Thursday, February 11, 2010


As I think I have mentioned before Leah LOVES big trucks (18 wheelers) almost as much as she loves buses! Luckily for her my brother is a truck driver. So today Uncle John called Leah and said he was hauling logs to Dysart's and we could meet him there so Leah could get a ride. So we met him at the scales and rode over the scales with him and then drove across the street to the log yard to have the logs unloaded. She was mesmerized by the whole thing! She loved the crane!

Governor Perdue Announces Donation to Cargo Theft Prevention

GBI Major Theft Unit has recovered $17.1 million of stolen cargo and property

Today Governor Sonny Perdue announced that the Georgia Motor Trucking Association (GMTA) has donated $16,000 to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Major Theft Unit (MTU). Members of the GMTA joined Governor Perdue to commend the MTU on their dedication to investigating cargo and other major thefts in Georgia.

“Cargo theft represents a big concern and cost for trucking and other freight haulers,” said Governor Perdue. “The Major Theft Unit was created to identify and target the individuals and groups responsible for cargo theft in our state. This donation highlights Georgia’s efforts in combating this crime.”

Georgia is a major logistics hub making cargo theft prevention an important priority for the state. It is estimated that 43.5 million truckloads of cargo, valued at $1.4 trillion, traveled through Georgia’s highways in 2009.

The Major Theft Unit was created last year and has already seized $17 million in stolen cargo and made 71 arrests. In addition, the MTU has assisted in the seizure of $1.2 million in drug contraband. The MTU has provided cargo theft investigation and prevention training to both local law enforcement agencies and the transportation industry. Cargo theft is a nationwide issue with significant impact on the United States economy.

“The Georgia Motor Trucking Association has partnered with law enforcement as we work to investigate and prosecute persons committing cargo theft in this state. The financial support provided by the association will be used to purchase equipment for the Major Theft Unit and to train state and local law enforcement,” said GBI Director Vernon Keenan.

Cargo theft crimes account for an estimated direct merchandise loss of $10 to $25 billion per year in the United States. Georgia has become the target for cargo thieves operating in the southeast, and is now one of the leading states for cargo crimes. The Major Theft Unit is working in close cooperation with federal, state, and local agencies to investigate cargo and other major thefts in Georgia.

“GMTA and its members are grateful for the opportunity to support the GBI in this vital effort,” said Ed Crowell, President & CEO Georgia Motor Trucking Association, “Cargo theft is a growing plague across the nation and thanks to Governor Perdue’s leadership, as well as the skill and dedication of GBI’s Major Theft Unit, Georgia is now leading the nation in fighting back. GMTA will continue to this work in every way possible.”

The Georgia Motor Trucking Association is the only organization in the state that provides full-time service and representation for the trucking industry. The Association serves as the "voice" of the trucking industry in Georgia, representing more than 400 for-hire carriers, 400 private carriers, and 300 associate members.

Governor Perdue and GBI Director Vernon Keenan were joined by Ed Crowell and members of GMTA.
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Obituaries 02-10-2010

Bobby Joe Turney1959-2010
Bobby Joe Turney passed away February 6, 2010 in Alpine, Wyoming while snowmobiling. He was born October 18,1959 in Philipsburg, MT to parents, Jack and Yuvanne Turney.He grew up in the Philipsburg area until age 2 when the family moved to the Big Hole Valley. At the age of 3, Bob had a close call with fate, nearly drowning while swimming at the Hot Springs in Jackson, MT. Then the Turney clan picked up and moved to the Ruby Valley. Bobby attended school in Twin Bridges until the end of the fifth grade, then his education went up the road to Sheridan, where he went to school from the sixth grade till the end of his sophomore year.The Turney family decided to move to Horse Prairie and Bobby went to BCHS to complete his schooling. Throughout his learning years Bobby had another school he attended that was taught by his dad, Jack. Jack was truly Bob's mentor. Bobby learned at a young age that the schooling that Jack was teaching him would be life skills that would carry on in life ranging anywhere from trailing cows, breaking horses, team roping to becoming an exceptional mechanic and welder. (Which was the knowledge he needed to fix the various things that he broke before his dad got home.)Bobby was also a motorcycle lover at a young age, which was sometimes good and sometimes bad. The motorcycle just happened to end Bobby's musical career of playing the saxophone, when a wreck with his sister knocked out his front teeth. Bobby seemed to have a knack for finding trouble.While at BCHS, he met the love of his life Jennifer Tenney and this is where the next chapter of his life began. They were married on February 2,1979. Bobby went to work for Holland Ranch Co., Ed Blome, Ned and Dave Wellborn, Cross Ranch and Cleverly Trucking. Then Bobby decided that a life change was needed so he went back to Grant to work with his dad in the shop, known as Independent Welding and Store. While there he became a jack of all trades and a master of none, as Jack used to say.While in Grant, Bobby worked closely with his dad on the Grant Fire Dept. He also spent time serving on the Grant School Board. Grant was the home of many memories and unlimited laughs with family and friends. Bobby then partnered with Mike Maloney in the logging business named Brokenass Logging. Bobby eventually bought it from Mike and expanded out into Brokenass Trucking. He began hauling hay, livestock and anything else that was worth hauling. His father in-law Jim “Gramps” Tenney helped him grow the business into what it is today. Brokenass Trucking has been a business that brought the whole family and close friends into the current day business of Turney Towing and Repair.Bobby's love for life included his children, grandchildren and everybody else's kids. He is survived by his wife Jennifer of 31 years, two sons Kelly (Cecelia) and Brandon (Toree) and his three daughters Shelley (Josh), Amanda (Coley), and Heidi (Tanner). Bobby also has six grandchildren Kaylinn, Braxtyn, Kennlie, Ella Mae, Ebbie and Jada. He is also survived by his mother Yuvanne, his father-in-law Jim “Gramps” Tenney, his brother Jay (Carole), sisters Cheri, Julie (Billy),Vickie (Matt), Jackie (Mark), sister-in-law Vicki and Gary Helm, brother-in-law Jason and Trish Tenney, grandmother Diane Rice of Philipsburg, Aunts Diane Bennett, Helen Cullinen, and Uncle Gary and Kathy Turney. Along with numerous nieces, nephews and cousins that brought great joy to his life. Bobby used to joke, once your part of the family you could never leave.He is preceded in death by his dad Jack, mother-in-law Ella Mae, and nephew Chris and a favorite Uncle Glenny.Bobby had many different hobbies, and snowmobiling was one of them. He cherished the memories he had with the many friends and family that shared this passion with him. The snowmobiling trips always came back with good stories and many laughs. The family would like to thank everyone who took part in making Bobby's life with us a truly great and memorable one, with stories that will never end.A viewing will be held Friday evening from 5 p.m. - 8 p.m. at the Brundage Funeral Home, Dillon MT. Funeral services will be held at the B.W. Lodge Gymnasium, Saturday February 13, 2010 at 10 a.m. A luncheon will be held following services at the Lutheran Church. A guestbook is available on line at

