125: A Word From Our Oklahoma Terminal

During this week’s episode of the Oakley Podcast, host Jeremy Kellett is joined by Justin Jolly to discuss what’s going on at the Oklahoma terminal. From who’s working in the office to the ideal truck driver, tune in to learn about all the potential at Port 33.

Key topics in today’s conversation include:

  • Oakley Update: driver appreciation week (3:20)
  • What’s happening in Oklahoma (4:42)
  • Who’s working in the office (7:11)
  • The Oklahoma customer base (14:29)
  • The ideal truck driver (17:56)
  • The future of Port 33 (20:40)

Oakley Trucking is a family-owned and operated trucking company headquartered in North Little Rock, Arkansas. For more information, check out our show website: podcast.bruceoakley.com.


Justin Jolly  0:12  

Grain and fertilizer is just that alone. We couldn’t haul all we don’t have enough trucks. So I mean, if you look at just that aspect of it, they are when it’s in season and it’s going they’re doing three to 400 shipments a day that’s coming in and now that pool, so, just that opportunity alone, it can grow really big.

Jeremy Kellett  0:35  

Welcome to the Oakley Podcast: trucking, business, and family. This show is brought to you by Oakley Trucking, headquartered in North Little Rock, Arkansas. The purpose of this podcast is to communicate with Oakley owner-operators and their families by giving them up-to-date information concerning Oakley Trucking and the trucking industry. From business advice to safety updates to success stories. Also to give an inside to outside truck drivers that might be interested in joining the Oakley family.

This is Jeremy Kellett, Director of Recruiting here at Oakley Trucking and I’m your host for this podcast. This is episode 125. And this is the Oakley podcast: trucking business and family. On today’s episode I got Mr. Justin Jolly, the Terminal Manager of Oklahoma at Oakley terminal there in Tulsa just outside of Tulsa going to visit with him a little bit about a few things. We’re going to talk about what’s going on in Oklahoma, what the future of that terminal looks like what his needs are right now, in terms of truck drivers, where all the loads are doing out of their mind where things are running and just get a good idea of updating everybody on our Oklahoma terminal. We had done it a long time. It’s been a while since we visited with him and talked about our terminal and Oklahoma. So go and visit with that Mr. Scott Cowden gonna chime in once in a while with this, I think but first before we get started let us hear from our sponsor Arrow Truck Sales.

Let’s listen to one of Oakleys owner operator experience with Arrow Truck Sales.

Unknown Speaker  2:01  

I called Kenworth offer for 40 called Peterbilt. Call Freightliner. None of them wanted to work with me. So Jeremy Kellett got me and got me over to Trey. Trey visor, me and him had a conversation. He’d sent me to Keith Wilson and never looked back from that point. I was upside down 29,000 and change. They paid off all but $5,000 of my loans on a blown truck. That right there said a lot to me. They were willing to step outside of their comfort zone to get my deal done. I’ve never felt like a customer. Yeah, it was more like a family feeling. He took care of every aspect of the deal. He was completely transparent. There was no hidden nothing.

Jeremy Kellett  3:10  

So if you’re in the market for a used truck, you owe it to yourself to call Keith Wilson at Arrow Truck Sales in Springfield, Missouri. Tell him you heard it on the Oakley podcast.

So on today’s Oakley update, main thing coming up, we were talking about driver appreciation week. And man we’ve been talking, trying to figure out what we’re going to do and we’ve bout got it narrowed down. But the driver appreciation week is something we don’t take lightly around here at Oakley. It’s this year, it’s September 11, through the 17th. And I mean, it’s just a week nationwide that recognizes truck drivers, everybody recognizes truck drivers, whether it’s trucking companies or the general public. So that’s what we’re gonna be doing that week. We’re looking forward to it. Actually, as far as one thing we’re going to do and I ain’t in brought this up yet to you jolly but we’re talking about having a food truck here at our terminal here and thought you could do the same because I know you did it before feeding guys that come in and on the yard. All truck driver so that’s a plan that we’re we’re gonna talk about and do and I’m pretty sure we’re gonna do we still gotta get the approval, but I think we’re gonna do that. So I think it’d be good idea. So hopefully that’ll do that in Oklahoma too. So truck driver appreciation week, September 11 through the 17th. Keep that in mind.

All right, man. What’s going on in Oklahoma? You come over here to Arkansas, visiting us couple days. What’s happening back in Oklahoma that’s going on?

Justin Jolly  4:40  

Well, we’ve had a few changes. Got a new guy over there now. I’ll let you out. He has a new dispatcher like Richardson. They joined us about an April end of April. So got him dispatch and some in Dom’s are actively looking for another dispatcher. Now. That was a little Got a few interviews going on last month and turn found the raga.

