135: Owner-Operator Highlight: Randy Kemp

This week on the Oakley Podcast, host Jeremy Kellett chats with Randy Kemp, Owner-Operator at Oakley Trucking. During the episode, Randy shares his unique success story with Oakley, how he transitioned from a company driver to being an owner-operator, buying a new truck, and more.

Highlights from this week’s conversation include:

  • Oakley Update: EFS Fuel Cards and Merry Christmas! (2:19)
  • Randy’s upbringing and hobbies (5:03)
  • Transitioning from a company driver to an owner-operator (9:05)
  • The reasons Randy chose Oakley (11:21)
  • Randy’s new Peterbuilt (15:01)
  • Why should drivers join Oakley? (16:26)
  • Randy’s experience at the Oakley truck show (20:48)

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.


Randy Kemp  00:13

If you can’t make it here, at Oakley, you can’t make it anywhere. Because the money is there. It’s always there. Every week it’s in the bank.

Jeremy Kellett  00:22

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 insight to outside truck drivers that might be interested in joining the Oakley family. Hi, there’s Jeremy kellett director of recruiting here at Oakley trucking and I’m your host for this podcast. This is the Oakley podcast, trucking, business and family. And this is episode 135. On today’s episode, we sat down with Mr. Randy Kemp from Jackson, Tennessee and has talked about his success story. I think it’s a unique story that he talks about how long he’s been driving a truck. You know, having in his mind becoming an owner operator one day actually had the specific truck that he wanted to buy a lot of years ago and ended up doing it. Just a great guy’s great success story of him going from company driver to owner operator and being successful here at Oakley and I hope you stay tuned and listen or watch this episode with Randy again. But first let’s do an Oakley update sponsored by Arrow Truck Sales. Arrow Truck Sales has been in business for over 60 years and a longtime partner of Oakley trucking and the Oakley podcast. Dre visor and Keith Wilson do a great job at putting you in the right truck to fit your needs and our needs here at Oakley. They carry all makes and models to choose from with on site financing through transport funding. So whether you’re a seasoned owner operator or a first time buyer, be sure to contact Keith Wilson at Arrow Truck Sales at 573-216-6047. And tell him you heard it on the Oakley podcast. So here’s the update today for EFS and fuel cards. This is the deal, you know, we had one not long ago, we talked about fraud going on with EFS as well. So we’ve implemented a thing called Secure fuel. What this does to simplify it is basically EFS talks to Geotab that you’re running and verifies that you are in that location. So when you swap the EFS, you pull up to the pump, you swap the EFS fuel card, before it activated, it is going to talk with Geotab and make sure you are in that location or at least within a mile and a half, I think is the parameters, then it will activate the pump for you. So this is something new that we just EFS implemented for us, because we’re still getting fraud, you know, you’ve been getting a text. So every time you fuel, then you receive a text that tells you the location and you verify that to make sure that was you. Those are gonna keep coming, you still gonna get those so you can kind of double verify here. So that was really huge. So keep that in mind text gonna keep coming AFS fuel card, you’re going to swap it, it’s going to talk to the Geotab to make sure you are in that location, then it’ll activate. Let us know if you have any questions, any problems with that? Be sure and let us know. Oh, also, I don’t know how to forget this. But coming up this weekend is Christmas. So how about that? It’s been a great year. Man. What a great year. It’s been for Oakley trucking and Bruce Oakley and I just want to take the time to say Merry Christmas to everybody. Happy Holidays, enjoy the new year to New Year’s Eve. We’re going to take a little break. We’ll just one week we’re not going to have an episode coming out the week between Christmas and New Year’s, we’ll crank back up January the fourth be the next episode coming out. So I mean, we’ve got a couple of those already in the works. Some good stuff that you’re gonna enjoy, I think subjects that we’ve got coming up, but Merry Christmas to everybody. Thank you for you know, the year we’ve had it. What a fantastic year this has been to be with Bruce Oakley, and Oakley trucking as an owner operator as an employee. It’s just been a very successful year and I can’t thank everybody enough that I worked with co-workers. It’s just a great place to be and enjoy it and I hope you take the time to kind of exhale a little bit. This holiday and enjoy and be thankful for the things that you have. It’s a great holiday to celebrate. So listen to this episode with Randy camp. So talking today with a rainy camp, that’s an owner operator here at Oakley trucking. And basically I just wanted to, you know, talk a little bit about your success story that you’ve had over your trucking career. And to do that start us off by your hometown family hobbies, Randy.