Larry Joe Salmonsen1943 - 2010
Larry Joe Salmonsen, age 66, died on Sunday, Jan. 31, at Ridgewind Assisted Living.He was born Aug. 22, 1943, to Elmer and Mary (Kenison) Salmonsen in Dillon, MT., attended school around the state, but graduated from Bozeman High School. He married Diane Householder in 1967 in Billings. They were married for 37 years and raised three children, Sharlene, James, and Kristin. In 1969, work took him to Nevada. In 1973, he moved his family back to Hardin and lived there for the next 32 years. He loved to watch high school basketball games. He had a big heart and was generous to those around him, giving whatever he could whenever he could. He is survived by his children Sharlene, James and Kristin (Cason) as well as a granddaughter Kamiah, all currently residing in Pocatello, ID., and his brothers Bill and Melvin, who both reside in Dillon.He was preceded in death by his parents, his grandson Kyle Salmonsen, and half-brother Glenn Salmonsen. Services were at the Brundage Funeral Home, Dillon, at 10 a.m., with a viewing 1 hour prior to a short graveside service which followed Saturday, Feb. 6, at Mountain View Cemetery in Dillon.

J. Abel Rodriguez1958 - 2010
Dillon - J. Abel Rodriguez died Thursday February 4, 2010 at the University Hospital in Salt Lake City as a result of a sudden stroke.He was born in el Pescadito, Rio Verde, San Luis Potosi, Mexico on January 5,1958 to Maria Sebastiana and Marcelo Don Rodriguez. Abel grew up in Mexico but spent his adult life in the United States where he proudly attained citizenship in 1995. After a few years of travel and work at a variety of jobs, Abel came to Dillon where he worked for 30 years on area ranches. His extraordinary energy, hard work and endless cheerful kindness made an impression on everyone he met. In recent years, while helping his wife with their restaurant "Las Carmelitas", Abel began a new career as a carpenter. He loved the work and everyone he worked with loved him.Abel met Rita Perez-Betancourt at the County Fair in Dillon in 1976. They fell in love, married, worked and raised their children in the Dillon Community. Abel always said, "babies love me". His own children, grandchildren and babies of his friends where all blessed to be held and entertained by him for hours.He is survived by his wife Rita Rodriguez, his daughters Irma (Jeff) Winters and their daughter Isabel; Carmelita Rodriguez and her son Lorenzo; son Carlos Rodriguez and his daughter Zofia and Zofia’s mother Irma Vazquez. His parents Sebastiana and Marcelo Rodriguez, siblings; Noeh, Guadalupe, Maria Socorro, Marcelo and many beloved nieces and nephews also survive.His grandparents precede him in deathAt Abel’s request, cremation has taken place.There will be a Memorial gathering for Abel Monday, February 8, 2010, 6:30 to 8:30 pm at the Lutheran Church, 715 E Bannack, Dillon.

Rose Anne Nelson1950 - 2010
Rose Anne Nelson born Rose Anne Robinette, Feb. 13, 1950 passed away suddenly Feb. 4.Rose is survived by her mother, Sylvia Kearns; daughters Tammy Gregory, Deanne Smith, Sabrina Saylor and Janice Rokusek; grandchildren Collin, Sharee, Zachery, Anthony, Tara, Logan, Jerri and Lilly; brothers Jerry and Michael Robinette; and nieces and nephews; Marisa, Joseph and Chantelle.She was preceded in death by her father, John Kearns.Rose was an LPN, dedicating her life to others. Her life was her family including her animals, especially her chocolate Labrador, Babe. She loved spending her summers in her yard gardening, visiting her children and traveling with her mom.A celebration of her life took place Monday, Feb. 8, at 7 p.m. at Brundage Funeral Home with a visitation prior to services from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. A guest book and video tribute are available at

Marv Amundson
Marv Amundson passed away Feb. 5. Services will be at St. John's, Butte, at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 10.Graveside services will be Thursday, Feb. 11, 10:30 a.m., at Mountain View Cemetery.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


I got up at 3 a.m. to drive into work. It's my day off.