Jeremy Kellett  5:05  

Good. How long we’ve been over there now?

Justin Jolly  5:09  

Bought the port in February of ’14, so this will be eight years.

Jeremy Kellett  5:12  

Wow, it’s gone by quick and that as a mirror we bought that. Just knowing that was gonna be a great place because the board already existed and Oakley bought the board and then we built a building. I started a trucking company. We probably talked about it before but working out of the container when we first got over there with no air and no electricity running by generator we did that for a while to get to build and build it was special it was miserable. That’s what it was. But we did that and now we got a nice new building the blacktop parking all around. It’s super nice over there now got little drivers lounge where they can clean up shower and hang out there for guys getting in so that’s super nice too. So we’ve come a long way.

Justin Jolly  6:04  

Yes, we have and that’s one thing I do want to all our owner-operators to know is that we do have the drivers lounge so some of the guys that don’t work out the Oklahoma terminal might not know that. So anytime that they’re in Tulsa and they need a place to stay it’s quiet you don’t have any problems out there and there is on the back side of the building you key fob in your key fob that works over here and Little Rock works over there. And you can come in and get a shower. There’s a washer and dryer over there. There are not any refreshments. There’s a coffee machine in there. They own a microwave but those guys are—

Jeremy Kellett  6:44  

Good point. A lot of people probably forget that that’s over there and if they’re in that area they—

Justin Jolly  6:49  

Yeah. Just had one last week he said a truckstop was full and I stayed over here at the truck stop got a spot and somebody stole my lots out of the back of my trailer. Not so why didn’t you park over here? did not look good? I want the guys to know that. You got plenty of room from plenty and plenty of space.

Jeremy Kellett  7:07  

Yep. Yeah, good point. So what are you got working in that office? I know you mentioned Blake, the new dispatcher, but me who else is working out of that office and me trucks.

Justin Jolly  7:17  

We know Seth Atkins is still there. He’s running our hopper division. He’s got 43 guys that he’s dispatching. Cow Haney is still there. Running the end. So he’s got same number 43. And so currently, we’re running 117 Terrazza there. And Blake’s got so many two, he’s got 31 Okay, I’m not aware of, we had some changes that happen. We had to do some shuffling around, but that’s why we’re looking to hire another fleet manager because we want to get back grow again to what would work?

Jeremy Kellett  7:53  

Yeah. Yeah, that trap because we were up to…

Justin Jolly  7:59  

147, almost 150.

Jeremy Kellett  8:02  

Yeah, yeah. And then we yeah, we made some changes getting what didn’t lose guys. We just moved them. Right. Yeah, so that’s good. So I mean, get things organized a little bit. And I guess coming out of that office, when y’all do everything just like we do a weird no LoRa cron as far as the freight and where it goes and what you do and communicating with him. Anything special that you do over there that they that we don’t out of North Little Rock terminal?

Justin Jolly  8:29  

We do some barge work off of out of Port 33. That’ll go over towards Pryor, Oklahoma. We got some barge work down in Muskogee. That’s a local work stager out there in Muskogee. Different times of the year like now we’ll start hauling some rocks all to various locations in Arkansas for the highway department do and then we probably do a little bit more fertilizer and grain coming in and out of that poor. So, so yeah, we’ve got some work that we pretty much handle in-house over there. And then what we don’t have for the trucks will work out the same system will work and in low rock would sign free.

Jeremy Kellett  9:11  

So y’all kind of got I mean, it sounds like you get your own customers aware that you try to take care of you gotta you got a core in that area that you try to handle and take care of and then what’s left. And when you get plenty of other stuff to do, of course. How do you communicate with these guys?

Justin Jolly  9:31  

Telephone. We’ll call or we’ll use Microsoft Teams for a lot of it with a chat feature. We don’t have any issues as far as the communication back and forth.

Jeremy Kellett  9:45  

Because you’re looking at the same—?

Justin Jolly  9:46  

We’re looking at same load board that are the same loads in the same system that they’re looking at. So, yeah, whoa, if we have a truck hung out somewhere and we’re trying to figure out what we’re gonna do with him then we’re bouncing ideas off guys. I’m here to try to figure out what we can do here we’re we’re calling our own customer so the communication back and forth between the offices is not really an issue that’s we do a good job communicating and everybody knowing what’s going on.