Randy Kemp  05:18

Well, I grew up in Union City, Tennessee, northwest corner of Tennessee. Daddy worked at Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company built tires all his life. 32 years at the plant, raised us kids, Mom and Daddy didn’t raise me on the golf course Daddy didn’t fish or hot. Raise me on the golf course. Every weekend. That’s where I wanted to be with my dad. I still do not like what I used to do. But me and daddy still get together and go play golf. I left and went into the Army in 1987. Now 84, dropped out of high school, went into the Army, got married, had a kid, same old story. Most people do. Got out of the army and 87 came home and went to work at that plant that my Daddy worked at 32 years. I did it for two years. And I couldn’t stand being inside four walls. I said, Daddy, I’m gonna go drive a truck. It’s what I want to do my whole life. Didn’t know a thing about it. So I started in 1989. Driving for MS carriers out of Memphis first job a long time ago. Worked for several owner operators over the years and stayed over the road for a while. And I’ve got three children. And my last one was born in oh two. And that’s when I decided I wanted a local job and raised him. So I ran local for 10 years. And when he grew up, I wanted to live out my dream. And I always want to own my own truck and talk to some drivers here. That used to be in the LTL business with me seeing their success. And I said you know I came over here before you did. Yeah, Matt Blau was the one that got me here. He had been here for years. And we’d been friends for 20 years. Did he come from where you are, hey, we used to work for the same company. But he worked for a different company. Okay. Yeah. But company drivers. Yeah, yeah. I mean, I had, I was home every night. I had, you know, everybody thinks that’s the life you want. But it’s more not being home every night. But the job itself. It’s the same thing every day over and over. It’s just like a factory. You know, but I did that. The army was good for me. Five generations in the army. My son now is actually flying home Monday night for Christmas. So I’m taking two weeks off. I’m able to do that now. With my old job. I’d be lucky to get a day off. But yeah, he’s flying home from Seattle for two weeks, and I’m with my new grandchild. I was gonna show you grandkids you got one and I haven’t met her yet. She’s only a few months old. So awesome. That’ll be fun. I’m looking forward to that fun.

Jeremy Kellett  08:09

Three weeks. What do you do in your spare time?

Randy Kemp  08:11

I like to ride motorcycles and play golf in the summertime. Wintertime. Not much of anything. I don’t like cold weather.

Jeremy Kellett  08:21

I don’t get that on that hard in cold weather.

Randy Kemp  08:23

I have my younger days. It hurts a little more when you’re older. I’ll be 57 next month. And I feel very blessed. My grandfather turned 99 Yesterday. He’s a world war two veteran. And that’s where I still have one grandparents still living.

Jeremy Kellett  08:42

So that’s amazing. That is really good. It is just good genes or I hope so. Is he still good around you?

Randy Kemp  08:51

Yeah, yeah. He’s I mean, he has to have a walker and stuff. But yeah, he still likes to do his own thing.

Jeremy Kellett  08:57

He’s 9999 It’s impressive, man. Yep. Yep. Talk a little bit about you know, I think it’s interesting. You’re been a company driver home every night for so long. Right? You know, 1014 years, whatever it was. How did that mean, that to go on to become an owner operator had to be a little stressful, a little exciting. Talk about that process and making that decision. Quitting a company you’d been with a long time.

Randy Kemp  09:29

That was the hardest part was it? It was because it made me nervous. I had never really walked away from I mean, I will say it, you know, 14 years, almost 15 years. I’d been at the top of the chain. Yeah, I mean, I had my own route. I did my own thing. You know, management was a little sketchy, but that’s a lot of the places you go to with the local stuff, because it’s all about their numbers. But it’s just If that was the hardest decision, I mean it, I thought I was gonna have a heart attack the week when I was talking with Dustin over here and trying to make that decision talking with Matt about, you know the money situation. And man, it was the hardest thing. But once I walked in that office and told him keys on that table, and

Jeremy Kellett  10:24

I said, I’m out, no turning back,

Randy Kemp  10:26

there was no turning. And that was on Friday, and I was coming here that Monday. And by the time I turned around and got home, I felt like a load had been lifted off my shoulders. I got with Richard over trust, I bought my first truck through him. I was in the process, it was easier than expected. Really, it was very easy. Richard did a good job working with me. And of course, I bought a used truck to start out with a QCon truck. It was a mack pinnacle 18 model. And a good starter tree. It was a good starter Joe. Very good starter Joe kept that for a year. And with the way the market was. I always wanted my own Peterbilt. And I wanted to just like I wanted, so kept it for well, just under a year, I started talking with some people about where to order a new truck from so

Jeremy Kellett  11:19

as we were that confident. I mean, being here less than a year,

Randy Kemp  11:22

I had to do it. I mean, I was seeing the money I was making. And I knew I could. I mean, you’ve got to watch your money. You mean if you got a good head on your shoulders? There’s no if you can’t make it here, at Oakley, you can’t make it anywhere. Because the money’s there. It’s always there every week, it’s in the bank. And you know what you’re making day to day, you say your mileage, right? You know what you’re making? The loads are there.