So why would I do that? Because the driver of the first bus that leaves in the morning offered me a trip up to Whistler. I haven't been up there for about 7 years, and so haven't seen the new highway. I also want to see what changes have been made for the Olympics. I want to drive the route up there to see the drop-off points for the workforce crew, the order they are in, how far apart they are, and other details so that I can be better informed when I am asked questions by the workforce because, so far, I haven't been able to answer hardly any.

My car gives me a lot of trouble on the way in. Ever since I had the new alternator installed, as soon as it warms up it starts to feel like it will stall, even when on the highway going 100km per hour. It usually only lasts five minutes or so then all is fine for the rest of the trip. This time it starts almost straight away and doesn't stop for most of the drive in. It's stressing me out hugely as I just can't afford to get it fixed and I don't want to miss any work.

I get there alright and the bus is pulling up to it's spot as I get out of my van. We leave about ten minutes later with only one other passenger, a woman in her late 50's - I would guess - who is a RN and applied to volunteer with the medical department but is working in print media. Go figure.

It's dark the whole drive up, but the driver - Patrick - gives a running commentary on the points of interest along the way. I listen attentively and it's a good thing because later I will need to remember what he's saying but I don't know that right now.

It's about a two hour trip and it's still dark when we arrive. Patric takes our passenger to the last stop. As we turn into the road that runs along the back of the new part of Whistler village, the trees lining the road are completely lit up with tiny blue LED lights and it looks like a fairy land. I try to take a photo but it doesn't turn out. I need to be on a tripod or at least leaning the camera against a solid object that isn't moving.

Once we drop off our passenger at the Whistler Village stop, we head back where we came from but this time Patrick turns into the other three stops; the media center, Whistler Creekside, and the last one, the Athlete's Village. Only we can't see the village because it's behind a bank of trees but there's a huge tent set up behind a security checkpoint. The buses for the athletes must drive into the tent and stop where bomb sniffing dogs and their handlers will go over each vehicle with a fine tooth comb. Once cleared, then they can continue on to pick up the athletes and transport them to their venue.

On the way back down the highway the sun is rising and the Tantalus Mountain Range is lit up pink. Patrick pulls over to a lookout point so I can get out and take some pictures. While we are there, an RCMP SUV pulls up to check on us. Apparently, any bus or vehicle that stops they come over to check out now that all security is beefed up for the games. There are RCMP all over the place. Even one on every street corner.

When we stop later for a doughnut and hot chocolate at Tim Horton's, there are at least 20 RCMP in there and I joke with them about the stereotype of cops and doughnut shops is true. We ask where they are from. Some are from Langley, some are from Ontario, and others from Alberta.

Patrick told us on the way up that there is a pod of whales in Howe Sound at the moment so now I am on the lookout for them. I spot something in the water far below and watch it for a bit but it doesn't move so I assume it's a log. I mention it to Patrick and he looks over and says that it is a whale. What I thought was a branch is it's fin. I am squinting at it, trying to make it out when suddenly it disappears under the water. Yep. A whale. We also see a few bald eagles in the trees at the side of the road near a small river. Apparently there have been a few black bears on the sandbar just up a short way from the bridge we drive over but there aren't any around today.

I ask Patrick about the trouble I am having with my car and he thinks it might be something as simple as low transmission fluid. I tell him I just had the oil changed and asked them to check all of the fluid levels and specifically that one and they said it was fine. But he tells me that unless they checked while the vehicle was running and in drive, you can't tell if it's low. Well I know they didn't do that as I was sitting in the car the whole time. So I need to do that as soon as I can.

When we get back to BCIT, Olga joins us and we turn around to make the trip back up to Whistler with a new group - three women and one young man. This time we are going to Whistler Olympic Park which is on the south side about thirteen miles from Whistler Village. It is full daylight now as it is 10 a.m. and the sky is blue with a few clouds. As we drive along, Patrick tells me that I will now give the guided tour that he gave me earlier. So I try to recall everything he said and remember most of it as we pass the mine at Britannia Beach, which used to be the largest copper mine in the British Commonwealth, and as well mined some gold, and is now a museum; Shannon Falls, the second highest water fall in North America (or so Patrick said but when I check later at home, it's the third highest falls in B.C.); and The Stawamus Chief, the second largest rock and the largest granite rock-face in North America (or so said my ex).

It's a beautiful drive up in the daylight but so painfully free of any snow, at all, anywhere but on the highest peaks. Usually at this time of year, the snow is piled ten feet high at the side of the road where the plows have cleared it off. I know it's nothing we can do anything about, but it's kind of embarrassing. The whole world will be watching and there's no snow. In fact, I heard on the news yesterday that it's the warmest January on record since they started keeping records. There isn't any snow at the side of the road until we get to Whistler proper and then it's not anywhere close to what is normal.

We turn off at the road to WOP, the acronym we use all the time at BCIT, and before too long we pull into the large parking lot. There's another issue with the warm weather. A few of the huge areas they cleared for parking is so soft and wet, the buses get stuck. This is because they fully expected the ground to be frozen, as it should be in January. So now they are frantically trucking in gravel to fill and firm the soil in the last few days before the games start. So between trucking in gravel, and trucking in snow from Manning Park (a five hour trip, one way) to Cypress and then heli-lifting it to the runs, we must be going seriously over budget even more than anticipated. It's not cheap to rent those massive helicopters day in and day out. It's a nightmare, really. There's no other word for it.