Jeremy Kellett  10:16  

Because a lot of people kind of get concerned about that when we tell them your way you’re gonna be dispatched to Oklahoma terminal Berg Why don’t they just a disconnect they think that automatically if they’re not displaced out in a little rock then, Oh, my. What’s going on over here? And but it doesn’t take them long to realize that you got some seniority over with you and GAO and even Seth now yeah, that things are handled really well and the freight may not like that as one of our main goals when we moved over there was create that core of freight that you had to handle and take care of every day he is this creating miners or some opportunity there for the dust to get some local guys. I mean, you can get home every couple nights. Is there any of that stuff? Another reason was Goby, bro, that we’ve done since day one over there, here, but I mean, there’s other stuff, we’ve talked about this before of getting some local guys coming in and out of there. So is that an option?

Justin Jolly  11:18  

I mean, I think we could, Tulsa is a good area for us to hire in, it’s easy to get the guys home there. Anywhere that they live within 30 miles of the port is more 50 so, but the board’s work, that’s happening I’d say at least two to three weeks out of the month, there’ll be two or three days worth of it, so during that week, so when those guys are working, that if they live, specifically there in Tulsa, then they’re able to go home that night, and then come back the next night and work the boards too. So, we’ve done a pretty good job of getting those guys even home during the week, that live pretty close to there. So there’s definitely some opportunity on the end that’s on the end of TSA, they would be beneficial. And then on the hopper side, we just we can do the same thing, when when we can get the fertilizer and grind going. And that seasonal, so it’s gonna start here in probably the next month, they’ll start doing some fall fields, and so there’ll be some opportunity there to keep some guys pretty leucism in and out in and out grain and fertilizer. That was kind of our, when we got over there that in 14, and we were doing all that we saw that opportunity to do the grain in and the fertilizer out. And we did that for a long time. The last I would say the last three years, it’s just been a different. The fertilizers just move different, but it’s coming back around. We had the flood and not teen, then you had the crazy ’20 and then ’21 just different it’s just been different the last three years, but it’s gonna get back to normalcy.

Jeremy Kellett  13:18  

Yeah. So there’s a lot of product moved out that aggregates a bunch of Mario’s I left for it, because for people that don’t know, I mean, that port is huge. We just got the trucking is very small part of it is a huge port that does a lot of different stuff. That is not even associated with Oakley trucking, but it’s owned by Bruce Oakley corporate.

Justin Jolly  13:43  

Yeah, and there’s some pig iron that moves out of that port. And we don’t, we’ve got a dedicated lane on that, that we do now that we’ve had from the, it’s just a one truck top operation. But we’ve got a GAO on it. But there’s some pig iron that moves out of there, that we haven’t had an opportunity really to get more guys in there to do that. And so there are some industrial products. So it’s not just, we’re not just tied to green fertilizers. What I was saying is that, yeah, there’s some industrial product that moves out of there, and Muskogee, so it’s not just all I base material.

Jeremy Kellett  14:21  

I was gonna ask me about the customer base around that area. In all Oklahoma, is that increasing? I know it has since we’ve, we’ve moved over there. But I mean, is the is there a lot opportunity there a lot of the customer base and is it growing for us?

Justin Jolly  14:40  

I think so. I mean, we had some existing customers already when we moved over there, but we’ve grown those existing customers where we weren’t doing as much in the past. We’ve seen our freight with those customers increase because we’re, we’re present and they know that we’re there. We’ve seen that at there’s, there’s still opportunity that’s going to come with those same customers that we’ve established that we’re going to start seeing some increases out of them. There’s some local work now in Baton Rouge that we do for a particular customer. And they’re also in Oklahoma, so we’ve seen that’s an example of a customer that we had, we’ve done work with him for many years, but we’ve seen our growth with that particular customer out of Oklahoma, out of the arena there. So they’re reaching out, we’re, we have continued to grow with them over the last year since we’d been there. But I think it’s just having a presence there. And then you get in and start doing a good job for him, and then you just start seeing opportunities arise out of that. But it’s got to start somewhere. So that’s kind of what we’ve seen that’s happened over the last luxated, since we’ve been small, and then we just those existing customers like some of the scrap customers, we’re hauling more for him today than what we were when we got up there.

Jeremy Kellett  16:14  

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Mike Durbin  16:26  

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Jeremy Kellett  17:01  

Check out lubezone.com for all their services and all their locations and tell them you heard it on the Oakley podcast.

By that getting better over there, I think that’s what our listeners and our owner-operators want to hear is that there’s potential (still) over there, even though we’ve been there going on eight years. There’s potential for a lot more to do over there.

Justin Jolly  17:26  

Absolutely. The grain and fertilizer, just that alone. We couldn’t haul all we don’t have enough drugs, so I mean, it. Just, if you look at just that aspect of it there when it’s in season, and it’s going they’re doing three to 400 shipments a day that’s coming in, and now that pool, so just that opportunity alone, it can grow really big.