Jeremy Kellett  11:50

I mean, this falls into play. I know we’re kind of jumping around here. Was that a little shocker there when these checks were rolling in or those direct deposited it was and you and your wife had to organize a little bit?

Randy Kemp  12:07

Well, we just week, you can’t look at those checks and say, Hey, I’m making all this extra money now. And you know, go blow it, which I did little to want a new Harley? And she said no. So we bought a camper. Yeah. Like to go camping on my toy hauler and go to Sturgis this year. But once that money starts rolling in, you got to look at it, you got to pay. My grandfather always told me to pay your bills, first aid second. And that’s why you don’t stick with you. It stuck with me after you know a few collection agencies in my younger days. And this at another time. It sticks with you to pay your bills first and whatever’s left over. You know, feed your family, put some back. Some back. That’s what I liked about the savings plan here at Oakley is I never see that $500 a week that goes in my savings. I never see it. And it builds up really quick. Really? Do I use that for certain things? Or is that just tax money or just savings? Does an emergency last more or less than an emergency fund? Or if I need it for any kind of unexpected repairs? Which I hope I don’t have.

Jeremy Kellett  13:25

So how is your spousal support?

Randy Kemp  13:30

Man, I’ve got a great wife. I mean, she is 100% supportive of what I do. We mean, we’ve been together every day for a long time, and now we’re not. And she supports what I do. We talk three, four times a day and go home on the weekends. And we spend time together means a lot. It does. But she understands what I do. And she’s been around a life. All her life and the little town that we came from, you know, that’s what you did. You drove a truck or you worked in a factory. So there’s plenty of people around her. She knows she knows what it’s all about.

Jeremy Kellett  14:09

You’ve been hearing me talk about lube zone for a couple of years now. Well now it’s time you hear from one of our owner operators. Listen to Mike Durbin talk about his experience with LubeZone

Mike Durbin  14:18

The price is great. The service is great. From the time when I bought him the door till the time I pulled out within less than an hour, the best I’ve ever had was as far as an owner operator had more chains, checked the wall but showed me it all. They got all the portions on the renter’s segment on the paper and they did their job. They were just very nice to go somewhere. Get what you wanted done and go now and be very pleased about it. And like I said, very satisfied. I won’t go out of my way from now on to go

Jeremy Kellett  14:53

check out lubezone.com for all their services and all their locations and tell him you heard it on the Oakley podcast. I’m gonna tell you this a little bit while ago with this new truck. So what? What did you end up getting?

Randy Kemp  15:08

I got a 23 389 Peterbilt. And I got to order the color that I wanted and everything. And I mean, I’m enjoying it. I really am enjoying the truck. It was my dream I had, I drove one for somebody else back in 94. And I always wanted my own. So that’s what I did. And big 23 Peterbilt so

Jeremy Kellett  15:35

we get lots of looks

Randy Kemp  15:36

at 5000 miles on it now and pick it up in April. So yeah, some ground. I am trying to steal home every weekend. The thing is that you can run hard. How does that happen? A good dispatcher, who’s Peyton? Peyton, I have to give kudos to him. He is. He’s easy to work with. He knows how I like to run. He knows I’m gonna be there. When I tell him, I’ll be there. If not, if I have a problem, I call him. If you don’t hear from me, there’s no problem. Just having a good dispatcher. Much of the world of difference. Somebody you can take a little time to in the beginning for that to happen. Oh, yeah. It always does. Always just to get to know one another. You know, get to know one another and know how each other works. What’s good and bad here? The good and the bad Oakley? And wait until if you’d like? Cake Well, mouse, mouse, mouse and mouse. And the dad or I thought I was in trouble here. The mouse called me. I was in northern Ohio. Hey, you coming by here.

Myles Mason  16:46

This one. I told you. We just wanted you on the podcast.

Randy Kemp  16:50

They made me do this. twisted my arm and held me hostage

Myles Mason  16:56

harassing Peyton to get you in here? Finally made it happen? Right.

Randy Kemp  17:01

Right. Yeah. Well, you know, I don’t like to talk.

Myles Mason  17:06

I don’t believe that for a second.

Jeremy Kellett  17:08

I don’t believe that for saying no,

Randy Kemp  17:09

I mean, between the good and bad. I mean, everything I’ve experienced here has been good. The people are good. You meet people, you get their phone numbers. You know, you talk to them. If you have a problem, or you’re going somewhere you’re not sure about, we help each other. Everybody helps each other out here as an actual unit. It is tedious. You know, some places you go people just turn your head and, you know, walk the other way. But, not here.

Jeremy Kellett  17:40

I’ve heard that from other owner operators that you know, they’ve made some good friends over here. Yes, I absolutely do. love being here run into,

Myles Mason  17:48

I guess, asking about the good and the bad. Sometimes it may seem like you know, what is the bad? That’s kind of painting the company in a negative light. But I would see it more as like, what would you tell somebody who was thinking about leasing on what are some of the points of frustration? What are some of the frustrating things, you know, owner operator, at least on here that you would advise

Jeremy Kellett  18:08

or going through the process of becoming an owner operator.