There's a group of bus drivers just arrived on two buses along with the big boss from our post down at BCIT. He's brought a bunch of out-of-town divers up to learn the route and how the drop off and pick up will work in this huge lot. He is surprised to see me step off the bus and seems impressed that I would take a day off to come up here and learn the route.

When we head back I get a good look at the Peak to Peak Gondola that connects Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. It's really, really high up. My daughter rode it with her husband a few weeks ago and she said that when she looked down, she was terrified as they were hundreds of feet in the air. It looks terrifying from way down here. But I'd like to come back and ride it some day.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Mover (Story 299)

Megan and Kellon's possessions were delivered by moving van today. The driver was missing his two front teeth. (He also happened to be an amazing driver and got his truck into a difficult spot even though the driveway hadn't been ploughed).

The Mover
He was missing his two front teeth. He had lost them thirty-three years ago. They'd been gone for so long now he didn't think about the space very often. It was odd that the first thing that people noticed about him was that he smiled unselfconsciously and that he had two missing front teeth, yet he smiled without considering the missing teeth at all. It just wasn't how he saw himself.

Every time he went to the dentist, they suggested that he could have a set of false teeth made up. Every time he told them “no”. He'd had them before. Just shortly after the teeth were knocked out in a hockey game when he was seventeen. He had never got used to them and eventually just left them in the bathroom cabinet.

When he'd taken the hit with the puck, he couldn't believe the pain he experienced, nor the amount of blood that came out of his mouth when he spit them out onto the ice. The dentist told him later that he should have stopped playing immediately and put the teeth inside his cheek or into a glass of milk, or some such nonsense. He has just spit the blood out and chased after the puck until the play was called and his coached pulled him from the ice.

He felt a little self conscious while he was waiting for his gums to heal enough to begin the steps needed to get the false teeth. He'd try to hide his smile, but he was smiled so often that it was futile. When he decided that he hated the fake teeth he'd given up even caring. If someone couldn't see beyond the teeth to the winning smile, then they just weren't worth troubling over.

He continued to play hockey while he did his training for long-distance trucking, but he'd given it up when he began working for a moving company that handled cross Canada moves. The expectations of style weren't that high for truck drivers. That was probably the reason his smile wasn't a problem. It certainly hadn't hurt his career.

When he financed the purchase of his own rig, the bank had seemed happy enough to give him the money. The day he signed the final papers the loans officer had smiled and shaken his hand in the same manner he had the jewelry store owner who had been in his office immediately before.

Today after he backed his rig into a particularly tricky driveway, he'd hoped down and smiled winningly at the family who were waiting to move into their new home. They certainly noticed his big toothless smile, but by the time all their possessions were off the truck and sitting in the their home, they long since forgotten.

They thanked him for all his help before he left and he responded with a big cheerful smile.

Seattle, WA Week 4 Discussion – Lets Talk on the Subject of Recalls

Lets talk on the subject of recalls. Of course, the most prominent recent one is Toyota. We all know someone with a Toyota, or we may own one ourselves, such as Steve Lent, owing a 2009 Prius.

I like my Toyota. Naturally, I have a concern with this recall. The big question for Toyota is, given the circumstances, will people continue to buy Toyotas? I think so. Every company makes mistakes. This is a vision held by the public. What will concern people most is HOW TOYOTA HANDLE THIS RECALL! The psychology of buying a car is the same for psychology of owning one.

The purchaser of a car isn’t going to care if a seat is made in Thailand, or a transmission is made in Venezuela, or a window is made in France, all they know or care about is that they brought a Toyota. Is Toyota going to tell them to go to a supplier for their problem? Of course not. Toyota will accept the problem, fix it, and continue to be an excellent car manufacturer. “The buck stops here.” We all know where that came from. How very true. More Next Week…

The Night Shift

The cheapest way to communicate in North America is using 10-4 phones. We have been wanting them for months. What they are is a normal cell phone, but also they turn into one to one walky talkies. Great invention. For $15 on top of your talk package. You get to use the 10-4 feature as much as you like for no extra cost. So I can be in California and Emma can be at home in New Brunswick, and we can talk all day if we wanted for no extra charge. When we was in the shop getting them. I was saying maybe this is a bad mistake, letting Emma be able to get hold of me 24/7 lol

Well I got into 840 at 9pm on Wednesday night. My load was going to Lawrenceville, Virginia again which is 1071 miles, the way they like us to go, and I needed to be there 7am Friday morning. The only way to do it, was doing the night shift. So I set off and managed to get to Milldale in Connecticut by 6am for my well earned rest, then set off again, arriving at 3am ready for my 7am drop, thinking there was going to be a massive queue of trucks waiting to unload. Luckily there was just one and he was collecting so I got off loaded straight away when they came in a 7am. They had already given me my reload in Suffolk, Virginia going back to Quebec. But as normal the trailer needed to be clean and very dry. Now the product I took down, is stored outside and was covered in snow. So the trailer was all wet inside again like last time. So off to wal-mart again for kitty litter to dry it out. Last time I was down there, it was lovely and sunny. Not this time, it was cold and a storm was on its way. Kitty litter gets rid of the excess water, but never dries it completely. So I was going to leave doors open for a while as I was still officially on break till after lunch. Then just as I had finished sweeping the trailer. It started to snow. So I had to shut the doors and hope it would dry in time for my pickup. Then I went back to sleep. When I woke, they had changed my reload to pickup in Hopewell, Virginia, instead going back to Ontario, and the car park was covered in snow, that wet slushy stuff like in the UK. I thought I went south to get away from the snow, not to follow me down lol.

