a lot of money a lot of commitment and as you and i were talking before this podcast the first episode uh there are times where one plus one can equal ten yeah where you really find the strengths and uh abilities and you put them together and you forge a future together and uh we're very much looking forward to that in the days ahead now in the second episode we're going to go a little bit deeper on matters related to the trucks themselves but we want to go ahead and do this uh on behalf of josh farmer i want to give you a life of the mile and you're you're gonna offer me something to give to him just a minute uh this is a life by the mile uh cap yeah so david that's for you and then also we're uh because of the nature of our relationship most podcast guests get one gift but we're going to give you two so the second is a genuine yeti cup it's got the freightworks logo there great works one that's fantastic and the life by the mile logo on the back there so whether it's your coffee your sweet tea your lemonade or water that's that's for you fantastic david uh culpepper uh he is the sales representative for peterbilt he is the point person for the relationship with freightworks with a fleet upgrade that's going to take place in episode number two we'll go into the details on the truck itself this is like by the mile delivered by freightworks i'm your host butch malpe make sure that you hit the subscribe button push this out become a digital evangelist and help people to know this is a great opportunity to learn about the very colorful sometimes chaotic world of trucking and logistics it's life of the mile delivered by freightworks


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