Jeremy Kellett  17:54  

So where do you need trucks? Where would be an ideal spot for these guys, owner-operators if they want to come to Oakley or if they’re already over here in another division, where’s the ideal spot for them to live for us or who are you looking for? What’s ideal truck driver owner operator that you look for?

Justin Jolly  18:15  

Well, some of our spots are still the same. You got Oklahoma City anywhere across all 40 between Oklahoma City and Portsmouth has always been a good area for us, anywhere on 44 to Tulsa, and northwest Arkansas Joplin, Enid, those have always been really good spots for us. And that’s not going to change. guy gets hired on there. It’s a good area for us either side of the house, whether it’s hot, or Dorian dumps, as far as new areas that, I would like to see us expand to is Kansas City. I think we’ve got some opportunity out of Kansas City that I don’t, I don’t think we already have some existing lines that are going up. But I don’t think we’ve had enough. We’ve had guys throughout the years, so we get that freight going up there and then you don’t have the guys anymore. So you see you kind of drop off a little bit because you’re not actively trying to get those guys home so, but I think Kansas City anywhere in that area within that very Kansas side of it would be a really good area for us to start looking to expand. And then, even if you go out of Kansas City towards St. Louis, anywhere across there, too.

Jeremy Kellett  19:34  

There’s a lot of Hopper freight up at lunch as you get farther north at night up in that area.

Justin Jolly  19:43  

There is a large part lives over terminal in Iowa around, they call it Port Neil, and we have maybe ship three loads out of there, but it’s a large fertilizer port.

Jeremy Kellett  19:58  

Have you had the opportunity to—?

Justin Jolly  19:59  

We could, once you get in there and figure out who’s actually ship, but we haven’t even scratched the surface of that airy. I don’t like. And there’s a tremendous amount of ag-based product in Nebraska, North Kansas north of I70 Iowa. We’ve had guys that have lived in Iowa over the years and we did pretty good. We could definitely expand north out of there.

Jeremy Kellett  20:27  

Which was actually part of the next question, I was going to ask you about the future of Port 33 there with just specifically the Oakley terminal. What’s the next five years look like?

Justin Jolly  20:40  

Well, the next one month is good, another guy. Oh, so get a good guy that wants to come in and work and understand what we do. And then five years from now, I would like to see as closer to I mean, I’m gonna say, 300. But I’d like to see us get get another guy higher, get back out to the 150 trucks that’s the immediate future. And then once we get that established, then go out and get another guy, and try to grow from there. So, yeah, that takes time, you got to get them trained, and get them to understand what we’re doing. But, I’d like to see us in the 200 trucks within five years.

Jeremy Kellett  21:22  

Definitely. Very, I like this very possible. Yeah, I’m leaning more towards that 300 because the potential is there.

Justin Jolly  21:33  

There are a lot of guys in Oklahoma. I mean, there you go. You go travel 44 and 40. And I mean, eight is just full of guys out there working, so I think there are some things we had said at one point in time, and we felt like it could be a 500 truck terminal, but I’d like to get there.

Jeremy Kellett  21:57  

I would, too.

Justin Jolly  21:58  

Well, that one’s all on you.

Jeremy Kellett  22:01  

Recruiting department. Got to have some trucks. I know it. But we’re trying. We’ll get there at some point, we just gotta keep it going.

Justin Jolly  22:11  

The things that could help us also is for the guys that are out there listening, recruiting cards, big, big thing for us. We want to get those in. We want those contacts because we know that that guy has a CDL let’s first thing and we know we might have a plan to be an owner operator, or he may already be evil, so they would, they would help us tremendously out of that area, to try to keep getting the word out.

Jeremy Kellett  22:43  

Well, and another thing to touch on the opposite side of that, I know, I know, you guys turnover is pretty low over there. How do men handle the retention part?

Justin Jolly  22:53  

We want to get them in, if the guy has a— It starts by having good communication back and forth. We wanna work with the guy, make sure we’re getting him home when he needs to be home, make sure he’s making the money that he’s expecting to make. And then if any issues come up or things that he needs to discuss, then we’re getting him in the office and we’re gonna sit down and try to figure out what we need to do better. You know, how can we improve? That’s really how we want to handle things. We don’t want the guy out there just so frustrated that he just doesn’t know what to do. So if something comes up, please call us and let’s talk about it. We don’t want that stemming over and it just start piling on top of itself. And then that doesn’t happen at all, does it? No, that never, especially with grown men, we just, we, we’re we seem to chalk it up.