Anyway I gets to my collection. Sits there for 2hour, waiting to load then at 5pm I finally get onto the bay only to be told my trailer was still to damp. Seven hours and still no dryer than when I left it. Lucky they had those diesel heaters. So I asked if I could put one of those in the back and put the shutter down. Another four and half hours later. It is still not dry, but was getting there so they decided to load me anyway. All this time I was not allowed in my cab. I had to sit in this drivers lounge. I was shattered by the time I set off at 10pm. The weather had gone from bad snow to hard rain, washing the snow away. I drove for an hour up to the truck stop for fuel and was going to have an hours sleep so I could drive all night again, but when I laid down, I was not tired, so decided to carry on driving. The rain started to turn to snow again. Buy the time I was half hour up the road. It was coming down fast and I had passed all the truck stops near me. The next one was 100 miles away. What a bummer. All I could do was keep going. If I was in Canada. It would not have been a problem as there would not have been much traffic on the road, and what traffic there was would know how to drive. Not in Virginia, and Maryland. They have not got a clue. They are not used to this amount of snow at once. Up to 42” dropped that night. On some of the un plowed roads. The snow was that high, my front Bumper was pushing through the snow, but I had to keep going to get to that truck stop.

Cars and trucks where stuck everywhere. I managed to snake round them and carry on. One truck looked like he had given up and tried to pull over to the edge of the road and park on the shoulder, only to go to far over and end up leaning over half in the ditch. He just left his lights and flashers on, closed his curtains, and went to sleep.

This plow had spun out and got stuck

In winter they line the roads with these three foot sticks so the plow dudes know where the edge of the road is. I just kept them at equal distance from me on each side, but sometimes the snow was just to deep to see them. So it was hard going. I tried to pull one truck out of the ditch, as a couple of guys that had stopped had got chains in their pickup, I just could not get traction though, so had to leave him where he was. The snow plow dudes where not that good either in Maryland. I had never seen as many plows in one place. I must have had ten around me at one point, and all they could do is follow each other in the same line. What a waist of time that was. 6am I finally reached the truck stop. Six hours to drive 120miles I was not impressed. The truck stop was chocker. Trucks even parked on the fuel island and went to sleep there. I found one spot right at the back. It looked like someone had just pulled out with the fresh tracks, so I tried to reverse in…. not a chance. I could not get a grip. So I turned round and just drove in nose first. Bad mistake. When I got up at 130pm, the snow was still coming down hard and my truck snowed in. not a single truck in the truck stop had moved, as most of the roads was shut anyway, due to accidents or just blockages as trucks had attempted to get up hills and lost traction and blocked the roads off etc.

Most truck drivers leave there engines running when they are asleep. you can tell in the picture which have engines running as there is no snow under the front of the truck.

In the new ones I don’t bother, I just use the bunk heaters to keep warm. So un known to me the snow covering the front of the truck had turned to ice underneath, so when I finally decide to attempt some more driving, as I reverse out. The ice did not want to let the front bumper go and pulls half my licence plate bracket off and cracks the bumper. I was not happy. Luckily I had taken the picture to show you guys how deep the snow was,

so I emailed it to Emma and got her to print it off to prove how I did it. I took some unclear back roads at first to avoid the road closures.

The further north I got. The snow got less and less till I got back into Canada then Toronto was clear thank god.

sometimes trucks have to stop at these places just before a large decent to check breaks.I switched my trailer at Brampton for one bound for Woodstock, and carried on till 5am again, mainly to make sure I could do the last part of the trip in one more day getting me back at 4am this morning. Not without a lot more snow though. The US storm had decided I had not seen enough and followed me up. It started from Montreal and never stopped all the 7 hours from there. Roads was bad again with it been over night driving, but was so much easier to drive on, with no traffic around me and been the dry stuff so managed to scoot along at 55mph most of the time. By the time I had got back, I had covered 2700 miles in the four and half days. Not my usual standard, but not bad to say I had delay after delay.

Well I’m out again tomorrow. I was nearly out again tonight, but the driver decided to carry on. So lets see what I get up to. Have fun till next time.

Monday, February 8, 2010

IWLA chief unfazed by recession's challenges

A slumping economy didn't stop Joel Anderson from boosting the group's membership, finances in 2009. Now, he's looking to build on that success.

The conventional wisdom says that an economic slump is no time to try to build up a trade association's membership or launch a series of bold new initiatives. But apparently Joel D. Anderson either never got the word or chose to ignore it. Since taking the reins of the International Warehouse Logistics Association (IWLA) three years ago, Anderson has worked steadily to inject a new sense of purpose into the venerable organization. He has revitalized IWLA's government affairs program, expanded its education offerings, and—perhaps most impressive of all—implemented a membership recruitment and retention program that led to positive financial growth in 2009.

Anderson, who serves as the group's president and chief executive officer, has long experience in the association world. Prior to joining IWLA, he spent 28 years with the California Trucking Association (CTA), the last 13 as executive vice president and CEO. Before joining CTA, Anderson was an economist with the California Public Utilities Commission. He has a community college teaching credential in marketing and distribution, and has served on state and national panels on transportation, goods movement, and mobility.

Anderson spoke recently with DC Velocity Group Editorial Director Mitch Mac Donald about the challenges facing IWLA's members, the shifting regulatory winds, and what shippers might not know about 3PL services.