Randy Kemp  18:12

It’s nervous, it’s a big step up, if you’ve never been an owner operator, the first few weeks can be stressful to you getting yourself rolling, and you think, Oh, I got this truck payment coming up. And I’m not making any money yet. And it will happen. I mean, it happened to me. Within one year, I was able to get in a brand new truck.

Jeremy Kellett  18:35

What’s your secret to success?

Randy Kemp  18:36

Running, running. There’s worth doing the job, just do the job. You can’t run you don’t, you’re not gonna come here and run two or three days and go home for five. You know, you’ve got to work, and that’s new. I mean, you’ve got to do the work. You’ve got my union. I mean, that’s what we do. Here we work. You’re going to get dirty. You’re gonna go to some places that are Thai, and you’re gonna look at it and say, I can’t get in. Yes, you can. I mean, people do it all the time. Just take your time and be slow and be safe. That’s one thing but yeah, you’ve got to work. I work four or five. I work sometimes six days a week but I’m home every weekend and I make a good living.

Jeremy Kellett  19:25

And that means a lot being able to do that. I can’t say enough but it’s been able to get you guys home, right? I’m on a weekend. Do you usually go through the house loaded? I have a house and or do you usually go home at both molto Boca, both? I mean it’s you know it’s been a little slow here recently. And

Randy Kemp  19:48

For the past two weeks I was home on a Thursday and then went and picked up something on Friday morning close to home, to bring back home and then leave on Sunday to go home for Monday delivery. So that’s what I like to do is leave on Sunday early. Get close to my customer for Monday morning by Sunday night so I get my 10 hour break, and then I can run all day Monday. What’s the

Jeremy Kellett  20:15

What’s the next 510 years looking like for Randy camp? Hopefully better than I deserve love but they will be the attitude you get. Well, that’s just how I am.

Randy Kemp  20:28

I love what I do. I enjoy driving to what I’ve done all my life. It’s all I know how to do. I enjoy it. Well, and you’re good at it. Well, thank you.

Jeremy Kellett  20:37

I’ll take that. I say that. I haven’t talked to the safety department. Yeah,

Randy Kemp  20:40

I think they won’t talk to me now. That camera keeps going I’ll get slowed down

Myles Mason  20:47

What about the truck show? You want to talk about it? Yeah, your experience at the

Randy Kemp  20:51

It was a lot of hard work. I can tell you that a lot of Heartland y’all

Jeremy Kellett  20:56

some y’all did a lot of work on those trucks. Not only but the other 23 that were in it. I mean, I could not believe what y’all went through to be in the Oakley truck show here. What we’re talking about is our terminal. We had a little truck show, a little company party and it was our first annual truck show to go with the party that we’ve had for years but we had 24 guests and a man cleaned up those trucks and shined them up. I mean look at fantastic money.

Randy Kemp  21:27

Yeah, and polish in and but it was fun. It was fun. It was a good experience. Something different. Yeah. I enjoyed it. You’re gonna do it next year, man. Oh, if I get you out there to polish my mouth. I make a job for myself. Oh, yeah. Started walking around with the camera. He can grab a rag. Camera in

Jeremy Kellett  21:46

one hand rag in the other. Yeah.

Randy Kemp  21:49

Oh, but yeah, it was a lot of fun. It was my first party here.

Jeremy Kellett  21:54

I enjoyed it. I had a good time. Yeah, good people. Good stuff, man. We got some good owner operators. Well, are we really blessed to have been able to use more? Yep. Good job, man. You know, to our listeners out there. And everybody who watches and listens to the Oakley podcast. I mean, this is the kind of authentic owner operators we have at Oakley trucking. And it’s always good to hear their success story. And, you know, if you’re one of those that’s been out there thinking about it, wishing maybe you become an owner operator one day and it’s just nerve racking and you are afraid to step out there? I mean, you hear Randy’s story? I mean, what do you tell him, Randy?

Randy Kemp  22:32

If you’re scared, stay home. I mean, it’s, you know, if I can do it, you can do it. If I can do it, anybody can do it.

Jeremy Kellett  22:44

Just gotta have confidence in yourself, you know, and be smart about it and do it. So if you’re interested in doing that, and we call you and we’ll help you and if you have questions for Randy, we’ll put you in touch with me. He’d be good and happy so I will thank Randy for joining me Randy. I appreciate you sitting down at the spur of the moment. Here’s really good stuff, really good content. And as always appreciate everybody listening to the Oakley podcast and we’ll talk to you next week. Thanks for listening to this episode with Oakley podcast, trucking, business and family. If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to rate or review the show in 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, the Oakley podcast.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.