Jeremy Kellett  24:02  

There’s one time and then we start looking, there’s another time and there’s another timing. I’ve told that before that we were our own worst enemy. Sometimes when something happens, and we start to keep it to ourselves, or we start telling our spouse or our friend, and we’re not till we’re not communicating that to the person we need to grow, which is dispatcher, Operation managers get to have that. You got to have that talk to get it out there.

Justin Jolly  24:27  

Yeah, yeah. Most things can be solved with good communication, let’s sit down, let’s figure out what’s going on and how we can fix it. And it might be on both sides of the table. It might not all be, the fleet managers don’t do this, it could be both ways, but we want to fix whatever it is, because the goal here is, is that we all are in this business to be profitable so, I’ve got a truck, I need to be profitable. We’ve got to trailer we need to be profitable. So that’s the goal. And we want to work through that and understand everybody’s needs in that process.

Jeremy Kellett  25:09  

Yeah. Anytime you have a partnership, it’s hard to make it work. Yes. But it’s it takes a great deal of communication. Yes. Like you said, so that’s something that we always preach even to dispatch, he talking about the fleet manager on their side to mean that we tell them if you got a problem with a truck driver, what are you supposed to do? You’re supposed to tell him communicate with him. We sometimes we try to ignore it and hope it goes away. But typically it doesn’t it doesn’t. It gains momentum, do it until it adds up. Well, good stuff, man. Anything else you’d like to add?

Justin Jolly  25:42  

No, nothing I can think of right now.

Jeremy Kellett  25:45  

I appreciate Cowden chiming in.

Justin Jolly  25:47  

Yeah, he did a great job, didn’t he?

Scott Cowden  25:48  

Communication begins with listening, that’s all I’m going to tell you. How long we’re gonna take it back. I’ll listen. I do a good job at that.

Jeremy Kellett  25:56  

You’ve been doing good.

Scott Cowden  25:56  

I’ve enjoyed this. This has been really good. Yeah, really good.

Justin Jolly  26:00  

I like the driver appreciation. I hope we can get that done. Great thing about Port 33, we already have food truck. It’s easy.

Scott Cowden  26:07  

I wan to say one thing on that: the driver appreciation week. We’re gonna be at Ozark he the hillbilly? truckstop. That’s right, like Wednesday morning and Thursday morning for a breakfast from like 6am till 10am. Breakfast will be on us. We’re going to be there. And then we’ve got a group of guys also going to Louisiana, down our reserve terminal. We’ll be down there. Not sure if we’re gonna be doing a breakfast down there. Last time. We were down there. We were at caches truckstop in Baton Rouge. We might be back there again. So we will be in those two places that week. If you’re at one of those, come by, stop in. Breakfast is on us.

Jeremy Kellett  26:46  


Scott Cowden

Workman’s. I said Hillbilly Truck.

Jeremy Kellett

But it’s Workmen’s there just outside just west of Ozark Arkansas.

Scott Cowden  26:52  

Yes, and that’s 35.

Jeremy Kellett  26:56  

You said Wednesday and Thursday?

Scott Cowden  26:57  

Wednesday and Thursday.

Jeremy Kellett  26:58  

Thursday morning we’re buying breakfast for every truck driver that rolls in there?

Scott Cowden  27:01  

6am to noon. Come eat with us.

Jeremy Kellett  27:03  

I like it.

Justin Jolly  27:04  

Noon breakfast.

Jeremy Kellett  27:05  

And there’ll be more information coming out you guys check us out on social media and everything will make sure we get the word out and the details and everybody knows. Anything else. Good. I’m good. I appreciate you guys hanging out and, and discussing some of this detail. I mean, it’s good for owner-operators to hear. And if any of you guys are interested in joining the team out there in Oklahoma, be sure and call the recruiting department tell us that you’re interested in more information out there. We’ll hook you up with Justin and can talk to him direct if you want to, and see if we can meet your need out there.

Thanks again for listening to the Oakley podcast. We surely appreciate it every week and appreciate your feedback. You guys give us a Be sure to check us out on YouTube. Also, you can watch you can actually look at us on the YouTube if you want to check out we got a bunch of other videos on there that can answer a lot of questions about a lot of different subjects here at Oakley. So be sure to check us out the Oakley podcast and we appreciate it. Talk to you next week.

Thanks for listening to this episode of the Oakley podcast: trucking, business, and family. If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to rate or review the show on the podcast platform of your choice and share it with a friend. We love hearing from our audience, so if you’ve got a question, comment, or just want to say hello, head over to our website, theoakleypodcast.com, and click the “leave a comment” button. We’ll get you a response soon and may even share some of the best ones here on the show. We’ll be back with a fresh episode very soon. Thanks for listening.