Q: Could you start by telling us a little bit about your background and how you came to be where you are today?
A: I graduated from UCLA in 1970 with a bachelor's degree in economics and then went to work as an economist for the California Public Utilities Commission, which regulated trucking in those days. I spent six or seven years with them, participating in rate-making and regulatory proceedings. At one of those proceedings, the head of the California Trucking Association's research department saw me in action. He offered me a job with the group, which I accepted.

I started out in the research department, and 15 years later, wound up running the whole organization. During my time there, I grew the finances and grew the membership in a trial-and-error way. I learned through the process how to run a pretty good government affairs shop and a pretty focused industry association.

I took a medical retirement in July 2005 when I had surgery for cancer. Afterwards, while I was sitting around trying to decide what to do next, I put my resume on the American Society of Association Executives' Web site, and it just so happened that IWLA was searching for a new president and CEO at that time. The search firm picked up my resume. I went through the process, got interviewed, and then received an offer to come here.

I started with IWLA in April 2006. In the first year, we grew a little bit, and in the second year, 2007, we grew substantially. 2008 was a retrenchment year—a time for realigning, refocusing, and restructuring the organization. In 2009, we began growing again, so I feel real good about the changes we made in 2008 to give us a better foundation to build on.

Q: Who are IWLA's members?
A: I would say that facility-based third-party logistics service providers are the core of our membership. They range from the company that operates a single 50,000-square-foot warehouse all the way up to industry heavyweights like UPS Supply Chain Solutions.

Over the years, our members have gotten more and more involved in value-added services, so that the warehouse is not just a static facility that is racking goods, but an operation that handles all kinds of subassembly, kitting, packing, and order fulfillment tasks. I just toured a warehouse in Indiana where I'd say at least 15 percent of the square footage was devoted to conveyor racks, assembly lines, and Internet order fulfillment—you know, something you would not have seen 15 years ago.

Q: What are the key challenges your members face today, and what is IWLA doing to help them in that regard?
A: There are several issues. One is a concern that probably wasn't on the radar screen with any frequency two years ago but in today's business climate, has become a growing problem for our members—the creditworthiness of their customers, the shippers or beneficial owners of the goods stored in the warehouse. We're seeing more problems with late payments and sometimes bankruptcies. So, we're getting more questions from members about the warehouse lien. Specifically, they want to know about the proper documentation and execution of the warehouse lien to protect their interests if, in fact, a customer goes into bankruptcy.

We're also getting more questions in these tough times on how to market: how to get your name out there, how to build your brand, how to take advantage of social media to market your services, and how to differentiate yourself in the marketplace.

We've done a number of things in response to those questions. For one thing, we developed the Logistics Services Locator (LSL), a free search engine that lets customers search for an IWLA member by location, company, keyword, and so on. We put a lot of effort into that and advertise it to the shipping community.

I also have developed a relationship with a consultant who specializes in 3PL marketing, Chip Scholes. He has made himself available to our members for help developing their marketing campaigns.

Basically, we're trying to help our members understand that in order to market their services successfully, they first have to sit down and analyze who they are and what they do better than anybody else. When times were good, people forgot that because freight came their way. But now, you'd better be able to deliver a clear message about who you are, what you bring, and why people should do business with you.

Q: What else do you offer in the way of member support?
A. We also offer training and education. Our education programs focus on ways to make your company more profitable. We have seven live classes every year plus webinars—all C-level oriented.

In addition, we have really ramped up our government affairs and advocacy work. We feel that the days of deregulation are over. If the government is going to look at more aggressively or intrusively regulating the supply chain, we want to be there to try to make sure those regulations working their way through Congress and regulatory agencies won't negatively affect trade and commerce.

Q: What does the future hold for your members—both in the near term and the long term?
A: It looks like people are starting to move inventories. You know, our industry totally relies on consumer behavior. The long and short of it is, if consumers buy, our people do well. If consumers don't buy, our people don't do well because it is velocity through the warehouse where our guys and gals make the money. I mean, storage is nice, but it's their move into value-added services that has significantly increased our members' role in the supply chain, and that is influenced by consumer behavior.

To a great extent, two items affect the long-term profitability of our members. One is regulations on international trade and commerce. In other words, how free is free trade? If international trade can flow freely, then we have an opportunity to be real creative in helping our manufacturers and shippers outsource, resource, insource—you know, whatever it takes to get the right amount of the right product to the right customer on time. Number two is encouraging our consumers to buy things. Almost everything else is secondary to that because if consumers are going to buy, then freight is going to move and we are going to have an opportunity to make money.

Q: What advice would you give a young person who's interested in pursuing a career in the logistics profession?
A: I'd tell them it's all about following up and following through. Do what you say you're going to do and then let people know you did it. Reliability is probably the number one thing in success because reliability builds trust.

Q: Recognizing that a lot of our readers are customers of your members, is there anything else you'd like to share with them?
A: I think the major point I'd like to make to your readers is how inventive and creative today's 3PL is, so that if they haven't looked at that—at letting that 3PL at least examine their supply chain for ways to reduce costs and boost order fulfillment performance—they should, because the entrepreneurs in our business are incredibly creative. That is what is so thrilling about being in this business. The people doing supply chain fulfillment now are just so incredibly, incredibly creative. The way they are using technology, the way they are managing their work force. It is just fun to watch. So if they haven't tried it, I would suggest your readers put a toe in the water and give it a try. I think they will be very impressed with the results.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Mid-Atlantic Snow Blizzard

We left Wauregan, Connecticut late Thursday night, drove to Shrewsbury, Massachusetts to pick up a relay load of paper rolls at Flynn's Drop Yard, then unloaded at Jerich USA in Dayton, New Jersey Friday morning at 6:00 AM EST. We were dispatched to a Procter & Gamble plant in Avenel, New Jersey at 11:00 AM to take on 49 drums of various oils used in the production of their scented products. P&G detained us over two hours beyond my legal 14-hour workday for loading.

We found the nearest "safe harbor" (a trucking term which means the closest place to park after exceeding legal work hours) - the Molly Pitcher Travel Plaza near Cranbury, off the New Jersey Turnpike - and retired until Midnight Friday to start our journey toward Procter & Gamble in Browns Summit, North Carolina. The Mid-Atlantic snow blizzard hit Friday night. There was no chance of safely driving in this storm, so I rolled over in the tractor bunk to sleep until daybreak and check conditions at that time. The photo is of D-Rod Saturday morning after over two feet of wet snow had already accumulated overnight. It kept snowing all day Saturday, and the wind began to howl.

Finally, after 10:00 PM Saturday night, the blizzard subsided and we started on our way toward North Carolina. It took nearly 11 hours to drive 463 miles; definitely not a good MPH average. But all's well that ends well. We made safe delivery in Browns Summit this morning around 10:00 AM. We had to wait outside over an hour - with P&G employees - for unload; the Greensboro Fire Department was on site to deal with a small disturbance in one of the warehouses.

Summary of road conditions along I-95 corridor and south: Wilmington, Delaware (not good); Baltimore, Maryland (a little better); Washington, D.C. (2-3' of snow on the ground; dozens of stuck tractor-trailers); Southern Virginia (ice everywhere; 31,000 homes without electricity); Northern North Carolina (sunny, but cold, with piles of recent snow stacked everywhere).

Blushing with Nan

I finished watching Series 2 of The Catherine Tate Show. She's such a lovely and wonderfully talented lady.

I love her Nan character. Nan wears a sweater, just exactly like my mum used to have. In her later years, mum got a bit "Nan"-ish, tho' rarely swore. Mum really hated women swearing...or men who thought it OK to swear around ladies.

Mum was a bit...old school. She was raised strictly, with a huge empahsis on courtesy and manners.

I used to be a Meals on Wheels volunteer, back in the mid-90's, in-between jobs, and before I went back to college full-time. I used to help package the food at the local senior centre, then get in the van, and be driven around the town and rural areas, delivering hot meals to shut-in's and sick people.

One of the women I used to deliver to, was a spry, white-haired 80-something woman named Ida. She used to work as a seamstress, back in the days when the Arrow Shirt Co., used to have a factory in the town.

Well, this lady used to openly talk about her sexual escapades as a young woman, and also had a mouth pretty much like your average trucker...and I dated a trucker (sort of--he kept forgetting to show up for the dates he'd made with me), and also was a trucking permit agent when I was around 24 years old. So, I should know about trucker language.

Well, Ida also used to ride the senior's van into the city, on shopping trips. The van would take old people who couldn't or didn't drive, into the nearby city and suburbs 8 or 10 mis away, once or twice a month, to go shopping at K-mart or Walmart, or weherever.

I used to go along with them sometimes, cos' for several years I was without a car, and mum was living with me. She was in a wheelchair part of the time. She could manage to get about the flat, and go for short walks, as long as she had her cane--but any lengthy walks or shopping trips required a wheelchair.

Yours truly had to push the wheelchair, so I went on shopping trips with the seniors. Well, I didn't mind. I like older folks, and it was a chance for me to get out of the rural town for a few hours, wasn't it?

Anyway, I'd ride along with mum in the van--but I'd sit up front, cos' the lazy old fart who was the van driver, didn't like to pry his lard-bottom out of the comfy seat, to help the seniors up into the big maroon people carrier the town used to transport seniors. I would jump out at each stop, and help those seniors who needed a boost, up into the back of the van.

One winter day, we're picking up seniors at their flats and homes, and Ida comes out, and I'm waiting to help her into the van, and she starts to slip on the icy floor of the sidewalk!

I rush to grab her, to keep her from falling, and 80-something Ida turns to me, and, gasping for breath, says, "Wow! I almost split my pus_y!"

Whoa. My mum never said anything like that! No one I know has ever said anything like that! I was a bit nonplussed...and probably blushing like hell.

But, then, she laughed, and I suddenly couldn't stop giggling. God, that was funny!

Oil, trucking industry interests sue to block California low-carbon fuel regulations

California's innovative low-carbon fuel regulations, enacted last year in an effort to lower the state's contribution to greenhouse gas pollution of the atmosphere, are the subject of a lawsuit by oil and trucking interests.The regulations, which were finalized by the state's Air Resources Board last month, require fuel manufacturers to reduce the carbon intensity of their product by 10 percent by 2020.They require producers to account for indirect use of carbon in fuels, including during the manufacturing or refining processes. That mandate is controversial because, among other impacts, it may force corn farmers producing ethanol to account for the loss of land otherwise available to grow food and for wildlife habitat.California Air Resources Board chairperson Mary Nichols condemned the litigation, arguing that the regulations will save consumers money, lower fossil fuel use and reduce air pollution."Their actions are shameful," Nichols said in a statement. "Instead of fighting us in court, they should be working with us to provide consumers in California and the rest of the nation with the next generation of cleaner fuels."Plaintiffs in the lawsuit are the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association, American Truckers Association, Center for North American Energy Security, and Consumer Energy Alliance.A spokesperson for the American Truckers Association told the New York Times that the regulations would raise the cost of fuel and equipment too much. The litigation is pending in the U.S. District Court in Fresno.A similar lawsuit was filed in December by the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, California Dairy Campaign, Renewable Fuels Association and other groups, and a private ethanol company has challenged the regulations in California state court.The complaint filed by the refiners and truckers interests is here.

Trucking along...

Not a whole heck of a lot going on around here. The baby has started eating solid foods. She's a big fan of bananas, not so much sweet potatoes. :) We got to my weekly spanking last Sunday, which seems to be the most convenient day for it. It was very nice, and followed by other stuff that was even nicer!

I'm settling into the routine of cooking every night, and I'm actually quite enjoying it. The house looks nice the vast majority of the time, and it's just nice to be able to be home with the baby. Anyway, sorry for the boring post - just popping in. Have a great week!

Women Over 40

It's Super Bowl Sunday and as much I love a good game with the pigskin and look forward to watching the clash between the Colts and Saints, I find myself staring down a long list of stuff I need to get done for work. Working on a Sunday sucks, as I'm sure many of you realize. But on Wednesday, John, Chase and I are escaping to a place with a lot more snow, a lot lower temperatures and plenty of mountains and ski runs nearby so all the work I'd normally be able to get done on those days must get done in advance. So here I sit, watching football pre-game but writing about trucking. And then I came across an email from a friend that really hit the spot and I thought I'd take a minute to share it here. It's a monologue by Andy Rooney of 60 minutes about Women Over 40.

And while I'd like to point out that I am not over 40 :-) every bit of this applies to me already as well as all my fabulous over- and nearly-40 friends. So this is for you, ladies!

"As I grow in age, I value women over 40 most of all. Here are just a few reasons why:

A woman over 40 will never wake you in the middle of the night and ask, 'What are you thinking?' She doesn't care what you think.

If a woman over 40 doesn't want to watch the game, she doesn't sit around whining about it. She does something she wants to do and it's usually more interesting.

Women over 40 are dignified. They seldom have a screaming match with you at the opera or in the middle of an expensive restaurant. Of course, if you deserve it, they won't hesitate to shoot you if they think they can get away with it.

Older women are generous with praise, often undeserved. They know what it's like to be unappreciated.

Women get psychic as they age. You never have to confess your sins to a woman over 40.

Once you get past a wrinkle or two, a woman over 40 is far sexier than her younger counterpart.

Older women are forthright and honest. They'll tell you right off you are a jerk if you are acting like one. You don't ever have to wonder where you stand with her.

Yes, we praise women over 40 for a multitude of reasons. Unfortunately, it's not reciprocal. For every stunning, smart, well-coiffed, hot woman over 40, there is a bald, paunchy relic in yellow pants making a fool of himself with some 22-year-old waitress. Ladies, I apologize.

For all those men who say, 'Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free,' here's an update for you: Nowadays 80 percent of women are against marriage. Why? Because women realize it's not worth buying an entire pig just to get a little sausage!" --Andy Rooney

Restless Night

The wind is streaming and swirling through the trees

they swing and toss like wheat before the storm.

The sound of branches rubbing on each other

comes through the night, above the sighing of the wind.

The train horn calls, changes tone, and fades away

with the rumble of wheels upon the rails.

And little dog howls die off in the distance

as the chill of night drops down from the sky.

Nary a twinkle of star nor gleam of moon to be seen

just the slow red pulsing of beacons on towers and tanks.

As leaves rustle, I shiver in the breeze,

then back to warm shelter and light I retreat.

The frogs are all silent, from the birds not a peep,

the squirrels are all tucked safely away in their beds.

The sound, the only sound, is the moan of the wind

as it pushes and searches for a home of its own.

The darkness is seething with life in the night;

to still once more ere the light of dawn.

Oil, trucking industry interests sue to block California low-carbon fuel regulations

California's innovative low-carbon fuel regulations, enacted last year in an effort to lower the state's contribution to greenhouse gas pollution of the atmosphere, are the subject of a lawsuit by oil and trucking interests.

The regulations, which were finalized by the state's Air Resources Board last month, require fuel manufacturers to reduce the carbon intensity of their product by 10 percent by 2020.

They require producers to account for indirect use of carbon in fuels, including during the manufacturing or refining processes. That mandate is controversial because, among other impacts, it may force corn farmers producing ethanol to account for the loss of land otherwise available to grow food and for wildlife habitat.

California Air Resources Board chairperson Mary Nichols condemned the litigation, arguing that the regulations will save consumers money, lower fossil fuel use and reduce air pollution.

"Their actions are shameful," Nichols said in a statement. "Instead of fighting us in court, they should be working with us to provide consumers in California and the rest of the nation with the next generation of cleaner fuels."

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit are the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association, American Truckers Association, Center for North American Energy Security, and Consumer Energy Alliance.

A spokesperson for the American Truckers Association told the New York Times that the regulations would raise the cost of fuel and equipment too much.

The litigation is pending in the U.S. District Court in Fresno.

A similar lawsuit was filed in December by the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, California Dairy Campaign, Renewable Fuels Association and other groups, and a private ethanol company has challenged the regulations in California state court.

The complaint filed by the refiners and truckers interests is here.